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Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Hana Sharif took over as the artistic director of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis in September.
EMILY WOODBURY | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

The new artistic director of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Hana Sharif, makes her directorial debut at the Rep this December with an adaption of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sarah Fenske spoke with Sharif about the production and her background.

Hana Sharif, new artistic director at the Rep, has plans to enhance the theater company's reach into the neighborhoods of the region. [9/4/19]
Cheshire Isaacs

When the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis begins its season this week, it welcomes Hana Sharif as its first new artistic leader in decades. 

Sharif said that, historically speaking, American theater audiences are predominantly white and well-off. One of her top priorities is to expand the reach of the Rep and attract more people of color and audience members of modest means.

(Fab. 14, 2019) The Rep's artistic director Steve Woolf finishes off his 30-year-long career this month.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

For more than 30 years, Steven Woolf has been at the heart of the Repertory Theater of St. Louis. Since taking the helm as artistic director in 1986, Woolf oversaw three decades of productions and directed 47 shows.

That 47th show, however, will be his last as artistic director. Woolf is to retire at the end of The Rep’s 2018-2019 season, after directing the theater’s production of “Oslo” – which won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2017.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Woolf joined host Don Marsh to reflect on his career, and to discuss the now-running production of “Oslo.”

Actors Sean MacLaughlin (left) and Michelle Aravena (right) portray characters Juan Perón and Eva Perón.
Eric Woolsey

Eva Perón, also known as Evita, was a first lady of Argentina and radio host adored by the “common man,” later becoming a cultural icon in her country. Controversial for using her power and fame to champion women’s and workers’ rights, she often broke norms.

She was the first woman in Argentina's history, for example, to appear in public on the campaign trail with her husband.

She was so loved by many that her body mysteriously went missing for 17 years after her death. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ current musical production, “Evita,” portrays her life on stage.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed the play with Steve Woolf, Augustin Family Artistic Director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and actor Pepe Nufrio, who plays the Che character in “Evita." 

Incoming Rep artistic director Hana Sharif will spend a year shadowing retiring director Steve Woolf and connecting with various communities.
The Rep

The incoming artistic director of Repertory Theatre of St. Louis believes that growing audiences involves much more than simply issuing one-time invitations.

Director, playwright and producer Hana Sharif will spend a year getting to know the area and The Rep before stepping into the post after longtime artistic director Steven Woolf retires in 2019. She comes to St. Louis from Baltimore Center Stage, where she worked as associate artistic director.

St. Louis Public Radio’s Nancy Fowler talked with Sharif about the work ahead and the experience she’ll bring to The Rep.

Hana Sharif will begin working with The Rep this fall and become artistic director in 2019.
The Rep

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has named Hana Sharif  as artistic director to replace Steven Woolf.

Sharif, who is associate artistic director at Baltimore Center Stage, will take The Rep post at the end of the 2018-2019 season. 

Sharif’s career includes working as a director, playwright and producer. She is the first African-American woman to head a large professional theater organization in St. Louis.

Susaan Jamshidi portrays Muslim attorney, Claire, and Lindsay Stock portrays radicalzied Muslim, Susie.
Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Playwright Selina Fillinger wrote the original play “Faceless” while still a college student at Northwestern University in Chicago. Now, the play is showing through Feb. 4, at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about “Faceless,” which explores the story of an American woman, Susie, radicalized online and recruited by ISIS. She gets charged with conspiring to commit acts of terrorism – and her courtroom prosecutor is a Muslim woman.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 3, 2008 - In the lobby of the Loretto-Hilton Center before the lights come up on stage, in the checkout lane at the grocery, or stopped along the street, I am often asked by patrons of The Rep what the “theme” for the upcoming season will be. What unifying philosophy or common thread is to be found among the many productions we will present over the next eight months?

The Rep's 51st season.
(Courtesy: The Rep)

This week, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis launches into the second half of its first century, embarking on its 51st season. It features a robust, wide-ranging lineup of productions from musicals to classics to two Tony Award-winning productions.

Steven Woolf, the theater company’s artistic director who recently announced he will retire from the company in two years, said the company is keeping up its momentum from its landmark 50th anniversary year.

Marsha Coplon and Jeane Vogel are working to collect oral histories from Meacham Park residents.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Longtime residents of St. Louis County who  regularly drive down Lindbergh in the southern part of Kirkwood may not even realize that there is a historic community tucked behind the Kirkwood Commons shopping center. Meacham Park was annexed into Kirkwood in 1991, but its history dates back to 1892 when Elzey Meacham came to town and bought 150 acres of farmland in the area now bounded by Big Bend, Kirkwood Road and I-44. He divided the area into small parcels and sold them at an affordable price to people of modest means, many of them African American.

These are the undated logos for The Rep, the Black Rep, Stages and New Jewish theater companies.
Provided

A half-dozen St. Louis theater companies toasted to longevity in 2016.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis turned 50 years old and the St. Louis Black Repertory Company observed its 40th anniversary. Stages St. Louis marked 30 years and New Jewish Theatre Company celebrated 20.

Mustard Seed Theatre logged 10 years and St. Lou Fringe festival of performing arts commemorated five.

Actor Dan Kelly aims his gun, as a cop in "You Try It" by Neil LaBute, part of the "Every 28 Hours" theater collaboration. Actors Joel Beard, Noble Montgomery and Theresa Masters look on.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Every day, in St. Louis or elsewhere, a black person shudders in fear after seeing a police officer approaching. Every day, a cop makes a lightning-quick decision that could mean life or death.

Playwright Dael Orlandersmith
Kevin Berne

Actress, poet and playwright Dael Orlandersmith is known for her moving works like “Beauty’s Daughter,” “Monster,” and the Pulitzer Prize finalist “Yellowman.”  The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis recently commissioned a work from Orlandersmith about Ferguson and St. Louis after the police shooting death of Michael Brown Jr. in 2014. It is called “Until the Flood.

The Rep, The Muny, Stages St. Louis

Stages St. Louis hopes its current production of “Sister Act” will do what the Whoopi Goldberg character in the movie did for her Catholic convent choir: Shake it up — at least where its audiences are concerned.

The theater company’s patrons are not very diverse. Executive Producer Jack Lane, describes the Stages St. Louis audience this way: “suburban, white.”

Attracting more theater-goers of color, while addressing important social-justice concerns on the front burner in St. Louis right now, is important to St. Louis’ larger theater companies, which include the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Muny and Stages. Adding more minority patrons could help with the perennial issue of aging subscribers and donors. But it’s also a way to stay relevant at a time when St. Louis is more riveted than ever on race.

Steve Woolf has worked in Cleveland, Cincinnati and New York as well as St. Louis. He's among the first to receive Webster University’s Declaration of Merit.
Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

A local family has given the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis a sizeable 50th anniversary gift: $1 million.

The endowment from the Augustin family will support The Rep’s Steven Woolf in his artistic director position.

Photo by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

On any given day, the world of Broadway wheelin’ and dealin’ feels pretty far away from St. Louis, Missouri. Not so for author Ridley Pearson, who makes his home here. As the co-author of the popular series “Peter and the Starcatchers” with writer Dave Barry, Pearson has been involved in that world as his book has been adapted for the Broadway stage.

Jerry Naunheim Jr

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ “All the Way” opens Friday night and takes on subject matter from the 1960s that may seem just as pertinent in theaters today as it would have back then. The Rep’s 49th season opener focuses on the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, one of the most controversial presidents in recent memory, as he navigates the civil rights era and the Vietnam War, mincing no words along the way. 

St. Louis Theater Circle Announces 2015 Nominees

Jan 30, 2015
Provided by the Actors Studio

The St. Louis Theater Circle, a group of local theater critics, released its 2015 award nominees on Friday. 

“It was, I think, a terrific year,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch theater critic Judith Newmark told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “It was a year in which we lost one theater — that’s always going to happen. There also are some new people on the horizon. And it was a year in which, I think Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, which is a free event that draws huge crowds, really came into its own with a double production of ‘Henry IV’ and ‘Henry V.’”

Repertory Theatre Sets The Table For ‘Dinner’

Jan 9, 2015
Anderson Matthews, as Matt Drayton, and Richard Prioleau, as John Prentice Jr., perform in The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.'
Jerry Naunheim Jr. / The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

There are a lot of similarities between “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” the movie and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” the play.

“The iconic moments are all there,” said Seth Gordon, associate artistic director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

It’s still an interracial love story. It’s still set in the 1960s. The play, adapted for the stage in 2012 by playwright Todd Kreidler, includes many of the movie’s memorable moments and monologues. But there also are some differences.

Rep Opens Season With Larger-Than-Life Comedy

Sep 19, 2014
Raymond McAnally stars as as Francis Henshall with Jack Fellows as Stanley Stubbers in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' "One Man, Two Guvnors."
Jerry Naunheim Jr. / The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

“One Man, Two Guvnors” is part British comedy, part chaos.

“It runs like a mix between rock ’n’ roll show and a bit stand-up comedy and improv because there is so much audience interaction and there are so many wild cards,” said Raymond McAnally, who stars in the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis production.

McAnally plays Francis Henshall, a man who has taken on two jobs for two different bosses, or “guvnors.”

(Courtesy The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis)

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens tonight with Michael Hollinger's “Opus,” the story of a famous string quartet who must replace one of their members in time to perform for the White House. Director Brendon Fox described the quartet as a family of sorts, making the play relatable even to someone who doesn’t know much about classical music.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 6, 2013 - An atheist psychoanalyst and a Christian writer walk into a ... well, not a bar, but a lively discussion in The Rep’s “Freud’s Last Session," running through Nov. 24. In a fictionalized meeting, Sigmund Freud (Barry Mulholland) and author C.S. Lewis (St. Louis native Jim Butz) spar over religion, love, sex and science just before Freud’s death and the start of World War II.

(Courtesy of Jerry Naunheim)

I’m a big fan of opening nights and when it is the Repertory Theatre opening their 47th season with Cabaret, expectations are enormous. There is much to like in this lavish production. As is always true at the Rep, the technical aspects are gorgeous. Michael Schweikardt’s Kit Kat Club is more than just the stage upon which the story sets, it becomes, as he had hoped, another character in the play. Angela Wendt’s costumes, with the exception of the Kit Kat girls opening jazzercise outfits, are eccentric and opulent when appropriate, and tacky and tawdry when needed.

Repertory Theatre Of St. Louis Presents 'Cabaret'

Sep 13, 2013
Jerry Naunheim, Jr. / (Courtesy Repertory Theatre of St. Louis)

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis opens tonight with a revival of  the musical "Cabaret." First performed on Broadway in 1966, the musical is set in 1930s Berlin.

Because it captures the shift and change in power during pre-Nazi Germany, the show gives you more than entertainment. It also gives you something to think about, said Steve Wolff. He is the artistic director for the Repertory Theatre.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 29, 2012 - You may have heard in bits and pieces that Bruce Norris’ “Clybourne Park” is about race and real estate with roots in “A Raisin in the Sun.” But have you heard the one about it being startlingly funny?

I’m not talking about the jokes; they come later and have their purpose. I mean the didn’t-see-it-coming laughter that erupts from awkwardness and epiphany and unexpected honesty.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 28, 2012 - Just as sexism isn’t a strictly a female issue and anti-Semitism isn’t only a Jewish concern, racism is a challenge all people must address, according to a panel at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

In connection with its current showing of David Mamet’s “Race,” a play about attorneys defending a wealthy, white man accused of raping a black woman, The Rep hosted “Conversations ... Racism” on Monday night.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 31, 2012 - Following a great 2011 with the off-Broadway optioning of artistic director Deanna Jent's "Falling," Mustard Seed Theatre also came out a big winner in this year's Kevin Kline Awards nominations. The nominations were announced tonight at an event at Tucci and Fresta Trattoria and Bar in Clayton.

Two St. Louis stage productions open tonight

Jan 7, 2011

Less than a week into 2011, St. Louis theater goers have two brand new productions to take in, both St. Louis premiers.  We had the chance to preview both today on Cityscape.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 17, 2010 - To be drugged, drunk, flying or heaven-bound -- experiencing any kind of high that soars above pain, suffering and other earthly constraints -- is the goal of a trio of characters in Matthew Lombardo's "High," presented by the St. Louis Repertory Theatre.

Like verbal bookends, the declaration, "I want to be high," is uttered by Sister Jamison Connelly (Springfield, Mo., native Kathleen Turner) in both her opening and closing monologues.

Rep will take 'Macbeth' to school

Aug 2, 2010

St. Louis middle and high school students will learn modern day lessons via an age-old tale this school year. A tale told not by an idiot, and one signifying much more than sound and fury.

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