Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Cabaret Review: Emily Skinner's return to The Blue Strawberry is cause for celebration

When I reviewed Emily Skinner's last appearance at The Blue Strawberry in January 2020, I described it as "a show that did everything right and nothing wrong…it was simply nonpareil."  Having seen her new show, "A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind,” at the Strawberry last Friday (September 17th), I’m tempted to just file the serial numbers off last year’s review and plagiarize it.

Emily Skinner

Because, despite a Plague Year of enforced idleness, Skinner and her pianist, music director, and long-time friend John Fischer were just as brilliant as they were last January. Skinner still has a powerful and versatile voice that she can use to belt or purr as the material demands. Her acting skills, honed from years on the musical theatre stage (she most recently appeared here as Matron "Mama" Morton in "Chicago" at The Muny in August), remain impressive. And her choice of material was just as wide-ranging and artfully assembled.

That’s not to say there weren’t differences this time around. Inspired by Skinner’s experience as a performer who couldn't perform for over a year, "A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind” was both more bawdy and more reflective in places than her "Broadway My Way" show last year. And this time around, Fischer got a chance to sing with her, most notably and hilariously in “Schadenfreude” (from “Avenue Q”). Here, and in many other moments during the evening, their rapport and easy camaraderie made their work together a joy to behold.

The placement of “Schadenfreude” in the show also demonstrated the meticulousness with which the set list has been assembled. It followed hard upon a beautifully tender rendition of Billy Barnes’ "(Have I Stayed) Too Long at the Fair," with its rueful reflection on what happens when the music stops and the piper has rendered his invoice. The opening lines of “Schadenfreude”—“Right now you are down and out and feeling really crappy / And when I see how sad you are it sort of makes me happy”—offered a perfect way to make an abrupt transition back to comedy that also made dramatic sense. It was smart and it worked.

There were many other wonderful moments like this in the unfailingly entertaining package that is "A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind.” There were so many, in fact, that I will limit myself to highlighting just a few that I found particularly delightful.

Let’s start with the opening and closing numbers by Sir Elton John: “The Bitch is Back” and “Thank You for Being a Friend.” Performed with unabashedly campy joy, complete with silly eyeglasses, they were the perfect bookends for the show. There was also more fun than you can shake a stick at (“if that’s your idea of a good time,” to quote Groucho) in Skinner’s “Stumble Along” (from “The Drowsy Chaperone”), which she introduced by noting that “in the last ten years I have played three raging alcoholics. And I don’t even drink.”

John Fischer and Emily Skinner channel
Sir Elton

I loved the simple tenderness of Fred Rogers’ “It’s You I Like” (introduced on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” in 1984) and the perfect combination of lubriciousness and regret in Rodgers and Hart’s “Bewitched” (a.k.a. “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”) from “Pal Joey.” Skinner used the suggestive lyrics from the 1940 original (“horizontally speaking, he’s at his very best”) along with a few I didn’t recognize, possibly from one of the revivals. In any case, it lived up to her advance billing as her “favorite sexy standard.”

And speaking of sex, let us rejoice that Skinner once again gave us a Mae West song, done in a way that perfectly captured West’s style and vocal delivery. This time it was West’s pointed attack on censorship “That’s All Brother, That’s All.” West's original recording of it is a treasured part of my LP collection

Wrapping everything up was Susan Werner’s “May I Suggest,” with its inspiring reminder that “this is the best part of your life.”  Skinner introduced it as “something for you to consider in your week ahead,” but I’d broaden that to say it’s something consider every day that remains to you. As Walt Kelly’s Porkypine once noted, "The best break anybody ever gets is in bein' alive in the first place. An' you don't unnerstan' what a perfect deal it is until you realizes that you ain't gone be stuck with it forever, either."

I called Emily Skinner’s appearance here last year a "knockout". So was this. Thanks to Jim Dolan for bringing her back again.

Cabaret, jazz, and other music events continue at The Blue Strawberry on North Boyle. Currently the club requires proof of vaccination and masking, except when eating or drinking, and tables are spaced far enough apart to inspire confidence. For more information, visit the Blue Strawberry web site. For information on Emily Skinner's upcoming appearances, check out her web site.

This article originally appeared at 88.1 KDHX, where Chuck Lavazzi is the senior performing arts critic.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of September 20, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Class Reunions Can Be Murder through October 31st at the Bissel Mansion, 4426 Randall Place. For more information: www.bissellmansiontheatre.com

Dean as Dean
The Blue Strawberry presents  Dean Christopher's Rat Pack: Everybody Loves Somebody Some Time Friday September 24th at 7:30 pm. “In Blue Strawberry's opinion, there is no better or funnier Dean Martin impressionist on earth than Dean Christopher, no one better at mixing it up with his audience, and no one with more affection or admiration for Dino. Cabaret? Theater piece? Vegas act?  You decide as you journey through the music and humor of one of the most beloved entertainers of the 20th century - Dean Martin. Brought to life by award winning actor, singer, and impressionist Dean Christopher, featuring Joe Dreyer at the piano.” The Blue Strawberry on North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

First Run Theatre presents Spectrum 2021: A Festival of Short Plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2 pm, September 24 through October 3. "An evening of ten-minute plays is a rarity, and an evening of eight world premieres is rarer still, but that that is what First Run Theatre is offering this Fall. Throughout the year playwrights in the Midwest of the USA submit their best short work to FRT, who select the best of the best to produce.  A talented writer can write a beginning a middle and an end, a plot and memorable characters into a ten-page gem. You are invited to come and see for yourself." Performances take place at Theatre Guild of Webster Groves, 517 Theatre Lane, Webster Groves, MO. For more information: firstruntheatre.org.

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and Jest Mysteries present The Haunted Hunter through through October 30th. "The rumors are true... this place is haunted!  And the word on the street is The Lemp Mansion’s most famous ghost is going to make an appearance tonight!  Lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be here to catch a glimpse of our resident apparition.  But some seem to have more than just a passing interest in this paranormal investigation, could it be that they have something more sinister on their mind? Gee!  If someone gets whacked, we’ll have plenty of detectives to solve this Halloween whodunnit, won’t we? " The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.co

Rock of Ages
Looking Glass Playhouse presents the musical Rock of Ages September 23 through October 3. “Rock of Ages is a jukebox musical built around classic rock songs from the 1980s, especially from the famous glam metal bands of that decade. The musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe, among other well-known rock bands.” Performances take place at 301 West St. Louis Street in Lebanon, IL. For more information: lookingglassplayhouse.com.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents all six productions of its 2021 festival season, including I Dream a World, the special Juneteenth concert at the Missouri History Museum. streaming on demand through September 30th. Video streams are available on an individual or full season basis. For more information: opera-stl.org.

Prison Performing Arts presents Elsinore by David Nonemaker and Eric Satterfield, Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 2 pm, September 24-26. “Years before Hamlet uttered, ‘To be or not to be,’ things were not yet rotten in the State of Denmark. In Elsinore, an inspired prequel to Shakespeare's classic, both family and kingdom are poisoned by power, lust, envy, betrayal, and murder.  Elsinore imagines the years before Hamlet avenges his fathers' murder - allowing us to experience the precise moment before Hamlet begins - so we empathize even more how the noble prince is made distraught and melancholy by his father’s death and fueled to avenge Claudius' marriage to his mother and succession to the throne.” Performances take place at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive. For more information: www.prisonperformingarts.org.

Dreaming Zenzile
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Dreaming Zenzile through October 3rd. “At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling—transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation. Written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma, this world-premiere musical is an electrifying portrait of a revolutionary artist’s singular voice and vision.” Performances take place on the Emerson Main Stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: www.repstl.org

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html

Sweat
Photo by Philip Hamer
The St. Louis Black Repertory Company opens its 45th Anniversary Season with Sweat by Lynn Nottage through September 26th. “As timely as ever, this Pulitzer Prize winner addresses the complexities of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America. This deeply heartfelt drama is crafted with generous humor and tells the story of a group of co-workers who find friendship working together on a factory floor. When layoffs and picket lines enter the picture, these friends must decide if they should look out for each other — or prioritize themselves.” Performances take place at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.theblackrep.org

Zoo Story
Photo by Patrick Huber
The St. Louis Actors’ Studio presents the one-act plays Zoo Story by Edward Albee and The Dumbwaiter by Harold Pinter Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm, September 24 through October 3. Performances take place at The Gaslight Theater on North Boyle in the Central West End. For more information: stlas.org.

The St. Louis Writers' Group presents the third and final installment of its Festival of One-Act Plays on Tuesday, September 21, at 6:30 pm. The plays are The Girl with the Terry Wall Tattoo by Terry Wall, Brick by David Hawley, Angel  by Aahron Young,  Five Minutes by David Hawley, Downer’s Grove by CJ Zander, and Pirouette by Mario Farewell. The readings take place upstairs at Big Daddy's, 1000 Sidney in Soulard and will also be available via Zoom. For more information, visit the St. Louis Writers' Group Facebook page.

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Stages St. Louis presents the musical Jersey Boys opening on Friday, September 24, at 8 pm and running through October 24. ‘Take an exhilarating journey into the music of the cultural phenomenon’s Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, with JERSEY BOYS, the Tony Award-winning Best Musical! Featuring 30 show stopping performances of the 60s hits that took the group all the way to the top of the charts, including: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Dawn,” and “My Eyes Adored You,” JERSEY BOYS will have you dancing in the aisles and shouting for more!’ Performances take place at The Ross Family Theatre at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. For more information: stagesstlouis.org.

The Washington University Performing Arts Department presents the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival Friday at 7 pm and Saturday at 2 and 7 pm, September 24 and 25. “This year three aspiring playwrights will take part in a two-week workshop to develop their plays from the page to the stage. Guest dramaturg, Liza Birkenmeier AB '08, a recent playwright-in-residence at New York talent hub Ars Nova will mentor the writers during the workshop, supported by faculty directors and PAD actors.  We invite you to become a part of the playwriting process at the script-in-hand staged reading of each play.  After each presentation there will be a post-show discussion with the playwright and guest dramaturg in which you, the audience, are an integral part of the process and an ongoing participant in the development of each play.” The readings take place at the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre on the Washington University Campus. For more information: pad.wustl.edu.

Bloomsday
West End Players Guild presents Steven Dietz's Bloomsday Thursday through Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 2 pm, September 23rd through 26th. “Set in James Joyce’s Dublin, the play takes place 35 years ago, and also on one day last June.  Robert, a 55-year-old American college professor, has spent an academic career studying and teaching Joyce’s masterwork, Ulysses.  His interest in the novel dates from one magical day when he was twenty and he met Caithleen, a 20-year-old tour guide for the James Joyce’s Dublin walking tour.  Caithleen won young Robbie’s heart that day and he very nearly took her away to America, but in the end it was not to be. Robert has returned to Dublin for a reunion with Caithleen, now known as Cait.  But when he arrives for his planned rendezvous with Cait, it is Caithleen he finds instead, having somehow traveled back through the years to that day of their first and only meeting.  Caithleen, Cait, Robert and Robbie do a slow dance back and forth through time, reliving younger days, imagining what might have been and wondering if it still might be.” West End Players Guild this season will employ touchless ticketing, socially-distanced seating and indoor masking of all patrons and front-of-house staff and volunteers. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union in the Central West End. For more information: westendplayers.org.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of September 13, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

Alton Little Theater presents Gloria’s Guy Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through September 19. Performances take place at The Showplace, 2450 N. Henry St. in Alton, IL. For more information: https://altonlittletheater.org

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Class Reunions Can Be Murder through October 31st at the Bissel Mansion, 4426 Randall Place. For more information: www.bissellmansiontheatre.com

The Blue Strawberry presents Open Mic Night with Sean Skrbec and Patrick White Sundays at 7 pm. "Come on down and sing, come on down to play, or come on down to listen and enjoy." The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Emily Skinner
The Blue Strawberry presents  Emily Skinner: A Broad with a Broad, Broad Mind Friday at 8 pm and Saturday at 4 and 8 pm, September 17th and 18th.  “In this, her all-new and captivatingly all-in cabaret show, Tony-nominated Broadway star Emily Skinner (Side Show, Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, The Cher Show, Jekyll & Hyde, Dinner at Eight, James Joyce’s The Dead) takes us on a tour of her neighborhood. You don’t get to be a Broadway leading lady without being strong willed. In this show, she lets us see the fight she has (and lets us feel the fight we have) for what she wants and what she believes. A favorite at The Rep in Follies and The MUNY in The Little Mermaid.” John Fischer is the pianist and music director. The Blue Strawberry on North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

A Call to Conscience Inc. presents Celebration of Survival Friday and Saturday, September 17 and 18, at 7 pm. “Artistic Director Fannie Belle Lebby, describes the show as a ‘choreopoem,’ a phrase coined in 1975 by African American playwright, Ntozake Shange. It is a form of dramatic expression that combines poetry, dance, music, and song. Basically, it’s an opportunity for audiences to hear, share and engage in conversations to help cope with stress and anxiety brought on by more than 17 months of unprecedented living during a global pandemic.” Performances take place at the Centene Center at Grand and Olive in Grand Center. For more information: acalltoconscience.org.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and Jest Mysteries present The Haunted Hunter through through October 30. "The rumors are true... this place is haunted!  And the word on the street is The Lemp Mansion’s most famous ghost is going to make an appearance tonight!  Lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be here to catch a glimpse of our resident apparition.  But some seem to have more than just a passing interest in this paranormal investigation, could it be that they have something more sinister on their mind? Gee!  If someone gets whacked, we’ll have plenty of detectives to solve this Halloween whodunnit, won’t we? " The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.com

Monroe Actors Stage Company presents Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine through September 19. “Watch on the Rhine tells the story of an idealistic German who, with his American wife and two children, flees Hitler’s Germany and finds sanctuary with his wife’s family in the United States. He hopes for a respite from the dangerous work in which he has been involved, but his desire for personal safety soon comes into conflict with the deeply-held beliefs which have made him an active anti-Nazi. Told in compelling, human terms, the play is an eloquent and stirring tribute to the brave men and women who, despite all odds, struggled early on to stem the tide of fascism which was soon to spread throughout Europe and the world.” Performances take place at the Capitol Theatre in Waterloo, IL. For more information: www.masctheatre.org.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents all six productions of its 2021 festival season, including I Dream a World, the special Juneteenth concert at the Missouri History Museum. streaming on demand through September 30th. Video streams are available on an individual or full season basis. For more information: https://opera-stl.org/streaming.

Somi Kakoma
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Dreaming Zenzile through October 3rd. “At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling—transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation. Written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma, this world-premiere musical is an electrifying portrait of a revolutionary artist’s singular voice and vision.” Performances take place on the Emerson Main Stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: www.repstl.org

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html

The St. Louis Black Repertory Company opens its 45th Anniversary Season with Sweat by Lynn Nottage through September 26th. “As timely as ever, this Pulitzer Prize winner addresses the complexities of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America. This deeply heartfelt drama is crafted with generous humor and tells the story of a group of co-workers who find friendship working together on a factory floor. When layoffs and picket lines enter the picture, these friends must decide if they should look out for each other — or prioritize themselves.” Performances take place at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.theblackrep.org

The St. Louis Actors’ Studio presents the one-act plays Zoo Story by Edward Albee and The Dumbwaiter by Harold Pinter Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm, September 17 through October 3. Performances take place at The Gaslight Theater on North Boyle in the Central West End. For more information: stlas.org.

The St. Louis Writers' Group presents a Festival of One-Act Plays on Tuesday, September 14, at 6:30 pm. The plays are Hole in the Ceiling by Andrew Black,  It’s Not Your Fault by Cherie Sampson, Cabin Fever by Aahron Young, The Park Bench by Taylor Kelly, and A Deadly Sin’s Last Supper by Michael Stuart. The readings take place upstairs at Big Daddy's, 1000 Sidney in Soulard and will also be available via Zoom. For more information, visit the St. Louis Writers' Group Facebook page.

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Stray Dog Theatre’s Silver Stage Program presents an on-demand streaming audio version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The production features a cast of actors exclusively over the age of 55. For more information: straydogtheatre.org.

The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves presents the comedy Six Rms Riv Vu by Bob Randall through September 19th. “A vacant apartment with six rooms and a river view is open for inspection by prospective tenants, and among them are a man (Paul) and a woman (Anne), strangers when they meet. As the last to leave, they find themselves locked in and though both are happily married, discover a mutual attraction as they wait out the long night ahead.” Performances take place at 517 Theatre Lane at the corner of Newport and Summit in Webster Groves. For more information, visit the Gild's Facebook page.

Bloomsday
West End Players Guild presents Steven Dietz's Bloomsday September 17 through 26. “Set in James Joyce’s Dublin, the play takes place 35 years ago, and also on one day last June.  Robert, a 55-year-old American college professor, has spent an academic career studying and teaching Joyce’s masterwork, Ulysses.  His interest in the novel dates from one magical day when he was twenty and he met Caithleen, a 20-year-old tour guide for the James Joyce’s Dublin walking tour.  Caithleen won young Robbie’s heart that day and he very nearly took her away to America, but in the end it was not to be. Robert has returned to Dublin for a reunion with Caithleen, now known as Cait.  But when he arrives for his planned rendezvous with Cait, it is Caithleen he finds instead, having somehow traveled back through the years to that day of their first and only meeting.  Caithleen, Cait, Robert and Robbie do a slow dance back and forth through time, reliving younger days, imagining what might have been and wondering if it still might be.” West End Players Guild this season will employ touchless ticketing, socially-distanced seating and indoor masking of all patrons and front-of-house staff and volunteers. Performances take place at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union in the Central West End. For more information: westendplayers.org.

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
Would you like to be on the radio? KDHX, 88.1 FM needs theatre reviewers. If you're 18 years or older, knowledgeable in this area, have practical theatre experience (acting, directing, writing, technical design, etc.), have good oral and written communications skills and would like to become one of our volunteer reviewers, send an email describing your experience and interests to chuck at kdhx.org. Please include a sample review of something you've seen recently.

Sunday, September 05, 2021

St. Louis theatre calendar for the week of September 6th, 2021

Now including both on-line and live events during the pandemic. Your event information should be in text format (i.e. not part of a graphic), but feel free to include publicity stills. To get your event listed here, send an email to calendar [at] stageleft.org.

Alton Little Theater presents Gloria’s Guy Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, September 10-19. Performances take place at The Showplace, 2450 N. Henry St. in Alton, IL. For more information: https://altonlittletheater.org

The Bissell Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre presents Class Reunions Can Be Murder through October 31st at the Bissel Mansion, 4426 Randall Place. For more information: www.bissellmansiontheatre.com

The Blue Strawberry presents a singers open mic hosted by Meghan Kirk with Ron McGowan at the piano Tuesday, September 7, from 7 to 9:30 pm. Singers are asked to bring music in their key. The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment.  or more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Meghan Kirk
The Blue Strawberry presents Open Mic Night with Sean Skrbec and Patrick White Sundays at 7 pm. "Come on down and sing, come on down to play, or come on down to listen and enjoy." The Blue Strawberry at 356 North Boyle requires proof of vaccination and masking as part of its COVID careful environment. For more information: bluestrawberrystl.com.

Circus Harmony in St. Louis and Circus Circuli in Stuttgart, St. Louis's German sister city, present Sister City Circus, on Circus Harmony’s YouTube page.  "Through a series of online meetings, workshops, and classes the two troupes created 6 different circus acts and then filmed them at iconic architectural locations in each of their cities." This and many other Circus Harmony videos are available at the Circus Harmony YouTube channel.

ERA Theatre presents the radio play SHE by Nancy Bell with music by Joe Taylor and Lyrics by Nancy Bell via on-demand streaming  "SHE controls the radio station of the fascist regime in power. SHE's also the star of the broadcast. Her recording studio abounds with music and oysters. But in the nearby government camps full of misfits and would-be revolutionaries, only torture and starvation is thick on the ground. Tonight, however, SHE's realm feels different. The bombs sound closer. Time moves faster. But SHE will finish her radio show, and it will be her finest. If executing every number in the broadcast means some people need to die, so be it; it is a small sacrifice. The citizens need her and she will not let them down." SHE is available for digital purchase via bandcamp at eratheatre.bandcamp.com. For more information: www.eratheatre.org

The Kirkwood Theatre Guild presents Shrek the Musical through September 12th Performances take place at the Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Community Center in Kirkwood, MO. For more information: www.ktg-onstage.org.

The Lemp Mansion Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and Jest Mysteries present The Haunted Hunter September 3 through through October 30. "The rumors are true... this place is haunted!  And the word on the street is The Lemp Mansion’s most famous ghost is going to make an appearance tonight!  Lots of famous sleuths, detectives and ghost hunters from around the world will be here to catch a glimpse of our resident apparition.  But some seem to have more than just a passing interest in this paranormal investigation, could it be that they have something more sinister on their mind? Gee!  If someone gets whacked, we’ll have plenty of detectives to solve this Halloween whodunnit, won’t we? " The Lemp Mansion is at 3322 DeMenil Place in south city. For more information: www.lempmansion.com

Monroe Actors Stage Company presents Lillian Hellman’s Watch on the Rhine September 10-19. “Watch on the Rhine tells the story of an idealistic German who, with his American wife and two children, flees Hitler’s Germany and finds sanctuary with his wife’s family in the United States. He hopes for a respite from the dangerous work in which he has been involved, but his desire for personal safety soon comes into conflict with the deeply-held beliefs which have made him an active anti-Nazi. Told in compelling, human terms, the play is an eloquent and stirring tribute to the brave men and women who, despite all odds, struggled early on to stem the tide of fascism which was soon to spread throughout Europe and the world.” Performances take place at the Capitol Theatre in Waterloo, IL. For more information: www.masctheatre.org.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents all six productions of its 2021 festival season, including I Dream a World, the special Juneteenth concert at the Missouri History Museum. streaming on demand through September 30th. Video streams are available on an individual or full season basis. For more information: https://opera-stl.org/streaming.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents Dreaming Zenzile opening on Friday, September 10th, at 8 pm and running through October 3rd. “At her final concert, South African musical legend and activist Miriam Makeba delivers the performance of her life, raising the conscience and the consciousness of a people. But the ancestors are calling—transporting her through the music and fractured memories of her past on a spiritual journey of reconciliation. Written and performed by Grammy-nominated international music sensation Somi Kakoma, this world-premiere musical is an electrifying portrait of a revolutionary artist’s singular voice and vision.” Performances take place on the Emerson Main Stage at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the Webster University campus. For more information: www.repstl.org

R-S Theatrics presents While the Ghostlight Burns, a virtual discussion series featuring R-S Artistic Director Sarah Lynne Holt in conversation with St. Louis theatre artists, Mondays at 7 pm.  Conversations will be archived at the R-S Theatrics YouTube channel. For more information: r-stheatrics.com/while-the-ghostlight-burns.html

The St. Louis Black Repertory Company opens its 45th Anniversary Season with Sweat by Lynn Nottage on Wednesday, September 8th at 7 pm. “As timely as ever, this Pulitzer Prize winner addresses the complexities of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America. This deeply heartfelt drama is crafted with generous humor and tells the story of a group of co-workers who find friendship working together on a factory floor. When layoffs and picket lines enter the picture, these friends must decide if they should look out for each other — or prioritize themselves.” Performances continue through September 26th at the Edison Theatre on the Washington University campus. For more information: www.theblackrep.org

The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival presents The Ville: Avengeance! Thursday through Saturday, September 9-11 at 8 pm. "The Ville neighborhood is one of the most historically significant Black communities in America.  Home to Sumner High School, the first Black high school west of the Mississippi River, the Ville has nurtured cultural icons from Chuck Berry to Tina Turner to Arthur Ashe, Grace Bumbry, Dick Gregory, Robert Guillaume, Robert McFerrin, Sr., the Fifth Dimension and more.  Sumner alumna Mariah L. Richardson is writing the neighborhood adaptation inspired by William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Ville resident Thomasina Clarke will direct." Performances take place outdoors at the Annie Malone House, 2612 Annie Malone Drive. For more information:

The St. Louis Writers' Group presents a Festival of One-Act Plays on Tuesday, September 7, at 6:30 pm. The plays are A Question of Loyalty by Robert K. Maesaka, Role Reversal by James T. Tecu, What is it? by Mario Farwell, Sage by Dennis Fisher, and Window Dressing by Mario Farwell. The readings take place upstairs at Big Daddy's, 1000 Sidney in Soulard and will also be available via Zoom. For more information, visit the St. Louis Writers' Group Facebook page.

SATE, in collaboration with COCA and Prison Performing Arts, presents Project Verse: Creativity in the Time of Quarantine. Project Verse presents two new plays: Quatrains in Quarantine by e.k. doolin and Dream On, Black Girl: Reflections in Quarantine by Maxine du Maine. The performances are streamed free of charge on SATE’s website and Facebook page. For more information: slightlyoff.org.

SATE also offers streaming performances of the shows originally scheduled for live 2020 productions: The Mary Shelley Monster Show, As You Like It (produced for SHAKE20, Project Verse, and Classic Mystery Game. The shows are available on their YouTube channel.

Stray Dog Theatre’s Silver Stage Program presents an on-demand streaming audio version of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The production features a cast of actors exclusively over the age of 55. For more information: straydogtheatre.org.

The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves presents the comedy Six Rms Riv Vu by Bob Randall September 10th through 19th. “A vacant apartment with six rooms and a river view is open for inspection by prospective tenants, and among them are a man (Paul) and a woman (Anne), strangers when they meet. As the last to leave, they find themselves locked in and though both are happily married, discover a mutual attraction as they wait out the long night ahead.” Performances take place at 517 Theatre Lane at the corner of Newport and Summit in Webster Groves. For more information, visit the Gild's Facebook page.

Vivre Theatre presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast through September 12th. “Step into the enchanting world of Belle – a young woman who feels trapped in her small town – and the Beast – a young prince trapped under the spell caused by his own selfishness. But time is running out! The Beast and his household will remain cursed forever if the spell is not broken before the last rose petal falls. Based on the Academy Award-winning animated film and filled with all of your favorite songs, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast follows the heartwarming journey of learning how to love and to be loved in return” Performances take place at the James J Eagan Civic Center Theatre in the Florissant Community Center in Florissant, MO. For more information: vivretheatre.com

Looking for auditions and other artistic opportunities? Check out the St. Louis Auditions site.
For information on events beyond this week, check out the searchable database at the Regional Arts Commission's Events Calendar.
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