By Lynn Venhaus
On dark and stormy nights, head to the theater for light and love, or if you prefer this time of year, to get spooked afternoons and evenings.
The Bard gets spooky in “Macbeth,” and Rebel and Misfits presents its third Immersive Theatre Project, “Macbeth: Come Like Shadows.”
Did the devil make them do it? The Faustival continues with Theatre Nuevo’s “whither I should fly?” and SATE’s “Doctor Faustus, or the Modern Prometheus.”
The Rep launches another season of provocative theater in the Studio, with “Admissions.”
The classic drama “A Raisin in the Sun” is staged by the Hawthorne Players in Florissant.
Both Alton Little Theater and O’Fallon Theatre Works present “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” while The Theatre Guild of Webster Groves is going for classic comedy in “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
Times, they are a-changing for women in “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” now surprising audiences at The Rep. And in the real-life drama, “Silent Sky” at Insight.
Timeless musicals “Annie” and “La Cage Aux Folles” are in St. Peters and Olivette.
Go See a Play!
Act Two Theatre
Nov. 2-4, 9-11
Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
St. Peters City Hall
Purchase tickets at: https://anniethemusical.brownpapertickets.com
More info at: https://www.acttwotheatre.com/2018-season/annie-the-musical/
What It’s About: With equal measures of pluck and positivity, little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She is determined to find the parents who abandoned her years ago at an Orphanage that is run by the cruel Miss Hannigan. When she escapes into NYC, Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations and even befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt! She finds a new family in billionaire, Oliver Warbucks, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy.
Director: Phil Gill, with music direction by Gene Ditch
Cast: Annie- Lauren Dunn; Miss Hannigan- Dana Wachtel; Daddy Warbucks- Scott Theis; Grace Farrell- Heather Matthews; Rooster- Christian Lewis; Lily- Carly Rae Stevenson; Molly- Ruthie Kamp; Duffy- Maille Hanson; Pepper- Ariana Kroegen; Tessie- Sophia Call’ Kate- Emma Kottmann; July- Anna Wright; Berta Healey- Melinda Call.
Ensemble- Kim Klick, Danielle Sherman, Nick Elieff, Ray Martin, Travis McIntyre, Laura Deveney, Sophie Kluba, Megan Wiegert, Alison Willard Dueker, Jack Ryan Patee, Santino Bono
TUESDAY, OCT. 23, 2018 – This is the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ production of “Admissions” at the Loretto-Hilton Center. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.“Admissions”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Oct. 26 – Nov. 11
What It’s About: Prep school admissions director Sherri Rosen-Mason lives according to staunchly progressive values. But when her teenage son claims those same values have denied him opportunities as a white student, it creates an explosive conflict that exposes their family’s hypocrisies and privileges. This biting play’s acidic humor goes straight for the throat.
Director: Steven Woolf
Cast: Henny Russell, R. Ward Duffy, Thom Niemann, Barbara Kingsley, Kate Udall
Of Note: Play by Joshua Harmon is one hour, 40 minutes, and is performed with no intermission.
Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.
“Arsenic and Old Lace”
Theatre Guild of Webster Groves
Nov. 2 – 4, Nov. 8-11
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m.
Special Thursday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.
What It’s About: Mortimer Brewster is living a happy life: he has a steady job at a prominent New York newspaper, he’s just become engaged, and he gets to visit his sweet spinster aunts to announce the engagement. Mortimer always knew that his family had a bit of a mad gene, but his world is turned upside down when he realizes that his dear aunts have been poisoning lonely old men for years! When Mortimer’s maniacal brother, Jonathan. (who strangely now resembles Boris Karloff) returns on the night that the aunts were planning to bury the newest victim, Mortimer must rally to help his aunts and protect his fiancé, all while trying to keep his own sanity as well.
Director: Larry Zerega
Cast: Judy Moebeck, Linda Spall, Tom Moore, Robert Jones, Ron Baker, Tori Stukins, Jeff Loeffler, Jeff Lovell, Ian Miller, William Beller, Scott Ewers, Tony Jaskiewicz and Gene Raucher.
Of Note: Tickets are available at the door (cash or check). Sorry, we do not take advanced reservations. The Guild is a very old building, historic in fact, but because of this we are not wheelchair or handicap accessible. The Guild has a total of 31 steps.
Photo of Jeff Lovell, Judy Moebeck, Linda Spall
”“Doctor Faustus, or The Modern Prometheus”
Nov. 7 – Nov. 17
Wed – Sat., 8 p.m.
6238 Alexander Drivewww.slightlyoff.org
What It’s About: Written by John Wolbers, it is a modern day retelling of the age-old bargain for limitless control over one’s own fate. The brilliant Doctor Faustus grows weary of those in charge abusing their power; so, with the noblest of intentions, sells her soul to save the world. Thus begins an epic journey of seduction and love, justice and mercy, despair and hope, and ultimately damnation and redemption. Along the way Faustus must choose between good, evil and the compromise known as humanity.
Director: Ellie Schwetye
Cast: Ashley Bauman, Erik Kuhn, Kareem Deanes, Joe Hanrahan, Lex Ronan, Nicole Angeli, Mike Pierce and Taleesha Caturah
Of Note: Wolbers retains much of Christopher Marlowe’s original poetry, but reframes the story to examine: How does one effect change in an increasingly complex world? What is the value of a soul in today’s modern age? And what holds us back from transcending our baser instincts to become our best selves?
Tina Johnson, Caralyn Koszlowski in ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2″ at The Rep. Photo by Peter Wochniak, ProPhotoSTL.com “A Doll’s House, Part II”
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
Oct. 11 – Nov. 4
Browning Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Center
130 Edgar Roadwww.repstl.org
What It’s About: Lucas Hnath’s audacious sequel was written more than 135 years after Henrik Ibsen’s original. The familial drama remains a foundational piece of theater, with a still-controversial ending in which a married woman chooses to walk out on her family. But in 2017, Hnath took the themes and characters of that familiar classic and flipped them on their heads, imagining what would happen if protagonist Nora Helmer returned home 15 years after her dramatic exit.
Director: Timothy Near
Starring: Caralyn Kozlowski, Andrea Abello, Michael James Reed, Tina Johnson
Photo by Peter Wochniak
“Into the Breeches”
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
Oct. 28 – Nov. 24.
The Grandel Theatrewww.sfst.org
What It’s About: Building on its beloved summer productions in Forest Park, and the acclaimed Shakespeare in the Streets program, the Festival now presents its very first season of contemporary American plays by writers in dialogue with Shakespeare, headlined by the regional premiere of “Into the Breeches!” — a hilarious and heartwarming look at the WWII home front and a group of ladies left behind who band together to keep the local theater going with their very own production of Henry V.
Director: Nancy Bell
Starring: Kari Ely, Ben Nordstrom, Gary Wayne Barker, Michelle Hand, Katy Keating, Mary McNulty, Laura Resinger and Jacqueline Thompson
Of Note: Student tickets to all performances are free with an ID but it is recommended they be reserved in advance. A limited number of “Pay What You Can Nights” are scheduled for the “Breeches!” performances on Nov. 7 and 14, and should also be reserved in advance. Military discounts are available as well.
“La Cage Aux Folles”
Over Due Theatre Company
Nov. 2 – 4, Nov. 9 – 11
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Olivette Community Center
For more information or ticket orders, email: OverDueTheatre@gmail.com or call (314) 292-9368.
What It’s About: Georges is the owner of the La Cage Aux Folles nightclub, which features a drag show starring his partner and the love of his life, Albin. After twenty years of un-wedded bliss, Georges and his partner Albin face the hardest challenge of their relationship, yet: meeting their son, Jean-Michel’s fiance’s parents. Albin has always raised Jean-Michel, Georges’ biological son, as his own. But when Jean-Michel falls in love and becomes engaged to the daughter of an ultra-conservative, anti-gay politician, Georges feels compelled to try to present a more “traditional” family to Jean-Michel’s potential in-laws. When Albin tries and fails to take on a masculine persona in the role of Uncle Al, he gets more creative in order to find a way to be part of the “meet the parents” experience.
Cast: Georges: Steven James Cook; Albin: Wayne Alan Mackenberg; Jean-Michel: Shane Rudolph; Jacob Benjamin: Sevilla; Eduoard Dindon: Mark Strahm; Marie Dindon: Carin Thyssen; Anne Dindon: Miranda Dereak; Francis: Bradley Fritz; Chantal: Grayson Jostes; Hanna: Laurie Blanner; Bitelle: Lashae Coleman; Babbette: Steven James Cook; Phaedra: Nick Perrin; Mercedes: Maggie Canizales; Jacqueline: Bekah Harbison; Angelique: Christy Schiller; M. Renaud: Daniel Horst; MM Renaud: Christy Schiller and Tabarro: Don Meyer.
Of Note: Based on Jean Poiret’s 1973 French play of the same name, the multi-Tony award-winning “La Cage Aux Folles” is a musical filled with delightful spectacle and great heart.
“Macbeth: Come Like Shadows”
Rebel and Misfits Productions
Immersive Theatre Project
Oct. 24 – Nov. 10
Wednesday through Saturday
What It’s About: Dive into a shocking world and discover the heart and dark underbelly of a story that you have undoubtedly come in contact with before, but never allowed full access to the dripping heat and intimacy pulled along by its characters. This is one of Shakespeare’s boldest and most passionate plays deeply imagined.
Who are the inhabitants? Why do their souls choose the courses they embark upon? What is behind the door? Immerse yourself in a world of direct interaction, walk into this complexly-woven tale, wade into its unlocked depths.
Co-Directors: Kelly Hummert, Sean Patrick Higgins with Jordan Woods assisting.
Starring: Sean Patrick Higgins, Jeffrey Cummings, Spencer Sickmann, Reginald Pierre, Paul Cereghino, Shane Signorino, Kelly Hummert, Aarya Locker, Phil Leveling, Patrice Foster, Joel Antony, Hailey Medrano, Tieliere Cheatem, Cynthia Pohlson, Ali Linderer, Kevin Corpuz and Jordan Woods
Of Note: We invite you to meet these characters as you never have before. Drink with them. Dance with them. Share your secrets with them. They will, in turn, weave you into the fabric of the action. Come and experience this high-octane, dangerous, and sexy world, where nothing is ever quite what it seems.
Pick Up Location: 1615 South Broadway, St Louis, MO 63104 (parking lot near DB’s), buses will transport the audience to and from the location.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
Alton Little Theatre
Oct. 26 – Nov. 4
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, O’Fallon Theatre Works“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
O’Fallon Theatre Works
Nov. 2 -4, 9-11
O’Fallon Municipal Centre (City Hall), 100 N. Main St.
What It’s About: Hard-hitting, thought provoking drama, based on the novel by Ken Kesey, is a chilling, cautionary tale of a charming rogue, Randle Patrick McMurphy, who contrives to serve a short sentence in an airy mental institution rather than prison. This, he learns, was a mistake. He clashes with the head nurse, Nurse Ratched, a fierce martinet. He quickly takes over the yard and accomplishes what the medical profession was unable to do for 12 years, prompt a presumably deaf and dumb Native American patient to speak. Leading the other patients out of their introversion, McMurphy stages a revolt so that they can watch the World Series on television and arranges a rollicking midnight party. The party is too horrid for Nurse Ratched, who forces a final “correction” on McMurphy, a frontal lobotomy. The play won a Tony® Award for “Outstanding Revival of a Play” in 2001. Adult content. Parental discretion is advised.
Cast: Randall P McMurphy-Todd Micali; Nurse Ratched-Kathy Haake Rush; Chief Bromden-James McKinzie; Dale Harding-Terrance Peterson; Billy Bibbit-Andrew Woodard; Charles Cheswick-Joe Groeblinghoff; Scanlon-Ken Brostow; Martini-Harry Menner; Nurse Flynn-Ellie Lanham; Nurse Cheever-Katherine Lee; Candy Starr-Katy Gilda Fry; Sandy-Christine Reid Latimer and Rickey-Arturo Latimer.
Rub a Dub George-Gary Hessler
Dr. Spivey-David Rush
Aide Turkey-Brian Jones
Aide Warren-Tony Maldonado
Aide Williams-Vic Porcellli
Ensemble-Jackson Fugate, Eliza Schnelle,
“A Raisin in the Sun”
Nov. 2 – 11
Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 11 at 2 p.m.www.hawthorneplayers.com
What It’s About: Lorraine Hansberry’s acclaimed play follows the Youngers, an African-American family living together in 1950s Chicago. The family receives a $10,000 insurance check from the death of the father, but each member wants that money to fund a different dream. Tensions increase as each one tries to find a way to escape the lower-class neighborhood—bringing up questions of identity, class, value, race and love—and outside forces work against them.
Director: Nancy Crouse
Cast: Ruth Younger – Jazmine Wade; Walter Lee Younger – Erick Lindsey; Beneatha Younger – Ashley Santana; Lena Younger – Kimmie Kidd; Travis Younger – Joshua Bruton; Joseph Asagai – Moses Weathers; George Murchison – Brennon Keys; Mrs. Johnson – Rhonda Cropp; Bobo – Archie Coleman; Karl Lindner – John Mefford; and Moving Men – Mike Renez, Kevin Bruton.
Insight Theatre Company
Oct. 19 – Nov. 4
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Kranzberg Arts Center, 510 N. Grand
314 – 556-1293
What It’s About: When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.
Of Note: The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.”
“whither should I fly”
Part of Faustival
Oct. 25 – Nov. 11, 8 p.m.
Centene Center for the Arts
3457 Olive St.
What It’s About: A devised exploration of prescriptive women’s behavior through witchcraft and multilevel marketing, written by Amanda Wales and Gabe Taylor.
Director: Gabe Taylor
Starring: Thalia Cruz, Miranda Jagels Felix, Alicen Moser, Tori Thomas, Amanda Wales and Marcy Wiegert.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.