- Set to emerge from the pandemic for live audiences, the compelling new season of work features both well-established and new Black voices, the Black Rep has announced. The St. Louis Black Repertory Company will begin its 45th anniversary with in-person performances beginning in September at the Edison Theatre on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
The season opens with “Sweat,” a Pulitzer-Prize winning drama fitting for the current times, followed by “Dontrell,
Who Kissed the Sea,” exploring one young man’s present-day heroic quest. The season continues with “Fireflies,” a
telling of the complexities of love and color, and “Behind the Sheet,” the untold story behind the sacrifices made for
a significant medical breakthrough. The season closes with “Jitney,” August Wilson’s powerful look at one
community’s unwavering determination and connection. Each production will include post-show talk backs and
“As we all pick up the pieces of our life in our community, we wanted to include a range of plays that explore how
people define their self-worth and cope with society’s view,” said Ron Himes, Founder and Producing Director of
The Black Rep. “With each of our five productions this season we’ll ask our audience to join us to explore their own
identity and place. And, I personally can’t wait to see everyone.”
Sweat by Lynn Nottage September 8-26, 2021 at the Edison Theatre, Washington University
Addressing the complexities of race, class and friendship at a pivotal moment in America, this heartfelt drama tells
the story of a group of co-workers who find friendship working on a factory floor. With layoffs and picket lines
entering the picture, these friends must decide if they should look out for each other – or prioritize themselves.
Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea by Nathan Alan Davis January 12-30, 2022 at the Edison Theatre, Washington
When 18-year-old Dontrell Jones decides to voyage into the Atlantic Ocean in search of an ancestor lost during the
Middle Passage, his family struggles with the thought of losing their prized son. Blending poetry, humor, wordplay
and ritual, this rhythmic journey is a present-day hero’s quest to explore the lengths and depths we must go to
rewrite history’s wrongs.
Fireflies by Donja R. Love February 9-27 at the Hotchner Studio Theatre, Washington University
Set in the Jim Crow South, “Fireflies” tells the story of Olivia, the inspiring speechwriter and force behind her
charismatic husband Charles and his freedom movement. When four little girls are bombed in a church, the
couple’s relationship is thrown into jeopardy.
Behind the Sheet by Charly Evon Simpson March 16-April 3 at The Berges Theatre, COCA
This compelling work challenges what history remembers and reframes the very origin story of a great medical
breakthrough. This production is made possible in part by the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan
Foundation Science and Technology Project along with additional support from Caleres and The Black Rep’s
Jitney by August Wilson May 11-29 at the Edison Theatre, Washington University
Set in the late 1970’s, August Wilson’s first in his 10-play cycle of 10 decades of history in Pittsburgh takes place
in the midst of urban renewal and follows a group of men who make a living driving gypsy cabs, as they navigate
love as fathers and sons, loss and hope, and ultimately, community.
Subscriptions are available for purchase now by calling the box office at (314) 534-3807 or online
at www.theblackrep.org. Groups of 12 or more may also reserve tickets by phone. Opening Night packages as
well as a New Flex Pass are available, along with an early purchase Post Pandemic discount.
Season and individual production support has been provided by: The Arts & Education Council, Black Seed
Initiative, Caleres, Centene Charitable Foundation, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Missouri Arts Council, Regional
Arts Commission, Rodgers-Townsend, Shubert Foundation, Steward Family Foundation, and Washington
University in St. Louis, with additional support from the Black Communities Investment Initiative of the St. Louis
About The Black Rep
The Black Rep, a 45-year-old legacy Black arts organization, is committed to producing, re-imagining, and
commissioning work written by Black playwrights and creating opportunities for new voices and youth. Founded
by Producing Director Ron Himes, the vision for The Black Rep continues: a more equitable distribution of
opportunities and resources for Black professionals and students in the theatre; improved representation on and
back-stage in the theatre industry; and a fostered community culture of support and mentorship for those who will
For more information: www.theblackrep.org
Lynn (Zipfel) Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to St. Louis magazine and other publications.
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.
She is a member of Critics Choice Association, where she serves on the women’s and marketing committees; Alliance of Women Film Journalists; and on the board of the St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding and board member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.
She is retired from teaching journalism/media as an adjunct college instructor.