Sharif Ends Five Year Tenure at The Rep After  Shepherding the Theatre Through the Pandemic

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) has announced that Hana Sharif is stepping down as its Augustin Family Artistic Director after a five-year tenure leading the top regional theatre and advancing its legacy of artistic excellence to become Artistic Director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Danny Williams, Managing Director, who has worked closely with Sharif since being appointed to his position last year, will work in partnership with The Rep’s Board of Directors and Associate Artistic Directors Becks Redman and Reggie D. White, to oversee the success of the highly anticipated 2023–24 season and put in place a search for the theatre’s next artistic director.  

Arena Stage is a Tony Award-winning national center that helped launch the regional theater movement and continues to produce and present diverse and ground-breaking work from some of the best artists in the country. It is committed to commissioning and developing new plays and impacting the lives of students through its work in the community. Sharif will leave her role at The Rep in June 2023. 

“Under Hana’s leadership The Rep has made significant strides to ensure that we remain a vital, twenty-first century arts organization that serves all St. Louisans by increasing access to the best emerging and established voices in the American theatre and building bridges across the region,” said Danny Williams, Managing Director. “We thank Hana for moving The Rep forward with her innovative vision that meets the needs of our community and upholds the high standards of artistic excellence which are a hallmark of our productions. Building upon the strong foundation she put in place, we are excited for the reimagined upcoming season that Hana curated, which will continue to offer the full spectrum of St. Louis audiences opportunities to connect, engage, and be thoroughly entertained at The Rep.” 

The Rep’s 2023–24 season, led by titles such as Ben Power’s adaptation of Stefano Massini’s The Lehman Trilogy; Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County, and The Greatest Love for Whitney: A Tribute to Whitney Houston created by Mark Clements, includes a mix of world-class  

self-produced productions alongside co-produced and presented theater works, reimagining the theatre’s programming in order to create a sustainable model on which to build towards the future. 

“Over the past five years Hana has brought forth a strong vision for The Rep that showed us what a top regional theatre’s role could and should be within the community, producing and directing critically-acclaimed new works and classics; reaffirming the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and boldly navigating us through the challenges of the pandemic,” said Gwen Middeke, President of the Board of Directors of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. “We are so grateful to Hana for the immense contributions she has made to The Rep and feel confident that her close collaborator and our brilliant Managing Director Danny Williams will continue to expertly steer the organization forward during this time of transition while we undertake a national search for a new creative partner who will enrich and inspire our community.” 

Pride and Prejudice

As Augustin Family Artistic Director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Sharif shepherded the organization through a cultural transformation following the retirement of long-time Artistic Director Steven Woolf. Her directorial debut at The Rep was with an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which was the highest grossing show in the company’s history. She expanded the theatre’s commitment to producing world premieres each season, including Somi Kakoma’s Dreaming Zenzile, Kirsten Greenidge’s Feeding Beatrice, Steph Del Rosso’s The Gradient, and Madhuri Shekar’s House of Joy. Each of the shows she directed are top grossing shows in The Rep’s history including her production of Ken Ludwig’s stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express which recently finished The Rep’s 2022/23 season to rave reviews.  

Among other firsts to her credit, Sharif diversified The Rep’s programming to reflect the region’s spectrum of genre, thought, form, and culture, including its first all-Femme design team for Steph Del Rosso’s The Gradient. She introduced a new annual tradition to the St. Louis community in 2021 with a magical version of the beloved holiday spectacular A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and adapted by Michael Wilson, which will continue, now in its third year, as part of the theatre’s next season. 

She piloted a range of new programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a drive-through illuminated puppet experience (The Snowy Day: A Glowy Snowy Experience based on the book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, in partnership with StoneLion Puppet Theatre)and a virtual theatrical series that brought together famous local chefs, mixologists, local bands, and media personalities (Cooking, Carols, and Cocktails). In service of the civic life of the community, she launched REPresent STL, a conversation series focused on highlighting and unpacking the issues that matter most to the residents of the Greater St. Louis region. Sharif also created cultural and civic partnerships connected to themes in the performance season, including collaborations with Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis for AIDS and HIV awareness and with the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition to creatively share new voter regulations with St. Louisans. 

Additionally, while at The Rep and at the height of the pandemic, Sharif partnered with other regional arts administrators at Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theater, Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, and the Public Theater in New York to commission short plays from writers struggling financially during the global shutdown. The coalition created Play at Home, a website that offered theatres new plays of 10-minutes in length or less, intended to be performed at home, over video conferencing platforms.  

It has been one of the great honors of my life to lead The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and to build upon the incredible legacy of artistic excellence over the last five years,” said Hana Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director. “I have forged deeply meaningful friendships, collaborations, and artistic partnerships in this beautiful community, and will miss the indomitable spirit of St. Louis. This move is not a decision that I took lightly, but it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I could not pass up. I believe in the transformative power of the arts to uplift our shared humanity and I cherish the opportunity I’ve had to bring The Rep’s new and existing audiences theatrical experiences that have forged and deepened connections across the region. Advancing this work that we embarked on together, I am confident that the future of The Rep is in strong, capable hands with Danny Williams, my longtime friend and a trusted colleague, who will continue to move forward initiatives that reinforce The Rep’s role as an industry thought leader and a home to the most exciting American voices.” 

The Rep is beginning to assemble a Transition and Search Committee that will plan next steps to find and hire a new artistic director and will announce additional details in the coming months. 

A Christmas Carol Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson


The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Rep presents innovative and compelling productions with something for everyone on its stages. The Rep delivers creative and thought-provoking theatrical experiences at two adaptable and intimate stages across St. Louis: the Virginia Jackson Browning Theatre at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts and the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA. With creative and thought-provoking performances, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres, and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. For more information, please visit

New season reimagines the theatre’s production model with a mix of self-produced and co-produced productions, special limited engagements, family friendly performances, and the return of the acclaimed holiday spectacular, A Christmas Carol 

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has announced its 2023-2024 season, which includes a mix of world-class self-produced productions that have made The Rep one of the premier regional theaters in the country, alongside co-produced and presented theater works from the most exciting emerging and established voices in American theater across a wide range of genre, thought, and lived experience. 

The Rep’s new shape for its season offers four mainstage shows, a returning holiday classic, two limited engagements, two family-friendly shows, and a continuation of its community and educational programming to provide different experiences for the full spectrum of the St. Louis community.  

Beginning in fall 2023, The Rep will bring award-winning, critically acclaimed plays to its mainstages at the Loretto-Hilton Center and Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA (Center of Creative Arts) including Ben Power’s adaptation of Stefano Massini’s TheLehman TrilogyTwisted Melodies, written and performed by Kelvin Roston, Jr.; the Lookingglass Theatre Company’s adaptation of Moby Dick; and Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County.

The theatre will also host limited engagement presentations of The Greatest Love for Whitney: A Tribute to Whitney Houston created by Mark Clements, and The Lion, created by Benjamin Scheuer. 

“The new season will build upon The Rep’s decades-long tradition of artistic excellence as a leading voice in the region by spotlighting a myriad of the best and most exciting voices in theater to tell the 21st-century American story, and by pioneering an arts model which can be replicated to meet the challenges that face the industry at-large,” said Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.   

Sharif added, “The pandemic and its aftermath have radically reshaped our industry. In order to create a sustainable model on which to build towards the future, we took an innovative approach to this new season that has opened a new world of exciting opportunities for The Rep and our audiences. We are building bridges and collaborating more than ever before with our peers across the country and deepening connections with our community to give everyone a stronger curatorial hand in their experience at The Rep. We look forward to embarking on this next phase of The Rep that will give us the flexibility to continue to meet the needs of St. Louisans and anchor our position as a cornerstone arts organization in the region.” 

Additional season highlights include the return of the spectacular and much lauded holiday show A Christmas Carol, the Charles Dickens classic that has quickly become a festive holiday tradition for St. Louis area families. Support for A Christmas Carol is provided by The Berges Family Foundation. 

The Rep will also continue to create touring productions for young audiences and families as part of its Imaginary Theatre Company, with an adaptation of Pat Mora’s book Tomás and The Library Lady by José Cruz González, based on the life of Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera, and Puss in Boots, a musical version of the popular fairytale. 

The Rep’s new season builds on its previous three under the leadership of Hana S. Sharif and Danny Williams, Managing Director, who have worked closely together to bring well-crafted theatrical experiences and impactful learning initiatives to the community. 

“The Rep offers our community a creative hub where everyone feels welcomed and valued through programming and performances that represent diverse audiences and their lived experiences,” said Danny Williams, Managing Director. “This past season we were delighted to see a wide array of patrons from across different generations and cultures join us at the theatre, and we look forward to continuing to reach new audiences while welcoming back those who have supported us over the years and decades, with a wide array of world-class theatrical experiences that will captivate and challenge audiences.” 

The Rep will stage its productions across two theaters this coming year—the Loretto-Hilton Center and the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA—providing a variety of opportunities for audiences from across the city and the region to experience theater on different scales from large, show-stopping productions to more intimate experiences.  

The Rep will also continue to offer its Learning and Community Engagement (LACE) programs that provide people of all ages opportunities to deeply engage with the art they see on stage through immersive in-classroom and extracurricular learning opportunities, public forums for civic discourse, and opportunities to participate in the artmaking process. The Rep will announce its community and educational programming over the course of the coming year. 

Find a full schedule of the 2023-2024 season programs below. Subscriber renewals begin May 8, 2023 and new subscription purchases will be available starting June 1, 2023. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.repstl.orgor call the Box Office, Monday – Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at (314) 968-4925. The Rep Box Office will also be available for    in-person support at the Loretto-Hilton Center, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis 2023-2024 Season  

For tickets, accessibility, and visitor information, visit

Tony winner for Best Play 2022, “The Lehman Trilogy”


The Lehman Trilogy 
Winner of five Tony Awards, including best play! 

September 5 – September 24 
Loretto-Hilton Center 
By Stefano Massini 
Adapted by Ben Power 

Experience this epic tale of one family’s passionate pursuit of the American Dream and the piercing cost of greed, excess, and unbridled power. In 1844, a young man from Bavaria, along with his two brothers, arrived in New York City, full of hope and ambition. Over the course of two centuries, their family business grew to unimaginable heights and ultimately collapsed into bankruptcy. A can’t miss masterpiece that The Guardian calls “a kaleidoscopic social and political metaphor.” 

Twisted Melodies 
Based on the life of St. Louis soul music icon Donny Hathaway. 

October 3 – October 22 
Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA 
Written and Performed by Kelvin Roston, Jr. 

This powerful one-man show is based on the life of St. Louis soul music icon Donny Hathaway. Twisted Melodies is an immersive and crushing play about the brilliant singer and composer’s compelling inner struggle. Torn between the muses that inspire him and the mental illness that torments him, Hathaway evaluates his life in a gripping performance by St. Louis native     Kelvin Roston, Jr. 

Moby Dick 
Soar to new heights in this acrobatic and theatrical spectacle!  
February 6 – February 25 
Loretto-Hilton Center 
Adapted & Directed by David Catlin  
From the book by Herman Melville 

Madness, obsession, and bloodlust take harrowing flight in a thrilling revision of Melville’s masterpiece. Captain Ahab’s hunt for the great White Whale soars to new heights through an exhilarating acrobatic and theatrical spectacle that invites audiences into the heart of the action. This adaptation from Lookingglass Theatre Company brings a literary legend to life in an experience that’s both visceral and evocative. 

August: Osage County 
A Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning family drama. 

March 19 – April 14  
Loretto-Hilton Center 
By Tracy Letts 

This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning family drama paints a stark and often unflattering picture of the Midwestern family. In this tableau: the pill-popping and manipulative matriarch, a vanished patriarch, and three daughters with secrets of their own. Familial tensions rise when all are called back to the family home in Oklahoma. Equal parts heartfelt and heart-wrenching, this story gives an in-depth look at what it takes to keep a family together. 


Special two-week performances with extraordinary talents that everyone will be talking about! 

The Greatest Love for Whitney: A Tribute to Whitney Houston  
Inspired by the phenomenal voice that changed music forever. 

January 18 – January 28 
Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA 
Created by Mark Clements 

Whitney Houston’s breathtaking voice skyrocketed her to stardom. From her powerful anthems to her glamorous elegance on the silver screen, she became an unparalleled icon. The Greatest Love for Whitney celebrates her amazing career and legacy by taking audiences on an unforgettable journey through her record-setting hits. Featuring songs like “I Will Always Love You,” “Saving All My Love for You,” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go,” experience the magic of the woman who changed music forever. 

The Lion 
One man, six guitars, and a transformative story. 

February 8 – February 18 
Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA 
Created by Benjamin Scheuer 

One man, six guitars and a transformative story. Benjamin Scheuer brilliantly weaves together heartfelt monologues and original songs to take audiences on his own true coming-of-age story. Hailed by critics as a “wondrous” and “spellbinding” experience, The Lion is a story about courage and the music it takes to find it. 

Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography

A Spectacular Holiday Tradition Your Family Won’t Want To Miss! 

A Christmas Carol 
A St. Louis tradition returning for its third season at The Rep! 

November 25 – December 24  
Loretto-Hilton Center 
By Charles Dickens 
Adapted by Michael Wilson 

The Rep’s third annual holiday presentation of A Christmas Carol promises to be a joyous and heartwarming experience for audiences of all ages. Join Ebenezer Scrooge on the adventure of a lifetime as three spirits take him on a transformative journey through time. This is a St. Louis tradition unlike any other, that Ladue News calls “a technical marvel of artistry.” 

Theatre for young people and their families! 

Tomás and The Library Lady 
Based on the true story of Mexican-American author and educator Tomás Rivera. 

Dates TBA 
Adapted By José Cruz González  
From the book by Pat Mora 

Dive into a fantastical world of books in this celebratory true story. As Tomás’ family heads north to Iowa for work, they find fewer and fewer people who speak their native Spanish language. Looking for a place to fit in, Tomás finds a new passion when he befriends a librarian who introduces him to the magical world of books. This enchanting story adventures through the pages of towering dinosaurs and ferocious tigers, igniting Tomás’ imagination and bringing the audience along for the ride. 

Puss in Boots 
Everyone’s favorite feline fable is here to charm and entertain! 

Dates TBA 
By Jennifer Roberts 
Music and lyrics by Nathan A. Roberts 

Everyone’s favorite feline fable is here to charm and beguile! The miller’s son is not finding life easy, with barely a penny to his name and no inheritance from his father, save for a useless cat and a pair of too-small boots. But this cat hides a secret: She can talk! And sing! And she has a plan to take them from the poor house to a princely castle. But how long can this extraordinary kitty keep up the ruse before the cat is out of the bag? Bring the whole family and share the legend of Puss in Boots


The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Rep presents innovative and compelling productions with something for everyone on its stages. The Rep delivers creative and thought-provoking theatrical experiences at two adaptable and intimate stages across St. Louis: the Virginia Jackson Browning Theatre and the Berges Theatre at COCA at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts. With creative and thought-provoking performances, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. For more information, please visit

Cover photo of Kelvin Rolston Jr. as Donny Hathaway in “Twisted Melodies” at The Black Rep in 2016. Photo by Sam Roberson

ST. LOUIS (December 16, 2022) – The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep)- the leading regional arts theatre in the Midwest- welcomes Reggie D. White as Associate Artistic Director. 

White brings more than two decades of theatre experience, including over 10 years of expertise as an award-winning artist, educator and arts advocate. He made his Broadway debut in Matthew López’s Tony Award-winning epic, The Inheritance. With an extensive background acting in New York, Off-Broadway, in regional theatre and internationally, White showcases his plethora of experiences both on and off the stage through his writing and directing work. 

White’s play, In Case You Hadn’t Heard: A Conversation Between America’s Past and Its Promise premiered last spring at Bay Street Theatre, and he is currently co-writing a play with Lauren Gunderson (America’s Most-Produced Living Playwright). His directing credits include work at the Atlantic Theater Company, The Public, Bay Street Theater, The Williams Project, and PlayGroundSF. 

Most recently he has served as the Artistic Director and faculty member at the Atlantic Acting School in New York, NY.

White is a resident artist at Vineyard Theatre, a founding member of the multi-generational theatre collective- The Commissary- and a founding company member with The Williams Project, a living-wage theatre company. He is also a recipient of the Colman Domingo Award, The TCG Fox Fellowship, the TBA Titan Award, the RHE Artistic Fellowship and an NCAAP Theatre Award nominee.

“Reggie D. White is a transformative emerging thought leader in our field. He brings a joyful, innovative, and imaginative spirit of collaboration in his wide-ranging experience as a creative, producer, educator, and community connector,” said Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director. “I could not be more excited to welcome Reggie’s  talents to St. Louis and his strategic insight to The Rep as we enter this great new era of artistry.”

White will make his directorial debut in St. Louis helming a Stephen Sondheim review at The Rep in early 2023 and will join an Artistic Department that includes fellow Associate Artistic Director/Director of New Work, Becks Redman, and is led by accomplished artistic leader, director, playwright and producer, Hana S. Sharif.  

“I’m so excited to spread my wings as an arts leader at an institution as well loved by its community as The Rep is,” said White. “I’ve been finding myself pulled in this direction quite a bit over the last 5 years and have always felt a tension with my own art-making. But with this role, I’ll have the opportunity to keep making the kind of theatre I’ve always dreamed of making, while also being able to shape and mold the why and how it gets made.”

Within his role as Associate Artistic Director, White will will support line producing mainstage, site-specific, and community arts programming, artistic strategic planning, and creative community engagement.

About The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Visit for more, and find The Rep on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

By CB Adams

Remember that commercial from the late 80s with the tagline, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile?” The Repertory Theatre of St Louis’s production of “A Christmas Carol” is kinda like that. This is not your father’s, or grandmother’s (or your crazy Aunt Millie’s) adaptation of this Dickensian tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s war on Christmas. As you survey St. Louis’s rich assortment of holiday offerings (and there truly is a cornucopia that runneth over), this production entices with a shiny, progressive reboot of this Christmas chestnut.  

It’s a new spin on “A Christmas Carol” that’s perfect for those with short attention spans. This adaptation treats the story of Scrooge’s transformation as the plain evergreen upon which the shiny baubles of scenic design (Tim Mackabee), lighting and projections (Seth Reiser and Hana S. Kim), costumes (Dede Ayite), choreography (Kirven Douthit-Boyd) and hip hop choreography (Robert Crenshaw) are hung. Bringing youthful energy to the production are the Webster University conservatory cast, the Big Muddy Dance Company dancers, whose ghost dancers add much to certain key scenes, and a youth ensemble from the Center of Creative Arts.

By flattening the well-known story line whose lead character has been represented by everyone and everything from Alastair Sim and Michael Caine to Bill Murray and Mr. Magoo, this adaptation by Michael Wilson (the same as last year’s) embellishes the story of Scrooge’s transformation with new characters and scenes not in the Dickens novel.

Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography

Upon each of the story’s key moments – Marley’s appearance, visits by the three Spirits, the Cratchit family’s penury, etc. – director Hana S. Sharif hangs contemporary dance numbers, special effects and humorous asides among all the dark, dank Victoriana. The dance is an especially effective component of this adaptation; the inconsistent use of modern colloquialisms – not so much.

The result is a Whitman’s Sampler of a production that tries too hard to provide a little something for every taste.  And like that holiday box, there’s all sorts of chocolates, including a rap-infused “O Come All Ye Faithful,” a Marley who flies up from beneath the stage like a spectral Peter Pan, a dance number that includes The Worm, and a Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come that’s part-Mad Max, part-Blade and part-Gimp from “Pulp Fiction.”

The latter makes his NFL-inspired entrance complete with hoverboard and ravers glasses. This ghost’s entrance is certainly impressive but calls too much attention to itself and pulls you out of the story. It also undercuts the emotional impact of Scrooge recognizing his tombstone – the climax of the story.

The same holds true for the final scene (not in Dickens’s original) with Scrooge hosting a party. This is a well-intentioned addition that hopes to highlight the new, improved Scrooge, but which borrows too much from the final scene in the “White Christmas” movie. It also weakens the intent of Dickens to use this story to examine the plight of the disadvantaged. As Scrooge promises the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography

Sharif adds another complexity to this production  by double casting of most of the key roles. It was fun (and impressive) to see the way Laakan McHardy played both a doll seller and the Ghost of Christmas Past (the best of the portrayals of the spirits) and Paul Aguirre went from a refreshments vendor to a vampy, over-the-top Christmas Present. Michael James Reed also played double duty as Mrs. Dilber (Scrooge’s housekeeper with shades of “Mrs. Doubtfire”) and the spectral Jacob Marley – how’s that for range!

The roles of Scrooge and Bob Cratchit are played by Guiesseppe Jones and Armando McClain, respectively. McClain provides one of this production’s best and most consistent and balanced portrayals as the long-suffering Cratchit. Ultimately, “A Christmas Carol” hinges on the portrayal of Scrooge. Jones displays an impressive range, which he definitely needs in this adaptation that pivots (sometimes to distraction) from lightheartedly humorous to full-on King Lear-level theatricality. As impressive as Jones was in all his scenes, his performance was often too self-contained and lacked chemistry with the other actors.

Overall, this production is designed with lots of wow-factors to defy you to call it anything but bah-humbug. The success of this approach depends on how you like your Scrooge served up. If you’re seeking the more traditional, ye merry ole England version (I remember one from my youth that included real basset hounds on stage), this isn’t that. To its credit, this adaptation avoids the saccharin Timmy-fell-down-the-well savior sub-narrative of so many other productions. And, it brings a modern sensibility to this timeless, still all-too-relevant story.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents “A Christmas Carol” November 19–December 30 at the Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road, St. Louis. For tickets or more information, visit:

Photo Credit: T Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography

By Lynn Venhaus

“You say either and I say either. You say neither and I say neither. Either, either. Neither, neither. Let’s call the whole thing off.” – George and Ira Gershwin

When the Gershwin brothers wrote “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” for the 1937 film “Shall We Dance” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, gender roles were primarily traditional, as were societal ideals.

The witty ditty is used in The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ current show “Private Lives,” exemplifying opposites in Noel Coward’s urbane comedy of manners.

It’s sure indicative of how we can look at things with separate viewpoints. Such is my response to “Private Lives,” which is now playing through Oct. 23 at the Berges Theatre at COCA. The production has been well-received, according to reaction from the audience, my colleagues, and in talking with some theatergoers.

You say silly, I say insufferable.

Once upon a time, this 1930 ‘romantic’ comedy was the height of sophistication and snappy repartee. However, 92 years later, the biting wit has not aged well, despite Coward’s nimble wordplay twisting the battle of the sexes into loggerheads.

The premise of this highly regarded classic is that uppity Amanda Prynne (Amelia Pedlow) and imperious Elyot Chase (Stanton Nash) are enjoying a romantic honeymoon with new spouses, Victor Prynne (Carman Lacivita) and Sibyl Chase (Kerry Warren)– and they just happen to be staying at the same posh hotel on the northern coast of France.

When the divorced duo come face-to-face on adjoining balconies — for the first time in five years — sparks fly. They run off by the end of the first act, but just as passions collide, so do tempers. These two self-important twits remember why they fell in love – and why they split up in the second act.

Does it resonate as a send-up of the British upper-class or has it become a tiresome example of a combustible relationship where two people bicker incessantly? Do people dismiss the violent overtones because it’s a comedy?

“I struck him too. Once I broke four gramophone records over his head. It was very satisfying,” Amanda says to her new husband.

Because the former Mr. and Mrs. Chase bring out the worst in each other, trying to find the best of each other is a chore, not the fizzy fun it purports. (The Rep marketed it as ” fun, laughs, and a fresh take”). I had a tepid and triggering reaction, found it tedious at best and domestic abuse at worst.

In 2022, this work appears to me to be one of the most egregious examples of toxic relationships and white privilege upon examination through a 21st century lens. The melodramatic soap opera quality of this story got very old very fast.

The argument could be made – that was then, this isn’t now. But oh, have you been reading the news?

I don’t find verbal, emotional, or physical abuse of any sort amusing – even if it’s written by a famous closeted gay British snob who had a way with words. It is not OK on any stage, anywhere, and at any time. Period.

Sibyl and Victor go at it while Amanda and Elyot look on, after their fights started it all. Jon Gitchoff photo.

Let’s just refrain from giving any past-its-prime material attention if it involves unacceptable behavior that would not fly today (unless it’s a cautionary tale).

Sure, it remains one of Coward’s most celebrated successes and has been revived several times, but what is the reason for doing this show now or ever after?

Many people laughed – loud guffaws — on opening night Oct. 7 as the angry couple hurled food and broke things while slapping each other around. Fight choreographer Nathan Keepers had much work to do.

I was in a minority of those not chuckling. We were a smattering. In my lifetime, I’ll never understand why audience members were laughing at physical confrontations and destruction of property not their own. OK, people still laugh at The Three Stooges punching and poking each other, and there are Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote cartoons as points of reference.

Anyone thinking that the more acceptable we make of couples battering each other, the harder it is for abuse victims to come forward? Ever see the real physical aftermath or consequences? I doubt if anyone who grew up in an abusive household or is a survivor/victim of domestic abuse would find anything about this show ‘funny ha-ha’.

OK, the luxe set, designed by Lex Liang, was lovely to look at with its stylized Art Deco interiors, though. And expertly lit by lighting designer Colin Bills. The production elements excel in recreating the era’s affluence, including Kathleen Geldard’s glamorous costumes.

Yes, the production is slick and the performers skillful, but are two narcissists hell-bent on getting their way, no matter what cost, fun to watch? A darker truth is apparent on stage, no matter how many quips are delivered.

Amanda: I was brought up to believe it was beyond the pale for a man to strike a woman.

Elyot: A very poor tradition. Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.

Now, there were some gasps on that exchange.

Perhaps chemistry figures in to accepting that this once red-hot pair continue to emit white heat when together. Obviously, they can’t live together, for they start acting like ill-tempered children.

And they know it.

Amanda: I think very few people are completely normal really, deep down in their private lives. It all depends on a combination of circumstances. If all the various cosmic thingummys fuse at the same moment, and the right spark is struck, there’s no knowing what one mightn’t do. That was the trouble with Elyot and me, we were like two violent acids bubbling about in a nasty little matrimonial bottle.

In the program, dramaturg Arianne Johnson Quinn, the inaugural Noel Coward fellow in the Billy Rose Theater division at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, quotes Coward scholar: “Beneath the sophisticated repartee are two accidental assassins – destined to be destructive of each other and of anyone who comes emotionally close to them (The Letters of Noel Coward, 217).”

Quinn then wrote: “For Coward, affairs of the heart are glamorous excursions into human nature, and the inevitable comedy that follows stems from his ability to create living, breathing characters rather than dramatic archetypes. At the same time, modern audiences cannot escape the undercurrent of domestic abuse that runs as a throughline in the play.”

No, we can’t escape it – especially when they discuss their previous rows:

Elyot: The worst one was in Cannes when your curling irons burnt a hole in my new dressing-gown. [He laughs.]

Amanda: It burnt my comb too, and all the towels in the bathroom.

Elyot: That was a rouser, wasn’t it?

Amanda: That was the first time you ever hit me.

Elyot: I didn’t hit you very hard.

Amanda: The manager came in and found us rolling on the floor, biting and scratching like panthers. Oh dear, oh dear…[She laughs helplessly.]

Certain insensitive stereotypes, words, phrases, and behaviors have fallen out of favor in the name of diversity and inclusion, yet these golden-age chestnuts portray men keeping women in line like they’re property. And seem so cavalier about abuse.

Amanda: You are an unmitigated cad and a bully!

Elyot: And you are an ill-mannered and bad-tempered slattern!

Amanda: Slattern indeed!

Elyot: Yes, slattern and fishwife!

(Fishwife, according to the Macmillan Dictionary, is a slur for “a woman who speaks loudly in a rude voice.”)

Amanda bucks conformity, but her ‘feisty’ nature isn’t an excuse. When she’s confronted by her husband, finally, in her Paris flat, after a huge fight with Elyot, this is an exchange:

Victor: Did he really strike you last night?

Amanda: Repeatedly, I’m bruised beyond recognition.

Making light of a knock-down, drag-out?

Taking a second look at very sexist books in creaky musicals, critics have decried “blackface,” “brownface,” “redface” and “yellowface.” Shouldn’t behaving badly on stage get an adverse reaction too?

You say funny, I say not. You say flippant, I say superficial exercise involving rich gasbags without much substance. You say erudite, I say entitled, pouty, shallow females and self-absorbed condescending males.

The new mates are obsessed with knowing how they rate compared to the wretched former wife or husband – this seems to be interminable interaction.

Coward wrote the play so that he and his actress friend, Gertrude Lawrence, could portray the characters, and he modeled the self-centered Amanda on his histrionic diva pal. Supposedly, their tumultuous friendship was not unlike the roles.

Amanda is an unlikable sharp-tongued, prone to exaggeration and temperamental shrew. She’s a spoiled insipid woman who behaves badly in the name of love. Pedlow’s affected – and hard to decipher sometimes – speech gets in the way. Dialect Coach Jill Walmsley Zager’s work was incomplete.

Stanton Nash, so delightful in St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s “Much Ado About Nothing” this past summer, has crisp comic timing and lets the fast-paced insults fly. But his character is a pompous ass.

As the jilted partners, Lacivita was debonair and a bit starchy as Victor, a colorless role, and Warren, unfortunately, is shrill in the stereotypical Sibyl role, an attractive but rather uninteresting and somewhat bubbleheaded bride prone to shrieking. As ‘the other two,’ they are stuck in very cookie-cutter parts.

Yvonne Woods has a brief role as Amanda’s French maid Louise, tasked with cleaning up the messes.

The focus, naturally, is on Amanda and Elyot, for they burn bright no matter what the temperature of the room. These would be unlikeable characters in any decade.

Sure, the characters are in a higher income bracket than some who live with domestic violence, but it’s still unhealthy, no matter how cultured the speech pattern or what class ranking they are. (Nicole Brown Simpson, anyone?)

I am reminded of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s description of Tom and Daisy Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby”:

“They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Fitzgerald viewed them as a tragedy, Coward considers his vain high society characters a comedy.

Kerry Warren and Carman Lacivita. Photo by Jon Gitchoff

If this was a modern play, the entitlement and mistreatment would have everyone outraged, but here, we should accept it because it has the warm glow of nostalgia and it is written by a theater legend?

The Rep producers and director Meredith McDonough obviously think this madcap romp is entertaining, like the good old screwball comedies that run on Turner Classic Movies these days. (For the record, I wanted to be Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday.”)

McDonough described the show as a “loving treatise on love” — and then directed it like an irritating high-class shouting match ramped up in volume. Hana S. Sharif, the Augustin Family artistic director, called it a “great escape.”

The tone-deafness is mind-boggling. In what language, country, time or universe is this second act fight funny after Amanda puts on a record that Elyot doesn’t want to listen to?

Elyot: Turn it off.

Amanda: I won’t. [Elyot rushes at the gramophone. Amanda tries to ward him off. They struggle silently for a moment, then the needle screeches across the record] There now, you’ve ruined the record.

[She takes it off and scrutinizes it.]

Elyot: Good job, too.

Amanda: Disagreeable pig.

Elyot [suddenly stricken with remorse]: Amanda darling, Sollocks.

Amanda [furiously]: Sollocks yourself.

[She breaks the record over his head.]

Elyot [staggering]: You spiteful little beast.

[He slaps her face. She screams loudly and hurls herself sobbing with rage on to the sofa, with her face buried in the cushions.]

Amanda: [wailing]: Oh, oh, oh-

Elyot: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it — I’m sorry, darling, I swear I didn’t mean it.

Amanda: Go away, go away, I hate you.

[Elyot kneels on the sofa and tries to pull her round to look at him.]

Elyot: Amanda — listen — listen —

Amanda [turning suddenly, and fetching him a welt across the face]:

Listen indeed; I’m sick and tired of listening to you, you damned sadistic bully.

Elyot with great grandeur]: Thank you. [He stalks towards the door, in stately silence.

Amanda throws a cushion at him, which misses him and knocks down a lamp and a vase on the side table.

Elyot laughs falsely] A pretty display I must say.

Amanda [wildly]: Stop laughing like that.

Elyot [continuing]: Very amusing indeed.

Amanda [losing control]: Stop–stop–stop– [She rushes at him, he grabs her hands and they sway about the room, until he manages to twist her round by the arms so that she faces him, closely, quivering with fury]—I hate you–do you hear? You’re conceited, and overbearing, and utterly impossible!

Elyot [shouting her down]: You’re a vile-tempered, loose-living; wicked little beast, and I never want to see you again so long as I live.

[He flings her away from him, she staggers, and falls against a chair. They stand gasping at one another in silence for a moment.]

Amanda [very quietly]: This is the end, do you understand? The end, finally and forever.

[She goes to the door, which opens on to the landing, and wrenches it open. He rushes after her and clutches her wrist.]

Elyot: You’re not going like this.

Amanda: Oh, yes I am.

Elyot: You’re not.

Amanda: I am; let go of me–[He pulls her away from the door, and once more they struggle. This time a standard lamp crashes to the ground. Amanda, breathlessly, as they fight] You’re a cruel fiend, and I hate and loathe you; thank God I’ve realized in time what you’re really like; marry you again, never, never, never… I’d rather die in torment

Elyot: [at the same time]; Shut up; shut up. I wouldn’t marry you again if you came crawling to me on your bended knees, you’re a mean, evil- minded, little vampire — I hope to God I never set eyes on you again as long as I live.

[At this point in the proceedings they trip over a Victor and Sybil enter quietly, through the open door, and stand staring at them in horror. Finally Amanda breaks free and half gets up, Elyot grabs her leg, and she falls against a table, knocking it completely over.]

Amanda [screaming]: Beast; brute; swine; cad; beast; beast; brute; devil

[She rushes back at Elyot who is just rising to his feet, and gives him a stinging blow, which knocks him over again. She rushes blindly off Left, and slams the door, at the same moment that he jumps up and rushes off Right, also slamming the door.

Victor and Sibyl advance apprehensively into the room, and sink on to the sofa]

In the third act, Sibyl and Victor begin mirroring the battling ex’s.

The Rep has very mixed messages in their line-ups.

Certainly, “Private Lives” is devoid of any teachable moment or enlightenment – or even making a connection.

I say potato, you say ‘po-tah-to.’ You say classic, I say painful. You say lighten up, I say, let’s talk. Know more, support services, be the change: 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are affected, and 1 in 15 children witness domestic abuse.

Photo by Jon Gitchoff

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis presents “Private Lives” Sept. 30–October 23, in the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA (Creative Center of the Arts), 6880 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, 63130. For tickets or more information, visit:

For more information, the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, visit:

To support local services, check out:
Safe Connections, 2165 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, 63139; email, call 314-646-7500, visit They have a 24-hour crisis helpline: 314-531-2003

Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois, 618-236-2531, visit: They have a 24-hour crisis helpline: 618-235-0892

This season’s exhilarating offerings feature contemporary plays by Madhuri Shekar  and Dominique Morisseau, classics by Noël Coward and Agatha Christie,  a musical tribute to Stephen Sondheim and the return of ‘A Christmas Carol’ 

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) Augustin Family Artistic Director, Hana S. Sharif, and Managing Director, Danny Williams, are excited to announce the 2022-2023 show lineup for the 56th Season. The Rep is thrilled to welcome audiences back this fall with a season filled with world-class productions, a joyful mix of classics featuring tributes to theatrical icons, and new work from powerhouse voices of the 21st century.

The 2022-23 Mainstage Season kicks off in August with the highly anticipated House of Joy by Madhuri Shekar – an action-packed fantasy filled with romance and lots of girl power. In late-September, journey down the 1930s French Riviera in Noël Coward’s Private Lives, a scathing sendup of the British upper class. Just in time for the holidays, The Rep rings in the spirit of the season with the second annual production of the magical wintery wonderland of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol adapted by Michael Wilson.

Heading into the new year, The Rep lights up the stage with Steven Sondheim’s, Putting It Together: A Musical Review, featuring many of the legend’s most unforgettable masterpieces. Then stay tuned for Confederates, a time-bending drama fresh off its New York debut from MacArthur Genius Award-Winning Playwright Dominique Morisseau and produced in association with Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Closing out the Mainstage is the timeless Agatha Christie classic, Murder on the Orient Express, adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig.

Spring 2023 will mark the long-awaited return of the beloved Steve Woolf Studio Series, adventurous theatre for adventurous theatregoers — a provocative and memorable black box experience at the new state-of-the-art Strauss Black Box Theatre in Kirkwood Performing Arts Center (KPAC). Show announcement to come in May. 

“I look forward to inviting new and old friends to our theatre homes to share in the beauty and magic of the wonderful productions that will light up our stages next season,” said Sharif. “As I programmed the 2022-23 season I was inspired by the blossoming life of spring. From our reinvestment in the arts to the renewal of our commitment to the St. Louis community; my goal was to provide an array of productions that align with our mission of sharing entertaining and thought-provoking world-class art.”

“I am immensely excited to be at the helm of The Rep for my first full season with such a thrilling lineup of shows,” added Williams. “It’s been a true joy to watch this season come together and we can’t wait to share with everyone St. Louis.”

New for the 2022-2023 season, The Rep is offering several tiered subscription pass options, available now (prices vary by section). These exclusive subscription passes offer audiences the opportunity to find the perfect subscription for them. Subscription options:

●      Classic Subscription Pass: Get your tickets for all 5 Mainstage shows, plus your choice of our Holiday or Steve Woolf Studio offerings. Lock in your preferred seats and dates for the entire season when you order. And if your plans change, enjoy no-fuss exchanges.

●      Flex Subscription Pass: Get six passes to use for the best available seats to the shows you want most on the dates that fit your schedule, redeemable any time during the season.

●      Insider Preview Subscription Pass: Be the first to see the show and get a great deal! Just like the Classic Pass, you’ll get tickets for the 5 Mainstage performances, plus your choice of either our Holiday or Steve Woolf Studio offerings. By attending Insider Preview Weekends (the first Friday-Sunday of each show’s run), you get priority access to the best seats in the theatre and save substantially on your subscription.

Mainstage shows will take place at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts and the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA. The full schedule for the 2022-2023 Season is as follows:

●      House of Joy: August 26 – September 18, Loretto-Hilton Center

At first glance, The House of Joy is a dazzling utopia; but when a new guard joins the emperor’s army, she discovers it’s more prison than paradise. This genre-busting adventure fantasy is filled with stunning locales, electrifying combat, steamy romance and badass girl power.

●      Private Lives: September 30 – October 23, Catherine B. Berges Theatre

Amanda and Elyot are enjoying a romantic honeymoon – just not with each other. A chance meeting on their adjoined hotel balconies brings this divorced duo face-to-face for the first time in five years. Passions and tempers collide in this combustible romp, as the two remember why they fell in love and why they divorced in the first place.

●      A Christmas Carol: November 18 – December 30, Loretto-Hilton Center

The Rep rings in the spirit of the season with the second annual production of this holiday classic. At long last, the ghosts of Ebenezer Scrooge’s past, present and future have caught up with him. Now London’s most infamous miser must face down his demons, reconcile the consequences of his choices and experience the power and joy of a miraculous redemption.

●      Putting it Together: A Musical Review: January 27 – February 19, Catherine B. Berges Theatre

Celebrate legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim by revisiting nearly 30 of the most poignant, powerful and witty songs in the American musical theatre canon. This beautiful, funny and emotionally charged musical review exposes the complicated relationships and deepest desires of two couples out for an elegant evening. 

●      Confederates: February 10 – March 5, Loretto-Hilton Center

An enslaved rebel turned Union spy and a tenured professor in a modern-day private university are having parallel experiences of institutionalized racism, despite existing more than a century apart. Dominique Morisseau brilliantly bends the continuum of time and weaves together the stark realities of racial and gender bias both women face in this illuminating drama.

Confederates is being produced in association with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

●      Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express: March 17 – April 16, Loretto-Hilton Center

It’s 1934, just after midnight, and a snowstorm has stopped the opulent Orient Express sleeper train in its tracks. A wealthy American businessman is discovered dead, and the brilliant and beautifully mustachioed Hercule Poirot must solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again. Agatha Christie’s plot-twisting masterpiece takes audiences on a suspenseful thrill ride.

Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.

●      Steve Woolf Studio Series: Spring 2023Strauss Black Box Theatre in Kirkwood Performing Arts Center (KPAC)

Adventurous theatre for adventurous theatregoers — a provocative and memorable black box experience at the new state-of-the-art . Show announcement to come in May.

For more information and to purchase, visit or call the Box Office at (314) 968-4925. The Rep Box Office at the Loretto-Hilton Center will be open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:30 AM – 5:00 PM.

About The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Visit for more, and find The Rep on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright visits St. Louis to discuss her timely and important works, being presented locally by both theatre groups 

ST. LOUIS (June 18, 2021) – The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) and St. Louis Black Repertory Company (The Black Rep) are pleased to welcome two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage to St. Louis for a very special roundtable event, Telling the ‘Tale’ with Lynn Nottage on Friday, June 25 at 6 p.m. via Facebook Live and YouTube. Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Ron Himes, Founder and Producing Director of The Black Rep will spend 90 minutes in conversation with Nottage, moderated by Adena Varner, Director of Learning and Community Engagement for The Rep. 

The conversation will center on two key works by Nottage being presented by the local theatre groups: Mlima’s Tale, currently being performed by The Rep through July 11 at the Catherine B. Berges theatre at COCA; and Sweat, set to open The Black Rep’s 45th season from September 8 through 26 at the Edison Theatre at Washington University. 

“Lynn Nottage is one of the most important voices in modern American theatre, so bringing her thought-provoking, Mlima’s Tale, to life as The Rep’s first in-person production this year has been a true joy” said Sharif. “It is a gift for the St. Louis community to have two of her groundbreaking plays produced this year. I am delighted to partner with Ron Himes in this incredible opportunity to delve deeply into her work and the themes she explores.”

Himes added, “I’m looking forward to being in conversation with these two brilliant women of the theatre and to continue The Black Rep’s relationship with Lynn Nottage by presenting Sweat to open our in-person 45th Anniversary season. We have presented Intimate Apparel and Ruins in past seasons and our audiences have been moved; our artists have been challenged. Mlima’s Tale continues to elevate Nottage as one of our best American playwrights.”

Nottage is the first, and remains the only, woman to have twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Her plays have been produced widely in the United States and throughout the world. She was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2019. 

Telling the ‘Tale’ with Lynn Nottage is a free online event with an RSVP required via Eventbrite.

About The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

The Rep is the St. Louis region’s most honored live professional theatre company. Founded in 1966, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres, The League of St. Louis Theatres and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre. Visit for more, and find The Rep on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About St. Louis Black Repertory Company

Founded in 1976 by Producing Director Ron Himes, The Black Rep is one of the largest professional African-American theatre companies in the nation and the largest African American professional performing arts organization in Missouri. Quality professional dramas, comedies and musicals by primarily African American and African Diaspora playwrights are produced. Main-stage  productions and education programs combine to reach more than 80,000 people annually. For more information visit

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (The Rep) is excited to bring an extraordinary production with a cast and crew from around the globe to St. Louis in the organization’s return to live theatre with ‘Mlima’s Tale,’ a moving, lyrical journey through the dark world of the international ivory trade from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage. 

Performances of ‘Mlima’s Tale’ begin at COCA’s Berges Theatre onMay 28. The show runsMay 28 to July 11, times can be found here. Tickets begin at $20.50. 

‘Mlima’s Tale’ tells the story of a majestic and powerful African elephant murdered for his tusks. From beyond the veil of death, Mlima’s spirit follows the path of his tusks on a captivating and haunting journey through the dark world of the international ivory trade.

“As artists we are often tasked with examining our shared human experiences to help others imagine, dream and heal during a time of global crisis,” said Director Shariffa Ali. “Directing ‘Mlima’s Tale’ allowed me to dig deep into my own personal history, where as a child I would listen to the stories of my grandmother and the village elders of Nandi Hills, Kenya, planting the seed of storytelling in my soul. This cast and crew – from all over the world – has created a production that brings to life the bold majestic gestures and expressive faces of my motherland and beyond, as it so aptly exposes the social issues that come with the greed of human desire in our global economy.”

Mlima’s Tale cast includes Kambi Gathesha as Mlima, with Ezioma Asonye, Will Mann and Joe Ngo as the ensemble. The production will be directed by Shariffa Ali, Kirven Douthit-Boyd will serve as the choreographer, You-Shin Chen (scene design), Helen Huang (costume design), Jasmine Lesane (lighting design), Avi Amon (composer and sound design), Shannon B. Sturgis (stage management), R. Christopher Maxwell (assistant stage manager) and Madison Booth as the costume assistant; with Barbara Rubin and Julie Foh serving as dialect coaches.

“We are thrilled to bring Lynn Nottage’s haunting and riveting tale of globalism to our St. Louis audience,” said Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. “Mlima’s Tale is an exquisite story about culture, art, beauty, economics, greed and the incredible cost of conspicuous consumption. Through Mlima’s majestic spirit’s journey tracing its tusks around the world, we come to discover the collective power and impact of our choices.

For audience and performer safety, theatre capacity will be kept at 25 percent, in line with  St. Louis County Department of Health’s COVID-19 guidelines. In addition, The Rep is adhering to its comprehensive plan to keep actors, production staff and patrons safe during the return to live theatre. ‘Mlima’s Tale’ is The Rep’s only performance from the 2020-2021 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tickets will be available to the general public on May 20 at Subscribers will have earlier access to seating and tickets. For more information, visit