Theater

24 total results

Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 19

Tennessee Williams' plays have been credited with many innovations, from that meme-worthy "Stelllllaa!!!" to the lyrical cannibalism in Suddenly Last Summer. But did a play Williams wrote about St. Louis actually inspire The Golden Girls?

That's the legend, anyway.

"I've been to many Tennessee Williams seminars and panels, and that is what the scholars contend," says Carrie Houk, the founder and artistic director of the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis. With the unspoken acknowledgment that such evidence is far from definitive, Houk continues, "But if Golden Girls was based on the play, it's very loosely based."

The 1979 play, which Houk tapped for this year's festival, is called "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur," and its Depression-era setting is inspired by Williams' early life in St. Louis. In it four women who live in the same building dream of romance, family and escaping their dreary situation, but will settle for a nice Sunday afternoon in Creve Coeur Park.

There are some superficial similarities between Williams' play and the NBC sitcom, which premiered six years after the play's debut. Williams' play has an immigrant named Sophie; Golden Girls has a Sophia. The play has a woman named Dorothea (she goes by Dottie), while Golden Girls has Dorothy. Williams has Bodey; Golden Girls has Betty. Much of the action in "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" takes place around the kitchen table in Dottie and Bodey's apartment, while the Golden Girls' kitchen table was essentially the fifth member of the cast.

The accepted show biz story for the creation of The Golden Girls is that NBC president Brandon Tartikoff wanted a show for an older audience. Golden Girls' creator Susan Harris was inspired by her very active grandmother's social life. (Harris also created the soap opera parody Soap, which focused on two sisters — one practical, one wealthy and moderately delusional about her own life — who regularly sat around the kitchen table discussing their new problems every week.)

Still, references to Williams' plays run through many of Golden Girls' 177 episodes, from the names of the main characters to Blanche Deveraux's mannerisms and her father, whom she calls "Big Daddy," echoing the name of the patriarch in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. And Rue McClanahan said her portrayal of Blanche was directly inspired by Williams' famous heroine in A Streetcar Named Desire.

For Houk, the magic of "A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" is not any real or perceived connection to a beloved sitcom, but the play itself. "It's about loneliness and the need for human connections," she explains. "It's a comedy, but it has a lot of vulnerability. It could just be wisecrack, wisecrack, wisecrack, but there's this other element, of the characters needing love. All four women are different, but they need each other."

Like many of Williams' short plays, the condensed nature of the one-act format heightens the impact of his poetic flourishes, and also allows him the luxury of a happy ending. "Here are these women on a flat on Enright Avenue, and they dream about flying away," marvels Houk. "Even if there's just one afternoon at Creve Coeur Park, there's a respite."

"A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" will be directed by Kari Ely and star Maggie Wininger, Kelley Weber, Julie Layton and Ellie Schwetye, which experienced theatergoers will recognize as quite a potent lineup. It will be performed at 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (May 11 to 19) in the Grand Hall at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square; www.twstl.org), and tickets are $25 to $45.

The festival's main stage production, The Night of the Iguana, is performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (May 9 to 19) in the Grandel; tickets are $25 to $45. Additionally, New Orleans native Bryan Batt will star in his one-man show "Dear Mr. Williams," which is a coming-of-age story about a gay artist, spiced by sex and alcohol; the piece is inspired by some of Williams' lesser-known stories and love for his adopted hometown (not St. Louis). Batt will perform his show 8:30 p.m. Friday and 3:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday (May 10 and 11) at the Curtain Call Lounge (527 North Grand Boulevard). Tickets are $25 to $55.

$25-$55

Grandel Theatre (map)
3610 Grandel Square
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Death Tax

Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through May 19

Maxine sits in her nursing home, waiting for the moment when her daughter will spring her trap and order the nurse to kill her. She's certain it's coming — the new tax laws that go into effect on January 1 will cut into her daughter's inheritance, and if Maxine croaks before then, her daughter gets a bigger score. The only answer is a counter-scheme: If Maxine can offer her nurse a larger payday to keep her alive, the daughter loses. But is that what's really going on, or is all the drama in the fearful mind of an unwell, elderly woman? Lucas Hnath's play Death Tax is a darkly comic look at the end of life and family squabbles. Mustard Seed Theatre closes its season with the St. Louis premiere of Death Tax. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (May 9 to 19) at the Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; www.mustardseedtheatre.com). Tickets are $15 to $35. $15-$35

Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre (map)
6800 Wydown Blvd.
Clayton
phone 314-862-3456
Death Tax

I Now Pronounce

Sundays, 2 p.m., Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through June 1

Nicole and Adam are finally taking the matrimonial plunge, but it seems like fate – and a friend or two – is against them. When a key member of the wedding party keels over dead, the ceremony is halted before completion. Adam's groomsman Dave uses this respite to convince Adam that monogamy and marriage is a trap that's not worth the trouble. Nicole's bridesmaid Michelle, who's going stag, figures this would be a good time to find a date before the end of the night, while the other bridesmaid tries to get this trainwreck back on schedule. Tasha Gordon-Solmon's I Now Pronounce is a good old-fashioned farce. New Jewish Theatre ends its current season with the comedy. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (May 18 to June 1) in the Jewish Community Center's Wool Studio Theatre (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur; www.newjewishtheatre.org). Tickets are $42 to $45. $42-$45

Nina Simone: Four Women

Sundays, 3 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Thursdays, 7 p.m. Continues through June 2

In recent years, the mainstream media began reassessing the career and impact of musician Nina Simone, with documentaries exploring her personal life and rereleases of her works. Playwright Christina Ham knew there was more to Simone than her musicianship – after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church and the assassination of Medgar Evers, Simone gave voice to the shared anger and outrage of the black community in her surprisingly jaunty song "Mississippi Goddamn." Ham's play Nina Simone: Four Women (inspired by Simone's namesake song about the plight of black women in a racist society) explores how the arts helped drive and inspire the civil rights moment, as well as the ways women were shunted to the side of that same movement. The Black Rep closes its season with Nina Simone: Four Women. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (May 17 to June 2) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6465 Forsyth Boulevard; www.theblackrep.org). Tickets are $15 to $45. $15-$45

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Edison Theatre (map)
6445 Forsyth Blvd.
Clayton
phone 314-935-6543

Tribute to the Troops - Vietnam Era

Sun., May 19, 5-9 p.m.

@ VFW Post 5691, 1234 Vandalia Street Collinsville, IL 62234
In honor of National Vietnam War Veterans Day on March 29th, 2019, I teamed with St. Peters, Mo. VVA Chapter 458 to create a memorable evening of dinner, displays and entertainment. It was a huge success! We had an overflow crowd and a packed theater. In an effort to recoup costs and get the show 'road ready' I am producing it on the East side of the river. Please come out and show your support to these veterans who have waited over 50 years for a decent welcome home! $25

https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethLaKamp/
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I Now Pronounce

Sun., May 19, 7:30 p.m., Wed., May 22, 7:30 p.m., Thu., May 23, 7:30 p.m., Sat., May 25, 8 p.m., Sun., May 26, 2 p.m., Thu., May 30, 7:30 p.m., Fri., May 31, 8 p.m., Sat., June 1, 8 p.m. and Sun., June 2, 2 p.m.
phone 314-442-3283
[email protected]

Written by Tasha Gordon-Solmon. A play that mines disconnections. After Adam and Nicole’s wedding culminates in an awkwardly timed fatality, the reception spins into an increasingly strange evening that leaves the bride and groom questioning just what it is they’re celebrating. But there’s no stopping the festivities: the flower girls are running amuck, the bridal party members are preoccupied with their own flailing relationships, and everyone needs to stop ordering the blue drinks. Comedies end in marriage. Tragedies end in death. This play begins with both. 42-45

https://jccstl.com/arts-ideas/new-jewish-theatre/current-productions/
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Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis

Saturdays, Sundays, 1-7 p.m. and Sun., May 19, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Continues through May 19
phone 314-517-5253
[email protected]

The 2019 Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis kicks off at the Grandel Theatre, May 9 - 19. The main stage production is Tennessee Williams’ steamy and startling The Night of the Iguana. The Festival will also present the Williams comedy that inspired TV's "The Golden Girls", A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, and the world premiere, Dear Mr. Williams, starring Bryan Batt, award-winning actor from TV's "Mad Men". Special events, panel discussions, a Tribute performance hosted by Ken Page, and a historical Tennessee Williams Bus Tour round out the list of events. Visit www.twstl.org for tickets and info. $25 - $50

http://www.twstl.org
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Grandel Theatre (map)
3610 Grandel Square
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367

Playwright Slam

Mon., May 20, 6:30-9 p.m.
phone 314-401-2636
[email protected]
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The St. Louis Writers’ Group presents “Playwright SLAM” Playwrights, bring your scripts. Actors, bring your talent. Audience, bring your attitude. Get ready for a night of fun impromptu theater. Each script will be given a five minute read and rated by a panel of judges based upon audience reaction. The judges will select several plays to move on to the final round. Finalists will be showcased on May 20th. For more information on this, and other Writers’ Group events, visit www.stlwritersgroup.com or call Rob at 314-401-2636. free

http://www.stlwritersgroup.com
Big Daddy's-Soulard (map)
1000 Sidney St.
St. Louis - Soulard
phone 314-771-3066

Come From Away

Saturdays, 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays-Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Continues through May 26

After the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, air traffic was shut down. The planes in the air needed some place out of harm's way to land. Newfoundland is an island off the east coast of Canada, and it is definitely out of the way. When more than a dozen planes were diverted there and 7,000 confused, weary passengers disembarked, the population of the town instantly doubled. The locals had no problem welcoming strangers into their homes, feeding them and offering them comfort and a shoulder to cry on as the travelers processed what had happened. Newfoundlanders don't need a reason to sing, and with so many guests in town, the instruments came out. As the songs started, friendships were forged in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland. Irene Sankoff and David Hein's musical Come From Away is inspired by the true story of small-town kindness in the aftermath of fear and terror. The musical is performed at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday (May 14 to 26) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; www.fabulousfox.com). Tickets are $35 to $115.

$35-$115

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The Fox Theatre (map)
527 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-534-1111
Come From Away

Exit Laughing

Fri., May 24, 7:30-9:30 p.m., Sat., May 25, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Sun., May 26, 2-4 p.m.
phone 314-921-5678

Join us for a single night in the lives of three middle-aged women who meet weekly for a game of cards. When their fourth player, Mary, passes away, the ladies borrow her ashes from the funeral parlor for one last game. Surprisingly Mary still has a lot to say and she unleashes it upon them through after-life messages and gifts - setting into motion a new path for her friends. This is a feel-good comedy that will appeal to anyone who is part of a group of old friends. $18-Adults, $16-Seniors/students, Call for group rates.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2206156766328237/
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Florissant Civic Center (map)
Parker Road & Waterford Drive
Florissant
phone 314-921-5678

Shakespeare in the Park: Love’s Labors Lost

Starts May 29. Tuesdays-Sundays, 8-10:30 p.m. Continues through June 23
phone 314-531-9800
[email protected]
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‘Love’s Labors Lost’ is one of Shakespeare’s most dazzling and delightful comedies – and a brilliant study of the ways culture shapes romance. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday nights at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. Admission is free and open for all ages and pets. Shakespeare Glen opens at 6:00 pm, Green Show performances start at 7:00 pm, and 'Love’s Labors Lost' begins at 8:00pm. Free

http://sfstl.com/in-the-park
Shakespeare Glen (map)
Fine Arts Dr and Government Dr
St. Louis - Forest Park

Charlie Johnson Reads All Of Proust

Thu., May 30, 8-9:30 p.m., Fri., May 31, 8-9:30 p.m., Sat., June 1, 8-9:30 p.m., Thu., June 6, 8-9:30 p.m., Fri., June 7, 8-9:30 p.m., Sat., June 8, 8-9:30 p.m., Thu., June 13, 8-9:30 p.m., Fri., June 14, 8-9:30 p.m. and Sat., June 15, 8-9:30 p.m.
phone 314-799-5910
[email protected]

Taking a break at Starbucks from Christmas shopping with his family, Charlie Johnson dips a soft, spongy cookie with ripples into his coffee. His snooty daughter-in-law asks "Are you having your Madeleine moment?" and proceeds to lecture him about Proust. Determined to prove he's no dummy, Charlie sets out to read all of Remembrance Of Things Past. And along the way, discovers the epic that is his own life. $20

http://midnightcompany.com
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Kranzberg Arts Center (map)
501 N Grand Blvd
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367

Be More Chill

Starts May 30. Thursdays-Saturdays, 8-10:15 p.m. Continues through June 22
phone 314-534-1111
[email protected]

The Breakfast Club meets Little Shop of Horrors, as New Line closes its season in June with the new sci-fi rock musical BE MORE CHILL, with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and book by Joe Tracz, based on the bestselling novel by Ned Vizzini. It’s an honest, fearless, funny look at life in the digital age, exploring teen depression, bullying, and other current issues through the comic lens of sci-fi films of the 50s, horror flicks of the 80s, and teen movies of the 90s. The show has been selling out everywhere it runs. $10-30

http://www.newlinetheatre.com/bemorechillpage.html
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Marcelle Theater (map)
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367

The Boy from Oz

Starts May 31. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8-10 p.m., Saturdays, 4-6 p.m., Sundays, 7:30-9:30 p.m. and Thursdays, Sundays, 2-4 p.m. Continues through June 30
phone 314-821-2407

The legendary Peter Allen is immortalized in the sparkling and comedic jukebox musical, The Boy from Oz. Celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2018, this dazzling, heartfelt, and hilarious story follows Allen from his humble beginnings performing in the country pubs of his Australian home to his international stardom as a performer and songwriter. Along the way, we meet the cast of characters that made it all possible including the one and only Judy Garland and her daughter Liza Minelli. Featuring some of Allen’s most beloved hits like “There’s A Lady On Stage,” “I Go To Rio," and more! $25 - $65

https://www.stagesstlouis.org/Shows/The-Boy-from-OZ/
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Lewis & Tolkien, Of Wardrobe & Rings

Thu., June 13, 8-10 p.m., Fri., June 14, 8-10 p.m., Sat., June 15, 4-6 & 8-10 p.m. and Sun., June 16, 2-4 & 6-8 p.m.
phone 314-534-1111

Lewis & Tolkien, Of Wardrobe & Rings, is a play set in Oxford’s Eagle & Child pub. Legendary authors, J.R.R. Tolkien and his great friend C.S. Lewis, meet for what turns out to be the very last time. They were lions of 20th century British fantasy, giants of a literary genre that reached millions of readers with mystifying adventures to entertain and deep truths to move people’s hearts. $50

http://www.playhouseatwestport.com
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The Playhouse at Westport Plaza (map)
635 Westport Plaza
Maryland Heights
phone 314-469-7529
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