The Monday blues are more bearable if you take a few minutes to relive the too-short weekend, so why not create some great memories to tide you over until next Friday night? With so many options besides just ‘dinner and a movie,’ the St. Louis entertainment scene can fill your summer calendar with the Victorian magic of The Secret Garden, the exuberance of Disney’s Little Mermaid or the timeless romance of Romeo and Juliet. And since no special night out is complete without a fabulous culinary experience, we asked three St. Louisans ‘in the know’ for their idea of creating the perfect summer night.

Denny Reagan, The Muny

    If you’ve been to The Muny recently—say, in the last 40 years or so—you may have spotted Denny Reagan in the audience. The president and CEO has only missed one performance since 1976. “And that was because my brother was getting married,” Reagan explains.

    Reagan and his wife Michelle spent the first weeks of summer preparing for another wedding: their son John just married the former Molly Reedy at Our Lady of Lourdes. “The wedding was June 18 and opening night was June 20, so it’s been crazy!” When they have time for a pre-show dinner, the Reagans head to Bartolino’s. “I love their salad, and Michelle’s favorite is seafood risotto,” he says. They don’t usually indulge in an encore glass of wine after a Muny show, because Denny is back at the theater by nine the next morning. And even though they aren’t really ‘dessert people,’ Reagan admits that it’s not a long drive from the Muny to Ted Drewes on a hot summer night.

Cary Goldwasser, The Touhill

    In addition to her role as director of marketing and sponsorship for the Touhill Performing Arts Center, Cary Goldwasser is also mom to Joey and Jill, ages 4 and 9. When Goldwasser and her husband Jim plan an evening out, their restaurant requirements are simple. “As long as there’s no mac and cheese or chicken fingers on the menu, we’re in!” she says. They’re particularly fond of sushi, and enjoy a night out at Wasabi or Nobu’s whenever they can. “There are so many great places for sushi in St. Louis, it’s hard to name a favorite spot.”

    This summer’s lineup at the Touhill includes DMS: George Duke, Marcus Miller, David Sanborn. “It’s the kick-off to the Legends of Jazz series,” Goldwasser says. “It’s going to be a fabulous show!” To cap off the evening, Cary and Jim might head to the lounge at The Ritz, or to Cold Stone Creamery for some Cake Batter ice cream.

Jack Lane, STAGES St. Louis

    When we asked Jack Lane to share his idea of the perfect summer evening, he didn’t hesitate. Lane, executive producer of Stages St. Louis, knows what he likes. “I would gather a group of friends for dinner at Café Provencal, we would sit on the patio with a bottle of French white—either a Sancere or a pinot gris. And I’d start with the divine beet salad, or perhaps the to-die-for watermelon salad,” he says. And then? “Their signature disc is Poulet De Bergerac, a chicken breast wrapped in phyllo. It’s just crazy good!”

    Of course, this repast would be followed with an evening at Stages. “A Chorus Line—if I was lucky enough to get tickets! Fortunately, I know people,” he laughs. After the show, Lane might drop by Fleming’s for an Italian aperitif with sweet vermouth.