Dead Man Walking the opera is making its St. Louis debut, and with it comes SR. HELEN PREJEAN, who will be in attendance for the Aug. 19 opening night performance at Union Avenue Opera (UAO). Based on Prejean’s novel of the same name, the opera brings to stage her modern-day journey as spiritual advisor to a Louisiana death row inmate. As a nod to the nun’s home state, a fundraising dinner for UAO with Prejean is planned before the performance and will feature Louisianainspired cuisine. For more information on the event or show tickets, call 361-2881 or visit

More, please! Another St. Louis food destination is getting the Food Network’s thumbs up. MAMA TOSCANO’S on The Hill is grabbing its share of the national spotlight on The Best Thing I Ever Ate show for its toasted ravioli. The show’s ‘Finger Foods’ episode debuted on the network this week. We’re told that Mama’s handmade ravioli, affectionately called ‘little pillows,’ involves a three-day process, from butchering, grinding and cooking the meat to making its famous dough.

The story of Holocaust survivor RACHEL GOLDMAN MILLER is the subject of a play that opens later this month at St. Louis Jewish Community Center. Miller, who speaks openly about being a hidden child during the Holocaust, lost 93 family members, including her mother, sister and brothers. In addition to her experiences during the Holocaust, Beyond Me: A Song Cycle in the Key of Survival, also recounts Miller’s other life challenges, including losing her son, Mark, to AIDS and fighting breast cancer. The play will be performed by composer, singer and actress SUSAN MEISEL on Aug. 21 at the Carl and Helene Mirowitz Performing Arts and Banquet Hall at the JCC. Visit for ticket information.

Actor ALAN ARKIN will headline the 33rd annual St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, the largest of its kind in the country. Arkin, an Oscar, Tony and Emmy Award-winner, will be the keynote speaker Nov. 6 at the Jewish Community Center. He’ll be sharing stories from his new book, An Improvised Life: A Memoir. The star of films like Little Miss Sunshine and Glengarry Glen Ross, Arkin is said to have unofficially launched his career from St. Louis, when he caught the eye of stage director BOB SILLS and went on to become an original member of the Chicago improve troupe Second City. The 11-day festival also includes an interfaith program with STEVE and COKIE ROBERTS and appearances by authors RANDY SUSAN MEYERS (The Murderer’s Daughters) and ALYSON RICHMAN (The Lost Wife).

‘Give Burns the Boot’ by attending a boot-centric fashion show to benefit MISSOURI CHILDREN’S BURN CAMP, the only camp in the state that addresses issues specific to burn injuries and provides affected children with a week’s worth of summer fun. The Sept. 22 event at Saks Fifth Avenue will feature fall fashion and accessories modeled by campers, counselors and firefighters. Ten percent of the proceeds from the day go to the burn camp. For tickets, call 997-2757.