Glee-ful news…Tony Award-winning actress and singer IDINA MENZEL, who also happens to be the star of one of TV’s hottest shows, will perform with the SAINT LOUIS SYMPHONY during a Jan. 23 matinee at Powell Hall. Menzel, who received a Tony for her role as Elphaba in Wicked, will showcase a diverse repertoire of classical, pop and Broadway favorites, including popular numbers from Glee.
Why do they call it Ovaltine? Comedian JERRY SEINFELD is coming to St. Louis for a Jan. 22 show at The Fox. Since uber-popular Seinfeld series wrapped up 12 years ago, the comedian has focused on being a dad (he and wife Jessica have three children), and lately, writing new material for his first love, stand-up comedy. Tickets are on sale now through Metrotix.
Look for actor TIM SNAY (Webster Groves ’71) later this year in DAVID E. KELLEY’s new legal drama for NBC. Snay plays a judge in Harry’s Law, which stars Oscar-winning actress KATHY BATES. Snay’s recent work includes guest appearances in Mad Men, Cold Case and Boston Legal. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kim and daughter Emily.
On the heels of SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS’ highly acclaimed production of Hamlet, we get word that next season’s The Taming of the Shrew will be directed by award-winning Chicago director and playwright SEAN GRANEY. The founder and artistic director of The Hypocrites, Graney was named ‘Chicagoan of the Year’ by the Chicago Tribune in 2004 for his contributions to theater. Shakespeare Festival executive director RICK DILDINE is thrilled to have Graney on board, saying, “Sean is nationally recognized for his creativity and bold, dynamic staging, and we are lucky to have him join us next spring.”
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Our town’s recent Downtown Ball attracted more than 450 revelers to the Old Post Office Plaza to celebrate all things downtown. The gala benefits DOWNTOWN ST. LOUIS FOUNDATION, an organization that promotes improvements and a better quality of life for residents, workers and visitors to the downtown area.
Restaurateur FRANK GABRIELE is still beaming about the dinner he personally prepared for RUDY GIULIANI during the former NYC mayor’s visit to Il Bel Lago in Creve Coeur. Gabriele whipped up a trio of pastas, which Giuliani enjoyed while being serenaded by jazz songstress ANITA ROSAMOND with, you guessed it, New York, New York. The rousing number was followed by hearty applause from diners and a standing ovation for Giuliani, who was in town for a private fundraiser.
Jam on! A benefit concert for Pakistani flood victims takes place Oct. 17 in Ladue. ‘Jamnesty’ is sponsored by the Ladue H.S. chapter of Amnesty International. Eight local bands will take the stage—performing a range of music from rock and indie to classical—on the field behind Ladue Middle School. Admission is $5. Food will be available for sale at the event, which will also feature a raffle and an activity area for kids.
Best wishes to DAN BUCK, who’s been named the new executive director of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation. Buck assumes the new post after serving as CEO of St. Patrick Center for the past eight years. Under his leadership, the Center grew its operating budget from $6.7 in 2003 to $14.2 million in the current fiscal year. St. Patrick’s chief operating officer, GREG VOGELWEID, has been appointed interim CEO. Buck reports to his new job Nov. 8.
Due to popular demand, Percy Jackson and the Olympians author RICK RIORDAN is returning to St. Louis. More than 1,600 youngsters turned out to see the author last year at St. Louis County Library headquarters, making it the largest event in the library’s history. To make room for a bigger crowd, Riordan’s Oct. 14 appearance will be at MICDS. The event is free to the public, but tickets are required. For more info, visit slclfoundation.wordpress.com.
Play time! A new playground is up and running at the Miriam School in Webster Groves, thanks to a donation from longtime supporters MARGIE and DAVID FRANK. The 5,500-square-foot play area is said to have the safest and most environmentally sound equipment around and includes zip lines, a crawl tunnel, saddle spinner seats and a rock climbing wall. We’re told the old playground equipment was donated to a school in Haiti. Miriam School specializes in educating Pre-K through 8th grade students with learning disabilities.
Channel your inner Tarzan by entering MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN’s Extreme Tree Houses exhibition. Local designers, architects, schools, studios and individuals are encouraged to submit a creative tree house design for the juried competition. Winners will receive a $5,000 stipend to construct their design on the Garden grounds to be featured as part of the public exhibition beginning next spring. Participants are required to attend a pre-design meeting Oct. 18. Entry deadline is Nov. 15. For details, call 577-0295 or visit mobot.org/treemendous.
AMINI’S has announced its purchase of Jaffe Lighting’s assets, creating a $1 million lighting showroom at its Chesterfield store. Owner ARASH AMINI is working with longtime Jaffe employee BILL HUGHES to design the showroom, which will officially be unveiled next week. Jaffe closed its doors earlier this year after 118 years in business in St. Louis.