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NOTE: The review below was written for the original presentation of Stupefy! last December. The latest production features three new cast members, including Chris LaBanca, Ben Ritchie and John Wolbers, who are replacing Blaine Adams, Rob Suozzi and John Foughty, respectively. Additionally, the new rendition includes a 5-minute video pre-show as well as new scenes and a new ending, all in a “faster than last time” 90 minutes.
Stories: Winning Juliet focuses on the new girl at a high school who runs into unexpected animosity and resentment by some established ‘popular’ students when she decides to audition for the female title role in the school’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Romeo & Juliet.
Story: It’s the early 1920s, and Rose is determined to make her mark in show business. Not as an entertainer on the vaudeville circuit exactly, but rather as an impresario who knows what’s best for booking agents and small-time venues in the many cities she visits with her two daughters, Dainty June and Louise. Rose pushes her children to extreme limits in her efforts to make the younger of the two, June, a bona fide star.
Kim Eberlein (Volunteer Leadership)
Sitting down to talk about Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ programs to avert bullying, the first obvious question is, What does Shakespeare have to do with bulling? As it turns out, the connection runs deep.
“Cruel to be Kind” was the first of three commissioned plays about bullying for young audiences by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Pictured: Drew Pannebaker and Khnemu MenuRa
Bullying is part of the universal themes present in many Shakespeare plays. This scene, from Me and Richard 3, commissioned by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, won the Kevin Kline award for Most Outstanding Play for Young Audiences in 2009. Pictured: Jenn Theby Quinn, Aaron Orion Baker and Michael Perkins
In today’s high-tech world, there are even more ways for kids to communicate—and harass—their classmates. Not only at school, but via text message or on social media, there's evidence that students are increasingly bullied by their peers. This physical, verbal and electronic harassment has led to troubling consequences—victims can wrestle with depression, fear and anxiety, even to the point of committing suicide. And communities are left asking: Who is liable?
The January movie curse continues. I don’t know how much of the blame for this film we can put on Peter Farrelly—the production credits have more names than I care to count. Nevertheless, his name is among them; and this movie reeks of his signature, sophomoric witless comedy. The lingering question about this movie is How? How on earth did they assemble that cast with that script? The film stars A-listers, Oscar winners and soon-to-be Oscar winners. I get that they have their eye on a beach house, but come on.
I think I’m finally starting to get Quentin Tarantino. I think somewhere, way back when, Tarantino was profoundly impacted by an injustice. Maybe it was a bully stealing his lunch money, or maybe something worse. Whatever the reason, the 10-year-old boy inside of him clearly feels the need to right a wrong. And like any 10-year-old boy, he wants to right that wrong with as much violence and bloodshed as possible. Whether it’s a fighter who wants one last score, a bride attacked at her wedding, or Nazi hunters, Quentin Tarantino wants justice. This time, it’s for slaves.
Weighing in at more than 300 pounds, Eric Morff was very unhappy. He couldn’t sleep in the same bed as his wife because his weight-induced snoring kept her up at night. He always found an excuse to not exercise, and spent the weekend sleeping because he was so tired. And he never had the energy to chase his 4-year-old son or 2-year-old daughter around the house. Morff’s weight was disrupting many parts of his life, and through the encouragement of his wife and mother, he finally decided to seek help. Recalling information about weight-loss coach Charles D’Angelo from a previous Ladue News article, he made the call in September 2011 that would change his life. “Charles helped me understand that I was ready to lose the weight, why I was ready and what was important to me: my wife, my children and myself,” Morff says. “I needed to make this change for them and for myself.”
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
Story: Well, there’s this young wizard named Harry Potter who has great mystical powers. Harry is an orphan who now lives with his non-magical, “Muggle” relatives, dullards who hope that he will turn out ‘normal.’ Nonetheless, he and his best pals, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, become students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, presided over by Albus Dumbledore.
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate recently celebrated the opening of its new chocolate factory by hosting a party for friends, family and residents of The Hill, where the facility is located. A portion of the retail proceeds and all proceeds from a chocolate basket raffle went to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Pictured: Shriners' director of public and community relations Tammy Robbins, owners of Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Dan Abel, Sr., Rosalie Abel, Dan Abel, Jr., Christina Abel and Chris Abel, and Shriner David Dieckhaus
Saint Louis Crisis Nursery hosted the 7th annual 'Over the Top for Tots' ladies luncheon in St. Charles. The event benefited the Nursery's Healing Hearts Program, which provides art and play therapy for children who need help mending their broken spirits. Some 500 attendees enjoyed shopping, a live auction and a cake decorating contest; and honored the contributions of Pat Kulik, and Kara and Mike Gatto to the Nursery. Pictured: LN's Trish Muyco-Tobin and Millie Cain.
Today’s bullies are much more sophisticated than the troublemakers of my youth. Victims, these days, don’t typically have a black eye or bloody nose; rather, they arrive home with internal scars that are unnoticeable to their parents and more emotionally damaging than a punch to the stomach.
Story: Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president (1829-37), was not born into the landed gentry. Quite the opposite, Jackson endured a harsh life growing up on the Western frontier from the time of his birth in 1767. Orphaned at age 14, he struck out on his own with a fervent hatred of the British and a burning desire to take land away from Native Americans for the benefit of European immigrants. Jackson eschewed the way of politics in Washington, D.C. and carved his own career as a populist and the people’s choice.
Proceeds from the Ladue News Show House will go to four St. Louis nonprofits: Angels’ Arms, Animal Protective Association of Missouri, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. Dozens of volunteers from the nonprofits, as well as the National Charity League’s St. Louis Chapter, have donated their time to help prep the home and will serve as docents during the tour. “They will really help bring to life the vision of the designer for each room,” says volunteer chair Lisa Malone.
What better way to raise money for a worthy cause than a night out with the girls? That’s what Chris and Scott Homan have done for three years running with Ladies Night Out, a gathering they host annually in their Ladue home.
One student came to Marian Middle School with a stutter, brought on by bullying at her previous school. Four years later, she was the speaker at graduation. Another girl became her high school freshman class president after leaving Marian. And in 2012, the middle school saw its first college graduate complete her education at University of Missouri. In just 13 years, the all-girls school has marked countless milestones in its efforts to break the cycle of poverty through education. “Our goal is to serve the underserved and make these opportunities available to girls of promise who wouldn’t have them otherwise,” says Marian board member Susan Conrad.
Veronica McDonnell sees the need in St. Louis, and she wants to give a hand up. As a health care professional for more than 20 years, the local renal dietician and consultant has firsthand experience with patients’ challenges—from struggling to pay for medications to educating their children and paying for food and utilities.
Hollywood has to be the most eco-friendly town on the planet. Boy, do they know how to reuse and recycle! Currently, the theme du jour is fairy tales. Tinsel Town has remade Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Snow White (twice) and there are more on the way. Of course, producers have to claim some originality—a new spin on a classic tale, if you will. Oddly, they all seem to have come up with the same new spin.
When Charles D’Angelo was 17 years old, he had a realization that would change the course of his life, as well as the lives of many others. He weighed 360 pounds—with a 50-inch waist—and was a victim of bullying at school. “It was difficult for me to make it up a flight of stairs,” he recalls. “I had no social relationships, and I would come home from school in tears because I felt that everything was out of control.” He adds that his father’s side of the family had a history of being overweight and suffered from diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.
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