Before the annual stroll around The Galleria in search of holiday gifts both selective and silly, it’s time to contemplate what occurred on local stages in the past 12 months.
Story: Annie, a contestant on the reality TV series Looking for Love, is ecstatic when she outlasts the competition and receives a wedding proposal from the focal eligible bachelor Matt, taped of course for a later broadcast. Meanwhile, producer Josh informs Annie and Matt that they are legally obligated to keep quiet about the results until the show airs or they will forfeit their winnings.
Story: An article buried in the back pages of the New York Times on July 3, 1981 tells about an unknown disease that has taken the lives of several men in the New York City area who share the common trait of homosexuality. A physician named Dr. Emma Brookner has treated a number of them and believes that they may represent the tip of the iceberg of a horrible epidemic.
Story: Eight gay men gather at the idyllic country home of Gregory, a famous choreographer who feels the feared touch of encroaching middle age and declining creativity, for a trio of weekends on the three major summer holidays: Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Story: Matt and Davis are Americans in Amsterdam for a good time. Trouble is, the former college roommates and 30-somethings are somewhat polar opposites. Davis is a rakish ne’er-do-well, an editor who is on the fast track after plucking a novel from obscurity and seeing it shoot to the top of the charts, courtesy of Matt’s recognition of its artistic merit.
Recognition of stellar productions by nearly two dozen local theater companies will take center stage when the St. Louis Theater Circle presents its second annual awards ceremony honoring the best in local professional theater, on stage and behind the scenes, on Monday, March 17, 2014 at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), 524 Trinity Avenue in University City.
All of a sudden it’s nearing the end of December and thoughts of New Year’s resolutions dance in our heads. Before we enter 2014, however, let’s reflect on what the past year has given us on local stages.
Story: When Ben and Franklyn met in college, they knew they’d be best friends, as in “Ben Franklin,” you know? Several years later, Ben is a successful Los Angeles businessman operating a string of ‘Big and Tall’ men’s shops, while Franklyn pays the bills as an employee of a prominent law firm run by his father-in-law. What he really wants, though, is a career as a writer, so he’s taking a night-school course to help in that endeavor.
Story: Kath is smitten with her prospective new tenant, Mr. Sloane. He’s tall, dark and handsome, just the type of lad that middle-aged Kath says she could ‘mother.’ He reminds her of what her own son might be like had she known him. Her son was born out of wedlock, though, and Kath’s brother Ed sent him off to an adoption agency many years ago.
Way back in the days when I was a lad, Labor Day marked the beginning of the school year. Now, of course, school districts and universities get their fall semesters underway a couple of weeks earlier.
Story: Katha has a high-powered job in the city that keeps her in high-stress mode. Her husband Ryu is a plastic surgeon who seems always to be on the run. One day, when Katha by chance meets a dapper fellow named Dean on the street and inquires about his ‘retro’ look, he hands her a brochure about the Society of Dynamic Obsolescence.
DATE AND LOCATION CHANGED, CATERER ADDED FOR INAUGURAL ST. LOUIS THEATER CIRCLE AWARDS
Story: Using social media as both a tool and a plot device, playwright Lia Romeo presents a quartet of tales, played out in one act and 90 minutes, which depict the values and vices of communicating with others through 21st century adaptations of the internet.
Story: Chiclet Forrest wants desperately to be included in the fun times of the local Malibu surfer group. She’s a bit reserved, perhaps because of the quiet life she lives with her mother. It’s 1962, and Mrs. Forrest likes to dress up and sip a martini while doing the domestic chores.
Performances by local professional theater companies, ranging in size from The Muny and its productions in the 11,000-seat Forest Park amphitheater to small companies performing in modest spaces throughout the area, will be recognized at the inaugural Louie Awards.
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.
Undoubtedly, everything is faster paced now than in the ‘good old days,’ whenever those days may have been. Still, there’s no reason to automatically equate modern technology with rudeness, a self-centered attitude and a lack of common courtesy and grace.
Story: Mother Superior desperately needs funds to improve St. Veronica’s school, a middle-class Roman Catholic facility in Pittsburgh teeming with Baby Boomers circa 1966. “It’s a period of vast social change,” she tells another nun, “and we must do everything in our power to stop it.” In dire straits, she visits a local Jewish widow known for her beneficence, only to learn that Mrs. Levinson is a confirmed atheist.
Story: Lynn wants to be a commercial fisherwoman. She has no real training for that, but it sounds interesting to her. Actually, she just wants to escape her humdrum life in a hamlet in rural Oregon. She yearns to get away from her suffocating mother and mindless father. She needs to leave behind her insensitive husband Ray. She even decides to get beyond the grasp of her brother Kelly, who has come out of the closet to everyone except his parents, causing his lover Gary to jump out of Kelly’s bedroom window following late-night rendezvous.
Story: Don, meet Michael. Michael, meet Don. To an outsider, these two men seem like polar opposites. Don wants to win at all costs, while Michael -- and he prefers ‘Michael’ to ‘Mike’ or especially ‘Mikey’ – just desires the experience to be worthwhile. The experience in point here is a Little League baseball team managed by Don -- and don’t call him ‘Donald’ – for several years.
Story: John is on a roll. His book is taught on college campuses, including the one where he lectures as a professor. Further, he’s been recommended for tenure, which comes with a hefty raise that he is using to purchase a bigger home for his wife and son. While on the phone with his wife, he is visited in his office by a timid young under-graduate student named Carol. Confused and distraught, she confesses to her teacher that she doesn’t understand the class he is teaching, despite having read his book and attended all his lectures.
The year 2011 yielded an abundance of significant news in local theater. Eleven presentations stood out above the rest. In ascending order, here’s a list of the year’s best productions:
Story: A quintet of people known as the Quimbies congregates in an amorphous area while Dr. G exists in a catatonic state on the perimeter. Who exactly are the Quimbies? Are they figments of Dr. G’s fertile imagination? Do they embody his thoughts and dreams? Do they have any purpose or raison d’etre? What do the series of illustrations in the background represent? And why does Dr. G look so thoroughly depressed and despondent? What are the reasons for his malaise, and is there any hope to alleviate his spirits?
STORY: Cassie and Kurt have known each other since high school. They were apart for a while in college, but then reunited and have been married for several years. Their lives take a sudden and dramatic shift; however, when they win a $337 million lottery. They’re careful people by nature, so they don’t quit their jobs or burn any bridges. What they decide to do first, though, is to satisfy one of Cassie’s fantasies, so they hire an escort named Tiffany for an evening of sexual adventures. But the next morning, she has a revelation that she considers both profound and exhilarating: She wants to ‘buy’ Tiffany’s freedom.
Want to spend an iconic St. Louis summer night strolling through the grounds of the Busch family mansion at Grant’s Farm? The landmark home will be the site of a private party hosted by Fox 2’s MANDY MURPHEY and LN columnist PAUL BROWN to benefit Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support. Guests to the June 25 event will be treated to a tour of the property’s many living areas, including a glimpse of ‘Gussie’s’ trophy room, as well as get an opportunity to spend time with a Clydesdale or two. Limited tickets are available. Call 636-947-6164 for information.