Story: Six comic vignettes comprise two acts of humor. In Sure Thing, a man meets a woman in a coffee shop, where their dialogue is altered continually until they finally ‘click’ into a mutual attraction. Words, Words, Words focuses on a trio of chimpanzees placed before typewriters by a research scientist who is monitoring whether, given enough time, they can write Hamlet.
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: Vagabond preacher Purlie Victorious Judson has returned home to rural Georgia. He has his heart set on buying Big Bethel, the local church, with money that he believes rightfully belongs to him. Trouble is, those funds are in the tight-fisted hands of bigoted plantation owner Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee, who is none too eager to let go.
Story: Francis “Confidential” Henshall is hungry for work, literally. The erstwhile skiffle musician can’t think of anything but food as he wanders the streets of Brighton, England in 1963. As fate would have it, he finds employment working for a two-bit gangster named Roscoe Crabbe, who was thought to be dead but apparently is not. Soon, Roscoe and Francis are strong-arming Charlie “The Duck” Clench, another small-time hood.
Story: Life in Czarist Russia is harsh for the Jewish residents of Anatevka, but it is the life they know. Their story is seen through the lens of Tevye the dairyman, who with his wife Golda struggles to raise their five daughters according to the precepts of the “Good Book.” The world, however, is evolving rapidly, and those changes are reaching even into their small, inconspicuous community.
Story: For 36 years Willy Loman has led the life of a salesman, covering all of New England for the New York company and its products that he represents. To hear Willy tell it, he cuts a wide swath through the northeastern United States, where people welcome him with open arms and deep pockets.
Story: Four musical vignettes peek at the private lives behind the public personae of several wives of American presidents, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower and Jackie Kennedy.
Story: Life is fine and dandy for the residents of Armadillo Acres, a tiny trailer park in Stark, Florida, a fur piece from any main drag in the Sunshine State. Of course, they have their problems, which Betty and her pals Lin and Pickles describe with a flair for a receptive audience.
Story: Mabry Hoffman has a Ph.D. in anthropology but no job to pay the bills to support her son and herself. Thus, she’s interested when she hears about a project operated by the United States Army called The Human Terrain, a proof-of-concept initiative established in 2006 to “improve the military’s ability to understand the highly complex local, socio-cultural environment in the areas where (it is) deployed.”
Story: Travis has a predicament. He’s invited Shawn back to his apartment, and there’s a strong mutual attraction between them. Just as the relationship is getting intimate, though, Alyse walks through the door with her boyfriend, Ryan. Travis tells Shawn not to worry, that Alyse is just his wife.
Story: In part three of Richard Wagner’s mythical tetralogy, The Ring Cycle, the hero Siegfried spends his days cajoling Mime, the Nibelung dwarf and brother of Alberich who raised Siegfried after the deaths of his parents, Siegmund and his sister Sieglinde. For his part, Mime hopes to manipulate Siegfried so that he can possess the fabled Ring.
Story: Fresh out of prison, Percy Talbott arrives in the middle of winter in the town of Gilead, Wisconsin in the 1990s, a place she selected based on a photo she saved from a travel book. Sheriff Joe Sutter meets her and, though puzzled why anyone would want to settle in the depressed hamlet, arranges for her to work at the Spitfire Grill, the only restaurant in town.
Story: It’s 1816, and a group of young poets, philosophers and artists has gathered at Lake Geneva in Switzerland for a summer of sailing, writing and late-night conversations. With steady rain forcing them to stay inside on many days, they entertain themselves by telling old German ghost stories. This inspires one of them, George Gordon (aka Lord Byron), to propose a contest in which each of them will write a ghost story.
Story: Dorante is an elegant, upper-class cad. He’s journeyed to Paris in 1644 in search of a wife, unaware that his father already has decided his marital fate. While there, Dorante stumbles upon an amiable chap named Cliton, an impoverished but decent fellow who needs a steady job. Cliton convinces Dorante that he should be Dorante’s servant, which appeals to the gentleman’s vanity.
Story: New York City is bustling in 1895, and in the middle of the action is Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi. The widow of Ephram Levi makes her living by selling her services to teach dancing, play musical instruments and a dozen other occupations, most notably arranging marriages.
Story: At the Charenton asylum in France in 1807, the most notorious inmate is Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade, an aristocrat better known as the Marquis de Sade. He was born in 1740 and spent 32 years in various prisons before dying in 1814 at Charenton, where he was sent in 1801.
Story: Playwright Eric Bogosian presents 10 vignettes featuring urban and suburban men in modern-day America in this one-man, one-act, 75-minute venture into the male psyche.
Show: The ninth annual St. Louis Cabaret Conference was held July 28 through August 1, allowing students to take lessons from a variety of artists adept in the stylistic art form. Founded by Tim Schall and Sharon Hunter in 2006, the conference was expanded in 2012 by producer Schall to include the St. Louis Cabaret Festival, a series of cabaret performances occurring while the conference is under way.
Story: Blanche DuBois travels from her native Mississippi to the Elysian Fields area of New Orleans and the home of her married sister, Stella Kowalski. Stella is surprised at Blanche’s arrival but makes her feel at home. Quickly, though, Stella learns that Blanche has lost the beloved family estate, Belle Reve, and has packed all of her worldly possessions into her suitcases.
Story: Return with us now to 1959 for the senior year of the fun-loving kids at fictional Rydell High School (anyone else remember Bobby Rydell?). It seems that over the summer, Danny Zuko, leader of a group of school greasers known as the T-Birds, had a romance with a chick named Sandy Dumbrowski.
Story: It’s 1961, and window washer J. Pierrepont Finch seems more absorbed in the book he’s reading than in cleaning the exterior of the World Wide Wicket building. He carries a self-help tome that describes in meticulous detail how an ambitious, enterprising young man (it is 1961) can rise to the top of the business world with nary an iota of talent.
Story: Fanny Brice, a homely young Jewish woman from the Lower East Side of New York City in the early 20th century, is determined to succeed in show business despite her lack of head-turning looks. With considerable faith in her voice and comic skills, she auditions for a role with impresario Florenz Ziegfeld and His Follies on Broadway.
Story: Last year, St. Louis Actors’ Studio introduced its LaBute New Theater Festival, a four-week offering of new, one-act plays receiving their world premieres at the Gaslight Theater. STLAS founding director William Roth and others at STLAS collaborated with noted playwright Neil LaBute, who agreed to lend his name to the festival and also to contribute an original work to the inaugural event.
Most fans of musical theater doubtless are familiar with Cabaret, the jaunty musical written by composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb that focuses on the decadent lifestyle favored by the bohemians and artists who lived in Berlin in the post-World War I years shortly before Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich came to power.
Story: A young girl finds herself drawn into a magical world guided by the most imaginative and individual Cat in the Hat. Soon she becomes a character herself as Jojo, the daughter of the mayor of Whoville and his wife, Mrs. Mayor.