Story: King Henry V of England, the former Prince Hal who assumed the throne upon the death of his father Henry IV in 1413, looks upon France as his next conquest. While preparing for war he deals with a trio of conspirators hired by the French to assassinate him.
Story: King Henry IV, formerly Henry (of) Bolingbroke of the House of Plantagenet, has become king of England following the deposition of his cousin, Richard II, circa 1399. All is not well, however, as Henry Percy, son of the Earl of Northumberland and a leader in Henry IV’s army, becomes increasingly disenchanted with the king’s treatment of his family. Hotspur, his father and his uncle, the Earl of Worcester, decide to rebel against the ruler.
It’s a Shakespearean story of courage, faith and loyalty: A young man must leave his rebellious ways behind and learn how to be king. For the first time, two plays—Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V—will be staged for the free annual Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park. “We wanted to do two plays that were so epic in scope and epic in storytelling that it would make this an event for St. Louis and our audience,” says Shakespeare Festival St. Louis executive director Rick Dildine.
Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author SHIRLEY MACLAINE will headline the NATIONAL CHILDREN’S CANCER SOCIETY Alvin K. Stolze International Humanitarian Award dinner in St. Louis. MacLaine will be performing her one-woman show at the Nov. 23 event at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. The dinner also will include an award presentation to MICHAEL NEIDORFF and Centene Corporation (Humanitarian Award), TOM VOSS and Ameren (Corporate Philanthropy Award), and DR. ROBERT HAYASHI (Medical Legacy Award). For more information, visit theNCCS.org.
Story: Viola is washed ashore in Illyria after being shipwrecked with her twin brother Sebastian and others, whom she believes have died. Endangered in a strange land, she masquerades as a young page named Cesario and becomes employed by Orsino, Duke of Illyria.
Audiences will be in the middle of the action during this year’s Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ performances of Twelfth Night in Forest Park. New stage-side seating will place patrons amid the live music, romance and comedy in Shakespeare Glen. Executive director Rick Dildine recently gave LN a sneak peek into the much-anticipated 13th installment of the free annual event, running this spring from May 24 to June 16, with preview plays May 22 and 23.
Seeing stars…St. Louis will welcome a couple of big names beginning next month. On Tuesday, April 23, BOB DYLAN and his band will perform on the Peabody Opera House stage. Tickets went on sale March 15, and may still be available at the box office, by calling 800-745-3000 or through ticketmaster.com. Dylan, who will turn 73 in May, became the first rock musician to be voted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters earlier this month.
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.
Story: Othello, a Moor and a military general serving the City of Venice, falls in love with Desdemona, daughter of the Venetian senator Brabantio. They secretly wed, drawing the wrath of her father when he learns she has married an African. The Duke of Venice, however, dismisses Brabantio’s charges against Othello when the latter is ordered to lead Venetian forces into battle against the Turkish army over the rights to the island of Cyprus.
Stories: In Othello in a Breath, playwright Elizabeth Birkenmeier adapts Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy, hatred and deception into a 50-minute presentation. Othello, the Moor of Venice, is a black military leader and the victorious general of the Italian city state. His malevolent, scheming ensign, Iago, convinces Othello that his wife Desdemona is having an affair with Othello’s chief lieutenant, Michael Cassio. Iago plants circumstantial evidence to sway the jealous Othello into seeking revenge against both his wife and Cassio, with tragic results.
We applaud this year’s WOMEN OF ACHIEVEMENT honorees, who will be fêted during a May 17 awards luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton. The 2012 class includes CAROLYN COTTA (Youth Dedication), SANDRA LAUSCHKE (Health Concerns), KIMBERLY RITTER (Human Welfare), MARSHA RUSNACK (Cultural Enrichment), BARBARA SHUMAN (Community Service), CAROL STAENBERG (Spirit of Giving), THELMA STEWARD (Social Responsibility), CAROL VOSS (Community Betterment), MARY PILLSBURY WAINWRIGHT (Health & Arts) and LISA ZARIN (Youth Advocate). For tickets and more information about the awards luncheon, call 421-2005 or visit woastl.org.
All is quiet at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park—for the moment. Behind the scenes, it’s a different story. In 11 years, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has drawn more than a half-million theater-goers to its enchanting, open-air productions. With preparations, auditions and plans well underway for the 2012 season, the excitement is certainly building for Othello (May 25 to June 17). And no one is more thrilled about season No. 12 than executive director Rick Dildine!
Show photos by David Levy
Rick Dildine. photo by Wesley Law
Shakespeare Festival St. Louis just wrapped its 11th season, with director Sean Graney’s 1950s twist on The Taming of the Shrew. To get the inside scoop, we turned to executive director Rick Dildine, who says next year’s free production in Forest Park’s Shakespeare Glen will be (drum roll, please!) Othello, under the leadership of returning director Bruce Longworth.
Play: “The Taming of the Shrew”
The 1950s-inspired costumes for SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS’ upcoming production of The Taming of the Shrew were unveiled during last week’s spring fashion luncheon at The Zodiac at Neiman Marcus. Executive director RICK DILDINE held court, joined by costume director ALISON SIPLE and director SEAN GRANEY, who offered behind-the-scenes details about the production, set for May 25 through June 19 in Shakespeare Glen at Forest Park.
Opera: “A Little Night Music”
Some say that St. Louis in recent years has been experiencing a renaissance in theater, but I’m not entirely sure about that. While matching the second definition of ‘renaissance’ in my Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as ‘a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity,’ it doesn’t necessarily jibe with the third definition of ‘rebirth, revival.’
Play: The Merry Wives of Windsor
Lana Pepper will never forget the nervousness and anticipation she felt before Shakespeare Festival’s premiere in Forest Park. Having spent the last three years helping to raise money and organize the city’s first free, outdoor Shakespeare production, Pepper had been at the park setting up since early in the morning. “I ran home to get cleaned up, and on the way back in to Forest Park, starting somewhere around the Muny, the sides of the streets were all lined with cars,” she recalls. “I thought, oh, I wish those people at the zoo would leave so our people would have a place to park.”