Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sixth Annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

Another awards night has come and gone, this time generously hosted by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, with a delicious buffet provided by With Love Catering. Congratulations to all of the nominees and award recipients! As cliché as it sounds, the amount of talent in our own back yard makes us all winners. Here's the list of the sixth annual St. Louis Theater Circle Award nominees with the award recipients in red.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Heather Beal, Dot, The Black Rep
Rachel Christopher, The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis
Andra Harkins, Steel Magnolias, Stray Dog Theatre
Larissa White, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Theatre Macabre
Gwen Wotawa, Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Insight Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy
John Bratkowski, Sweet Revenge, Upstream Theater
Gary Glasgow, The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
Andrew Kuhlman, First Impressions, SATE
Ben Ritchie, Is He Dead?, St. Louis Shakespeare
William Roth, A Behanding in Spokane, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy, Debby Lennon,
Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy
Sophia Brown, The Way We Get By, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Thomasina Clarke, Dot, The Black Rep
Debby Lennon, Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
Justine Salata, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Rep
Rachel Tibbetts, Little Thing, Big Thing, The Midnight Company

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy
Paul Cereghino, Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
Miles G. Jackson, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Rep
Jason Meyers, Stones in His Pockets, West End Players Guild
Jared Sanz-Agero, Stones in His Pockets, West End Players Guild
John Wolbers, First Impressions, SATE

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play
Brian Sidney Bembridge, The Royale, The Rep
Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play
Brian Sidney Bembridge, The Royale, The Rep
Patrick Huber and Tony Anselmo, Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
Bess Moynihan, Title and Deed, The Midnight Company
Peter Sargent, All My Sons, The Rep
Sean M. Savoie, Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design in a Play
David Bullard, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep
Mikhail Fiksel, The Royale, The Rep
Mark Kelley, The Flick, R-S Theatrics
Ellie Schwetye, First Impressions, SATE
Rusty Wandall, The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Costume Design in a Play
Teresa Doggett, Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
JC Krajicek, Is He Dead?, St. Louis Shakespeare
Michael Alan Stein, Seven Guitars, The Black Rep
Jane Sullivan, Remnant, Mustard Seed Theatre
David Toser, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Rep

Outstanding Set Design in a Play
Peter and Margery Spack, Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre
Outstanding Set Design in a Play
Kyra Bishop, Dancing at Lughnasa, Mustard Seed Theatre
Kristin Cassidy, Oedipus Apparatus, West End Players Guild
Dunsi Dai, Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
Narelle Sissons, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep
Peter and Margery Spack, Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
Kim Furlow, August: Osage County, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Rachel Hanks, A Doll’s House, Stray Dog Theatre
Linda Kennedy, Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre
Andrea Purnell, Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre
Kathleen Wise, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Jim Butz, Uncle Vanya, Rebel and Misfits Productions
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama
Jim Butz, Uncle Vanya, Rebel and Misfits Productions
Gary Glasgow, Dancing at Lughnasa, Mustard Seed Theatre
Ron Himes, Seven Guitars, The Black Rep
Stephen Peirick, A Doll’s House, Stray Dog Theatre
Chauncy Thomas, Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre

Outstanding Actress in a Drama
Nicole Angeli, A Doll’s House, Stray Dog Theatre
Kari Ely, August: Osage County, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
Alexis J. Roston, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Max & Louie Productions
Jacqueline Thompson, Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre
Donna Weinsting, Unsuspecting Susan, Inevitable Theatre Company

Outstanding Actor in a Drama
Christopher Harris, A Human Being Died That Night, Upstream Theater
Nick LaMedica, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep
Andrew Michael Neiman, Uncle Vanya, Rebel and Misfits Productions
Carl Overly Jr., Of Mice and Men, SATE
Jim Poulos, Hamlet, The Rep

Outstanding New Play 
First Impressions, SATE
Outstanding New Play - Tie
First Impressions, SATE
Honor Student, Michael Erickson, Tesseract Theatre
Oedipus Apparatus, Lucy Cashion, West End Players Guild
Percentage America, Carter Lewis, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
twelfth period, or not another twelfth night, Equally Represented Arts

Outstanding Achievement in Opera
Katharine Goeldner, The Grapes of Wrath, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Ricky Ian Gordon & Michael Korie, The Grapes of Wrath, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Stephen Lord, Titus, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Benedetta Orsi, Carmen, Winter Opera Saint Louis
James Robinson, The Grapes of Wrath, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Outstanding Achievement in Opera
Ricky Ian Gordon & Michael Korie,
The Grapes of Wrath, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Outstanding Production of an Opera
Carousel, Union Avenue Opera
The Grapes of Wrath, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Albert Herring, Union Avenue Opera
The Student Prince, Winter Opera Saint Louis
The Trial, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Outstanding Musical Director
Jennifer Buchheit, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Jeffrey Richard Carter, The Sweet Smell of Success, New Line Theatre
Charles Creath, Crossin’ Over, The Black Rep
Sarah Nelson, Lizzie, New Line Theatre
Ben Whiteley, A Chorus Line, The Muny

Outstanding Choreographer
Chris Bailey, Newsies, The Muny
Sam Gaitsch, Spring Awakening, Stray Dog Theatre
Denis Jones, A Chorus Line, The Muny
Stephanie Paul, The Royale, The Rep
Taylor Pietz, The Sweet Smell of Success, New Line Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical
Evan Addams, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical
Evan Addams, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Kari Ely, 9 to 5, Stages St. Louis
Carmen Garcia, In the Heights, R-S Theatrics
Emily Skinner, The Little Mermaid, The Muny
Marcy Wiegert, Lizzie, New Line Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
Ben Davis, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Muny
John Flack, Next to Normal, Insight Theatre Company
Matthew Hydzik, South Pacific, Stages St. Louis
Dominique Scott, Million Dollar Quartet, The Rep
John Tartaglia, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Muny

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical
Mark Wilson, Crossin’ Over, The Black Rep
Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical
Rob Denton, A Chorus Line, The Muny
Rob Lippert, The Sweet Smell of Success, New Line Theatre
Sean M. Savoie, South Pacific, Stages St. Louis
Nathan W. Scheuer, The Little Mermaid, The Muny
Mark Wilson, Crossin’ Over, The Black Rep

Outstanding Set Design in a Musical
David Blake, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Jim Burwinkel, Crossin’ Over, The Black Rep
Adam Koch, Million Dollar Quartet, The Rep
Michael Schweikardt & Matthew Young, The Little Mermaid, The Muny
James Wolk, South Pacific, Stages St. Louis

Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical
Garth Dunbar, Seussical, Stages St. Louis
Eileen Engel, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Robin L. McGee & The Puppet Kitchen, The Little Mermaid, The Muny
Brad Musgrove, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Stages St. Louis
Sarah Porter, Lizzie, New Line Theatre

Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Anna Skidis Vargas, Lizzie, New Line Theatre
Outstanding Actress in a Musical
Leah Berry, South Pacific, Stages St. Louis
Kay Love, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Muny
Kirsten Scott, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Stages St. Louis
Anna Skidis Vargas, Lizzie, New Line Theatre

Outstanding Actor in a Musical
Jon Hey, Sweeney Todd, Stray Dog Theatre
Jay Armstrong Johnson, Newsies, The Muny
Omega Jones, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Matt Pentecost, The Sweet Smell of Success, New Line Theatre
Jeffrey Schecter, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Muny

Outstanding Ensemble in a Comedy
The AFI’s Top 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre
First Impressions, SATE
Is He Dead?, St. Louis Shakespeare
Sweet Revenge, Upstream Theater
The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis

Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama
August: Osage County, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep
Dancing at Lughnasa, Mustard Seed Theatre
Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre
twelfth period, or not another twelfth night, Equally Represented Arts

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical
Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical
A Chorus Line, The Muny
Crossin’ Over, The Black Rep
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Muny
Lizzie, New Line Theatre
Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre

Outstanding Director of a Comedy
Edward Coffield, Is He Dead?, St. Louis Shakespeare
Bruce Longworth, The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis
Sydnie Grosberg Ronga, Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
Jenn Thompson, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Rep
Rachel Tibbetts, First Impressions, SATE

Outstanding Director of a Drama
Marcia Milgrom Dodge,
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep
Outstanding Director of a Drama
Paul Mason Barnes, Hamlet, The Rep
Gary F. Bell, A Doll’s House, Stray Dog Theatre
Stuart Carden, The Royale, The Rep
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep
Wayne Salomon, August: Osage County, St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Outstanding Director of a Musical
Justin Been, Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
Stephen Bourneuf, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Stages St. Louis
Mike Dowdy-Windsor, Lizzie, New Line Theatre
Ron Himes, Crossin’ Over, The Black Rep
Denis Jones, A Chorus Line, The Muny

Outstanding Production of a Comedy
First Impressions, SATE
Is He Dead?, St. Louis Shakespeare
Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, The Rep
Souvenir, Max & Louie Productions
The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

Outstanding Production of a Drama
August: Osage County, St. Louis Actors’ Studio
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Rep
Hamlet, The Rep
Intimate Apparel, New Jewish Theatre
The Royale, The Rep

Outstanding Production of a Musical
Crossin’ Over, The Black Rep
Lizzie, New Line Theatre
Ragtime, Stray Dog Theatre
South Pacific, Stages St. Louis
Spring Awakening, Stray Dog Theatre

Special Achievement Award
Jan Albus & Lara Teeter, Variety Theatre

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

CAUGHT • The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (Studio Theatre)

An art installation titled Devil in a Red Dress greets the guests downstairs at the Rep’s studio theatre. Featuring the work of visiting Chinese conceptual artist, Lin Bo, the showing is complete with docents and a program guide. After a brief introduction by director Seth Gordon, Bo steps up to the podium and talks about the inspiration for his work, and how his viral, visionary protest project commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre resulted in his brutal imprisonment by an oppressive Chinese government. With a profile in The New Yorker magazine and a book on the way, Lin Bo is starting to garner attention. He’s got an intriguing story to tell, but it’s not what it seems.

Lin Bo (Kenneth Lee).
Photo credit: Peter Wochniak
Actually, nothing in the Rep’s production of Christopher Chen’s Caught is what it seems.

I’ll remain slim on the particulars to avoid any spoilers, but this inventive trip down the rabbit hole revels in clouding the line that separates truth from fabrication, examines journalism versus fiction, and throws in a little cultural appropriation for good measure. With each subsequent scene eroding what’s come just before, Chen’s play engages you in the way it obliterates the fourth wall, but skids just past the point of credibility on occasion.

Lin Bo (Kenneth Lee), Bob (Jeffrey Cummings)
and Joyce (Rachel Fenton).
Photo credit: Peter Wochniak
Kenneth Lee is polished as Lin Bo, whether he's waxing philosophical about the contemporary art scene, or being grilled about the details in his memoir. Rachel Fenton as Joyce, a writer hoping to catch her first big break, and later as a curator, and Rachel Lin as playwright Wang Min, resolute in her points of view, are both convincing. Along with Lee, these three are agile in their ability switch gears from scene to scene. Jeffrey Cummings rounds out the cast as Bob, Joyce’s smugly melodramatic magazine editor.

If you’re up for an entertaining night out, and a bit of a mindfuck, check out the players at the Rep’s studio theatre as they collectively ask what the “rules of truth” are, and then watch them blow it all up before your eyes.


Wang Min (Rachel Lin) and Curator (Rachel Fenton).
Photo credit: Peter Wochniak
CAUGHT

Written by Christopher Chen
Directed by Seth Gordon
Loretto-Hilton Center, 130 Edgar Road
through March 25 | tickets: $45 - $69.50
Performances Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sunday evenings at 7pm, Thursdays, Fridays and selected Saturday evenings at 8pm, Matinee performances are Saturdays at 4pm and Sundays at 2pm

Cast
Lin Bo: Kenneth Lee*
Joyce/Curator: Rachel Fenton
Bob: Jeffrey Cummings*
Wang Min: Rachel Lin*

Wang Min (Rachel Lin) and Lin Bo (Kenneth Lee).
Photo credit: Peter Wochniak
Creative
Scenic Designer: Robert Mark Morgan
Costume Designer: Felia K. Davenport
Lighting Designer: Ann G. Wrightson
Sound Designer: Rusty Wandall
Projection Designer: Kylee Loera
Installation Artist: Albert Kuo
Stage Manager: Shannon B. Sturgis*

* Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of
Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ANYTHING GOES • New Line Theatre

The racy shenanigans and silly scheming going on among the passengers aboard a transatlantic cruise in Cole Porter’s, Anything Goes, offered a welcomed breather from the gloom of the Great Depression when it first set sail in 1934. New Line’s staging of the show’s 1962 version, energetically directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor, includes a song list jam-packed with Porter standards like “You’re the Top,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” and “Anything Goes,” and a strong cast to make those numbers soar. Though the book’s greatest strength may be its role as a vehicle for the tunes, it does offer a keen depiction of an America where gangsters are worshipped like celebrities and evangelism is akin to show business. Not much has changed on that score.

Evan Fornachon is Billy Crocker, a young stockbroker there to see off his boss, Wall Street exec. Elisha J. Whitney (Jeffrey M. Wright). He decides to stow away on the SS American after he spots Hope Harcourt (Eileen Engel), a girl whose heart he aims to win. Hope is traveling to London with her well-heeled husband-to-be, Sir Evelyn Oakleigh (Zachary Allen Farmer), and her social-climbing mother, Mrs. Harcourt (Kimmie Kidd-Booker). Billy’s pal Reno Sweeney (Sarah Porter), who traded up in her career from evangelist to nightclub singer, decides to help Billy in his romantic quest, along with Moonface Martin -- Public Enemy No. 13 (Aaron Allen), a gangster in priest’s clothing, and Bonnie Letour (Sarah Gene Dowling), moll to a goon called Snake Eyes Johnson.

Reno (Sarah Porter) and the company of Anything Goes.
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
Porter’s Reno Sweeney -- bold, assured, and a little indecent, delivers a gleaming performance crooning through Cole Porter’s whip-smart lyrics, convincingly encouraging everyone to join the fun. Fornachon is smooth and appealing in portrayal and voice as Billy, whether he’s posing as Public Enemy No. 1 or trying to charm the pants off of Hope. Allen is a lively, humorously reluctant gangster, and thankfully, the ’62 version of the show includes a beefed-up role for Bonnie, and a freewheeling Dowling livens things up considerably with her renditions of “Heaven Hop,” and “Let’s Step Out.” Farmer is most entertaining and spot-on with stiff upper lip-ness as Sir Evelyn -- a humorless blue blood who starts to warm once he sets his eyes on Sweeney, and Engel is in fine voice as Hope Harcourt. Kidd-Booker is a hoot as her ceaselessly affronted mother, with Wright as a pitch perfectly gruff (and later tipsy as hell) Elisha J. Whitney.

Bonnie (Sarah Gene Dowling), Billy (Evan Fornachon)
and Moonface (Aaron Allen).
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
New Line’s black box space is set up longways, with scenic designer Robb Lippert’s multi-leveled ship occupying the length, with the bow jutting out at an angle. Musical director Nicolas Valdez and the New Line Band do a fine job with the music (complete with little sailor caps) and Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack provide the choreography with Colene Fornachon devising the show’s swanky costumes.

Between the unlikely pairings and the trashy fun, this low comedy classic is bound to leave you with a smile on your face. It’s playing at the Marcelle until the 24th.


Reno (Sarah Porter), Sir Evelyn (Zachary Allen Farmer)
and Hope (Eileen Engel).
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
ANYTHING GOES

Music/lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Guy Bolton, P. G. Wodehouse, 
Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Directed by Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy-Windsor
Marcelle Theater, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive
through March 24 | tickets: $15 - $25
Performances Thursdays to Saturdays at 8pm
$20 for adults and $15 for students/seniors on Thursdays; and $25 for adults and $20 for students/seniors on Fridays and Saturdays

Chastity (Larissa White), Charity (Alyssa Wolf),
Purity (Michelle Sauer) and Virtue (Sara Rae Womack).
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
Cast
Moonface Martin: Aaron Allen
Bonnie Letour: Sarah Gene Dowling
Hope Harcourt: Eileen Engel
Sir Evelyn Oakleigh: Zachary Allen Farmer
Billy Crocker: Evan Fornachon
Mrs. Harcourt: Kimmie Kidd-Booker
Reno Sweeney: Sarah Porter
Elisha J. Whitney: Jeffrey M. Wright

Reno’s Angels
Purity: Michelle Sauer
Chastity: Larissa White
Charity: Alyssa Wolf
Virtue: Sara Rae Womack

Bishop/Captain: Dominic Dowdy-Windsor
Reporter/Purser: Will Pendergast
Everybody Else: Jason Blackburn, Clayton Humburg

Sailor (Jason Blackburn), Mrs. Harcourt (Kimmie Kidd-Booker),
Billy (Evan Fornachon) and Captain (Dominick Dowdy-Windsor).
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
Creative
Musical Director: Nicolas Valdez
Choreographers: Michelle Sauer and Sara Rae Womack
Stage Manager: Erin Goodenough
Scenic and Lighting Designer: Rob Lippert
Costume Designer: Colene Fornachon
Assistant Costume Designer: Sarah Porter
Sound Designer: Ryan Day
Props Master: Kimi Short
Scenic Artists: Grace Brunstein, Judy Brunstein, Tamar Crump, Kathleen Dwyer, Mattilyn Johnson, Gary Karasek, Marija Metiva
Scenic Crew: Richard Brown, Nick Brunstein, Melanie Kozak, Patrick Donnigan, Paul Troyke, Kate Wilkerson
Volunteer Coordinator: Alison Helmer
Graphic Designer: Matt Reedy
Photographer: Jill Ritter Lindberg

Bonnie (Sarah Gene Dowling)
and the company of Anything Goes.
Photo credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg
The New Line Band
Conductor/Piano: Nicolas Valdez
Trumpet: Ron Foster
Second Keyboard: Joel Hackbarth
Percussion: Clancy Newell
Guitar/Banjo: Adam Rugo
Bass: Jake Stergos

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