St. Louis Theaters Plot Their Returns…Again

There was likely a lot of wishful thinking involved in the plans for the return of live theater to post-pandemic St. Louis we first reported last May (and updated in June and August), but time and COVID-19 of course made fools of us all. But with case numbers down and vaccination numbers up, some theater companies are confident enough to announce the return of live audiences while others are still sticking to performances that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. Here’s what we know.

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has dealt with the pandemic in a variety of inventive ways—for an example, check out their current offering Human Resources, a virtual, interactive play performed through a hellish phone maze. But The Rep is planning to return to in-person performances sooner than you might expect with Mlima’s Tale, running May 28 – July 11. The play—from two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage—explores the dark world of the ivory trade from the perspective of a murdered elephant, and will be presented in person using strict COVID protocols and socially distant seating in the Catherine B. Berges Theatre at COCA (6880 Washington Ave.). Find more details at repstl.org.

After several pushbacks and cancellations, the Fabulous Fox Theatre (527 N. Grand Blvd.) is hanging their hat on the date November 16, 2021 for the return of their (usually) annual US Bank Broadway Series. “We are thrilled to fit most of our missed shows in the coming season,” said John O’Brien, the Fox’s Director of Programming, in the announcement press release. “Although Disney’s Frozen will need to wait until a future season, we will have the return of Disney’s The Lion King in the summer of 2022.” And surely the question on everyone’s mind: yes, Hamilton is back as well. The final lineup for the 2021-22 season consists of:

  • Pretty Woman: The Musical, November 16-28, 2021
  • A Christmas Carol, December 2-5, 2021
  • A Magical Cirque Christmas, December 9, 2021
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, December 17-18, 2021
  • Cats, December 21, 2021 – January 2, 2022
  • The Prom, January 25-February 6, 2022
  • Mean Girls, February 15-27, 2022
  • Riverdance 25th anniversary show, March 11-12, 2022
  • My Fair Lady, March 22-April 3, 2022
  • Hamilton, April 12-May 15, 2022
  • Disney’s The Lion King, June 1-18, 2022

Season ticket packages (which do not include the three Christmas shows or Riverdance) go on sale June 7, with tickets for individual shows coming at a later date. Keep up to date on the latest news at FabulousFox.com.

This past week saw tickets go on sale for the 103rd season at The Muny (1 Theatre Drive), and with an outdoor stage, they might just pull it off. And as promised last summer, the entire postponed 102nd season has been recreated. The season opens with Muny staple Seven Brides for Seven Brothers July 5-11, followed by Mary Poppins (July 14-22), Smokey Joe’s Café (July 25-31), The Sound of Music (August 3-9), Sweeney Todd (August 12-18), and the Gloria Estefan jukebox musical On Your Feet! (August 21-27), and truly closes out the summer with a Labor Day run of Chicago (August 30 – September 5). The box office remains closed, but tickets can be snagged online at Muny.org.

When last we spoke on the subject, the Midnight Company had pushed their Fall 2020 slate into 2021, and impressively, they’re sticking to those dates. Now Playing Third Base for the St. Louis Cardinals…Bond, James Bond is still slated for July 8-23 at The Chapel (6238 Alexander Dr.) while It Is Magic is on track for October 21 – November 16 at the Kranzberg Black Box Theatre (501 N. Grand Blvd.) Details can be found at MidnightCompany.com.

Not every theater company is quite ready to go all-in on the in-person experience just yet. The Black Rep will be performing in-person from the stage at Washington University’s Edison Theatre (6465 Forsyth Ave.), but the only way to watch is from the safety of your home, courtesy of the streaming video app Vimeo. The Black Rep’s next play arrives on the app April 15-25 in the form of Home, Ron Himes’ production of Samm-Art Williams’ Tony-nominated play about a heartbroken boy who goes from farmer to Vietnam war protestor to jail inmate, and from the family farm to the big city and back again, in search of somewhere that truly feels like home. And the best part is: watching the stream is free, though The Black Rep does request donations to help support the theater company’s vital work. Click here for details.

Your friendly writer is slightly embarrassed to point out that he just missed getting to inform you about the launch of the St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s 14th season, which kicked off this past weekend with a virtual performance of Now More Than Ever, “a Zoom play about a Zoom call” penned by Hanne Kime specifically to be performed virtually. Keep on eye on STLAS.org to see if any more inventive at-home performances are on the way.

This past November, the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis teamed up with Classic 107.3 FM to present their 2020 season. The relationship continues this April with a series called “Something Spoken,” though exact programming and dates are yet to be announced. Keep an eye on TWSTL.org for more details as they solidify. | Jason Green

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