Jack Lane, Co-founder and Executive Producer of Stages St. Louis, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the History of Stages, as well as the 2021-2022 season, which includes "Jersey Boys" and "The Karate Kid (The Musical)." Jack Lane was an actor in New York when he heard Co-Counder Michael Hamilton talk about his dream to found a theater troupe in St. Louis, and together they made that dream come true 35 years ago.
Stages Co-Founders: Michael Hamilton (left) and Jack Lane (right)
STAGES opened in 1987 with a budget of $50,000 and a part-time seasonal staff of eight. Today, the company employs a full-time staff of 25 overseeing a budget of $4.7 million. During the performance season, an additional 150 actors and crew members bring the productions to life. To date, STAGES professionals have produced 103 musicals, with nearly 3,400 performances, playing to more than one million patrons. The STAGES audience includes patrons from a spectrum of ages and socio-economic levels from more than 238 cities located in 30 states. Audience members represent over 160 zip codes from the state of Missouri alone. All productions are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities and each season STAGES provides hundreds of complimentary tickets to underserved populations, including low-income seniors. STAGES annual Theatre for Young Audiences production is a regional treasure that encourages multiple generations to attend professional, live musical theatre together on family-friendly schedules.
In April of 2013, the STAGES Performing Arts Academy and the administrative offices relocated to a new 22,000-square-foot-facility in Chesterfield, which is enabling STAGES to meet a growing need for arts education programs in a larger, more flexible state-of-the-art facility. The Kent Center for Theatre Arts includes a performance hall with flexible seating to be used for main stage rehearsals, dance classes, educational presentations, donor and community events, and special performances.
Sara Burke, Founder of the City Studio Dance Center and Katherine Dunham Dancer, stopped by to speak with Nancy about her career as a dancer, including her work with the legendary Katherine Dunham. She also shares two writings she has done recently, “I Bear Witness To” and “Musings on Creativity.”
Sara Burke at the City Studio Dance Center
“Sara Burke is the owner and director of The City Studio Dance Center in St. Louis, Missouri which she founded in 1986. Sara is a choreographer, dancer, dance instructor, photographer, and author and arts diversity consultant. Sara consults for local dance companies and works with young dancers helping them start Company’s. Sara relishes her role as “mentor”. She has danced around the world. One of her biggest goals and accomplishments was to learn Dunham Technique from the legendary Katherine Dunham. She studied with Miss Dunham in East St. Louis in the 1970’s and danced with the Dunham Company. Sara’s experiences studying and dancing Dunham Technique changed her life and she has been committed to promoting diversity through the Arts ever since.”
The City Studio Dance Center features ongoing classes in Jazz, Dunham Technique, Hip Hop/Street Jazz, Pilates & Yoga.
The City Studio Dance Center
William Roth, Founder and Artistic Director of the St. Louis Actors Studio, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the upcoming season of St. Louis Actors Studio, which is housed in the Gaslight Theater.
William Roth's acting career began in 1972 at the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves—where his dad had acted in the mid-60s—in a performance of South Pacific, in which he had a horrible case of stage fright, refused to sing and choose instead to dance behind the curtain. Twenty years later, after a six-year stint in the Marines and other distractions, he moved back to St. Louis from California and performed in a student-directed one-act festival at the University of Missouri-St Louis. He then returned to the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves to get his picture on the wall with his father, playing Clive in Alan Ayckbourn’s Season's Greetings.
Over the past 20 years he has appeared in countless Shakespeare productions, including: Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Comedy of Errors, Titus Andronicus, Cymbeline, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, The Winter’s Tale, King Lear, Troilus and Cressida and Antony and Cleopatra.
St. Louis Actors' Studio was founded to bring a fresh vision to theatre in St. Louis. Housed in The Gaslight Theater in historic Gaslight Square, STLAS is committed to bringing engaging theatrical experiences to our community of actors, writers, producers, filmmakers and all patrons of the arts; and to provide a strong ensemble environment to foster learning and artistic expression.
Upcoming Productions by St. Louis Actors Studio:
The Zoo Story, The Dumb Waiter by Albee, Pinter, Directed by Wayne Salomon
September 17 – October 03 2021
Comfort by Neil LaBute, Directed by Assoc. Artistic Director Annamaria Pileggi
December 03 – December 19, 2021
Hand To God By Robert Askins, Directed by Assoc. Artistic Director John Pierson
February 18 –March 6, 2022
8th Annual LaBute New Theater Festival
July 08 – July 31, 2022
Chris Hansen, Executive Director of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the upcoming Music at the Intersection festival happening in the Grand Center Arts District (September 10th through 12th, 2021). They also discuss the Kranzberg Arts Foundation's works and venues in general.
Music at the Intersection celebrates St. Louis’s rich and diverse musical heritage. From Jazz to Blues, Soul to Hip Hop, and everything in between this festival will highlight over 60 acts on six world-renowned stages over three days throughout Grand Center’s Arts District.
The mission statement of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation is... "Through the development of artistic venues, studios and workspaces, short and long-term residencies, and community-based programming, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation provides essential infrastructure for the arts to thrive in the St. Louis region.
Taking an arts-based approach to community development, the Foundation ensures we are aligning our investments with the needs and vision of the broader community. Committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive approach, we further economic development and cultural sustainability, while helping to establish St. Louis as a premier arts and entertainment destination."
Poster for Music at the Intersection with all the musical acts slated to perform.
St. Louis just can’t stay quiet. The region has produced legends who are on a first-name basis worldwide, like Ike & Tina, Miles, Chuck, and Nelly. It’s been home to the “Velvet Bulldozer” Albert King, the “Black Venus” Josephine Baker, and the original “king” of pop music, Scott Joplin. And don’t forget world-class songwriters like John Hartford, Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, and Willie Mae Ford Smith. Few cities anywhere can claim so many leading lights in such a wide range of style.
St. Louis Sound examines contributions to American popular music. This exhibit serves as your introduction to that music—it can’t cover everything, but inside you’ll find familiar tunes, deeper cuts, and a new musical outlook on the city you love. So lend the city your ears.
Cynthia Prost, President and CEO of the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the organization and its works.
The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis is a unique asset in our community. The Arts and Education Council is our region's only united arts fund supported by private contributions from individuals, corporations, foundations and institutions committed to the value and benefit of the arts to our community.
The Arts and Education Council serves as the base - the root, if you will - through which funding, training and collaboration happens for nearly 100 arts organizations that enrich the cultural landscape of St. Louis each year.
Arts and Education Council grantees not only produce and present great art, they also maintain viable, impactful arts education and outreach programming for K-12 students throughout the bi-state area. Research continues to show that children who participate in the arts enjoy greater academic success, higher self-esteem, improved discipline, higher graduation rates and broad, creative thinking skills necessary for advancement in the world beyond school.
The Centene Center for the Arts, an arts incubator owned and operated by the Arts and Education Council
Cynthia Prost has over twenty years of nonprofit leadership experience and currently serves as President and CEO of the Arts and Education Council since 2008. In this role she oversees all institutional matters including fundraising and grant making. She received her bachelor of arts (magna cum laude) and a master of arts in management from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. Prost is an adjunct faculty member at Fontbonne University in the Nonprofit Management graduate program, teaching courses in fundraising, philanthropy, grant writing, strategic planning and board governance and management.
Carrie Houk, Executive Artistic Director of the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the festival details for 2021, which runs August 19th through the 29th.
This year's theme for the festival is "The Moon and Beyond," and features an outdoor performance of "The Glass Menagerie," Williams’ greatest, most famous, and most personal play. The performance will be at the actual site that inspired the writing of the play, The Tennessee, at 4633 Westminster Place in St. Louis. Performances are August 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29 at 8:00PM. Other topics covered include panel discussions and a walking tour of sites in the Central West End associated with Tennessee Williams.
About Tennessee Williams: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams’ renowned work reflects his two decades of coming of age in St. Louis, and his creations range from the famed classics, to adaptations for film and opera, to dozens of newly discovered plays and writings that have been continuously documented, performed and studied around the world. Considered by many to be America’s greatest playwright, Williams is best known for his award-winning powerful plays, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and “The Glass Menagerie.”
About Carrie Houk: Carrie Houk has spent her professional life as an actor, casting director, producer and teaching artist. Educated at HB Studio in NYC and the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University, she began her acting career at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and from there worked in NYC, LA and Chicago. She has cast over thirty films, numerous television shows and countless national commercials and has worked with directors Steven Soderbergh, Robert Altman, Alexander Payne, Howard Franklin, among others. She started her casting career in Chicago thirty five years ago and from there settled back in St. Louis to raise her daughter. She has produced two films and the critically acclaimed production of Tennessee Williams’s “Stairs to the Roof” directed by Fred Abrahamse. Adjunct professor of casting and acting at Webster University, Houk has also taught at Washington University and Columbia College Chicago.
Susan Barrett, President of Barrett Barrera Projects, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the projects they are involved in.
Susan Barrett A piece from Freedom is for Everybody
In her artistic practice, Pred uses sculpture, assemblage and performance to uncover the cultural and political meaning behind everyday objects, with a concentration on feminist themes such as equal pay, reproductive rights, and personal security. As Pred’s work implores us, now more than ever we must raise our voices to protect the freedom of all bodies, especially those historically disempowered.
Sculptural pieces from a series titled Power of the Purse include vintage purses emblazoned in neon with phrases culled from the current social resistance movements, such as Time’s Up (2018) and call us to both reflection and action. In this context, the vintage mid-century purses become symbols not only of the modern economic power women hold and the possibilities for change that come with it, but also reminders of that critical era in the women’s movement. A pair of vintage shoes dotted with unwanted, expired and placebo birth control pills, In Our Shoes (2013) underscores the continuing and growing impediments to fair, safe and affordable access to birth control and other women’s services in the United States.
Also discussed is James Turrell's ORCA (Blue-Red), which is open for viewings by appointment only, Thursday - Saturday, 12 pm - 5 pm.
James Turrell, ORCA (Blue and Red), 1969
Stories of Resistance explores artistic forms of resistance from across the world. Through visual narratives, artists amplify and bring to focus the multitude of conditions that ignite and inspire people to resist. The exhibition activates the entire museum space, inside and out, with video, photography, drawing, sculpture, painting, and installation. Presenting narratives from many social, political, and geographical spaces, the artists include: Bani Abidi, Andrea Bowers, Banu Cennetoğlu, Torkwase Dyson, Emily Jacir, Glenn Kaino, Bouchra Khalili, Candice Lin, Jen Liu, Guadalupe Maravilla, Tuấn Andrew Nguyễn, Trevor Paglen, PSA: (Jen Everett, Aida Hasanović, Simiya Sudduth), Wendy Red Star, Dread Scott, Kemang Wa Lehulere, and Wide Awakes (Maryam Parwana, Combo, Otherward).
St. Louis serves as an ideal platform for Stories of Resistance. Resistance movements that have arisen here, most especially the rise of Black Lives Matter in response to the police killing of Michael Brown, have incited global actions against racism and injustice. By looking through a local lens, the exhibition draws connections worldwide, revealing profound influences that traverse borders and cultures. With this in mind, Radio Resistance, an integral component of the exhibition, will broadcast conversations between exhibiting artists and artists, activists, scholars, and others with a deep knowledge and experience of St. Louis. Because of radio’s legacy as a tool for dissent, it serves as the medium for dialogue between intersecting local and global agents of change.
Alongside the exhibition and radio program, a CAM publication will include images of works in the exhibition and writings that further explore and expand on the ideas and themes of Stories of Resistance.
Stories of Resistance, installation view, CAM. Photo: Dusty Kessler
Wassan Al-Khudhairi: Chief Curator at CAM
Keith Watson, owner and operator of Arkadin Cinema and Bar, is an attorney by day, and a connoisseur of film by night. He stopped by to talk with Nancy about this new business.
Named after a film by one of their favorite filmmakers, Orson Welles, the Arkadin is a microcinema in the heart of Bevo located at 5228 Gravois Ave. The cinema shows a mix of cutting-edge indie and foreign fare, timeless classics, and cult favorites in a cozy, comfortable setting.
There is a full bar stocked with wine, beer and creative cocktails. You can pick up a drink — and a bag of popcorn, of course! — to enjoy during the show and come back to the lounge after the film to engage in a lively discussion of the weird, wild, wonderful film you’ve just seen over a beer or two.
Due to COVID-19, they are currently partnering with their neighbor, The Heavy Anchor, to run safe, socially-distanced outdoor screenings under the stars on their backlot.
Some examples of films that have already been shown are… Purple Rain, Rear Window, Independence Day, The Kid, Point Break, We are Little Zombies, Repo Man, Night of the Living Dead, Nosferatu, and Blue Velvet.
For a list of up-coming films... click here.
Fans enjoying a film outside at Arkadin.
Keith Watson introduces a local filmmaker.
The cinema is located at 5228 Gravois Ave.
Tom Ridgely, Producing Artistic Director of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, stopped by to talk to Nancy about the American Ballet Theatre's ABT Across America Tour. The St. Louis performances of the tour will happen July 14th in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. The performances are presented in partnership with Susan Sherman, COCA and St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.
This summer, ABT will bring 20 acclaimed artists to St. Louis for two performances as part of the company’s cross-country road trip, ABT Across America, traveling to 8 U.S. cities this July. These unique outdoor presentations are among the first live performances for ABT in over a year.
American Ballet Company, Designated by an act of Congress as America’s National Ballet Company, is recognized as a living national treasure. Since its founding in 1940, ABT annually tours the United States, performing for more than 300,000 people, and is the only major cultural institution to do so. For 81 years, ABT has appeared in 45 countries and has performed in all 50 states.
Monika Weiss, who is an internationally known multimedia artist, stopped by to talk with Nancy about her work and her life.
Monika Weiss Artist portrait, 2019. still from video interview: Adam Hogan and Laura Stayton
In a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses video, film, performance, sound, drawing and sculpture, the Polish-American artist Monika Weiss moves between the political and the poetic to explore questions of the body, history, and gendered violence. Her work is intimately engaged with processes of witnessing and remembering as it attends to traumatic histories, thier transmission, and commemoration.
Weiss frequently employs her own body to navigate the aftermath of different traumas, raising questions of how one can articulate these without enacting further violence. The female body does not only become a vehicle of expression, but also forms a key site from which an affective politics may emerge, through touch, vulnerability, and the visceral. Her mixed-media, embodied practice foregrounds sensing as a modality through which we can develop an ethics and politics of remembrance and of being together in the world, simultaneously challenging modernist assumptions concerning a duality of mind and body. By frequently attending to events and histories that she has not personally witnessed, Weiss fleshes out the multidirectional character of memory and seeks to forge new solidarities that exceed national boundaries.
Monika Weiss Studio, 2019. artist filming and choreographing a performer (right) in real time.
Photo: Adam Hogan and Laura Stayton. performer: Melissa Gollance
Stills taken of the Monika Weiss exhibition Sustenazo.
Cassie Brand, Curator of Rare Books for Washington University in St. Louis, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the Olin Library and the Rare Books Collections at the University.
Cassie Brand: Curator of Rare Books Olin Library at Washington University
Cassie Brand has been Curator of Rare Books at the Washington University Libraries since 2017. She enjoys sharing rare books with others through outreach programs, teaching classes, and curating exhibits. Her research focuses on the intersection of the book as a physical and cultural object and on the histories of book collecting and libraries. Cassie received her library degree from Indiana University in 2011 and is currently working on a PhD. Cassie’s dissertation, which is in progress, is tentatively titled “How Books Became Rare: The History of Special Collections in America 1880–1940.”
Among the topics discussed is the rare copy of the Declaration of Independence held in the library's collections.
When the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections opened in 1962, the Washington University Libraries owned a small rare book collection, the finest pieces of which had been donated by St. Louis collector William Keeney Bixby. Now, the Rare Book Collections include over 70,000 printed pieces and represent all the disciplines the University Libraries collect.
The Rare Book Collections include books from all Special Collection areas. The collections’ primary strengths are in the areas of literature; the material culture of the book, including the history of printing, graphic design, and the book arts; and aspects of American and world history.
Spanning seven centuries of written and visual communication, these collections support teaching and discovery across the University and are freely accessible to students, scholars, and visiting researchers.
Dan Reich, Curator & Director of Education at the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the mission of, and the happenings at, the museum. After 22 years at the museum, Dan Reich will be retiring soon.
Dan Reich. A photo from the museum's archives, depicting a Dachau Death March.
Among the topics discussed is the upcoming expansion of the museum. Set to open in mid-2022, the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum will quadruple the space of the existing facility to 35,000 square feet. The new facility will fuel the Museum’s mission to preserve the legacy of the Holocaust, teach about the Museum’s many purposes, and empower visitors to make the world a more tolerant place by rejecting all forms of hate, racism, and bigotry.
An artist's rendering of the upcoming expansion, set to open in mid-2022.
Also discussed is the moving story of Ben Fainer, Holocaust survivor and co-author of "Silent for Sixty Years." Ben Fainer spent the entire war as a Nazi prisoner, surviving for six years in six different camps. After losing his mother, three siblings, and over 250 other relatives in the Holocaust, Ben was liberated by American soldiers while on a final death-march in the spring of 1945. Ben didn’t just survive, he thrived. He was able to put his tragic childhood behind and live an incredible post-war life. Ben became a speaker at the museum, sharing his story to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Ben passed away in 2016.
One of the aspects of Ben's story that is discussed is a bracelet... Ten years ago, a bracelet was uncovered in Germany that was made by Ben Fainer in his youth in a concentration camp. After Ben's passing, his family donated it to the museum to honor him. The bracelet will be part of the exhibition in the upcoming expansion.
Ben Fainer shares his story with students before his passing.
To hear stories from other Holocaust Survivors, click here.
Tom Ridgely, Producing Artistic Director of St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, stopped by to talk to Nancy about the 2021 festival its adjustments due to Covid.
The Festival this year includes a main stage Shakespeare in the Park performance of King Lear, which stars Tony, Grammy & Emmy winner André De Shields and is Directed by Carl Cofield. King Lear will run June 2nd through June 27th in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park.
Also discussed, is the 2021 touring production of Othello, and the Shakespeare in the Streets program, which will focus this year on The Ville neighborhood. Shakespeare in the Streets is a "grassroots theatrical experience that invites St. Louis neighborhoods to tell their stories. A Festival-selected creative team leads the neighborhood in developing an original play based on one of Shakespeare’s works—a play with themes that reflect the community’s character."
Nancy and Tom also discuss the history of the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.
Kristin Fleischmann Brewer, Deputy Director of Public Engagement for the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the exhibition Chloë Bass: Wayfinding, which is open now through October 31st at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.
Chloë Bass (b. 1984) created Wayfinding, an installation of sculptures inspired by public wayfinding signage. Bass designed a set of more than thirty signs placed throughout the Pulitzer’s outdoor spaces. These works are organized into four sections. Each is anchored by a billboard posing a question that explores human emotions ranging from compassion and desire to anxiety and loss. Accompanying sculptures include archival images and statements written by the artist that encourage private reflection in public space, intensifying everyday moments.
Wayfinding also includes a site-specific audio artwork narrated by the artist and local collaborators.
Click here to learn more about CHLOË BASS.
Sally Van Doren, independent poet and artist, stopped by to talk with Nancy about her poetry and a new upcoming exhibition of her artwork at Longview Farm House Art Gallery June 3rd through July 15th.
Coles L'Hommedieh, owner of Midtown Sound House stopped by to talk to Nancy about the new recording studio facility in Grand Center and about his day job as an Orthopedic Surgery Specialist.
David Kirkland, owner and chef at Turn Restaurant, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the restaurant, its menu, and why it's called "Turn." Kirkland is not only a chef, but also a turn-table-ist as well.
Susan Sherman, Co-founder of the St. Louis Fashion Fund, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the Fashion Fund's upcoming move to its new location at 3333 Washington, as well as the other goings on in fashion in St. Louis.
Chris Hansen, Executive Director of The Kranzberg Arts Foundation, stopped by to talk with Nancy about the goings on at the Foundation, including a new multipurpose building in the Grand Center Arts District and The re-opening of the Big Top. He also speaks about the current state of affairs at the foundation venues concerning the pandemic.
Dana Turkovic: Curator at at Laumeier Sculpture Park, stopped by to talk about the parks response to the pandemic as well as new exhibitions at Laumeier, including The Future is Present: Art and Global Change.
Susan Colangelo, President and Executive Director of Saint Louis Story Stitchers, stopped by to speak with Nancy about the work they do.
Founded in 2013, Saint Louis Story Stitchers, is an artist collective where professional artists work alongside disadvantaged youth (ages 16 to 24) to make art about St. Louis.
Erin Prange: Executive Director of Big Muddy Dance Company stopped by to talk with Nancy about the goings on at the Big Muddy, including some virtual events in March and April and a live event in May.