Stages St. Louis will depart from its customary Broadway style when it opens its 2013 season with “Always ... Patsy Cline.”
Stages is probably best known for stylish productions of glamorous musicals, usually with large casts and lots of “show tunes.” Its current production, the Gershwin musical “My One and Only,” comes out of that tradition.
“Always ... Patsy Cline,” however, has two characters: Cline, the enormously influential country singer, and Louise Seger, a Texas fan who became a dear friend. There's also an onstage bluegrass band. The show includes 27 Patsy Cline hits, among them “Crazy,” “Walking After Midnight” and “Sweet Dreams.”
Describing himself as a huge Patsy Cline fan, Stages executive producer Jack Lane compared “Always” to this year's opening show, the Fats Waller show “Ain't Misbehavin'.”
It also had a small cast (just four actors), an onstage band and a different musical style. Stages regulars enjoyed the production, but it also drew people who had never been to a Stages show before. Lane thinks that “Always,” which will run May 31-June 30, 2013, will excite the same response, pleasing the regular audience and attracting a new one.
“Always ... Patsy Cline” will be followed by “Legally Blonde The Musical” (July 19-Aug. 18), a popular Broadway show based on the movie about a California fashionista at Harvard Law. A big, colorful show with a lot of comedy, this will be its first outing at Stages. Lane said that, again, he thought it would appeal to the regular Stages-goer but could also attract fresh faces. One of the recent spate of “lipgloss musicals” that appeal to teen girls, he predicts younger audiences will come out to see it.
The 2013 Mainstage season — performed at the Robert G. Reim season at the Kirkwood Civic Center, 111 South Geyer Road — will conclude with one of the greatest musicals of the Golden Age, Lerner and Loewe's “My Fair Lady” (Sept. 6-Oct. 6).
The children's show next year is Disney's “Cinderella” (June 19-30), which will bibbidi-bobbidi-boo itself to life at the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade College Preperatory School, 425 South Lindbergh Boulevard.
2012 was a good summer for Stages. The troupe raised a record high amount, $65,000, at its benefit cabaret, “Putting It Together.” It also broke records with the second show of the season, “The Sound of Music.”
Nearly every performance of “The Sound of Music” sold out. It generated $603,000 in box office sales, breaking the record $582,000 set last summer by “A Chorus Line.” Lane said that although he was sorry that many people who wanted tickets had to be turned away, “we're proud and excited that the St. Louis community was enchanted by our production.”
“My One and Only” closes the 2012 Stages season. It plays at the Reim through Oct. 7.