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Theater, dance promise thrilling fall season as live performance returns

Theater, dance promise thrilling fall season as live performance returns

From the Fall arts guide: Hundreds of performances, exhibitions, author visits, festivals and more fun series
Pretty Woman

A scene from the national tour of "Pretty Woman: The Musical"

Live theater and dance take the stage this fall for what promises to be a season of memorable experiences.

Among the highlights are a Neil Simon play, a ballet showcase, a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama and a musical tribute to Miriam Makeba. And theatergoers and dance fans should find plenty to enjoy.

After all, there’s nothing like the thrill of live performance.

‘Alice in Wonderland’

When 2:30 and 7 p.m. Oct. 2, 2:30 p.m. Oct. 3 • Where Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road • How much $22-$59 • More info

St. Louis Ballet presents “Alice in Wonderland,” a dance piece inspired by the Lewis Carroll tale of a young girl who finds herself in a fantastical world. Choreography by Brian Enos, artistic director of Big Muddy Dance Company, will include a variety of styles, with digital projections by former Pixar/DreamWorks artist Luis Grane. The production is directed by Gen Horiuchi.

‘Ari Axelrod’s Jewish Broadway’

When Oct. 16-17 • Where SFC Performing Arts Center, Jewish Community Center, 2 Millstone Campus Drive • How much $45-$70 • More info

New Jewish Theatre presents cabaret artist Ari Axelrod, performing songs by composers including Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein and Carole King. “Every single song Ari Axelrod sings, from ‘Miracle of Miracles’ to ‘Corner of the Sky,’ sounds like a song you are hearing for the first time,” BroadwayWorld said in a 2019 review. “A person may have been listening to the cast album (or soundtrack) to ‘West Side Story’ since they were 16 years old, but when Ari Axelrod sings ‘Something’s Coming,’ they will hear things they never heard before.”


When Sept. 17-26, performance times vary • Where Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union Boulevard • How much $20-$25 • More info

To kick off its delayed 110th season, West End Players Guild presents Steven Dietz’s play, set in James Joyce’s Dublin, about time travel, destiny and romance. Directed by Jessa Knust.


When Oct. 8-24, performance times vary • Where .Zack, 3224 Locust Street • How much $20 • More info

Jennifer Haley’s play about a fiction writer dealing with dementia opens the R-S Theatrics season. Starring Jodi Stockton and Julie Amuedo.

‘Digging Up Dessa’

When Oct. 17-Nov. 7, performance times vary • Where The Grandel, 3610 Grandel Square • How much $20-$36 • More info

Metro Theater Company presents Laura Schellhardt’s play about a young girl whose imaginary friend is an overlooked real-life paleontologist. Starring Rae Davis, Alicia Revé Like, John Katz and Lizi Watt; directed by company artistic director Julia Flood.

France Jazz

Jazz singer-songwriter Somi performs in 2018 at the Five Continents Marseille Jazz festival, in Marseille, southern France. 

‘Dreaming Zenzile’

When Sept. 10-Oct. 3, performance times vary • Where Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, 130 Edgar Road, Webster Groves • How much $20.50-$99 • More info

Jazz and world-music vocalist Somi (Somi Kakoma) created and stars in this Repertory Theatre of St. Louis musical based on the life and career of legendary South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba. It’s “an homage to her memory and to the space-making work that she did for myself and for other artists,” Kakoma told the Post-Dispatch in 2020. “But it’s also about undoing the silence around her legacy.” Makeba, whose middle name was Zenzile, died in 2008 at age 76 after performing in Italy. “Dreaming Zenzile” had been scheduled to debut in March 2020.

‘An Evening of Ballet Stars 3’

When 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6 • Where Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road • How much $55 • More info

Dance St. Louis presents the third edition of its program showcasing prominent artists in the dance world. The performance will feature principals from companies including the Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet and others.

'Jake's Women'

Playwright Neil Simon

‘Jake’s Women’

When Oct. 14-31, performance times vary • Where Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, 210 East Monroe Avenue, Kirkwood • How much $15-$50 • More info

“Jake’s Women,” Neil Simon’s play about a novelist coming to terms with the women in his life, is the debut production from Moonstone Theatre Company. In a statement, artistic director Sharon Hunter said the company’s inaugural season focuses on “mental health and how it affects individuals and their families.”

‘Jersey Boys’

When Sept. 24-Oct. 24, performance times vary • Where Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, 210 East Monroe Avenue • How much $50-$75 • More info

Stages St. Louis presents “Jersey Boys,” the Tony-winning jukebox musical about Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, the chart-topping 1960s group known for “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” “Who Loves You,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and more. Stages St. Louis moved this season into a new theater at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center.

‘Pretty Woman: The Musical’

When Nov. 16-28, performance times vary • Where Fox Theatre, 527 North Grand Boulevard • How much $25-$90 • More info

Live musicals return to the Fox Theatre with “Pretty Woman,” which had been scheduled to visit as part of the 2020-21 Broadway season. The musical is based on the 1990 film starring Julia Roberts as a charming prostitute and Richard Gere as a ruthless businessman. Adam Pascal (“Rent,” “Aida”) and Olivia Valli star in the national tour.

‘The Story of My Life’

When Sept. 30-Oct. 23, performance times vary • Where The Marcelle, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive • How much $20-$30 • More info

New Line Theatre presents a small-scale musical about two lifelong friends, Chris Kernan and Jeffrey M. Wright, with artistic director Scott Miller on piano. The show opens New Line’s 30th season.


When Through Sept. 26, performance times vary • Where Washington University’s Edison Theatre, 6465 Forsyth Boulevard • How much $15-$50 • More info

Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Sweat,” about factory workers facing an uncertain economy, opens the 45th Black Rep season. Nottage, who also won a Pulitzer for “Ruined,” is among the foremost American dramatists. Her brilliant, brutally honest play “Mlima’s Tale” marked the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis’ return to in-person performances in May. “Sweat” is directed by Black Rep founder and producing director Ron Himes.

‘The Taming of the Shrew’

When Oct. 14-24, performance times vary • Where Lions Amphitheatre in Kirkwood Park, 574 West Adams Avenue, Kirkwood • How much $15-$20 • More info

St. Louis Shakespeare presents the Bard’s comic play about the battle of the sexes. The play, directed by company founder Donna Northcott, is presented outdoors.

2018 marks Reagan's 50th year at the Muny

From left: Muny artistic director and executive producer Mike Isaacson, president and CEO Dennis Reagan and managing director Kwofe Coleman laugh before "A Chorus Line" on July 26, 2017. 

‘You Gotta Have Heart: A Muny Celebration of Denny Reagan’

When Nov. 18, performance time to be announced • Where Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road • How much Prices to be announced • More info

After 53 years at the Muny and 30 spent as its president and CEO, Denny Reagan retires from the Forest Park theater at the end of this year — but not without a proper sendoff. A concert event directed by Jessica Hartman and choreographed by Patrick O’Neill will celebrate Reagan’s career with performances by favorite Muny performers. Proceeds will benefit the Muny’s Denny Reagan Endowed Fund.

Kwofe Coleman will succeed Dennis Reagan, who is retiring as president and CEO of the Muny. Theater critic Calvin Wilson talks with Coleman about his history with the Forest Park theater. "When you come in after a legend, you have to pave your own way," Coleman says. 

‘The Zoo Story’ and ‘The Dumb Waiter’

When Sept. 17-Oct. 3, performance times vary • Where Gaslight Theater, 360 North Boyle Avenue • How much $35 • More info

Two classic one-act plays — Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” and Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter” — are showcased in this St. Louis Actors’ Studio program, which opens the company’s 14th season. Founder and artistic director William Roth stars; Wayne Salomon directs.

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