The Fox Theatre • March 7-19 MetroTix.com • 314-534-1111
Fill your life with ART and ENTERTAIN your friends in a UIC Home Modern Living Made Easy
Designs, uicho m es.com | ref inebyuic.com Real-Life Holistic Solutions thevitalVOICE.com
t i e v e i l e B t ’ n a IC . . . e r e h t h Rig
Judy was right. From world-class arts and entertainment to the coolest clubs in the Midwest, St. Louis is the place to meet. After all, our city is the one The Advocate called “…the LGBT beacon of the Midwest.” Check out our impressive packages at explorestlouis.com/LGBT
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The arts & entertainment issue IMPRESSUM 6
NIGHTLIFE 8 11
grilling nick gruber
calvin klein's former arm candy
Television guide 15
Bravo's imposters marienne RendĂ“n
a Housewife's homecoming meghan king edmonds
e!'s the arrangement jonathan abrahams
the most real o'neal
The most real o'neal noah galvin chatting with STAR OF ABC'S HIT SITCOM THE REAL O'NEALS
theater guide 28
briefs: a festival of lgbtq plays
the fabulous fox: cabaret
the muny season preview
Opera theatre saint louis
dance st. louis
projects + gallery
stages st. louis
Pearl vodka presents 6th annuaL
CEO & partner • Darin Slyman firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher & Partner • Jimmy Lesch email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR • Kevin Schmidt Kevin@thevitalvoice.com Graphic DEsigner • AUDREY SCHERER firstname.lastname@example.org Contributor • Karla Templleton email@example.com Contributor • Kaleigh jurgensmeyer firstname.lastname@example.org Contributor • Tyler Bierman email@example.com Contributor • JILl FiRNS Jillianfirns31@gmail.com Contributors art: Darin Slyman, steve truesdell
The Final acT a FesTival oF shorT lgbTQ Plays
mark moore, AUDREY SCHERER, joan marcus abc/bob D'Amico, chris haston/nbc universal kurt iswarienko/bravo, paulapoundstone.com TEXT: jimmy no show, Kevin Schmidt KALEIGH JURGENSMEYER, Karla templeton sheryl flatow, joe gfaller Design: AUDREY SCHERER Online thevitalVOICE.com facebook.com/VitalVOICE twitter.com/VitalVOICE
.zack PerForMing arTs incubaTor
3224 locusT ave. • sT. louis March 9-11, 2017
Tickets available at MetroTix.com 8
Contact Vital VOICE Magazine 4579 Laclede Ave #268 St. Louis, MO 63108 firstname.lastname@example.org 314.256.1196
But the arts don’t only transform artists; they transform audiences as well. Where else but at a play, a concert, a gallery or, yes, even an opera, can you sit shoulder to shoulder with a room full of complete strangers and share a common experience? Where else does that experience have the potential to challenge us, stretch us outside of our comfort zones, or even inspire dialogue about what we’ve just seen? Sometimes, I’m moved as much by a show as by the impact the show has on two strangers with completely different backgrounds who begin talking at intermission about what they’ve just seen, only to discover they have so much more in common than just the air they were just collectively breathing. It happens more than you’d think. For all the other good that the arts do, the arts ultimately build community. They connect us to one another in an increasingly divided world. And that is something worth celebrating this month, this Issue, and all year long.
WELCOME When I was three or so, my parents took me to my first play. It was The Wizard of Oz at a small community theater on a lake in New Jersey. When the house lights went down, apparently I wailed and wailed. The actress playing Glinda had to come on stage in her bright white dress and ask my parents to remove me from the theater so that the show could begin.
So this spring, stretch yourself to try something outside your comfort zone. Meet the composer of a great new American opera over drinks at the Saint Louis Fashion Fund Incubator (shameless plug), or hear the Gateway Men’s Chorus celebrate their 30th anniversary in concert with a 30-plus piece orchestra and guest artist Christine Brewer (another shameless plug). Discover new stories about LGBTQIA identity at Briefs or enjoy a blockbuster musical like Cabaret at the Fabulous Fox or Million Dollar Quartet at The Rep. Download the Regional Arts Commission’s app and browse through hundreds of other events that don’t fit into this letter. However you can fit it into your calendar, find the opportunity to participate – as an audience member, as an artist, or both. You will be richer for it, and our community will be as well.
Not exactly an auspicious start to a career in the arts. In the LGBTQIA community, I find that the arts are often a powerful vehicle to give voice to those who are most afraid of being silenced. Think of that shy kid in your middle school who stayed late to draw pictures, or that high schooler who finally felt comfortable being his or her flamboyant self when they finally joined show choir. The arts gave them license, safety, and freedom.
Joe Gfaller Board President, Gateway Men’s Chorus Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Adjunct Faculty, Webster University Arts Management & Leadership Program
pearl garden mule Springtime is just about here, so itâ€™s time to cut out those depressed cold nights of chugging vodka straight out of the bottle and mix it up with something fresh and clean. The Pearl Garden Mule is, literally, springtime in a copper mug, mixing natural ingredients with Pearl Cucumber, a slightly sweet and deliciously simple flavor that makes the Mule a year-round crowd pleaser.
MAKE IT Glass: Copper mug
Ingredients: 1.5 oz. Pearl Cucumber 4 oz. ginger beer Fresh lime wedges Fresh strawberries Fresh basil leaves Garnish: Fresh lime wedge and additional basil leaves if desired. Recipe: Muddle lime, strawberries and basil leaves in a shaker. Add in crushed ice, Pearl Cucumber and ginger beer. Stir and pour all ingredients into a copper mug. TEXT: KEVIN SCHMIDT ART: courtesy of Luxco
S IP LO CA L ST. LOU IS’ H OMETOW N VODKA
PEARLVODK A.COM | W W W.LUXCO.COM | PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY. ©2017 Pearl® Vodka, 40% Alc/Vol (80 proof), Pearl® Vodka Flavors, 35% Alc/Vol (70 proof), Imported by Pearl® Spirits, Inc., St. Louis, MO.
Playdates Pearl Vodka, That Uppity Theatre Company, & Vital VOICE present:
Briefs: the final act
.ZACK Performing Arts Incubator - thevitalvoice.com
Pearl Vodka in conjunction with That Uppity Theatre Company and Vital VOICE Magazine will present the sixth annual BRIEFS: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays. Briefs is a unique venture in St. Louis that brings together numerous directors and theatrical artists to showcase the work of eight different playwrights all under one roof. Briefs presents theatrical work that address the lives of l esbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning people. The festival is targeted to a diverse and mature audience that appreciates good theatre in unique settings. With funding for the arts under attack and more anti-LGBTQ legislation in the wings under the new administration, Briefs is needed now more than ever. March 9-11 marks the final act for Briefs for now. After six years and producing 50 plays, Briefs has become a staple in the St. Louis arts community.
Fabulous Fox - fabulousfox.com Set in the infamous Kit Kat Klub, the cast and raucous ensemble take the stage nightly to tantalize the crowd––and to leave their troubles outside.
St. Patrick's day parade run
Downtown St. Louis - fabulousfox.com The biggest event of the year in downtown St. Louis features a five mile run in the morning followed by the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at noon.
25th Transcending The spectrum 4
st. louis undy run/walk
gateway men's chorus: light
Sofar Sounds ST. Louis
roundabout theatre's cabaret
Forest Park - ccalliance.org The Undy Run/Walk is a family-friendly run/walk events put on by the Colon Cancer Alliance dedicated to knocking out colon cancer and honoring those impacted.
560 Music Center - gmcstl.org Gateway Men’s Chorus presents a celebration that illuminates the struggles and victories of the LGBT community in this 30th anniversary event.
Westminster Press - stlmetrotrans.com Metro Trans* Umbrella Group hosts the 4th annual art exhibition and fundraiser, which brings together all colors and shades of the LGBT spectrum in the St. Louis metro area.
Secret location - sofarsounds.com Sofar Sounds is a global community that is bringing the magic back to live music through secret music performances in intimate, unique spaces.
Saturday March 25 9am
$5 OFF discount code VOICE
St. Louis, MO
Professionally-Timed 5K | 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk BENEFITING
S P O N S O R E D I N PA R T B Y
UndyRunWalk.org St.Louis7.306x4.75ad.indd 1
2/14/17 6:18 PM
PEARL VODKA PRESENTS 6TH ANNUAL
A FESTIVAL OF SHORT LGBTQ PLAYS .ZACK PERFORMING ARTS INCUBATOR 3224 LOCUST AVE. â€¢ ST. LOUIS
That Uppity Theatre Company
MARCH 9-11, 2017
THE FINAL ACT Tickets Available at MetroTix.com 14
Nick Gruber GRILLING
CALVIN KLEIN'S former arm CANDY UNWRAPS
TEXT: KALEIGH JURGENSMEYER
hen Nick Gruber stepped into the spotlight a few years back, the press was quick to pounce on the young, handsome model looped on Calvin Klein’s arm. He had a charm about him, with high eyebrows and a half smile that suggested he knew something you didn’t. Was he mischievous or innocent? With Gruber’s career budding and Klein’s hair greying, Nick was promptly dubbed “boy toy” and Klein was the “sugar daddy.” Gruber has had difficulty shedding this unfair image – one he likely didn’t deserve – yet, despite faithless critics, he is here today standing on his own two feet. Growing up, Gruber never imagined the life he’s now living. He wanted to be a sports medicine doctor. Though high school friends lightheartedly said he should be an Abercrombie model because of his good looks, he didn’t entertain the idea. Gruber admits he had low self-confidence and a gap between his teeth – not the image of perfection in his mind. He enlisted in the military and when that ended, a change of pace steered him to LA where he made connections along the way that ultimately propelled him into the fashion world. He doesn’t have any regrets – not even his brief stint in the adult film industry – because they led him to where he is today. “I was young and I did it– it was fun. It doesn’t bother me,” Gruber says. “I have no regrets. Every mistake is a new learning path and it’s the only way to learn. People can say don’t do this, or don’t do that, but they’re still going to judge you anyway. You have to figure out your life for yourself.” As for Klein and Gruber’s relationship, they still remain “friends,” Gruber says. “I have no enemies. I’m a Capricorn.”
True to Capricorns’ ambitiousness, Gruber has a wide range of current ventures – from writing to runway walking to real estate. He recently found out he’ll be walking in LA Fashion Week, and signed a two-picture deal with Hollywood Studio Blue Seraph Productions. He was recently in an independent movie called Roll Out, where he stars as an army member dealing with PTSD. Roll Out is currently being premiered at several film festivals across the country. He also has a memoir coming out. Though he couldn’t confirm any “juicy” details, the book does detail who he is and how he was brought up. The book will touching upon his experiences in the fashion industry, with celebrities and well-known designers. “I wear so many hats and different socks,” Gruber laughs. “I’m still just trying to find myself and what truly makes me happy.” One thing that always makes him happy is helping other people, he says. In Harlem, he worked with a karate class for adults and children with disabilities relating to spinal cord injuries – something that’s close to his heart. His sister had cerebral palsy and passed away when he was young. “My favorite thing is seeing their big beautiful smiles and the happiness they get while helping build their self-esteem,” Gruber says. Self-esteem is something Gruber continuously works on for himself. He struggled with an eating disorder and the image that came with being a male model. With the pressure to be bigger, stronger and more chiseled, Gruber says that maintaining a “certain perfect figure” weighed on him physically and mentally. Gruber is doing better now and continues to model for top designers all over the world. He particularly likes Japanese and Chinese fashion for their innovativeness. In the future, Gruber hopes to focus more on acting and would love to be in a commercial for GNC, host events, or be the next James Dean – master of action and romance. He also wants kids, but he says, “Not yet. Not until I can provide the best life and all the love that I can give them.” Speaking of love, Gruber did declare himself a single, wild horse. No ladies (or men) are currently in the picture but he’s open to love. “I love men, I love women, I love humans,” he says. “I just like to give love.” V thevitalVOICE.com
March 3 & 4
Presenting Sponsor Season Supporting Sponsor
TOUHILL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
TWO breathtaking productions this MARCH
March 31 & April 1
TOUHILL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
TICKETS 314.534.6622 DANCESTLOUIS.ORG
TICKETS 314.534.6622 DANCESTLOUIS.ORG
Presenting Sponsor Season Supporting Sponsor
arianne Rendón, breakout star of Bravo’s third original scripted series Imposters, is about to steal your heart or become your new best friend. Rendón, a 2016 graduate of the Juilliard School of Drama, is a star on the rise. Understudy in the New York Theater Workshop production of David Bowie’s musical, Lazarus, and star of the independent film, Gemini, she is now breaking out into the television world in Imposters.
TEXT: KARLA TEMPLETON ART: KURT ISWARIENKO/BRAVO
Marianne stars as Jules, a passionate artist left broken and cynical after her wife CeCe leaves her. Therapy and her art is where she turns to cope with the aftermath of her marriage. Just as time has placed a bandage on the pain, a knock on the door sends her into a spiral of conspiracy and revenge. CeCe is not the woman she thought she married. Vital VOICE chatted with Marianne about the show, giving us the chance to ask her about the recent project and her budding resume. So, tell us about Jules. Jules is from a wealthy Connecticut family who always wanted to distance herself from that upbringing. She is an artist who wants to feel legitimate, have a sense of struggle per se. In New York City, she meets the love of her life, CeCe, a tough bartender. CeCe immediately leads the way in making Jules feel understood and validated as a talented artist who doesn’t have to care what other people think of her work. CeCe turns out to be a con artist and takes her for everything, leaving her high and dry. We meet Jules two years after she’s been conned and very close to getting over the trauma when these boys, who are themselves trying to track down their versions of CeCe, kind of uproot that entire trauma for Jules again.
WHO is she? Marianne RendÓn:
What attracted you to this character?
What’s next for you?
I really related to her being a young artist, struggling for approval and legitimacy. She has a real neurotic and raw imagination, and I definitely relate to that. The way that she was written was so fun, different and interesting.
I am really excited for the first season of Imposters to air. I can’t be in a better position – being right out of school – to see the range of work that Jules expresses on the show. It’s an amazing showcase for a lot of the actors on the show.
Do you believe the stigma by playing LGBT characters is officially a thing of the past?
Any comments for viewers of the show?
Absolutely. That is something that attracted me to the role. Those voices are being heard more and more and I think that if there is any opportunity to give them more power and more of a voice, that is really what I care about as an actor.
Because everyone can relate to the different characters, I think initially people will relate to Jules because of her trauma and her neurosis. Not only is it incredibly funny in the beginning, but you see her very real, high stake, emotionally demanding experiences.
Tell me about your work on the Lazarus musical.
Favorite karaoke song?
I was understudying Cristin Millioti in Lazarus, who is the female lead. I would have to say one of the coolest things I have heard in the past year is that, when I auditioned, they taped my audition initially in New York, and that not only did Ivo (von Hove) the director have to sign off on it, but that David Bowie himself watched the tape and hired me. So him doing that, being one of my greatest heroes and that we just lost him, was one of those things I will never forget.
Kate Bush Wuthering Heights. Oh my god, you have to check out Kate Bush. That 80s hair! Imposters is giving us a taste of what's to come for Marianne Rendón. And for this true New York City native, we won’t have to be conned to love her. V
Imposters airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on Bravo. thevitalVOICE.com
sewife's Homecoming TEXT: KEVIN SCHMIDT ART: STEVE TRUESDELL
Her confidence can easily be mistaken for cockiness, but c’mon, she’s 5’11” with charisma from head to toe, so we wouldn’t have her any other way. Meghan King Edmonds joined The Real Housewives of Orange County in its 10th season, showcasing a back and forth lifestyle from St. Louis to Southern California while maintaining her wit, charm and smarts that she is now most known for. From being a “#coolstepmom” to documenting her journey with in vitro fertilization, filming with a less-thanenthused hubby to holding her own with Housewives legends, Edmonds blends the sweetness of the Midwest with OC spice into one balanced cocktail any Housewives fan would binge on. Now as a new mother, Edmonds is contemplating new moves of her own, possibly right back to St. Louis for good. Before she settles down on any life-changing decisions, we sat down with Edmonds herself to get a feel for what she has planned. “I don’t know honestly,” she responds in regards to her next move. “I’m still trying to decide how much or little involvement I want to have with Housewives, because the baby is now occupying a lot of my time. I think I would like to be full time – you know, hold an orange – but then I get a lot of anxiety because it is a lot of work.” Work on Real Housewives? Who knew that going to lunch was so exhausting. There is, of course, more that goes on than we see on screen. And because reality shows are now so common, we assume that there are “people” there to help prep them before shooting. “It’s me doing full on hair and makeup everyday,” she explains. “And picking out wardrobe, every single day. Which, if I didn’t have a camera in my face, I probably wouldn’t care what I looked like in my house just making breakfast. There’s a lot of behind the scenes actions needed to set up for shooting, and that’s me everyday.” thevitalVOICE.com
Respected is an appropriate way of defining Meghan after two successful seasons on the show. Her storylines delve into unique scenarios that we haven’t seen from other ladies, and she adds a grounded approach to altercations that arise and situations that she finds herself in. Her first season showed her being a stepmom to a high schooler whose mother was battling colon cancer, a battle that was soon lost. “I’ve shown my IVF journey on camera, I’ve spoken on Capitol Hill last year and met with senators with Fight CRC (Colorectal cancer), and I went to Cambodia with Three Strands Global, an organization that employs former victims of sex trafficking,” she explains. “And those are gross things that people don’t want to talk about. Colon cancer deals with your butt and sex trafficking is icky and horrible and people want to pretend like it doesn’t exist.” Whether or not she returns to the show, she still plans on remaining in the public eye in order bring to light issues that she cares about. “Using my voice, literally,” she says. Her voice is always a strong card to play, but so is that last name – especially in reaching an audience outside of the Housewives fan base. Have you heard of her husband, Jim Edmonds? He’s a Cardinals superhero, St. Louis icon, and he hates the show. “He looks like a total asshole, he’s like a grump master,” she laughs. “He hates filming, and that comes across. If we are talking about IVF – we obviously have already been talking about it a lot – but we have to talk about it again because the cameras didn’t get to hear it. I’m like, ‘Jimmy, fans are going to see this.’ And he’s like, ‘I don’t care.’ And then it comes out and people say, ‘Jimmy is such a grump,’ and he’s like, ‘What? They don’t even know me.’” Being a St. Louis girl, she’s always down to keep it real, especially when she’s home. Her favorite Busch Stadium snack? “Bud Select,” she quickly replies. “It has less calories than Budweiser but the same taste.” And her favorite memory has to be the 2011 World Series when David Freese hit the home run. “I was huddled up with my girlfriend and we watched it, and it was just the coolest moment. Now, here I am married to Jim Edmonds, sitting next to David Freese at parties.” For now, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not Meghan will be an “orange holder” or not, but it is ripe enough to say that Orange County – the longest-running saga in the Real Housewives franchise – is sticking around. “I see it continue to grow because it is the modern-day, real life soap opera,” she explains. “My life is so abnormal in so many ways, and I’m on TV and people watch that. And they can’t get enough of it. And I’m just one of how many Housewives? It’s intriguing.” V
MEGHAN'S GUIDE TO BEING a
Real Housewife of St. Louis Where does a RHSL shop? I’m a big lover of consignment. I like Byrd, The Vault, and I do a lot of online shopping. And Neimans, I guess. But our Neimans sucks.
Work out? Well, I work out at Wellbridge but I just canceled my membership because it’s all stinky, old people. Right now, I’m really just focused on Hot Yoga and going on walks whenever it’s nice out.
Road trip to? Housewives don’t go on road trips. They take jets.
Spend a Friday night with other Housewives? A steakhouse, probably, just like any other city in the nation. Cougars in the OC go to Mastro’s. Here, they go to Flemming’s. And they probably would go to  Chophouse if the parking was better.
Go for sushi? Tani Sushi Bistro in Clayton. But there’s a drivethru sushi place on Manchester. But, then again, it’s drive-thru sushi, in the middle of America.
Order pizza from? I know I’m going against the grain on this one, but I’m going to say Dewey’s.
The Object As Mirror February 10th-March 18th, 2017
penning the arrangement
TEXT: KEVIN SCHMIDT ART: CHRIS HASTON/NBC UNIVERSAL
We’ve all heard of the dark side of Hollywood: how shady it is, how cutthroat it can be, how competitive it is has become. It’s superficial, scandalous and sex driven. And while these things are intended to undermine its glamour, it does the opposite to the curious soul who is intrigued by such an overly seductive sphere. Writer and director Jonathan Abrahams – most noted for his Emmy win for Mad Men – translates the reality of it all into one scripted series, The Arrangement. The show swirls together real love and relationships with real Hollywood issues. Vital VOICE chatted with Abrahams on real life “contracts,” how accurate his story is, and the barriers that it breaks along the way. ”When you get into the business and try to sell scripted shows, no one wants to see a show about Hollywood, so don’t even try and bother,” Jonathan starts off. “But we were really able to break that rule, and break it in a big way.” “One of the main things that I love about The Arrangement is that it has this premise that is kind of crazy: an arranged marriage,” he continues. Sounds familiar, right? Both you and I could name more than a few Hollywood couples that have been suspected
of doing the same thing. For Jonathan, his job is translating this perceived reality back into a script. "The Hollywood thing and the contract was really cool and mysterious, and we cleared up a lot of rumors about that kind of thing happening,” he says. “It adds up to this very interesting delivery vehicle for a show and a relationship about love and intimacy. You know, there used to be a time where there was room for that kind of stuff on TV without a high-concept attachment. It seems like the landscape of television doesn’t really have a lot of that these days, and that’s the kind of stuff I love.” It’s clear that the landscape of television has transformed since the days of just a scriptwriter and a producer giving us a glimpse of a reality that isn’t our own. From live streaming and social media, to a reality show about nearly any niche that peaks an interest, we are able to see firsthand how almost anyone else lives. But with the success of scripted series on networks like Bravo and E! (Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, Odd Mom Out, The Royals) – networks ruled by Kardashians and Housewives – one can’t help but be curious on a new trend away from reality altogether.
“I wouldn’t say that there is a shift, but I do think that there is a big appetite for scripted content,” Jonathan explains. “And everyone wants to get into the game, which is good for us writers. Is it coming at the expense of reality? I wouldn’t know. Are we taking the best aspects of a reality show and making it scripted? That feels a little reductive for me. I think that we’re just exploring interesting characters and stories in an environment that has, up to this point, been more reserved for the reality fare.” “People are binging more, and it’s more of an immersive experience” he continues. “When you are in that binge mode and sitting down for an hour, two or three, your attention span is not shorter anymore. You get people hooked in, and they’re ready to go for a ride. With The Arrangement, we are in the traditional TV landscape, but I expect that we will be straddling it. I expect that we will have a place in the streaming world at some point. We are working at being the best of both and I think there is a real trend these days to make things more cinematic, so that it doesn’t feel like it is cookie-cutter television.” Jonathan says that the way to make a show cinematic and compelling is to counterbalance an extreme scenario – like an “arrangement” – with writing and characters that are very grounded in the real. “Ones who have little flaws and big flaws, and have their own way of speaking but don’t necessarily fit into a stick mold of “that” character that we’ve seen before,” he says. “It really is a desire to find truth in these situations, moment to moment. And you can tell as you are looking at writing when someone has sort of blown past that and it looks kind of cliché. The effort is to not do that,” he explains. “And that’s why I say that these little moments between people are the glue, moments where people recognize and go, ‘That’s really real, and I’ve felt that and seen that,’ or ‘I’ve said that to somebody.’ It’s those moments that actually end up meaning so much.” V
The Arrangement airs Sundays at 10/9C on E! thevitalVOICE.com
Pearl vodka Presents 6th AnnuAl
a festival of short lgbtQ Plays
.zack PerforMiNg arts iNcubator 3224 locust ave. â€˘ st. louis March 9-11, 2017
the fiNal act tickets available at Metrotix.com That Uppity Theatre Company
TEXT: JIMMY NO SHOW ART: ABC/BOB D'AMICO
Noah Galvin doesn’t fit in, he stands out. He was raised in New York and it shows. His personality is a refreshing mix of New York candor and gay boy sass that has a cutting sense of humor underneath it all, if you’re sharp enough to catch it. Galvin, who also dabbles in theater and audio books, currently stars as the young lead, Kenny O’Neal, in ABC’s comedy The Real O’Neals. The show revolves around the O’Neal family, a seemingly perfect all-American Irish-Catholic family. When the youngest son, Kenny (Galvin), comes out of the closet in season one, the other family members follow suit in one way or another: everyone’s surprising truths are revealed. Instead of ruining their family, the honesty triggers a new, messier chapter where everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being themselves. The Real O’Neals is now wrapping up it’s second season. How do you feel the show has evolved since making its debut? It has evolved in a beautiful, natural way. A story I love to tell is what happened with the last moment of our pilot episode. Initially, our pilot ended with Kenny coming out to his girlfriend Mimi and his entire family being there in rainbow sweaters cheering him on. Dan Savage stepped in and said, “Kids get kicked out of their homes everyday,” referring to LGBTQ kids who don’t have it easy. If we ended the first episode with the entire family completely on board with Kenny’s homosexuality, there would be nowhere to go or grow, no reason for anybody to tune in next week. thevitalVOICE.com
So, we changed the scene on the fly to just include Kenny and his siblings on the couch. This opened the door for Kenny and Eileen to have a classic protagonist/antagonist relationship that has and will evolve over time. That evolution is the most interesting to me and the one I’m most proud of telling. Where do you see the Kenny’s relationship with Brett going next season? Unfortunately, Kenny and Brett do not last. Love is fleeting and young love even more so. I think Kenny started dating Brett because he was, for lack of a better word, thirsty. Kenny was very lonely and wanting a boyfriend, the opportunity arose and, let's be honest, who wouldn’t fall for Sean Grandillo? Brett and Kenny are very different people and Kenny sacrificed a lot of himself to please Brett. It was doomed from the get-go, but having this first unsuccessful relationship out of the way has opened the door for something greater. Since Kenny is going to be single, who would you cast as Kenny’s dream man in the show? Kenny has talked about his love for Anderson Cooper before. Not very age appropriate, but I would love him to be in a fantasy sequence. Love interests aside, it seems like you also have a great relationship with your Real O’Neals costars on and off screen. We’re on a comedy. A jovial atmosphere supports good comedy. If we all hated each other, I don't think our show would be half as funny. And you all give your time very generously to LGBT causes. I work closely with It Gets Better and The Trevor Project. Many reach out to me looking for advice and want to share their stories. I cannot respond to everyone, so I send many in the direction of The Trevor Project. They are a wonderful organization that offers help and support to any in need. They have been a fantastic resource. A lot of schools are cutting arts and music programs too. Can you sound off on the importance of having these in school? I think even if these kids aren’t going to grow up and become actors or painters or musicians, the arts feed something in your soul that cannot be found elsewhere. The arts for many are simply a safe space, a place of refuge and inspiration. We need to support all arts education. Now, more than ever. Before landing your role on The Real O’Neals, you did a lot of stage work. What’s your dream role on Broadway? I will one day be in a revival of Cabaret and play the Emcee. I just have to wait for Alan Cumming — someone I very much look up to — to die. When did you know you wanted to be a professional entertainer? I don’t recall one specific “aha” moment. I grew up watching my siblings in school plays and rock concerts. I used to go to the rehearsals for the school musicals and just sit in the back and watch for hours. Growing up Catholic and gay, how has that shaped how you play Kenny? It took my Dad some time to come around to the idea of me being gay. Religion was so much a part of his life from such a young age. You grow up with these beliefs pounded into you, and then something or someone comes along and sort of rocks your world. There is going to be some sort of adjustment period.
This is similar to Kenny and Eileen. Kenny knows his mom loves him and also knows how staunch she is. He knows that she will eventually come around, but getting there will be a process. I’d say my relationship with my father has very much informed my portrayal of Kenny. How do you play a gay character and stay true to that without over-stereotyping the role? Honestly, I don’t think about those things when playing the role. If I were trying to force Kenny to be something that wasn’t in the writing, he would come off stilted. I try to play Kenny with as much humanity as possible. I know what it's like to grow up gay and find yourself. Kenny, like all gay men, has moments where he queens the fuck out, and moments where he (pardon my reductive-ness) is “straight acting.” Like any human, he has layers and many notes to him.
How about his age? You’re 22, but you play a high school student. Do you think it’s easier to play someone younger with those teenage years being “hindsight?” Just like writing, it's easier to play what you know. I know what it's like to be a teenager. Playing someone younger certainly comes easier than playing someone older than me. For I know not what it means to be old. I love that Kenny has so many dimensions. It’s relatable to nonLGBT audience members. I think what makes Kenny relatable is that we’re not telling the story of Kenny’s inner struggle in coming out. The story starts with him coming out, so we simply get to follow him on his journey through adolescence. Everybody has been a teenager at some point. First loves, fighting with siblings or parents, disappointing friends — everyone can relate to that. V
Last Time I...
Last thing you binged on Netflix ? My brother-in-law Will Brill on The OA
Last time you embarrassed yourself?
I farted on a plane last night. I'm 80 percent sure the lady next to me knew.
Last musical you saw? Hamilton in Chicago. It was lit.
Last song you listened to?
My brother’s song “Heavy Love.” He’s in a band called Yoke Lore.
Last person you texted ?
Matt Shively. I’m currently in Oregon visiting him and his mom.
Last place you ordered carry out ?
A spot called Grandma’s Thai Kitchen in the Valley.
Last vacation you went on?
Myrtle Creek, Oregon, chillin’ in the woods.
Last drink you had?
I had a lovely craft beer on my plane last night. thevitalVOICE.com
St. Louis American
Open March 11! Free admission
Forest Park (314) 746-4599 mohistory.org
Open through May 7 For ticket information, visit slam.org/degas. Members always free. Everyone free on Friday.
Open Tuesday–Sunday One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park
This Exhibition is organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Presented by:
Edgar Degas, French, 1834-1917; Self-Portrait in the Soft Hat, 1857; oil on paper mounted on canvas; 10 ¼ x 7 ½ inches; Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA
to stay with us is to stay with family When booking use special code VITAL for 20% discount happy pride MoonriseHotel.com • 314-721-1111 6177 Delmar in The Loop • St. Louis, MO 63112
Bolder Than Ever Dear friends and colleagues, You know that phenomenon where someone says, "When was it? Oh, right. Well, I'll catch it next time." Except, sometimes, there isn't a next time. Like now. With Briefs. March 9-11 marks for final act for Briefs for now. After six years, our producing team has decided to take a break. Call it the seven year itch or maybe the need to do some introspection for the direction of our two companies, but my co-producers, Darin Slyman and Jimmy Lesch of the Vital VOICE and I have decided to take a break. The current administration, explosion in the St. Louis theatre scene, and funding cuts have encouraged us all to take a step back and ask what's next. We love Briefs and are incredibly proud of the work we have done together. We have produced 50 short LGBTQ plays, many of them world premieres, amassing and supporting a significant body of dramatic literature. We have nurtured new and young voices with our Ken Haller Playwriting Award for LGBTQ and Allied Youth. Our alumni of directors have been a virtual “who's who” in St. Louis theatre, including Vanessa Roman, Michael B. Perkins, Ed
Reggi, Annamarie Pileggi, Bonnie Taylor, Edward Coffield, Marty Stanberry, Sammy Tramp, Lee Anne Matthews, Christopher Limber, Theresa Masters, Ryan Foizey, Phillip Boehm, Gad Guterman, Stephen Peirick, Fannie Lebby, Matthew R. Kerns, Pamela Reckamp, Jacqueline Thompson, Sarah Holt, and myself. We are proud that gender parity and hiring women directors have been a core value since our beginning. We have benefited different groups including Metro Trans* Umbrella Group and, this year, we are proud to stand with refugees and with our Muslim sisters and brothers to raise much needed funds for them. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who has joined us along the way, especially Michael Perkins and Christine Elbert, who have toiled beside us for so many years. To every actor who has performed. Every writer who has shared their work. Every director. Every stage manager. Every usher and volunteer. Briefs is art. Briefs is community. Briefs is us. Please join us for the final act March 9-11. Because this really is it, and tomorrow is not guaranteed. -Joan Lipkin
TEXT: ANNIE DENT
At a time when both LGBTQ rights, freedom of expression and funding for the arts hangs in the balance, the sixth annual Briefs: A Festival of Short LGBTQ Plays is more relevant than ever. The festival runs March 9-11 at the .ZACK Performing Arts Incubator in Grand Center. Presented by Pearl Vodka and co-produced by That Uppity Theatre Company and Vital VOICE Magazine, Briefs is a unique showcase in St. Louis that brings together numerous directors and theatre artists to showcase the work of eight different playwrights all under one roof. Briefs presents theatrical work that address the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning people. This year’s collection of eight plays has been selected from over 250 submissions across the country and includes such themes as the care-taking of elderly family members by gay persons, the stress a lesbian couple experiences given varying responses to the Pulse massacre, the impact on family dynamics following a member's official adoption of a transgender identity, the closing of a bar that was a foundational safe haven for gay community members, and more. During its six-year history, Briefs has attracted many talented leading actors and directors from the St. Louis area. This year, it will feature three local, female writers, Shannon Grier, Joan Lipkin, and Theresa Masters with their respective works titled Twenty Questions, Our Friends, and Danny Boy. Dan Berkowtiz’s When Oprah Says Goodbye is back by popular demand with the original principle cast directed by Fannie Lebby as a presentation of diversity and aging in the LGBTQ community. The sixth year of the festival will celebrate the third annual Ken Haller Playwriting Competition for LGBTQ and Allied Youth competition launched by Lipkin. The competition is named after pediatrician, performer, and longtime LGBTQ activist Ken Haller. The Haller competition provides the winning playwright with a cash prize and their play is staged at the Briefs Festival. This year's recipient is Webster University student, McKenzie Moser, and her work Trial and Swear.
"I am moved and humbled by what Briefs is creating and by having the Haller Playwriting Competition for LGBTQ and Allied Youth named in my honor. In every sphere of my life – growing up gay, caring for kids as a pediatrician, and working in theater – I know how crucial it is for kids who have been marginalized to have their voices heard. It is my hope that the Haller Competition will allow voices silenced for so very long, finally, to speak their truth out loud!"
- Ken Haller
"Briefs, from the moment it hit the stage five years ago was like nothing else ever seen in St. Louis. The vignettes in the show tackled subject matter which had for far too long been left in the corners of our minds. Briefs brought many topics we were hoping to see but never did; because there was never a company brave enough to highlight alternative lifestyles and universally under-represented themes. As an audience member, I finally felt fully engaged! Bravo Briefs!"
- Sara Burke
Event Schedule Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 8 p.m. Friday, March 10, 2017 - 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, 2017 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. To purchase tickets, go to www.MetroTix.com and search Briefs thevitalVOICE.com
The Roundabout Theatre Company’s
CABARET at the TEXT: SHERYL FLATOW ART: Joan Marcus
The audible gasp followed by the deafening silence that often greets the final shattering moment of the national tour of Cabaret is a testament to the force of the invigorating Roundabout Theatre Company’s production. Written by John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics), and Joe Masteroff (book), Cabaret has long been recognized as one of the best and most important musicals of the twentieth century. But if the original production was groundbreaking, Roundabout’s version, directed by Sam Mendes and choreographed and co-directed by Rob Marshall, is seismic. Regardless of how well you think you know Cabaret, nothing quite prepares you for this decadent, riveting, devastating production, which Todd Haimes, Roundabout’s artistic director, calls a “reinvention” of the classic musical. First presented by Roundabout in 1998, the Mendes-Marshall staging won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, ran for 2,377 performances and made a star of its Emcee, Alan Cumming, much as the original Hal Prince production made a star of Joel Grey. And the show’s directors caught the attention of Hollywood. Mendes would go on to win the 2000 Oscar for Best Director for his first film, the Academy Award-winning American Beauty, and Marshall was nominated as Best Director in 2003 for his first film, the Academy Award-winning Chicago. In 2014, a decade after Cabaret’s final “à bientôt,” Roundabout brought the production back to Broadway and then sent it on the 32
road as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration. “This production changed musical theater,” says Haimes. “It gave us actors doubling as the orchestra and an environmental musical. I brought the show back because I thought a new generation should see the work that Sam and Rob did, which is truly seminal.” Willkommen to Berlin, 1929, and to the Kit Kat Klub, a cabaret that serves as a reflection of the Weimar Republic as it plunges toward Nazism. The downward spiral is mirrored in the show’s two doomed love stories. The first is between Sally Bowles, a British singer with limited talent who performs at the club, and Clifford Bradshaw, a bisexual American writer. The other romance is between Fräulein Schneider, who runs a boardinghouse, and Herr Schultz, a German-Jewish shopkeeper. Mendes initially directed the show in 1993 at the 250-seat Donmar Warehouse in London, which he turned into a nightclub. He chose to have the ensemble double as musicians, unsure at the outset how that concept would work.. “Making the ensemble the musicians helped the notion that it was the nightclub putting on the show,” he says. “Everything is done contained within the framework of the Kit Kat Klub. It’s not just that the actors sing and dance and act and play instruments. They also move the furniture and watch the show. It’s suffused with a kind of homemade energy that comes directly from a multi-talented cast, which you can only get in the theater. It’s not spectacle in
e Fabulous Fox the traditional sense, but I think it proves how little spectacle you need to put on a great show.”
the façade, who is aware that the roof is caving in. And when that collapse occurs, it stuns the audience.
Like the characters in the show, the audience has so much fun for most of the first act that their eyes are closed to the tawdriness and unseemliness in front of them. That is due to the aforementioned great score – which includes three songs that were written for the film: “Mein Herr,” “Maybe This Time” and “Money” – the inspired staging, and the Emcee, who, Mendes says, “governs the entire show and dictates the rhythm of the evening.” The character has been completely revamped, vamp being the operative word. He invites members of the audience to come onstage and dance with him. He’s a pansexual seducer; insidiously charming, sexy, raunchy, impudent, flirty, mischievous and unsettling. He’s onstage for most of the show; when he’s not in a scene, he’s often lurking in the shadows.
“Even this time around, when many people in the audience were already familiar with the production, it was like they were in shock after the final moment,” says Haimes.
And the shadows truly begin to descend at the end of the first act, with the disturbing “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.” The numbers in the second act acknowledge the bigotry, the demagoguery, and the ignorance that are permeating Germany. “If You Could See Her” is sung by the Emcee to a performer wearing a gorilla suit, and contains the chilling last line, “If you could see her through my eyes, she wouldn’t look Jewish at all.” There is also the haunting “I Don’t Care Much,” which was unused in the original production but added to a 1987 Broadway revival and sung by the Emcee. It’s the only number that gives the audience a glimpse of the person behind
The theme of the show is as timely and urgent now as it was 50 years ago, and probably will be 50 years from now. “The world today is such a mess,” says Masteroff. “And when you understand what one man did to a sophisticated, intelligent country like Germany, then you wonder what could happen anywhere. It’s really kind of a warning.”
March 7-19th Tickets available at www.MetroTix.com thevitalVOICE.com
The Muny Outdoor Theater
99-years-young and still creating breathtaking summers under the stars. The Muny’s 2017 line-up, featuring the most requested shows from audience surveys, combines beloved Muny classics with 2 Muny premieres for another unforgettable season in Forest Park. From mermaids and Andrew Lloyd Webber, to Tony Nominee Beth Malone and the longanticipated Muny debut of Newsies, Season 99 promises dazzling variety, awe-inspiring stories and soaring melodies.
Jesus Christ Superstar June 12 – 18 A Heavenly Masterpiece
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum July 5 – 11 Comedy Tonight
The Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber phenomenon returns. Jesus Christ Superstar was an album that became a cultural phenomenon, then Broadway’s first rock opera and remains a worldwide favorite. With classic songs like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Heaven on Their Minds” and the title song, this bold and rocking retelling of the gospels will leave you singing nothing but heavenly praises.
Load up the chariots, we are off to The Muny for big, big laughs! Considered one of Broadway’s greatest farces, this musical romp through Rome includes desperate lovers, mistaken identities, scheming neighbors and secrets behind every toga. With delicious music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, this is one hair-brained Roman forum you won’t want to miss.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid June 20 – 29 Part Of Your World
All Shook Up July 13 – 19 Fools Fall In Love
Go “under the sea” in Disney’s classic musical fantasy The Little Mermaid. One of the most popular animated films in history is now a splendid and magical Broadway musical. Headstrong Princess Ariel dreams of a life on land far from her ocean home, and she’s willing to risk her Father’s love and wrath to find it. Featuring Academy-Award winning hits like “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl,” this spectacular Muny production will leave your entire family happy as a clam.
Set to the hits of the King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley, this musical will have you dancing in your “Blue Suede Shoes” all night long. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the music is all Elvis, and the result is a night of hilarious and enchanting 1950s fun. When Chad, the mysterious hip-swiveling roustabout arrives in town, suddenly everyone’s lip curling and all shook up with secrets, music and love.
The Unsinkable Molly Brown July 21 – 27 I Ain’t Down Yet
Newsies August 7 – 13 Seize The Day
Hannibal Missouri’s own brash and beguiling Molly Brown shines in this exhilarating adaptation of Meredith Willson’s 1960 musical. Her rags-to-riches story sparkles with a new book by Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie), and new songs from the Meredith Willson songbook. The tempestuous can’t-live-with-him/can’t-livewithout-him love story that survived the Silver Boom, Gold Rush and sinking of the Titanic returns to the stage with more fun and flair than ever. This is one of those classic musicals that will have your heart soaring!
The cult 1992 film became a smash 2012 Broadway musical, and Newsies now makes its long-awaited Muny premiere. With incredible music by Alan Menken, Newsies reveals the thrilling story of the Newsboy Strike of 1899 – how a bunch of rag tag orphans took on the mighty Joe Pulitzer and nearly brought down the city of New York. Newsies at The Muny is guaranteed to make headlines.
A Chorus Line July 29 – August 4 One Singular Sensation This singular sensation of a musical tells the story of 19 dancers at a final audition, vying for a spot in a Broadway show. A landmark American musical, A Chorus Line has been called “the greatest musical – ever.” With music by Oscar and Tony winning Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line celebrates the dreams, guts and sweat that we all need to take our place “on the line.”
An Unexpected Way to enjoy opera... Across a bank of daylilies, a group of friends hangs out at a picnic table, enjoying sushi and a six-pack of cider. Along another path lined with hyacinths, an older couple looks for a spot to open their picnic baskets and uncork a bottle of wine. Sales are brisk at the bar under a tent, and there’s laughter echoing in the trees as old friends catch up, anticipating the show that’s about to start later that evening. Is it a night at the Botanical Gardens? A concert on Forest Park? A food truck event in Tower Grove? Believe it or not, it’s the setting an hour before a performance at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Opera Theatre’s picnic grounds are among the company’s most popular traditions – and sometimes, one of its best-kept secrets. But partying in the gardens outside of the Loretto-Hilton Center in Webster Groves is a hallmark of both the pre-show and postshow experience when you attend OTSL’s May/June festival each year. If you’ve been to the Loretto-Hilton for another event before and never noticed the gardens, the picnic tables or the tents, that’s because OTSL invests each year in bringing them to life – thanks to
staff and countless volunteers who plant and water a beautiful array of flowers, just to create the kind of casual and welcoming ambiance that makes OTSL unique. In a setting like this, it’s no wonder people enjoy coming to the opera just as they are. Some people do like to get dressed up, but everyone else looks like they are getting ready to enjoy a summer wedding – with khakis, jeans, and sun dresses the norm. It’s nothing like Pretty Woman, where Richard Gere had to buy Julia Roberts tens of thousands of dollars of gowns and jewelry just so she could fit in. At OTSL, gowns and furs and pearls are definitely not required. It’s not just the atmosphere outside the theater that helps people f eel like they fit in – it’s the way OTSL produces opera as well. Every production is performed in English, ensuring audiences can understand and appreciate each moment of the story as it unfolds in real time. Audiences can laugh when the joke happens or feel their heart break at just the moment it’s supposed to, without the delay of reading a projected translation once they can pull their eyes off the stage.
(Although, super title screens do still project the words in English in case you miss a moment of what was sung.) Hearing opera in the language of the audience is exactly the way most composers wanted their operas heard – and the way the world experienced opera for centuries before the invention of the phonograph. But today, it’s become a surprisingly refreshing way to experience it. So if you’ve always assumed opera isn’t for you, check your expectations at the door – particularly this season when the company is offering as fresh a mix of titles as they’ve ever presented. For those who want to check one of opera’s great masterpieces off their bucket lists, there is Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. (Yes, that’s the opera that was adapted into the musical Miss Saigon in the 1980s.) But there’s also a classic Mozart opera that could be ripped from today’s headlines or an episode of Scandal – Titus (La clemenza di Tito), an explosive mix of ambition, conspiracy, and romantic intrigue set off when a new emperor takes the throne of Rome. And there are two new operas that will keep audiences riveted: The Grapes of Wrath (adapted from the Steinbeck bestseller) by Ricky Ian Gordon and
The Trial, Philip Glass’s take on Kafka’s classic story of a world in which justice is turned upside down. The season runs May 20 through June 25, but check out the Opera Theatre website for information about lots of pre-season events in March and April – including a community tour with Grapes’ gay composer Ricky Ian Gordon March 22-25 and the company’s signature Opera Tastings series that pairs great food and drink with highlights from music across the history of opera April 18-23. Tickets to individual productions start at only $25. Audiences under 45 can participate in OTSL’s Young Friends program and on select nights enjoy both a ticket to the opera and a pre-show dinner buffet with an open bar for $49 per person. Young Friends nights make for a great party – and (just like every night at Opera Theatre) include the opportunity to hang out with the singers after the opera. To learn more about Opera Theatre, visit either www.operastories. org or www.ExperienceOpera.org. TEXT: JOE GFALLER
...right in your backyard thevitalVOICE.com
Martha Graham, Ninette de Valois, Pina Bausch, Judith Jamison, Kathryn Dunham, Twyla Tharp, Agnes de Mille. The list of talented, successful and famous female choreographers is long and their repertoire of work is profound. Yet currently in dance — an industry so seemingly geared toward, pioneered by, and dominated by women — some of the most prominent, high-profile choreographers today are men, leaving many to ask, “Where are all the female choreographers, and why aren’t we giving more visibility to their work?” It’s a question the dance world continues to contemplate and address, and Dance St. Louis is doing its part with its upcoming presentation New Dance Horizons V: Women Who Inspire.
popular today, and is considered one of the first known composers in the Western tradition. Seiwert sees Hildegard of Bingen as an incredible force of nature with an astounding story about her ability to compose music as well as write books on medicine, botany and theology while living as an abbess. San Francisco-based choreographers Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith, founders/co-artistic directors of the award-winning contemporary dance company RAWdance,
have drawn inspiration from two talented women: Susannah Cahalan and Louise Bourgeois. Washington University graduate and journalist Susannah Cahalan is the author of the 2012 New Supported by funding from the PNC Foundation through the York Times best-selling autobiography “Brain on Fire: My Month PNC Arts Alive initiative, this season’s presentation, New Dance Horizons V: Women Who Inspire, explores notable women in history, of Madness” in which she discusses the disease that attacked her brain, left her with no memory of a month long series of events, with choreographers selecting inspirational women of their choice and ultimately altered her life. 20th century French-American visual for their work. The concept, which is now in its fifth year and has been picked up in different markets and by other companies, brings artist Louise Bourgeois, whose work has been described as intensely feminine and spanned from large-scale sculpture and installation art together nationally renowned choreographers to collaborate with and set their work on local professional dance companies to perform to printmaking and painting, is the choreographers’ other inspiration. Both women used their art to repair their own lives and share a collection of world premieres. their experiences with others. New Dance Horizons V’s selected choreographers are San FranciscoChoreographer Stephanie Martinez, an award-winning Chicago based Amy Seiwert, Wendy Rein, Ryan T. Smith, and award-windance artist with more than 30 years’ professional performing ning Chicago dance artist Stephanie Martinez. Saint Louis Ballet, MADCO and The Big Muddy Dance Company are the participat- experience and founding member of River North Dance Chicago, ing professional dance companies. The choreographers’ inspirations chose Gabriela Mistral, Chilean poet-diplomat, educator and the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature in for their world premieres include 12th-century abbess, mystic and composer Hildegard of Bingen; Susannah Cahalan, author of “Brain 1945. Mistral’s poem “Miedo” (or “Fear”) is central to Martinez’s on Fire: My Month of Madness”; French-American visual artist Lou- choreography, which also draws inspiration from the Latina culture of her family, including her sister Mercedes Inez, who composed the ise Bourgeois; and Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Gabriela music selection for the world premiere. V Mistral. For each world premiere, choreographers were inspired by either the work of these unique and notable women in history or their stories. Choreographer Amy Seiwert, artistic director of Amy Seiwert’s Imagery in San Francisco and named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine in 2005, selected the music of of 12th-Century German Benedictine abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen as her inspiration. Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard and “Sibyl of the Rhine,” composed an entire corpus of sacred music that is still
What: Dance PNC Arts Alive New Dance Horizons V: Women Who: Inspire When: March 3 at 8 p.m., March 4 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Where: Touhill Performing Arts Center Tickets: All tickets are $20 at dancestlouis.org
DANCE St. Louis 38
Paula Poundstone Shakes Up The Sheldon
TEXT: KEVIN SCHMIDT
The name sounds familiar, doesn’t it? While it may be hard for millennials to pinpoint exactly what she is known for, don’t feel guilty because Paula Poundstone is known for just about everything. She’s an actor, interviewer, comedian, commentator, cat-lover and author, most recently with her upcoming book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness. This year, she’s hitting the road again on a new tour and doing what she does best: making us laugh. Her tour makes a stop in St. Louis this month, and Vital VOICE got a chance to catch up with her before her return to the Lou. How are your 14 cats doing, and how many is too many? Oh, I think I’ve had too many for quite a while. They pee territorially in my house. Getting males was a big mistake; that’s when the hygiene began to slide. Congratulations on your comedy CD, North by Northwest, making Billboard’s Top 10 Comedy CDs. What do you think made this one so great? On this one, I worked with the publisher, HighBridge. So I can tell you that it required meetings – lots of meetings and long discussions about the cover. And they wanted to put that ugly emblem on the cover that says, “Warning: Explicit Language.” I didn’t want them to put that, but they came back and told me that I said ‘fuck’ nine times. So I told them that they could put on the cover that I say ‘fuck’ nine times, just don’t put that emblem. In the end, the just didn’t put anything. Your new book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, will be released this May. Tell us about it. It’s a series of experiments in things that other people or I do that would make us happy. It’s not just a matter of going and doing something, and then coming back and saying whether or not it was an enjoyable thing to do. The question is if I do something that appears to make me happy, how does that happiness stand up to the swings and arrows of the rest of my life. The measure of happiness isn’t how I feel in that moment, but how I feel when I am back in reality.
If you are invited back to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, what kind of vibes would you want to give off? I think the first thing that I would say when I went on stage would be is, ‘This is the biggest crowd at a White House Correspondent’s Dinner ever. Period.’ [Laughs] Have you ever been a victim of “fake news?” You know, I look at Twitter sometimes, but I’m not stupid enough to look at Twitter and automatically assume that it was correct. Generally, if it were something that peaked my interest, I would track it down or look elsewhere. Despite holding the record for most losses on Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, you’re very popular on the NPR show. What makes you the perfect fit? There is no script for the panelists, and I thrive in an unscripted situation. I love that because that is the opposite of most show business. Very rarely is one told to say whatever they want and jump in anytime. I’m very much a batter in a batting cage; sometimes I swing and I miss and sometimes I get a little piece of it. But it’s fun to be allowed that spontaneity. You’re known for never doing the same show twice, but what can we expect in St. Louis? I talk about raising a house full of kids and animals. I talk about our current predicament, and current events here and there. My favorite time of the night is just talking to the audience, asking them what they do for a living. And this way, little biographies from audience members emerge, and I use that from which to set my sails. V
Catch Paula Poundstone at The Sheldon Concert Hall in Grand Center on Saturday, March 25. For tickets and more information, visit thesheldon.org. thevitalVOICE.com
Projects + Gallery Projects+gallery, located at 4733 McPherson Avenue in the Central West End, is a commercial art space designed to feature contemporary exhibitions and artists that blur the boundaries of traditionally understood artistic disciplines and practices. In conjunction with Barrett Barrera Projects, a consulting company founded by Susan Barrett in 2014 and specializing in arts, culture and contemporary fashion, projects+gallery features regional, national and international artists working in a variety of mediums. Projects+gallery also serves as a laboratory for contemporary artists, performers and designers, offering a brick-and-mortar space for artistic experimentation and interaction between artists and the community.
Seeing Through the Shadow opens April 7th, 2017 and will be on view until May 27th, 2017.
Opening June 10th, 2017, projects+gallery presents Almost Now, Just Then, a group exhibition of contemporary St. Louis artists that uses the concept of the constellation as a metaphoric model to acknowledge the complexities of the human experience and examine the affective potential from the proximinal arrangement of disparate objects. The constellation exists as a formation of many individual stars, each containing their own history, that are clustered to constitute a larger synthesized structure and idea. Similarly, the fragments that compose our identity—the groups we associate with, the stories we consume and that influence us, and the histories that shape Coming this Spring and Summer to projects+gallery are two conus—serve as different points of reference for connection between secutive group exhibitions that will feature artists from St. Louis, the United States and abroad. The first, entitled Transparency Shade: one another and with the multifaceted fabric of history. Treating the Seeing Through the Shadow, is a group exhibition of two- and three- contemporary art gallery as a stage in the arrangement of artworks, a dimensional artwork that conveys Post-identity semiotics through visual dialogue can be established amongst them to create a visual exthe work of artists that use cultural appropriation and hybrid materi- perience that mirrors our living experience, not by explicit identificaals to articulate the concept, engaging with and also problematizing tion, but by the compartmental shifting of relationships that we have such cultural, and specifically artistic, appropriation while creating a become accustomed to over the course of our lives. Almost Now, Just space in which the (mis)appropriated can speak for itself. The exhibi- Then will feature work by artists Lyndon Barrois, Addoley Dzegede, tion is curated by Modou Dieng and features artists Zoe Buckman, Jen Everett, Kahlil Irving, Kevin and Danielle McCoy (WORK/ Kendell Carter, Kahlil Irving, Ayana Jackson, Philip Aguirre Y Ote- PLAY) and Kat Reynolds, and will be on view until July 29th, 2017. gui, Michael Riedel and Hank Willis Thomas. Transparency Shade:
STAGES St. Louis
Join STAGES St. Louis this summer for its spectacular 31st Season!. According to STAGES Artistic Director Michael Hamilton, the season “explores the triumphant powers of family, friendship, loyalty, and community in an ever challenging world.” The fun begins June 2nd and runs through October 8th. Take a lively, colorful and inspirational journey through ancient Egypt with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s inspiring Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor (June 2nd through July 2nd). This fun-filled musical entertainment is filled with spectacular musical numbers and an enchanting rock-inflected score, making this a dream of a show for the whole family. July 21st through August 20th enjoy Dolly Parton’s 9 To 5: The Musical. Based on the seminal 1980 hit movie, this hilarious musical romp is outrageous, romantic, and even a little bit thought provoking in its heroines’ desire to break the glass ceiling. Chock-full of upbeat and optimistic songs by country superstar Dolly Parton, 9 TO 5 is a bright and brand new musical bon-bon for STAGES audiences. The 2017 Season’s grand finale is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical romance South Pacific (September 8th through October 8th). One of the most powerful musicals of all time, this multi-award- winning classic from Rodgers and Hammerstein will sweep you away with its tale of love and loss. Breathtaking drama, the passion of young love, and the strength of true love collide in a timeless musical story that has enchanted audiences for years. And don’t miss our Theatre for Young Audiences version of Seussical (June 14th – July 2nd), held at the Playhouse @ Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights. Let your imagination run wild in this magical, musical extravaganza as you join the Cat in the Hat and enter the fantastical world of Doctor Seuss. Based on the internationally beloved children’s books “Horton Hears A Who” and “Horton Hatches An Egg”, Seussical celebrates the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community in this musical treat for the young and young of heart. Please arrive early for the Pre-Show Experience and enjoy special games and activities one hour prior to each performance. “On the heels of a very successful 30th Anniversary year, which recently was honored with eleven BroadwayWorld St. Louis Awards, including Best Theatre Company, we are thrilled to present such a diverse and embracive season in 2017,” Executive Producer Jack Lane states. “This is truly a season where there is something for everyone!” Subscriptions to the 2017 Season begin at just $105 and currently are available. Single tickets will go on sale April 3. STAGES’ Mainstage productions perform in the intimate, 377-seat Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Civic Center, 111 South Geyer Road in St. Louis, MO 63122. Seats are selling fast so be sure to secure your tickets today! For more information or to purchase tickets call 314-821-2407 or visit www. StagesStLouis.org.
rebel yell, Brainchild Events and Vital VOICE present:
Art mark moore Place CITYWIDE
Gent! experienced its biggest year yet this time around, expanding to three days of menâ€™s fashion. The weekend of style kicked off with the annual Gent! Runway Show at Mungenast Lexus of St. Louis, followed by a Designer Pop Up Shop at Gamlin Whiskey House on Friday, and closing with the debut of the Barber Battle at The Ready Room in The Grove on Saturday night.
Red ball 2017:
shaken not stirred
Art mark moore Place THE RITZ-CARLTON
A mixture of intrigue, suspense and mystery, this year’s theme for DOORWAYS’ annual RED Gala was a tribute to Bond, James Bond. Shaken Not Stirred was an evening of great success with 580 guests raising about $400,000 in direct support of the mission and programs of DOORWAYS. The RED gala provides #HousingHealthHope to more than 2,500 men, women and children affected by HIV/ AIDS in Missouri and Illinois.
h t i w
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The World Famous
Phone Tap 6:20 & 8:20am