Meet Me in St. Louis

For more than ten years, we've kept a page on the New Line Theatre website, listing all the upcoming musicals in the St. Louis area, and that page gets a lot of visits! Sometimes it's quite inspiring to see how much musical theatre is going on, and what a variety of work we get to see here in The Lou, from the many incredibly cool companies here.

Here's a pretty comprehensive list of musicals we'll get to see in the year ahead...

Always... Patsy Cline, Stages St. Louis, through Sept. 1
Porgy and Bess, The Muny, July 7-13
Spamalot, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, July 9-19
Joseph / Technicolor Dreamcoat, Ozark Actor's Theatre, July 10-20
The Addams Family, The Muny, July 14-20
How to Succeed..., Stages St. Louis, July 18-Aug. 17
Sweeney Todd, Family Musical Theater, July 18-27
Shrek, Take a Bow Showcase, July 18-27
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, St. Charles Community College, July 22-27
Seussical, The Muny, July 22-28
Funny Girl, Stray Dog Theatre, July 23-Aug. 8
9 to 5, Alton Little Theater, July 24-Aug. 3
Tarzan, Take Two Productions, July 25-Aug. 2
9 to 5, Hard Road Theatre, July 25-Aug. 3
The Wizard of Oz, Insight Theatre Company, July 25-27
Grease, The Muny, July 31-Aug. 8
The Drowsy Chaperone, Ozark Actor's Theatre, July 31-Aug. 10
The Wiz, Hawthorne Players, Aug. 1-10
The Sound of Music, Clinton County Showcase, Aug. 7-10
Hello, Dolly!, The Muny, Aug. 11-17
Into the Woods, Brass Rail Players, Aug. 15-25
The Spitfire Grill, Insight Theatre Company, Aug. 21-31
The Last Five Years, Alfresco Productions, Aug. 22-24
Ring of Fire, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Aug. 23-Sept. 4
Great American Trailer Park Musical, Dramatic License, Sept. 2-21
Fiddler on the Roof, Stages St. Louis, Sept. 5-Oct. 5
First Lady Suite, R-S Theatrics, Sept. 5-14
Purlie, The Black Rep, Sept. 10-21
Annie Get Your Gun, Monroe Actors Stage Company, Sept. 12-21
Cotton Patch Gospel, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Sept. 24-28
The Addams Family, Looking Glass Playhouse, Sept. 25-Oct. 5
Assassins, The November Theater Co., Sept. 26-Oct. 5
Spamalot, Alpha Players, Sept. 26-Oct. 5
Bonnie & Clyde, New Line Theatre, October 2-25
Nice Work If You Can Get It, Peabody Opera House, October 10-12
Little Shop of Horrors, Clinton County Showcase, Oct. 10-19
The Rocky Horror Show, Family Musical Theater, October 17-26
Grease, KTK Productions, October 17-26
Dirty Dancing, Fox Theatre, Oct. 21-Nov. 2
Little Shop of Horrors, Alfresco Productions, October 24-26
Smoke on the Mountain, Act Two Theatre, Nov. 7-16
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Washington University, Nov. 14-23
All is Calm, Mustard Seed Theatre, Nov. 14-Dec. 14
A Funny Thing / Forum, St. Louis University, Nov. 15-24
Motown the Musical, Fox Theatre, Nov. 18-30
Spring Awakening, Webster Conservatory, Nov. 19-23
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, Peabody Opera House, Nov. 29
Annie, Fox Theatre, Dec. 2-7
Ring of Fire, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Dec. 3-28
Always...Patsy Cline, Alton Little Theatre, Dec. 4-7
Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical, Stray Dog Theatre, Dec. 4-20
Pippin, Peabody Opera House, Dec. 10-14
A Christmas Story, Fox Theatre, Dec. 16-Jan. 4
Urinetown, Next Generation Theatre Co., Jan. 9-10
The Book of Mormon, Peabody Opera House, Jan. 13-18
Cinderella, Fox Theatre, Jan. 20-Feb. 1
Young Frankenstein, Looking Glass Playhouse, Jan. 29-Feb. 8
Snoopy, Brass Rail Players, Feb. 20-28
Million Dollar Quartet, Fox Theatre, Feb. 27-March 1
Phantom of the Opera, Fox Theatre, March 4-15
Jerry Springer the Opera, New Line Theatre, March 5-28
Shenandoah, Alton Little Theatre, March 19-29
Kinky Boots, Fox Theatre, March 24-April 5
Honk!, Webster Conservatory, Mar. 27-29
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Stray Dog Theatre, April 2-18
The Last Five Years, Webster Conservatory, April 3-5
Once On This Island, The Black Rep, April 22-May 3
Thoroughly Modern Millie, Kirkwood Theatre Guild, May 1-10
Mary Poppins, Looking Glass Playhouse, Sept. 25-Oct. 5
My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, New Jewish Theatre, May 7-31
The Threepenny Opera, New Line Theatre, May 28-June 20
Grease (school version), Alton Little Theatre, July 9-19
Spellbound, Stray Dog Theatre, Aug. 6-22

And remember, this is only the musicals...!

When we first started keeping this list on our website, the list wasn't nearly this long. Our theatre community is so much more vibrant and adventurous today than when New Line was founded in the early 90s.

Some cool things I notice right away. First, for a list that long, there aren't a lot of repeats. And yes, there are the shallow sure-sellers like Spamalot, Millie, and The Book of Mormon. But notice how many lesser-known, lesser-produced shows are on this list, like Shenandoah, Once on This Island, Cotton Patch Gospel, Purlie, Edwin Drood, First Lady Suite, and The Spitfire Grill. And we'll get a decent overview of the history of musical theatre from Porgy & Bess and Threepenny Opera, to late-middle-20th century shows like Forum, Pippin, Grease, to more recent shows like BBAJ, The Last Five Years, Urinetown, Spring Awakening, to the brand new show Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at the Peabody and the world premiere of Spellbound at Stray Dog.

But also notice that there are virtually no Rodgers & Hammerstein shows, only the Cinderella tour at the Fox and The Sound of Music at Clinton County Showcase, across the river. I'll also note that the Muny has no R&H shows on its schedule. I love that. Yet we'll still get some classics, like Fiddler, Dolly, Annie Get Your Gun, and Funny Girl, and newer classics like Little Shop and Into the Woods.

Also notice how many of the shows on this list are rock musicals, even at The Muny. The times, they are a-changin'...

American Theatre did a really wonderful article about New Line in their current issue, and one of the points the article makes is that when New Line was founded in 1991, there wasn't much new musical theatre being created that fit New Line's mission statement – but today, there's a ton of challenging, rule-busting, genre-busting, relevant new work being created, and you can see that represented in this list. There are more shows here written in the last 10-15 years than shows from the so-called "Golden Age" (1943-1964). Granted, some of that is because of national tours of new shows coming through town, but only some of it.

And the New Liners are doing our part, bringing to St. Louis the regional premiere of Bonnie & Clyde, the St. Louis premiere of Jerry Springer the Opera, and the classic comic satire The Threepenny Opera.

I guess I've always been optimistic about our art form and about St. Louis theatre – I've been living in the middle of a renaissance for both for quite a while. And both are now blowing my mind on a regular basis. There's so much cool new musical theatre being written by a wide community of young writers all over the country in this new Golden Age, and so much exciting theatre going on all year long here in The Lou...

Over the years, people have often asked me why I'm not working in New York.

Why would I, when I have so much here...?

I have no interest in working in "show business" in New York and trying to appease a commercial audience of tourists and their children, many of whom don't speak English. I work in the theatre, where the only goals are to make great art and to challenge and connect powerfully to our audience. And as anyone in New York could tell you, I couldn't do this kind of work in New York, and I sure couldn't keep a company like New Line afloat up there.

Once upon a time, New York was the only place to do/see world-class theatre. Not anymore.

Long Live the Musical and the St. Louis Theatre Scene!