8 Great Cultural Events in St. Louis This Week

May 13, 2016 at 6:17 am
Tennessee Williams' St. Louis Rooming House Plays are being staged near Grand Center.
Tennessee Williams' St. Louis Rooming House Plays are being staged near Grand Center.

If you're looking for something to do this weekend, look no further — from a beer festival at Urban Chestnut to several opportunities to see works by St. Louis' greatest playwright in unconventional settings, there's a ton going on. Looking ahead to next week, options include a cult classic film at Ronnies and Jersey Boys at the Fabulous Fox. What a week!

Here are our picks for eight things to do:

1. See a Tennessee Williams Play ... in a Bar
Flora and Bessie drove up from Memphis to have a good time in St. Louis at the annual Sons of Mars Convention (they're both in the women's auxiliary). Unfortunately, they've been ditched by their fellow members and are now holding up the corner of the bar. As the drinks flow and the radio takes them on a sentimental journey, Flora and Bessie open up about each other's failings and flaws. Tennessee Williams' A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot takes you inside the hearts of a couple of good-time girls who begin to realize the good times may not be worth it. The play is performed at 6 p.m. at the Curtain Call Lounge inside the Fox Theatre (521 North Grand Boulevard; www.twstl.org) as part of the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis. Tickets are $23.50.

2. ... Or a Quartet of Williams Plays in a Grand Old House
Tennessee Williams frequently revisited the same themes in his one-act plays, such as loneliness, the disintegration of a (his) family and the way a job can hold you back and destroy your freedom.
St. Louis Rooming House Plays presents four Williams' one-acts that take place in a single rented room. "Hello from Bertha" is about a prostitute at the end of her life clinging to her dignity. A shoe salesman who is hung up on memories of his glory days is the subject of "The Last of My Solid Gold Watches." A showgirl decides to give up life on the road and settle down in St. Louis in "In Our Profession," but she fears she may have picked the wrong man to be her anchor. "The Pink Bedroom" stars a mistress who uses the only power she has to great effect. St. Louis Rooming House Plays is part of the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis, and is performed at 8 p.m. at Stockton House (3508 Samuel Shepard Drive; www.twstl.org). Tickets are $29.

3. Catch a Ballet Classic
is a classic story about an underdog who gets the last laugh. The Missouri Ballet Theatre brings the ballet to life in a production that gives Cinderella's evil stepmother and equally rotten stepsisters a comic gloss. So rather than vilifying a blended family, this show treats them as risible characters. In fact, a surprise male guest star will take on the role of the stepmother. All that fairy godmother magic, the noble prince and the plucky young woman who triumphs in the end all remain in place. Missouri Ballet Theatre presents a new version of Cinderella at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday (May 14 and 15) at Washington University's Edison Theatre (6445 Forsyth Boulevard; www.missourballettheatre.org). Both matinee shows are preceded by the Cinderella Parade, which allows audience members to get onstage with the cast to take pictures before heading backstage for a fairy tale party. Tickets to the ballet are $35, and parade tickets cost an additional $25.

4. See a new musical with tunes from Jill Sobule
Yentl is a bright and strong-willed young woman who loves debating Jewish law with her father, a rabbi. When he dies, Yentl loses her intellectual outlet. To continue her studies, she decides to go against tradition and enroll in a yeshiva. But first she has to cut her hair and disguise herself as young man — and so Anshel is born. Her ruse is successful until she realizes she has romantic feelings for her study partner, Avigdor. Yentl was adapted for the stage by Leah Napolin from the Isaac Bashevis Singer story "Yentl the Yeshiva Boy." When Barbra Streisand rewrote it for the screen, Yentl became a musical. The New Jewish Theatre's new production takes the action back to the stage but keeps the musical element — except this time the songs were composed by folk-pop musician Jill Sobule. The New Jewish Theatre closes its season with a new Yentl at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (May 11 to June 5) in the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur; 314-442-3283 or www.newjewishtheatre.org). Tickets are $39.50 to $43.50.

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