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Arts & Theater This Weekend

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An American Soldier

Fri., June 22, 8 p.m.

America at its best is a nation based on the belief that people who may not look alike, worship the same way or come from the same background are all capable of believing in and defending the American dream. Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang's opera An American Soldier is inspired by an incident when soldiers refused to accept one of their own because of the way he looked. Danny Chen was born in New York's Chinatown and enlisted in the Army after high school. During basic training he was welcomed as another true patriot, willing to fight and die for his country. But when he arrives in Afghanistan, he quickly learns his Chinese-American background doesn't sit well with his racist superiors, who repeatedly and sometimes violently abuse him under the guise of "hazing." The world premiere of the full-length version of An American Soldier gets underway at 7 p.m. tonight at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; www.opera-stl.org). The show is performed five more times in repertory through Friday, June 22. $30-$135

New Media Series: Cyprien Gaillard

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through July 15

Wild rose-ringed parakeets are found in Africa and India — and also in Düsseldorf, Germany. The German variety arrived as pets and then either were released or escaped into the city. The birds have made a home for themselves on one of the city's upscale streets, roosting happily in building façades. Artist Cyprien Gaillard followed the parakeets with a camera as they winged home at twilight. His short film KOE shows flocks of them as they fly past concrete and steel, thousands of miles away from their tropical ancestral lands. The silent film is a commentary on how humanity interferes with nature, and how animals are forced to adapt to a rapidly urbanizing world. KOE is shown on a loop in gallery 301 at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org) as part of the New Media Series. It remains on display Tuesday through Sunday (April 20 to July 15), and admission is free. free admission

Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Aug. 30

Very rarely does an art exhibition include the actual wall an artist worked on, but the Saint Louis Art Museum does so for Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries. A six-foot-by-four-foot section of a temple wall that has a painting of the Bodhisattva Akalokiteśvara (Guanyin) on one side is the focal point of the exhibition, and an exceptionally rare object. The show also includes four hanging scrolls, and a never-before-displayed painted, wooden sculpture of a seated arhat, the Buddhist term for a person who has achieved enlightenment. Chinese Buddhist Art, 10th-15th Centuries is open Tuesday through Sunday (March 30 to August 30) in gallery 225 of the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org). Admission is free. free admission

Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost World

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Sept. 9

The ancient city of Thonis-Heracleion was Egypt's main Mediterranean port from 664 to 332 BC, or roughly 100 years longer than the country of America has existed. It was a thriving, international metropolis — and then a string of natural disasters wiped it off the map. Archeologist Franck Goddio and his team of underwater archeologists rediscoverd Thonis-Heracleion 1,000 years later, four miles off the coast of present-day Egypt. It was more than 30 feet below the surface of the sea, its colossal statues of gods, pharaohs and ritual animals resting in the ruins of a world long gone. Three of these massive statues comprise the heart of the new exhibition Sunken Cities: Egypt's Lost Worlds, which will be on display at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; www.slam.org) Tuesday through Sunday (March 25 to September 9). Alongside the trio of statues are more than 200 ceremonial and commercial artifacts (bronze vessels, coins, jewelry) found both on the sea floor and on loan from museums in Cairo and Alexandria. Admission to the exhibit is $8 to $20, and free on Friday. $8-$20

Golf the Galleries

Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Tuesdays-Fridays, 12-8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 12

Miniature golf courses are part sport, part pop-art installation, with an emphasis on big, colorful distractions and obstacles surrounding the final hole. The galleries at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Boulevard; www.thesheldon.org) embrace the art portion of the set-up with their summer exhibition, Golf the Galleries. Local artists and institutions were given the chance to design their own creative hole on a nine-hole course that fills the galleries. B.J. Vogt crafted a volcano-themed hole; sink your ball and it erupts in a cloud of packing peanuts. Justin King's Serengeti Park hole mimics an urban park, but with beautifully detailed, anthropomorphic cardboard animals sitting on the benches and strolling the paths. There's an Alice in Wonderland hole courtesy of Natalie Pinson, and design firm Arcturis used lighting and mirrors to create a simple-looking green that will bedevil duffers with optic distortions and tricky slopes. Golf the Galleries officially opens with a public viewing from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 1, but tee times start at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 3. The course is open noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through August 12. Greens fees are $6 to $12. $6-$12

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The Sheldon (map)
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-9900
Golf the Galleries

Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London

Sundays, 12-5 p.m., Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 16

The standard chess set has been reimagined in multiple formats, using everything from Simpsons characters to loaded shot glasses. The new exhibition at the World Chess Hall of Fame sees regulation Staunton sets done up with a fresh coat of paint, which doesn't sound all that impressive. But when it's artists such as Caio Locke, Sophie Matisse and Thierry Noir wielding the brushes, the results are dazzling. Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London features vibrant, hand-painted chess sets exploding with color and invention. Painted Pieces opens with a free reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the World Chess Hall of Fame (4652 Maryland Avenue; www.worldchesshof.org). The show remains up through September 16. free admission

Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma

Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Aug. 11

Palestinian-born installation artist Mona Hatoum brings together more than 30 of her works for Terra Infirma, her first exhibition in America in more than two decades. Hatoum's sculptures and installations often evoke domestic settings, but subvert the attendant ideas of comfort and safety into something more menacing. Dormiente takes the shape of a seven-foot-long cot, but one made from an upsized cheese grater. Misbah appears to be the sort of high-end light projector you might install in a nursery so that bears and bunnies dance on the walls at night; instead armed figures stalk each other through the darkness. The vocabulary of her work is minimalism and surrealism, but it's filtered through her feminist perspective, further shaped by her own sense of dislocation in a world that doesn’t recognize her native country. Hatoum discusses her work at the museum at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 7. free admission

Pulitzer Arts Foundation (map)
3716 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-754-1850
Mona Hatoum: Terra Infirma

Great Rivers Biennial

Thursdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Aug. 19

As part of its mission to present work by modern artists, the Contemporary Art Museum supports local artists through the Great Rivers Biennial. A team of esteemed jurors from the art world work through more than 150 applications to select three artists who live in the metro area for a high-profile exhibition at the museum. Addoley Dzegede, Sarah Paulsen and Jacob Stanley are the recipients of the eighth installment, and all three should be well-known to gallery habitues. In Ballast, Dzegede uses patterned textiles, sculpture and video to explore the hidden and forgotten history that creates a sense of "unified" identity. Paulsen combines consumer campaigns, immigrant narratives and stop-motion animation in an installation of single-channel videos to create a multi-part story about the invisible framework that supports and reinforces racial oppression. Stanley's sculptures are constructed to explore the nature and passage of time. His piece Accretion is a quarter-inch thick steel sheet; visitors can each place one sheet on top of it. As time passes and the weight increases, the steel will bend. The Great Rivers Biennial opens with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 11, at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; www.camstl.org). The artists and jurors will hold a panel discussion at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 12. The show continues through Sunday, August 19, and admission is free. free admission

Amy Sherald

Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 19

If you think you aren't familiar with Amy Sherald's work, you're wrong. Sherald painted Michelle Obama's official portrait, and that image was broadcast around the world and back. Sherald's portraits are of everyday black people (Mrs. Obama excepted, of course) with serene expression standing against featureless monotone backgrounds, and done in the large-size format once reserved for royalty and the wealthy elite. By portraying her subjects realistically and in vibrant color, Sherald liberates the black image from the traditional narrative; there are no sociological clues that hint at the status of her people. They are their own context, their eyes taking in the viewer with majestic calm. Amy Sherald, an exhibition of the artist's paintings, opens with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 11, at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard); www.camstl.org). The exhibit remains up through August 19, and admission is free. free admission

End of the Rainbow

Sundays, 3 p.m. and Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through July 1

Judy Garland was in a bad way in 1968, but that was not enough to stop the show from going on — especially a comeback show. In Garland's London hotel room, the singer and her accompanist go through their paces as she attempts once again to rise above disappointment, failing health and exhaustion to become "Judy Garland," the world's greatest interpreter of the American songbook, all under the watchful eye of her new fiancé. Peter Quilter's play-with-music End of the Rainbow makes its St. Louis premiere under the auspices of Max & Louie Productions. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (June 22 to July 1) at the Grandel Theater (3610 Grandel Square; www.maxandlouie.com). There's one 7:30 p.m. show on Thursday, June 21. Tickets are $20 to $300. $20-$300

Grandel Theatre (map)
3610 Grandel Square
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
End of the Rainbow

Blithe Spirit

Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. and Fridays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 24

Charles is a successful novelist who engages a medium to hold a seance in his home for the purposes of his next book. Instead of an idea he gains the spirit of his first wife, Elvira, who is quite annoyed by his current wife, Ruth. Truly desperate to be alone with her husband, Elvira tampers with his car in hopes of killing Charles and reuniting in the spirit world. Unfortunately it's Ruth who gets behind the wheel, and she ends up dead — and ready to battle with Elvira. What's a man to do when both his dead wives are making his life miserable? Noël Coward's comedy Blithe Spirit is produced by Act Inc as its only show this summer. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (June 8 to 24) at the Scheidegger Center for the Arts on Lindenwood University's campus (2300 West Clay Avenue; www.actincstl.com). Tickets are $20. $20

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I Do! I Do!

Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m., Saturdays, 4 & 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. and Sun., July 1, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Continues through June 24

Fifty years is a long time for anything to last, but a marriage that lasts for five decades is a lifetime. The musical I Do! I Do! opens with Michael and Agnes on their wedding day, and then periodically peeks in on their bedroom for the next 50 years. They experience the joys and pains of any longtime relationship, as well as the doubts, mistakes and regrets of people who take love for granted. The Harvey Schmidt/Tom Jones musical I Do! I Do! opens Stages St. Louis' new season. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday at the Robert G. Reim Theatre (111 South Geyer Avenue; www.stagesstlouis.org). Tickets are $41 to $63. $41-$63

Game of Thrones: Four Weddings and a Shit-Ton of Funerals

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 & 10:30 p.m. Continues through June 23
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A few years ago Magic Smoking Monkey turned the entire first season of the fan-favorite Game of Thrones into a 60-minute comedy performed live on stage, two shows a night. It was absolutely ridiculous and hilarious, and the pace was blinding. Now that the actors have rehydrated and rested up, MSM is going to do it again — only with additional seasons added. Magic Smoking Monkey presents Game of Thrones: Four Weddings and a Shit-Ton of Funerals, which crumbles up roughly three seasons of the show and regurgitates them on stage with loads of comedy violence, comedy sex and nudity (comic only, no boobies). Write faster, George R.R. Martin, they're gaining on you! Performances are at 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (June 15 to 23) at the Regional Arts Commission (6128 Delmar Boulevard; www.brownpapertickets.com). Tickets are $10 to $15. $10-$15

Regional Arts Commission (map)
6128 Delmar Blvd.
Delmar/ The Loop
phone 314-863-5811
Game of Thrones: Four Weddings and a Shit-Ton of Funerals

Romeo and Juliet

Mondays, Wednesdays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 24

Romeo is but a simple boy of Verona's ruling class who deeply loves his fair Rosaline. Or so he says; once he sees Juliet, he forgets ol' what's-her-name and ardently pursues the fair Capulet instead. But he's a Montague, and the Montagues and Capulets are locked in a power struggle. What begins with love at first sight becomes a series of duels to the death and tit-for-tat attacks. Poor Romeo and Juliet, drunk on young love, are caught up in the middle of it all, which does add a certain frisson to the romance. Shakespeare Festival St. Louis brings the beloved tragedy Romeo and Juliet back to Forest Park for the first time since the festival's 2001 debut season. This new production is performed at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Monday (June 1 to 24) at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park (Fine Art and Government drives; www.sfstl.com). Admission is free. free admission

Shakespeare Glen (map)
Fine Arts Dr and Government Dr
St. Louis - Forest Park Romeo and Juliet

Hedda Gabler

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 23

In early 2017 Stray Dog Theatre mounted an excellent rendition of Henrik Ibsen's groundbreaking drama A Doll's House, aided in large part by an absolutely stellar cast. This year the company tackles Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, the same cast in place. The play is the story of a newlywed woman who got married for the wrong reasons and is already bored with her work-obsessed husband, Jørgen. Jørgen is up for a professorship, and his main challenger, Ejlert, is a brilliant writer who has mostly tamed his alcoholism thanks to the help of his wife Thea. Hedda hatches a cruel plot to take Ejlert out of the running, but the best-laid plans often fall apart along the way. Stray Dog Theatre presents Hedda Gabler at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (June 7 to 23) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; www.straydogtheatre.org). There is one matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 17. Tickets are $25 to $30. $25-$30

Tower Grove Abbey (map)
2336 Tennessee Ave.
St. Louis - South Grand
phone 314-865-1995
Hedda Gabler
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