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Arts & Theater This Weekend

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Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

Fri., Dec. 14, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 15, 3 & 7 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 16, 1 & 5 p.m.

Who would want to steal Christmas? Well, if you're an anti-social grouch who hates the happy sounds of singing and good cheer, you'd go to drastic measures for silence. The Grinch is just such a surly character, and with his faithful dog Max he attempts the wholesale theft of a holiday. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical brings the holiday staple to the stage, with sets and scenery inspired by the book's drawings, and songs borrowed from the TV special. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday (December 13 to 16) at the Stifel Theatre (1400 Market Street; Tickets are $32 to $82. $32-$82

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Stifel Theatre (map)
1400 Market St
St. Louis - Downtown
phone 314-499-7600
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

The Nutcracker

Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m., Wed., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m., Thu., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., Fri., Dec. 21, 2 & 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 22, 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 23, 2 & 7:30 p.m.

Saint Louis Ballet has long performed Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker at Christmas, but this year the company goes all out with thirteen performances of the crowd-pleasing classic. In it young Clara receives the gift of a handsome nutcracker, which her brother breaks. When Clara later sneaks downstairs to check on her gift, she discovers an army of attacking mice, led by the Mouse King. Suddenly the nutcracker grows to life-size, and a desperate Clara distracts the Mouse King long enough for her nutcracker prince to defeat the enemy. The duo escape to the Land of Sweets, where much dancing and happy times commence. The Saint Louis Ballet incorporates special effects and grand sets to create a proper holiday spectacle. The Nutcracker is performed Wednesday through Sunday (December 14 to 23) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; Tickets are $35 to $72. $35-$72

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Blanche M Touhill Performing Arts Center (map)
1 University Dr at Natural Bridge Road
North St. Louis County
phone 314-516-4949
The Nutcracker

Les Miserables

Fri., Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 15, 2 & 7:30 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 16, 1 p.m.

Valjean, a man of prodigious strength and moral character, has finally been paroled from prison, but he can't escape his past. No one wants to hire an ex-con, and only the genuine kindness of another frees him to start over with a new identity — but inspector Javert is still out there looking for him. In the Paris of the early nineteenth century, Valjean's promise to save a dying woman's daughter, political unrest and the unshakeable Javert all collide. And all because Valjean stole a loaf of bread to feed his starving nephew more than twenty years ago. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's blockbuster musical Les Miserables returns to St. Louis with new staging and scenery, but the same songs and story. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday (December 11 to 16) at the Fox Theatre (527 North Grand Boulevard; Tickets are $25 to $150. $25-$150

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The Fox Theatre (map)
527 N. Grand Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-534-1111
Les Miserables

Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Now

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Feb. 3, 2019

The 1960s were a period of social upheaval and radical change in America, and no art form captured that churning spirit better than printmaking. Printmakers have always had one foot in the commercial art world and one in the realm of fine art, and that hybrid nature allows them to adapt to new technologies and new thinking more quickly than, say, sculptors. Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Now, the exhibition at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive;, is a treasure trove of startling images. Featuring more than 100 works drawn from the museum's holdings and local private collectors, Graphic Revolution includes landmark prints by the big names (Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup II, Robert Rauschenberg's Signs) and less famous but no less astonishing pieces by modern masters such as Julie Mehretu and Edgar Heap of Birds. The show is open from Sunday, November 11, to February 3. Tickets are $6 to $14, but free to all on Friday. $6-$14, free on Friday

Printing Abstraction

Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through March 31, 2019

Abstract art is a term that includes a wide variety of media: monochromatic color fields, hard-edged abstraction and its flat colors, and the sharply defined edges and optical illusions inherent in op-art's geometric forms. What links all of these styles together is that they are divorced from the traditional representation of physical objects. For its new exhibition Printing Abstraction, the Saint Louis Art Museum draws from its own holdings of abstract art created by printmakers. The show is something of an expansion of the museum's ongoing main exhibition, Graphic Revolution: American Prints 1960 to Now, in that it offers more examples of the printmakers' art and the key role it's played in the promulgation of abstract art. Printing Abstraction is on display from Tuesday through Sunday (November 30 to March 31) in galleries 234 and 235 of the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; Admission is free. free admission

Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis

Fridays and Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through Feb. 10, 2019

Artist Kehinde Wiley leaped into the public consciousness when his presidential portrait of Barack Obama was unveiled in February, but he's been making vital work that explores the nexus of race and representation for years. In 2017 the New York City-based Wiley visited the Saint Louis Art Museum to review the collection with an eye toward a future exhibit inspired by the historic style of portraiture. While he was in St. Louis, Wiley went to north St. Louis and Ferguson to meet with people and find subjects for his own paintings. Kehinde Wiley: Saint Louis is an exhibition of eleven large-scale paintings of everyday black St. Louisans dressed in modern clothing, posed in the manner of kings, statesmen and other powerful figures. Wiley's new work will be on display in galleries 249 and 250 from October 19 to February 10 at the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive; Admission is free. free admission

The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Wednesdays-Fridays, 12-5 p.m. and Tuesdays, 12-8 p.m. Continues through Jan. 12, 2019

America's long history of welcoming new arrivals to Team USA is celebrated in the exhibition The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers. From the earliest days of photography in the 1890s, when Ellis Island clerk Augustus Frederick Sherman began documenting immigrants with his camera, to today, when Italian photographer Alex Majoli captures the crisis of refugees trying to survive the ocean crossing from Africa to Greece, the exhibit shows the people who fled their homes in search of safety. The Immigrants doesn't shy away from the worst moments; Dorothea Lange's suppressed photograph of Japanese Americans in a U.S. internment camp during World War II is part of the show, as are more ennobling images made by Lewis Hine and Bob Gruen. The Immigrants opens with a free reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, October 5, at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Boulevard; The show remains up through January 12. free admission

Buy Tickets
The Sheldon (map)
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-9900
The Immigrants: Works by Master Photographers

Unravel: Paintings by Lauren Marx

Fri., Dec. 14, 6-10 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays, 12-3 p.m. Continues through Jan. 5, 2019

Lauren Marx's fascination with the animal kingdom was fueled by countless childhood trips to the Saint Louis Zoo. This interest in biology led to mythology, particularly the stories in which animals speak and serve as symbols for old gods and primordial power. All of this informs Marx's art, which depicts the natural world refracted through the visual language of legend. (That's her piece, The Struggle of the Apathetic Saint, on this RFT's cover.) Birds and snakes tear each other open while halos of moths swirl around them; ruptured fruits burst forth from open wounds, their seeds spilling forth. Her backgrounds are sparse, only a sinuous branch or a cluster of leaves hanging in a white void. Do these endless battles represent old worlds being destroyed or new worlds being born from flesh and blood, and tooth and claw? Her exhibition Unravel: Paintings by Lauren Marx at Hoffman LaChance Contemporary (2713 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood; offers you the opportunity to puzzle it out for yourself. Unravel opens with a free reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, December 14. The show continues through January 5, and the gallery is open from noon to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday. free admission

Hoffman LaChance Contemporary (map)
2713 Sutton Blvd.
phone 314-960-5322
Unravel: Paintings by Lauren Marx

Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and Fridays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Continues through Feb. 16, 2019

Lola Álvarez Bravo was a Mexican artist, educator and curator whose life spanned nearly the entire twentieth century. From the 1930s to the 1970s, Álvarez Bravo crisscrossed her way across the country with camera in hand, creating portraits of other working artists. Always shooting, she also made images of regular people and the architecture — both old and new — at a time when Mexico was rapidly growing and transforming. Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico, the new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (3716 Washington Boulevard;, features more than 40 of her black-and-white photographs in all their glory. Picturing Mexico opens with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 14. Also debuting the same night are more than 60 sculptures by Ruth Asawa, who often worked with wire. Both shows remain on display through February 16. The Pulitzer is open Wednesday through Saturday. free admission

Pulitzer Arts Foundation (map)
3716 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-754-1850
Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico

Sanford Biggers and Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980

Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 30

The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis opens some of the most ambitious and vital shows in its history this month, with a series of exhibitions by, and about, black artists and the black experience. Sanford Biggers works directly with the materials of his forebearers — quilts and African sculptures — only he reshapes and repurposes them as contemporary statements about black identity, history and trauma. Biggers gives found quilts new life with new handwork, encoding personal messages into their original pattern. The fact that the work of an anonymous black craftsman or woman now appears in galleries and museums around the world, even in Biggers' modified form, is both subversive and celebratory. With wooden sculptures, some of which are copies, he dips them in wax and then works them over with firearms. What begins as a statue of a human or human-shaped supernatural being becomes obscured, disfigured and unrecognizable through the violence wrought upon it.

In addition to Biggers' work, CAM presents a show of the private photos of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat emerged from the New York City hip-hop/punk/graffiti scenes in the 1970s as one-half of the graffiti duo SAMO, along with Al Diaz. The pair together tagged buildings with cryptic phrases denouncing the establishment, politics and religion, always signed "SAMO" (an acronym for "Same Old Shit"). When the duo broke up, Basquiat performed in the noise rock band Test Pattern (later named "Gray") with Vincent Gallo and Michael Holman. He lived on the streets, sold drugs and experimented with Xerox art, painting and drawing. Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979-1980 will showcase everything the artist made while living in a small East Village apartment with his friend Alexis Adler before he hit the big time. It's a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures and works on paper, as well as Adler's photographs of his friend.

Both exhibitions open with a free reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 7, at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Boulevard; The shows continue through December 30.

free admission

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 22

Paul Rudnick reimagines and recasts Genesis (the book of the Bible, not the band) with his comic play The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Adam here is joined by his partner Steve in the Garden of Eden, and also by Jane and Mabel, the lesbians next door. Overseeing it all is a mysterious being with a headset and omnipotence (imagine the universe's most competent stage manager) who directs all action, including the two couples' eviction, the Great Flood and a lesbian wedding in modern-day New York. Stray Dog Theatre always mounts a December show that serves as an antidote to the sickly sweet cheer of the holiday season, and Most Fabulous Story is no exception. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (December 6 to 22) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; Tickets are $25 to $30. $25-$30

Tower Grove Abbey (map)
2336 Tennessee Ave.
St. Louis - South Grand
phone 314-865-1995
The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told


Sundays, 3 p.m. and Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16

In Nina Raine's play Tribes, Billy is the odd man out in his own family because he was born deaf. His family are all great talkers, with his father, Christopher, a writer of "argumentative books," the loudest of all. They shout, bicker, insult and jostle for place at the table and in general, while Billy hears none of it. Instead, he reads lips from his position on the sidelines and butts in when he can. Billy's feeling of being on the outside starts to change when he meets Sylvia. Born hearing to to deaf parents, she learned sign language as a necessity; now she's losing her hearing and is terrified of the encroaching silence Billy has lived with all his life. The more time Billy spends with Sylvia, the more he realizes it's high time his family adapt to his world rather than the other way around. St. Louis Actors' Studio presents Tribes at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (November 30 to December 16) at the Gaslight Theatre (358 North Boyle Avenue; Tickets are $30 to $35. $30-$35

All Is Calm

Sundays, 2 & 5 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Dec. 16

On November 11, 1918, World War I ended after four exhausting years of destruction and unimaginable horrors. But even in the worst of times, humanity's innate decency can shine through the darkness on occasion. During the first year of the war, Christmas morning was marked by an official cease-fire on both sides. On the front lines troops from both sides of the conflict crossed No Man's Land to celebrate the holiday with their erstwhile enemies. Carols were sung, gifts were exchanged and a spontaneous game of soccer kicked off. All Is Calm, the Peter Rothstein, Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach a cappella musical about that quiet morning when brotherhood won out, has been a favorite with Mustard Seed Theatre audiences since the company first presented it in 2014. It's back again at Mustard Seed to mark the centenary of the last day of the War to End All Wars. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 and 5 p.m. Sunday (November 16 to December 16; no show on Thursday, November 22) at the Fontbonne Fine Arts Theatre (6800 Wydown Boulevard; Tickets are $15 to $35. $15-$35

Fontbonne University Fine Arts Theatre (map)
6800 Wydown Blvd.
phone 314-862-3456
All Is Calm

A Christmas Story

Thursdays, Fridays, 8 p.m., Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Sat., Dec. 15, 4 & 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 16, 2 p.m., Wed., Dec. 19, 1:30 p.m., Sat., Dec. 22, 4 & 8 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 23, 2 & 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 23

The evergreen holiday film A Christmas Story is based on the stories of the great Jean Shepherd, who mined childhood nostalgia and memories of his own family to tell an honest tale about the true meaning of Christmas from a child's point of view. It's Ralphie Parker's fervent dream that he wake up to a Red Rider BB gun on Christmas morning, but his parents are against it. So Ralphie tries to work the system to get his wish, first by writing the most beautiful essay about air rifles his teacher has ever read, and then by placing an order with Santa Claus. In between his schemes, Ralphie has to deal with his oddball family (why won't his kid brother just eat?), his friends and the neighborhood bully, Scut Farkus (he has yellow eyes!). The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis gives us all a gift with Philip Grecian's stage adaptation of A Christmas Story. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday (November 30 to December 23) at the Loretto-Hilton Center (130 Edgar Road; Tickets are $24 to $97. $24-$97

Perfect Arrangement

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sundays, 7 p.m. Continues through Dec. 23

Bob and Norma work for the U.S government, a good job in the 1950s. They're friends at work and after hours, a happy little foursome with the addition of Millie (Bob's spouse) and Jim (Norma's husband). Then Bob and Norma get a new assignment: Root out and expose any homosexuals working for the government. Senator Joseph McCarthy has denounced gays and lesbians as perverts, and at the time he got what he wanted. It's bad news for the duo, because they're living a lie. Bob and Jim and Norma and Millie are committed couples living under the cover of two fake marriages and a real friendship, and now it's all endangered. Can they betray their fellow homosexuals to protect themselves? Topher Payne's play Perfect Arrangement draws from the tropes of TV sitcoms and the real-world Lavender Scare, which destroyed hundreds of lives because of one paranoid, power-hungry toad of a man. R-S Theatrics presents the play at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (December 7 to 23) at the Marcelle Theater (3310 Samuel Shepard Drive; Tickets are $20 to $25. $20-$25

Marcelle Theater (map)
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
Perfect Arrangement
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