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Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage

Through June 2, 2019

The Muny is just about to open its landmark 100th season, and its neighbor, the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBalivere Avenue; www.mohistory.org), celebrates the occasion with an exhibit dedicated to the history of America's largest outdoor theater. Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage features exhibits that explain the founding of the theater, display favorite memories from stars and staff, and give a look back stage to see how the dedicated technical crew creates and rigs all those sets and lights. You can also take a look at programs from the Muny's long, storied past. Muny Memories opens on Saturday, June 9, and remains on display daily through June 2, 2019. Admission is free. free admission

Missouri History Museum (map)
Lindell Blvd. & DeBaliviere Ave.
St. Louis - Forest Park
phone 314-746-4599
Muny Memories: 100 Years on Stage

Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London

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

Messages from Mercury

Through Aug. 31

Strongly influenced by the ideas of semiotics and sacred geometry, artist Benjamin Lowder creates works of deconstructed text that convey ideas about the hidden world that exists all around us. For his new show, Messages from Mercury, Lowder paints street signs, then breaks them apart and reassembles them so the familiar words become glyphs that bear a cautionary tale to our inner voices. Just as Mercury was the messenger from the gods in Roman theology, so Lowder's art carries a warning from the gods that we're on the wrong path. Benjamin Lowder: Messages from Mercury opens with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, June 29, at the artist’s brand-new Cherokee Street Gallery (2617 Cherokee Street; www.cherokeestreetgallery.com). It remains up through the end of August. Also on display are new works by Jerald Ieans and Zack Smithey in conversation with one another. Admission is free. free admission

Flora Borealis

Through Aug. 26, 7 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m., Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. and Thursdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m. Continues through Oct. 20
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Summers in St. Louis are no picnic, what with the brutal heat and oppressive humidity. At night conditions improve a bit, and that's the time to get outside and experience the city. The Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; www.mobot.org) takes full advantage of the nocturnal respite with Flora Borealis, a nighttime-only special exhibition. Thanks to the artistic and technical brilliance of AVI Systems Inc., a section of the garden is temporarily transformed into a new experience with active lights, moving images and sounds that alter and enhance the familiar landscape. Tickets for Flora Borealis are $10 to $25 and are sold for specific time slots each night (Thursday through Tuesday through August 26). While you're waiting for your scheduled time you can take advantage of MoBOT’s new tented biergarten, which features live entertainment on select nights. $10-$25

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

Jeremy R. Brooks

Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Continues through Aug. 31

Ceramicist Jeremy R. Brooks is currently based in Carbondale, Illinois, where he's teaching at Southern Illinois University. His own studies include an unusual type of clay with a rubber-like elasticity that sets up quickly. Working quickly, he extrudes paper-like slabs and long coils, which he can then use for knitting, weaving or crocheting. The resulting forms have a plasticity that seems nearly impossible. Knitted vessels made from delicate strands of clay, sinuous loops of loosely bunched clay-yarn, a rainbow skein of fibers wrapped around itself that approximates the whorls and shape of a brain — Brooks' work is both trompe l'oeil and trompe l'clay. A small exhibition of Brooks' ceramics go on display this weekend at the Duane Reed Gallery (4729 McPherson Avenue; www.duanereedgallery.com), along with Brian Smith's abstract paintings. The show opens with a free reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 20, and remains on display 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Tuesday through Saturday through August 31. free admission

Duane Reed Gallery (map)
4729 McPherson Ave.
St. Louis - Central West End
phone 314-361-4100
Jeremy R. Brooks

Mamma Mia!

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 19

Sophie's impending marriage to Sky will be perfect, except for the fact that she's never met her father and has no one to walk her down the aisle. So she does what any adult would do — she reads her mother's old diary in search of her father's name. Sophie discovers three possible candidates, and promptly sends each potential dad an invitation to the wedding in the belief that she’ll know her father when she sees him. What could possibly go wrong? It's not like she could embarrass her mother and spoil her own party, right? Mamma Mia!, the wildly popular musical built around the songs of ABBA, is presented by Stages St. Louis Tuesday through Sunday (July 20 to August 19) at the Robert G. Reim Theatre (111 South Geyer Road, Kirkwood; www.stagesstlouis.org). Tickets are $50 to $66. $50-$66

Great Rivers Biennial

Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Thursdays, Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 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

Faust: go down with all the re$t

Through Aug. 18, 7:30 p.m.

A coalition of five St. Louis theater companies join forces to present a celebration of the Faust legend this summer and autumn. The Faustival opens with ERA's experimental rock-opera Faust: go down with all the re$t, which is inspired by Goethe's rendition of the story. Faust is God's favorite human, but the Devil bets that he can draw him into sin. And so the Devil appears to Faust as a poodle and corrupts him with the promise of absolute power. ERA, with the help of local band Kid Scientist, presents its "capitalist tragedy" Faust: go down with all the re$t at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (August 8, 10 and 11), and then again at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday (August 15 to 18) at Foam (3359 South Jefferson Avenue; www.eratheatre.org). Tickets are $10 and a two-drink minimum is recommended to get in the proper mindset. $10

Foam Coffee & Beer (map)
3359 Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis - South City
phone 314-772-2100
Faust: go down with all the re$t

The Robber Bridegroom

Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Wed., Aug. 15, 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 18

The Natchez Trace was a notoriously dangerous proto-highway in early American history. Stretching through the forests between Tennessee and Mississippi, the Trace was the perfect place for highwaymen to waylay travelers and traders. One of the best-known highwaymen was the Bandit of the Woods, who's out hunting for Clement Musgrove, the richest planter in Natchez. Instead the bandit encounters the beautiful Rosamund, Clement's only daughter. And it's a good thing he does; the far more unsavory bandit Little Harp is out looking for women to accost, even as Rosamund's stepmother has spitefully hired the village idiot, Goat, to find and kill her as well. Is it any wonder Rosamund falls for the dashing Bandit of the Woods? The Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman musical The Robber Bridegroom is a Southern fairy tale based on the novel of the same name by Eudora Welty. Stray Dog Theatre closes its fifteenth season with the bluegrass-tinged musical. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (August 2 to 18) at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee Avenue; www.straydogtheatre.org). There are additional shows at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 12, and 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 15. Tickets are $25 to $30. $25-$30

Tower Grove Abbey (map)
2336 Tennessee Ave.
St. Louis - South Grand
phone 314-865-1995
The Robber Bridegroom

No Exit

Starts Aug. 15. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 1

Three people — Joseph Garcin, Estelle Rigault and Inès Serrano —are taken by the Valet to the same nondescript room. All three expect to be tortured, for that's what happens to damned souls. Instead they are left to their own devices, which mostly consists of justifying their damnation, complaining that they're not supposed to be here and arguing for the truth to be told. Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit is the quintessential existential drama, and in Alyssa Ward's new translation the characters must once again suffer as they see themselves through another person's eyes. Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble presents No Exit at 8 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday (August 15 to September 1) at the Chapel (6238 Alexander Drive; www.slightlyoff.org). Tickets are $15 to $20. $15-$20

The Chapel (map)
6238 Alexander Dr
Clayton No Exit

The Light in the Piazza

Sundays, 7 p.m. and Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through Aug. 26

R-S Theatrics opens its eighth season with The Light in the Piazza. The Adam Guettel/Craig Lucas musical eschews the typical Broadway sound for a more romantic, classical-music approach and follows the ups and downs of a whirlwind Italian romance. Clara and her mother Margaret are visiting Florence, Italy, when Fabrizio notices Clara across the piazza. At first rebuffed by the protective Margaret, Fabrizio soon enough is falling in love with Clara, and his feelings are reciprocated. Margaret still harbors doubts, even after meeting the young man's delightful family. Why is she so concerned about letting her adult daughter fall in love and start a new life? The Light in the Piazza is performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday (August 10 to 26) at the Marcelle (3310 Samuel Shepard Drive; www.r-stheatrics.com). Tickets are $20 to $25. $20-$25

Marcelle Theater (map)
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr
St. Louis - Grand Center
phone 314-533-0367
The Light in the Piazza

Mark Dew:

Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays, 8 p.m.

To walk into the Hideaway is to enter a place that seems frozen in time, where the dozen or so seats around the piano are packed with your grandparents' friends, decked out in chunky jewelry and tilted fedora hats. Ostensibly, they're here to listen to Mark Dew play — he's here Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights — but you're just as likely to hear one of those old-timers sitting around the piano trill Charlie Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl." And when Dew finally has his turn at the mic, he'll say something humble, like, "I apologize; it should have been in the key of F." No matter. Dew is the conductor of this time-traveling train, and everyone's on board. Dew, who is blind, has been the piano man here for nearly a quarter-century and jokes that the best part about working here is, well, getting paid. He marvels at the younger set trickling in and its knowledge of the Cash and Sinatra songbooks: "The more the crowd gets into it, the more I play," Dew says. And that's enough to keep him around. "I'm not quite ready to be out to pasture," he says. "Yet." free

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