The Edison Theatre at Washington University in St. Louis will celebrate its 31st year of exuberant dance, rich musical traditions and classic and cutting-edge theatre with the 2003-04 OVATIONS! Series.
Founded in 1973, Edison Theatre focuses on the interdisciplinary, the multicultural and the experimental through new works and innovative interpretations of classical material by nationally and internationally known artists. The 2003-2004 season will include a range of established figures and emerging talents — both returning favorites and St. Louis premieres — as well as a new installment in the popular ovations! for young people series, which offers specially priced Saturday matinees for audiences of all ages.
“Edison Theatre strives to challenge, educate and inspire with an eclectic mix of music, dance and theater,” said Charlie Robin, executive director. “Each year’s program is different, each year’s program is unique, but there’s always something for everyone, from the classical to the contemporary, from the cutting edge to family events.”
The season opens Nov. 2 with the Aquila Theatre Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s Othello. Aquila, one of the finest contemporary producers of touring classical theatre, brings superb acting, vibrant, innovative staging and an original score to this gripping tale, which describes the destruction of a noble soul amidst a backdrop of racial hatred, jealousy and mistrust.
Theatre lovers also can look forward to the amazingly dexterous “body puppetry” of Teatro Hugo & Ines in Short Stories, which transforms hands and feet, elbows and bellybuttons into extraordinary affecting characters. Meanwhile, Julia Sweeney, perhaps best known as the nerdy, androgynous Pat from Saturday Night Live, presents her new one-woman show, Oops! I Forgot To Have Kids. The following evening, Sweeney returns to the stage with three compatriots — including comedian Andy Dick, of NewsRadio and The Andy Dick Show fame — as part of Un-Cabaret, the L.A.-based alternative comedy troupe. (Un-Cabaret also will anchor the Edison’s third annual ANTIGALA fundraiser Feb. 14.)
Once again, Edison Theatre will join forces with Dance St. Louis to present some of the finest dance companies working today. Inspired by travels through Senegal and the Ivory Coast, the Brooklyn-born Ron K. Brown and his company Evidence fuse modern and traditional West African dance with elements of jazz, hip-hop and even martial arts. Stephen Petronio Dance brings City of Twist, a series of portraits inspired by post-September 11 New York. Finally, Britain’s famed “Ballet Boyz”— a.k.a. Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt of George Piper Dances, who enjoy rock-star status in U.K. thanks to a popular series of televised video-diaries — combine a gritty, muscular aesthetic with works by some of today’s most influential choreographers.
For music lovers, living legends La Bottine Souriante, called “the best band in the world” by folk magazine Dirty Linen, let loose a Quebecois mélange of French, English, Irish and Scottish folk music, spiced with jazzy horns, pounding rhythms and soaring vocals. Iconoclastic composer Paul Dresher unveils a whole new approach to musical theater with Sound Stage, in which five performs test the sonic possibilities of a dramatic, 17-foot-tall, 14-foot-wide “instrumental jungle gym.” Singer-songwriter-comediennes Four Bitchin’ Babes reunite with co-founder Christine Lavin for a pair of shows.
The season concludes May 2 with a special, one-night-only concert by Bang on a Can All-Stars, the rowdy postmodern ensemble comprised of six of the finest players from New York’s esteemed Bang on a Can new music festival. Joining the All-Stars are avant-garde composers Philip Glass and Terry Riley, the latter of whom launched the minimalist movement in 1964 with his seminal work In C, which will be performed as part of the evening’s program.
The ovations! for young people lineup kicks off Nov. 1 with the return of Scrap Arts Music, a Vancouver-based percussion ensemble that performs on homemade instruments built of recycled and salvaged materials. The series will also feature special, all-ages performances by Ron K. Brown/Evidence and Teatro Hugo & Ines.
Tickets to OVATIONS! Series events are $28; $23 for seniors, students and for subscriptions of four or move events; and $14 for children under 12. Ovations! for young people events are $7 each or $15 for tickets to all three events.
Edison Theatre is located in Washington University’s Mallinckrodt Student Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information or to request a season brochure, call the Edison Theatre Box Office at (314) 935-6543.
Editor’s note: Photos available upon request. See attached for more details on individual events.