2018 Summer Arts Guide

Christine Rocas and Dylan Gutierrez of the Joffrey Ballet, one of the dance companies taking part in Dance St. Louis’ Spring to Dance festival held Memorial Day weekend.

BY MIKE SHERWIN & ELLEN FUTTERMAN | MANAGING EDITOR & EDITOR

Summertime and the livin’ is easy, or so we’re thinking judging from the number of live performances, concerts, festivals and other arts-related events that take place between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. From Shakespeare outdoors in Forest Park to the 100th anniversary season of The Muny to Fair St. Louis’ return to the downtown Arch grounds, summertime in St. Louis 2018 looks to be better than ever in terms of all it has to offer residents and visitors alike. Now if the weather would cooperate…


May(Starting with Memorial Day weekend)

“Life Sucks,”an irreverent adaptation of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya,” continues at the New Jewish Theatre through June 10. NJT’s new artistic director Edward Coffield directs the show at the Wool Studio at the Jewish Community Center. Tickets range from $36 to $44. Call 314-442-3283 or go to jccstl.com.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis presents Giuseppe Verdi’s classic, “La Traviata.” Evening performances are May 25 and 30, and June 7, 10 and 23, with 1 p.m. matinees on June 2 and 20. Starting May 26 is Opera Theatre’s production of “Regina” by Marc Blitzstein, based on the Lillian Hellman play “The Little Foxes” (evening shows May 26 and 31, June 8, 20 and 24; matinees June 6 and 16). Performances are at the Loretto-Hilton Center in Webster Groves. Tickets are $25 to $132. For more information, call 314-961-0644 or visit opera-stl.org.

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The St. Louis Zoo kicks off its free Jungle Boogie Friday Night Concert Series on May 25 with the Funky Butt Brass Band. Concerts are 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 31 (except June 15) in the Schnuck Family Plaza in the center of the Zoo (bring a lawn chair). Craft beer and wine and snack and dinner options will be available for purchase. Visit stlzoo.org/events.

During Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28), enjoy food, music, dance, the arts and a host of cultural activities on St. Louis’ festival circuit, starting with the St. Louis County Greek Festival at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in West County (1755 Des Peres Road). Visit stlouisgreekfest.com. 

Head to a different continent with the St. Louis African Arts Festival from May 26-28 at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Visit stlafricanartsfest.com. 

Dance St. Louis holds the 11th Annual Emerson Spring to Dance Festival May 25-26 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St Louis. The festival brings together 25 professional dance companies for performances of a range of dance styles, including ballet, modern, flamenco and hip-hop. Performances start at 5:30, 6 and 7:30 p.m. each day. Tickets are $10-$20 each night. Call 314-516-4949 or visit dancestlouis.org

Art, beer, music and food collide at the annual Art Outside Festival May 25-27 at Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Ave. in Maplewood. More than 60 artists will have booths and a dozen bands will perform at the family- and dog-friendly event. Free. Visit schlafly.com/events-calendar.

Get into the swing of things May 27 with the 18-member Glenn Miller Orchestra at 3 p.m. at the J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts at Lindenwood University in St. Charles.  The big band ensemble performs Miller’s classics as well as more modern tunes in Miller’s style. Tickets are $24.50-$59.50. Visit lindenwood.edu/j- scheidegger-center-for- the-arts or call 636-949-4433.

Multiple Tony Award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon,” comes to the Fox Theatre May 29-June 3. The wholly irreverent satire centers on a pair of Mormon missionaries sent to a village in Uganda. Tickets are $39-$150. Call 314-534-1111 or visit fabulousfox.com.

The outdoor Whitaker Music Festival continues every Wednesday through July 25 at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Performers are Brothers Lazaroff  (May 30), Lamar Harris (June 6), Charlie Halloran (June 13), John Henry (June 20), Acoustik Element (June 27), the Funky Butt Brass Band (July 4), Ivas John Band (July 11), Al Holliday and the East Side Rhythm Band (July 18) and Dawn Weber and the Electro Funk Assembly (July 25). Shows start at 7 p.m. at the Cohen Amphitheatre and are free. Bring a picnic, or purchase food and drinks there. For more information, call 314-577-5100 or visit missouribotanicalgarden.org.

R&B superstars of the 1990s Boyz II Men will join the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. May 31 at Powell Hallfor a new takeon songs such as“End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” and “Motownphilly.” Tickets are $75-$130, available at slso.org or 314-534-1700. On June 10, the symphony turns from R&B to folk-rock when it welcomes the Indigo Girls. The Grammy-winning duo Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have produced such hits as “Galileo” and “Closer to Fine” (tickets are $45-$88).

New Line Theatre closes its 27th season with the musical comedy “Yeast Nation: The Triumph of Life,” running May 31-June 23 at The Marcelle Theater in Grand Center. Created by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis of “Urinetown” fame, the musical is billed as a “comic political thriller set on the floor of the ocean three billion years ago.” Performances are held Thursday through Saturday, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10-$25. For more information, visit newlinetheatre.com or call Metrotix at 314-534-1111.


June

The 15th annual Webster Arts Fair will be held June 1-3 at the corner of Lockwood and Bompart avenues on the grounds of Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves More than 100 juried artists from 23 states will take part in the free festival, and guests can enjoy live music on three stages and family-friendly arts activities, and food and beverages are available for purchase. Visit webster-arts.org.

Mustard Seed Theatre and Theatre Neuvo will perform “Luchadora!” June 1-17 at Fontbonne University. The award-winning play by Alvaro Saar Rios follows a woman struggling to be a wrestler in a male-dominated profession in the 1960s, and her granddaughter, who has big dreams of her own. Tickets are $15-$30. For more information, visit mustardseedtheatre.com.

The Bard’s famous star-crossed lovers will again try to rise above the Capulet-Montague family feud when “Romeo and Juliet” returns to the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis stage in Forest Park. This is the second time the festival has performed the play — the first was during its inaugural season in 2001. Free performances are  held nightly (except Tuesdays) at 8 p.m. from June 1-24 at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park (just off Fine Arts Drive on the east side of Art Hill between the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Art Museum). The always-entertaining Green Show starts at 6:30 p.m., with local entertainers, a family activity and craft area, a presentation summary and character outline of the play, and (Thursday through Sunday) a 25-minute adaptation of the play. Preferred seating, box dinners and reserved blankets are available for purchase. For more information, visit sfstl.com. 

Different nights, different actors: Two separate, rotating casts will perform “I DO! I DO!” at Stages St. Louis June 1- July 1. The two-character musical follows 50 years of one couple’s marriage. Performances are at the Robert G. Reim Theatre, 111 S. Geyer Road in Kirkwood. For ticket prices or more information, call 314-821-2407 or visit stagesstlouis.org.

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra pays tribute to late rock icon Tom Petty at 7:30 p.m. June 2 at Powell Symphony Hall. On the microphone will be Tony Vincent, the singer/songwriter — and past contestant on “The Voice” — who starred in Broadway productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Rent” and Green Day’s “American Idiot.” Vincent and the symphony will revisit Petty’s impressive catalogue of hits. Tickets are $45-$72, available at slso.org or 314-534-1700. In a similar vein, the symphony will feature nights this month dedicated to the music of Pink Floyd (June 8) and Elton John & More (June 15).

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival will screen 15 films June 3-7 at Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema. The annual festival, planned by the Jewish Community Center, will feature documentaries and feature films from all over the world. Highlights include “Itzhak,” “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel,” “Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” and “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.” Tickets are $8-$15 (with discounts when purchasing tickets to multiple films), available at 314-442-3179 or stljewishfilmfestival.org.

On June 3, Opera Theatre of St. Louis will present the world premiere of “An American Soldier” by Huang Ruo and David Henry Hwang. Based on a true story, the opera tells the tragic story of a Chinese-American soldier in the U.S. Army who becomes the target of military hazing on base while serving in Afghanistan. Other performances are June 6, 9, 14, 16 and 22. Opera Theatre turns to classical mythology with its production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s 18th century masterpiece, “Orfeo and Euridice.” Shows are June 9, 13, 15, 17, 21 and 23. Tickets are $25 to $132. Performances are at the Loretto-Hilton Center in Webster Groves. Call 314-961-0644 or visit opera-stl.org.

Twangfest will celebrate American roots music June 6-9 at Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Ave. This year’s festival includes Edward Burch & the Question of Tomorrow, Sleepy Rubies, Nikki Lane, Jack Grelle, The Bottle Rockets, Ryan Koenig and others. Tickets cost $22-$175. For details, see twangfest.com.

Stray Dog Theatre tackles Henrik Ibsen’s classic, “Hedda Gabler” June 7-23 at Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Ave. Using Jon Robin Baitz’s acclaimed adaptation of the play, it centers on “a powerful and reckless heroine who finds herself stranded in the seemingly ordinary but dangerously imbalanced Victorian Era.”  Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with one 2 p.m. performance Sunday, June 17. Tickets are $25-$30. For more information, visit straydogtheatre.org.

Fans hope David Byrne will be burning down the house during his June 8 concert at Peabody Opera House. The former frontman of eccentric rock group Talking Heads, Byrne is touring in support of his new album “American Utopia.” Byrne told Rolling Stone the tour is his most ambitious since Talking Heads’ 1983 “Stop Making Sense” tour, which was made into a iconic rock documentary released the following year by director Jonathan Demme. Byrne is drawing from Talking Heads and solo material on this year’s tour. Tickets are $37-$172, available through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

The Innsbrook Institute’s 18th annual Summer Music Festival and Academy will feature “Music Inspired by the Scenes and Sounds of Nature” June 8-16. Daily concerts are open to the public. Classical music lovers will enjoy a variety of chamber concerts; other concerts focus on fiddle tunes, soloists, ensembles, and jazz/Roaring ’20s-inspired music. Innsbrook is about an hour’s drive west of St. Louis. For ticket prices and concert schedule, visit innsbrookinstitute.org.

On June 10 Laumeier Sculpture Park continues its free Family Day series, inviting participants (ages 4 and up) to enjoy art projects and activities, creating a piece of artwork from natural materials. The event is from 2-4 p.m. at the park, located at 12580 Rott Road in Sunset Hills. Visit laumeiersculpturepark.org. 

“Jerome Robbins’ Broadway” kicks off the 100th season of The Muny June 11-17. Enjoy selections from the beloved director and choreographer’s incredible body of work, including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “West Side Story” and “The King and I.”  Then, from June 19-25, ease on down the road back to Forest Park to catch “The Wiz.” The Grammy-winning musical combines gospel, soul and rock for a different take on L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” All Muny performances start at 8:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $100, or come early to grab a free seat. Call 314-534-1111 or visit muny.org.

Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre hosts a series of classic rock favorites this month, with John Fogerty and ZZ Top’s Blues and Bayous Tour on June 17; Steely Dan with the Doobie Brothers June 19; and Chicago and REO Speedwagon on June 23. For more information, visit livenation.com.

The blockbuster 2005 animated film is translated into a live production with “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure” at Stages St. Louis June 19- July 1 at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood. For ticket prices or more information, call 314-821-2407 or see stagesstlouis.org.

David Blaine will bring his blend of magic and stunt work to the Peabody Opera House on June 20. Tickets are $37-$97, available through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. 

Whether you’re a music-maker or just a listener, you can enjoy Make Music Day on June 21. The free festival originated in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, and is now celebrated in 120 countries. Find participating venues, which include clubs, restaurants, concert halls, sidewalks, schools, parks and more at makemusicstl.org.

Angela Ingersoll portrays Judy Garland in “The End of the Rainbow,” presented by Max and Louie Productions June 21-July 1at the Grandel Theatre (operated by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation) in Grand Center. Featuring some of Garland’s most memorable music, the play explores the final years of Garland’s life as she struggles to make a comeback. Ingersoll performed the role to rave reviews in Chicago and Los Angeles. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets are $20-$60 for single tickets an $200-$300 for box tickets (seating four or six). For more information, visit maxandlouie.com.

Singer/songwriter/activist Jackson Browne has 14 studio albums — which have collectively sold 18 million copies — to draw from for his June 25 concert at Peabody Opera House. A 2004 inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Browne also is known for using his platform as an artist to support a variety of environmental and social justice causes. Tickets are $27-$127. Call 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com.

“Glee” co-stars Lea Michele and Darren Criss visit the Peabody Opera House on June 27 as part of their LM/DC tour. Both stars will draw from their shared Broadway and TV histories, performing separately and together on stage. Tickets are $26.50-$92. For more information, visit peabodyoperahouse.com or call 800-745-3000 for tickets.

“Singing in the Rain” comes to The Muny June 27-July 3, giving musical fans the chance to see such classics as “Make ’Em Laugh,” “Good Morning,” “All I Do is Dream of You” and of course, the title track. Tickets are $15 to $100 (with the usual free seats available on a first-come, first-served basis). Call 314-534-1111 or visit muny.org.

Fans will have a rare chance to catch legendary rocker Neil Young in St. Louis — his last concert here was in 2007 — when he performs at 8 p.m. June 28 at the Fox Theatre.Fun fact: Young was inducted twice in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — once as a solo artist in 1995, and again in 1997 as a member of Buffalo Springfield. Tickets, if still available, are $65 to $275. Call 314-534-1111 or see fabulousfox.com.

Also June 28, Melissa Etheridge visits The Sheldon at 8 p.m. Etheridge became a household name in the mid-1990s, with rock hits like “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window.” Tickets are $65 to $125. Call 314-534-1111 or visit thesheldon.org.

Sample short performances from 30 local theater groups during the Grand Center Theater Crawl June 29 and 30. Evening performances will begin at 6 p.m. each day, with a family-friendly program at 2 p.m. Saturday. Programs will be available in Strauss Park 30 minutes prior to the start of the performance. Participants can rotate through venues in Grand Center every 30 minutes. For more information, visit stlpublicradio.org/theatrecrawl.


July

Billed as “America’s Biggest Birthday Party,” Fair St. Louis returns to the Gateway Arch July 4, 6-7, kicking off with America’s Birthday Parade (formerly VP Parade) through downtown at 9:30 a.m. July 4. The day also marks the grand opening of the Museum at the Gateway Arch with a performance by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the return of the Boeing Air Show. In addition to dog acrobatic shows and fireworks, this year’s entertainment includes Martina McBride, Jason Derulo and Andy Grammer. For a complete schedule, go to fairsaintlouis.org.

Take to the high seas aboard Her Majesty’s ship Pinafore in this traditional telling of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore,” the beloved comic operetta full of mistaken identity, duty, intrigue and lots of laughs. The show, presented in English, kicks off the 2018 season at Union Avenue Opera, with performances July 6-7 and 13-14 at its theater at 733 N. Union Blvd. Other July shows include “Nabucco” July 27-Aug. 4. For ticket prices, call 314-361-2881 or see unionavenueopera.org.

The St. Louis Actor’s Studio returns with the 6th Annual Neil LaBute New Theater Festival July 6-15 and 20-29. Each evening will feature LaBute’s “4th Reich,” along with three other short plays by new playwrights throughout the country at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle Ave. Tickets range from $30-$35. For a complete listing of the plays, and ticket information call 314-458-2978 or go to stlas.org.

Featuring over 30 chart-topping hits, including fan favorites “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” the Muny premiere of “Jersey Boys” is likely to leave audiences saying, “Oh, What a Night!” The show is July 9-16 at The Muny. Tickets cost $15-$100. Call 314-534-1111 or see muny.org.

Ed Reggi directs Insight Theatre Company’s production of the Oscar Wilde comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” July 12-22 at the Grandel Theatre in Grand Center. Tickets range from $15 to $35 and are available at metrotix.com.

Country music sensation Chris Stapleton brings his “All American Road Show” to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre July 13. The bill also features Marty Stuart and Brent Cobb. Tickets range from $69.75 to $219 and are available at livenation.com.

Admission to the featured exhibits at the St. Louis Art Museum is free on Friday nights, so make time to pop in and have a look before you head across the street for a free outdoor movie. Movie nights at Art Hill this summer are July 13 (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”), July 20 (“Hidden Figures”), July 27 (“Dr. No”) and Aug. 3 (“The NeverEnding Story”). Expect creative art activities, live music and food trucks. For more information, go to slam.org.

The 13th Annual Let Them Eat Art, Maplewood’s whimsical tribute to Bastille Day, takes place from 6-11 p.m. in downtown Maplewood Friday, July 13. The event features live art demonstrations by regional artists, live music, and food and drink by Maplewood’s award-winning food purveyors. For more information, go to cityofmaplewood.com

Based on “Little Orphan Annie,” the popular 1920s comic strip, “Annie” is considered one of the most acclaimed musicals of all time. This seven-time Tony Award-winning family favorite features unforgettable hits like “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street” and the iconic Broadway standard “Tomorrow.” The show runs at The Muny from July 18-25. Tickets cost $15-$100. Call 314-534-1111 or see muny.org/2018-season.

We’re not pretending here, the Pretenders are back, touring behind their new album “Alone.” Hear Chrissie Hynde and company when they take the stage at the Peabody Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 18. Tickets range from $29.50 to $129.50 and can be gotten at ticketmaster.com.

The ultimate feel-good show, “Mamma Mia!” comes to Stages St. Louis July 20-Aug. 19 at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood. Featuring the music of ABBA, the play tells the hilarious and touching tale of a teen’s search for her birth father on a Greek Island paradise. Chock full of explosive dance numbers, unleash your inner “Dancing Queen” with such ABBA hits as “Winner Takes It All,” “Take A Chance On Me” and the smash title tune, “Mamma Mia.”  For ticket prices or more information, call 636-530-5959 or see stagesstlouis.org.

Legendary songwriter Joe Jackson brings one more encore to his long-running “Fast Forward Tour” when he pulls into The Pageant at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Expect his set to feature songs from across his catalogue, including a mix of songs from his earliest albums as well as 2015’s critically acclaimed “Fast Forward.”  Reserved tickets are $55 in advance/$60 day of show and can be gotten at thepageant.com.

Frampton Comes Alive, really and truly, when British-American rock icon and Grammy-award winner Peter Frampton performs at the River City Casino at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24. Frampton is best known for such hits as “Breaking All the Rules,” “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Do You Feel Like We Do,” and “I’m in You,” which remain staples on classic rock radio. Tickets are $64.50 and $84.50 and available at ticketmaster.com.

Now 12-members strong, and with a catalog of five albums and nearly a decade of steady touring in the U.S. and abroad, Tedeschi Trucks Band carries a disting-uished reputation earned from both aud-iences and critics as one of the premier live bands in the world.The band headlines Wheels of Soul 2018” at the Fox Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, which also features Drive-By Truckers and the Marcus King Band. Tickets range from $50 to $150 and can be gotten by calling 314-534-1111 or online at fabulousfox.com.

Rebels & Misfits, a new theater company in town, stages “The Realistic Joneses, about two suburban couples who have even more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. The play, directed by Edward Coffield,  runs July 26-Aug. 12 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand Blvd. Tickets are $40 to $40 and can be gotten through metrotix.com or by calling 314-534-1111.

The Sharks and the Jets will face off when COCA presents “West Side Story” July 27-28 at Washington University’s Edison Theatre. The production features the play’s legendary music by Bernstein and Sondheim and an auditioned ensemble of COCA students. Tickets cost $14-$18. Call 314-725-6555 or see cocastl.org.

Revered by many as the greatest musical ever written, “Gypsy” is the timeless tale of an ambitious stage mother, Momma Rose, fighting for her daughters’ success…while secretly yearning for her own. The production comes to The Muny, after 12 years, July 27 through Aug. 2. Go early to grab a free seat or, for tickets ($15-$100), call 314-361-1900 or visit muny.org.


August

A Godfather of soul & groove based jazz, saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.’s legacy is celebrated with an all-star show featuring saxophonist Tim Cunningham, bassist John King, keyboardist Pete Ruthenburg, guitarist Leland Crenshaw and drummer Montez Coleman Aug. 3-4 at Jazz at the Bistro in Grand Center. Tickets range from $11.50 to $21.50. Call 314-571-6000 or see jazzstl.org. 

One of the most popular and highly recognized stand-up comedians on the road today, D.L. Hughley has also made quite an impression in the television, film and radio arenas. He is bringing his stand-up act to the Helium Comedy Club in the St. Louis Galleria Aug. 3-5 for five shows. General admissions tickets are $35; VIP goes for $65. Call 314-727-1260 or go to st.-louis.helliumconedy.com.

Based on the 1944 film, “Meet Me in St. Louis”paints a wholesome portrait of a turn of the 20th-century American family. Set in the summer of 1903, the Smiths eagerly await the grand opening of the 1904 World’s Fair right here in St. Louis. With hits such as “The Trolley Song,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Boy Next Door” and the title number, this play, running Aug. 4-12, seems like the perfect finale to The Muny’s 100th season. Tickets cost $15-$100. Call 314-361-1900 or visit muny.org.

The St. Louis Fringe Festival runs Aug. 15-25 and features an array of original material in all genres of the arts — theater, music, dance, burlesque and more — throughout Grand Center. Details were still developing at press time but check at stlouisfringe.com for more information.

The Gesher Music Festival, a series of chamber music concerts and community events, works to build bridges across the diverse cultures of St. Louis. Based on the Hebrew concept of Gesher, or bridge, the theme for this year’s festival is “Voices Rising,” with three concerts at three different venues: “The Legacy of Tin Pan” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at the History Museum; “Rise Up: Sounds of Protest” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at the 560 Music Center, and “Giving Voice” at 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Wool Studio Theater on the campus of the Jewish Community Center. For tickets and more information, call 314-422-3283 or go to geshermusicfestival.org.

St. Louis Shakespeare presents the local premiere of Mike Bartlett’s “Charles III,” a gripping speculation on what will happen when Prince Charles ascends the British throne. This controversial new play explores the people beneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family. It runs Aug. 17-27 at the Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan Ave. For tickets and more information, call 314-361-5664 or go to stlshakespeare.org.

Grammy-award and Golden Globe winner, Sam Smith, returns to the Chaifetz Arena at 8 p.m. Aug. 17 following the release of his highly anticipated sophomore album, “The Thrill Of It All.” Tickets, ranging from $48 to $125, are available at ticketmaster.com. 

St. Louis World’s Fare Heritage Festival brings an eclectic assortment of local musicians, performers, artists, food trucks, and businesses to the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park Aug. 17-19 highlighting the diversity, history, and creativity our St. Louis has to offer. Go to stlworldsfare.com.

Merging influences from Broadway, traditional African music, jazz, and blues, Kurt Weill’s final work for the stage, “Lost in the Stars,” is a gripping musical tragedy based on Alan Paton’s novel “Cry, the Beloved Country.” Presented by Union Avenue Opera, the show runs Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 25-28 at its theater at 733 N. Union Blvd. Tickets range from $30 to $55 and can be gotten at 314-361-2881 and unionavenueopera.org.  

Two rock legends, not to mention two of the greatest heads of hair of all times, Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper, team up for one musical spectacular at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19. Tickets range from $22.50 to $200 and are available at livenation.com.

Get ready to “Grove Tonight” and expect the earth to move, when the elements — Earth, Wind & Fire — one of the world top-selling musical groups of all-time comes to the Peabody Opera House on Aug. 24 as part of a national tour. With a signature sound beyond category, the band’s legendary journey has set the standard for music of all genres and made a profound and lasting impact on popular culture. Don’t miss out. Tickets range from $37.50 to $223 and can be gotten by calling 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com.

Tower Grove Park will once again be the location for the annual International Institute’s Festival of Nations, which brings together a smorgasbord of food, culture, live performances and shopping from more than 40 nations of the world (and St. Louis). The free festival runs from 10-7 Saturday, Aug. 25 and from 10-6 Sunday, Aug. 26. For more information, go to festivalofnations.org.

Enjoy music and dance performances by ethnic artists, world music favorites and traditional acoustic music and song at the International Institute’s annual Festival of Nations. All this – and 40 food booths and plenty of shopping opportunities too! The free festival takes place starting at 10 a.m. on Aug. 26 and 27 in Tower Grove Park. See festivalofnationsstl.org.

Labor Day Weekend

Celebrating the history, culture, and people of Japan, the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the largest and oldest festivals of its kind in the United States. It offers Japanese-influenced art, dance, food and entertainment for thousands of visitors each year and takes place from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 1-2 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 3. Admission ranges from $7 to $15. Find out more at missouribotanicalgarden.org.

The Big Muddy Blues Festival takes place in historic Laclede’s Landing to celebrate the rich St. Louis history of “the Blues.” A wide range of blues music including, Delta, country, R&B, soul, rock, and more is featured on three outdoor stages, performed by a 100 percent local line up of over 50 bands and musicians. As of press time the line-up and ticket costs weren’t ready but check back at bigmuddybluesfestival.com. 

The annual art fair at Queeny Park features more than 130 artists from 20 states showing works in various media including painting, sculpture and jewelry making.  In addition the fair held at Greensfelder Recreation Complex, the event includes children’s activities and wine tastings.  Admission is $5. For hours and more information, go to artfairatqueenypark.com.

The St. Louis Actor’s Studio returns with the 6th Annual Neil LaBute New Theater Festival July 6-15 and 20-29. Each evening will feature LaBute’s “4th Reich,” along with three other short plays by new playwrights throughout the country at the Gaslight Theatre, 358 N. Boyle Ave. Tickets range from $30-$35. For a complete listing of the plays, and ticket information call 314-458-2978 or go to stlas.org.

Featuring over 30 chart-topping hits, including fan favorites “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” the Muny premiere of “Jersey Boys” is likely to leave audiences saying, “Oh, What a Night!” The show is July 9-16 at The Muny. Tickets cost $15-$100. Call 314-534-1111 or see muny.org.

Ed Reggi directs Insight Theatre Company’s production of the Oscar Wilde comedy, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” July 12-22 at the Grandel Theatre in Grand Center. Tickets range from $15 to $35 and are available at metrotix.com.

Country music sensation Chris Stapleton brings his “All American Road Show” to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre July 13. The bill also features Marty Stuart and Brent Cobb. Tickets range from $69.75 to $219 and are available at livenation.com.

Admission to the featured exhibits at the St. Louis Art Museum is free on Friday nights, so make time to pop in and have a look before you head across the street for a free outdoor movie. Movie nights at Art Hill this summer are July 13 (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”), July 20 (“Hidden Figures”), July 27 (“Dr. No”) and Aug. 3 (“The Never Ending Story”). Expect creative art activities, live music and food trucks. For more information, go to slam.org.

The 13th Annual Let Them Eat Art, Maplewood’s whimsical tribute to Bastille Day, takes place from 6-11 p.m. in downtown Maplewood Friday, July 13. The event features live art demonstrations by regional artists, live music, and food and drink by Maplewood’s award-winning food purveyors. For more information, go to cityofmaplewood.com

Based on “Little Orphan Annie,” the popular 1920s comic strip, “Annie” is one of the most acclaimed musicals of all time. This seven-time Tony Award-winning family favorite features unforgettable hits like “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street” and the iconic Broadway standard “Tomorrow.” The show runs at The Muny from July 18-25. Tickets cost $15-$100. Call 314-534-1111 or see muny.org/2018-season.

We’re not pretending here, the Pretenders are back, touring behind their new album “Alone.” Hear Chrissie Hynde and company when they take the stage at the Peabody Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 18. Tickets range from $29.50 to $129.50 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.

The ultimate feel-good show, “Mamma Mia!” comes to Stages St. Louis July 20-Aug. 19 at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in Kirkwood. Featuring the music of ABBA, the play tells the hilarious and touching tale of a teen’s search for her birth father on a Greek Island paradise. Chock full of explosive dance numbers, unleash your inner “Dancing Queen” with such ABBA hits as “Winner Takes It All,” “Take A Chance On Me” and the smash title tune, “Mamma Mia.”  For ticket prices or more information, call 636-530-5959 or see stagesstlouis.org.

Legendary songwriter Joe Jackson brings one more encore to his long-running “Fast Forward Tour” when he visits The Pageant at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Expect songs from across his catalogue, from his earliest albums to 2015’s critically acclaimed “Fast Forward.”  Tickets are $55 in advance/$60 day of show. Visit thepageant.com.

Frampton Comes Alive, really and truly, when British-American rock icon and Grammy-award winner Peter Frampton performs at the River City Casino at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 24. Frampton is best known for such hits as “Breaking All the Rules,” “Show Me the Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Do You Feel Like We Do,” and “I’m in You,” which remain staples on classic rock radio. Tickets are $64.50 and $84.50 and available at ticketmaster.com.

Now 12-members strong, and with a catalog of five albums and nearly a decade of steady touring in the U.S. and abroad, Tedeschi Trucks Band carries a disting-uished reputation earned from both aud-iences and critics as one of the premier live bands in the world.The band headlines Wheels of Soul 2018” at the Fox Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 26, which also features Drive-By Truckers and the Marcus King Band. Tickets range from $50 to $150 and can be purchased by calling 314-534-1111 or online at fabulousfox.com.

Rebels & Misfits, a new theater company in town, stages “The Realistic Joneses, about two suburban couples who have even more in common than their identical homes and their shared last names. The play, directed by Edward Coffield,  runs July 26-Aug. 12 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand Blvd. Tickets are $40 to $50 and can be purchased through metrotix.com or by calling 314-534-1111.

The Sharks and the Jets will face off when COCA presents “West Side Story” July 27-28 at Washington University’s Edison Theatre. The production features the play’s legendary music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and an auditioned ensemble of COCA students. Tickets cost $14-$18. Call 314-725-6555 or see cocastl.org.

Revered by many as the greatest musical ever written, “Gypsy” is the timeless tale of an ambitious stage mother, Momma Rose, fighting for her daughters’ success…while secretly yearning for her own. The production comes to The Muny, after 12 years, July 27 through Aug. 2. Go early to grab a free seat or, for tickets ($15-$100), call 314-361-1900 or visit muny.org.

August

A Godfather of soul & groove based jazz, saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr.’s legacy is celebrated with an all-star show featuring saxophonist Tim Cunningham, bassist John King, keyboardist Pete Ruthenburg, guitarist Leland Crenshaw and drummer Montez Coleman Aug. 3-4 at Jazz at the Bistro in Grand Center. Tickets range from $11.50 to $21.50. Call 314-571-6000 or see jazzstl.org. 

One of the most popular and highly recognized stand-up comedians on the road today, D.L. Hughley has also made quite an impression in the television, film and radio arenas. He is bringing his stand-up act to the Helium Comedy Club in the St. Louis Galleria Aug. 3-5 for five shows. General admissions tickets are $35; VIP goes for $65. Call 314-727-1260 or go to st.-louis.helliumconedy.com.

Based on the 1944 film, “Meet Me in St. Louis”paints a wholesome portrait of a turn of the 20th-century American family. Set in the summer of 1903, the Smiths eagerly await the grand opening of the 1904 World’s Fair right here in St. Louis. With hits such as “The Trolley Song,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Boy Next Door” and the title number, this play, running Aug. 4-12, seems like the perfect finale to The Muny’s 100th season. Tickets cost $15-$100. Call 314-361-1900 or visit muny.org.

The St. Louis Fringe Festival runs Aug. 15-25 and features an array of original material in all genres of the arts — theater, music, dance, burlesque and more — throughout Grand Center. Details were still developing at press time but check at stlouisfringe.com for more information.

The Gesher Music Festival, a series of chamber music concerts and community events, works to build bridges across the diverse cultures of St. Louis. Based on the Hebrew concept of Gesher, or bridge, the theme for this year’s festival is “Voices Rising,” with three concerts at three different venues: “The Legacy of Tin Pan” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at the History Museum; “Rise Up: Sounds of Protest” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at the 560 Music Center, and “Giving Voice” at 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Wool Studio Theater on the campus of the J . For tickets and more information, call 314-422-3283 or go to geshermusicfestival.org.

St. Louis Shakespeare presents the local premiere of Mike Bartlett’s “Charles III,” a gripping speculation on what will happen when Prince Charles ascends the British throne. This controversial new play explores the people beneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family. It runs Aug. 17-27 at the Ivory Theatre, 7620 Michigan Ave. For tickets and more information, call 314-361-5664 or go to stlshakespeare.org.

Grammy-award and Golden Globe winner, Sam Smith, returns to the Chaifetz Arena at 8 p.m. Aug. 17 following the release of his highly anticipated sophomore album, “The Thrill Of It All.” Tickets, ranging from $48 to $125, are available at ticketmaster.com. 

St. Louis World’s Fare Heritage Festival brings an eclectic assortment of local musicians, performers, artists, food trucks, and businesses to the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park Aug. 17-19 highlighting the diversity, history, and creativity our St. Louis has to offer. Go to stlworldsfare.com.

Merging influences from Broadway, traditional African music, jazz, and blues, Kurt Weill’s final work for the stage, “Lost in the Stars,” is a gripping musical tragedy based on Alan Paton’s novel “Cry, the Beloved Country.” Presented by Union Avenue Opera, the show runs Aug. 17-18 and Aug. 25-28 at its theater at 733 N. Union Blvd. Tickets range from $30 to $55 and can be purchased at 314-361-2881 and unionavenueopera.org.  

Two rock legends, not to mention two of the greatest heads of hair of all times, Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper, team up for one musical spectacular at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 19. Tickets range from $22.50 to $200 and are available at livenation.com.

Get ready to “Grove Tonight” and expect the earth to move, when the elements — Earth, Wind & Fire — one of the world top-selling musical groups of all-time comes to the Peabody Opera House on Aug. 24 as part of a national tour. Tickets range from $37.50 to $223 and can be purchased by calling 800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com.

Tower Grove Park will once again be the location for the annual International Institute’s Festival of Nations, which brings together a smorgasbord of food, culture, live performances and shopping from more than 40 nations of the world (and St. Louis). The free festival runs from 10-7 Saturday, Aug. 25 and from 10-6 Sunday, Aug. 26. For more information, go to festivalofnations.org.

Labor Day Weekend

Celebrating the history, culture, and people of Japan, the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the largest and oldest festivals of its kind in the United States. It offers Japanese-influenced art, dance, food and entertainment for thousands of visitors each year and takes place from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 1-2 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 3. Admission ranges from $7 to $15. Find out more at missouribotanicalgarden.org.

The Big Muddy Blues Festival takes place in historic Laclede’s Landing to celebrate the rich St. Louis history of “the Blues.” A wide range of blues music including, Delta, country, R&B, soul, rock, and more is featured on three outdoor stages, performed by a 100 percent local line up of over 50 bands and musicians. As of press time the line-up and ticket costs weren’t ready but check back at bigmuddybluesfestival.com. 

The annual art fair at Queeny Park features more than 130 artists from 20 states showing works in various media including painting, sculpture and jewelry making.  In addition the fair held at Greensfelder Recreation Complex, the event includes children’s activities and wine tastings.  Admission is $5. For hours and more information, go to artfairatqueenypark.com.