2020 Winter Arts Guide: Turn up the heat with concerts, plays and more

The St. Louis Symphony will perform “Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back in Concert,” at Powell Hall Jan. 23-26.

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

If you’re in need of an antidote for the winter blues, why not head to a concert or the theater or a museum? Rather than hibernate and binge watch still another Netflix series, go on and brave the elements to hear Ravel’s “Bolero” performed by the St. Louis Symphony or the sounds of Sondheim at the New Jewish Theatre. 

The fact is the St. Louis arts scene does not slow down just because it’s cold and dreary outside. The winter months bring a plethora of live productions and events for all tastes and budgets.

What follows are 18 possibilities. So get out there and enjoy.


Thanksgiving in January? Well, no, not exactly, though “The Thanksgiving Play,” a clever satire by Larissa FastHorse, gathers a group of theater enthusiasts on a mission to create a politically correct Thanksgiving play that is historically accurate, avoids all possible stereotypes and doesn’t offend anyone, most notably Native Americans. Apparently this feat is easier said than done. Check it out at the Rep’s Emerson Studio Theatre on Jan. 15-Feb. 9. (www.repstl.org)

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs “Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back in Concert,” John Williams’ Oscar-nominated score, Jan. 23-26 at Powell Hall. An added bonus: The film will be shown on a big screen while the orchestra plays. Tickets range from $35 to $77. (www.slso.org)

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Max & Louie Productions opens its season with “Songs for Nobodies” starring Debby Lennon, who channels the music of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas throughout a mosaic of stories told by women who had unexpected life-changing encounters with these musical icons. The show runs Jan. 23-Feb. 2 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 N. Grand Blvd., with Q&As after the Jan. 26 and Feb. 2 performances. (www.maxandlouie.com)

Set against the backdrop of Army life, regiment canteen girl Marie falls in love with prisoner-turned-soldier Tonio. But after a chance encounter with a long-lost wealthy aunt, Marie reluctantly leaves Tonio and Army life. Will Marie live a life of luxury staying with her aunt or will the regimental songs call her back to the soldier she loves? Find out when Winter Opera St. Louis stages “La Fille du Regiment,” Jan. 24 & 26 at the Skip Viragh Center at Chaminade College Preparatory School, 425 S. Lindbergh Blvd. The opera is performed in French with English dialogue and English supertitles. (www.winteroperastl.org)

Shakespeare meets hip-hop and high school in “Dress the Part,” a new 75-minute musical from the Q Brothers based on “Two Gentleman from Verona,” at the Ready Room in the Grove neighborhood. The show runs Jan. 29-Feb 15; tickets are $20-$35. (www.sfstl.com)



In the two-character play “Annapurna” by Sharr White, a recluse is unexpectedly visited by his ex-wife who left him and took their son 20 years earlier. Presented by St. Louis Actors’ Studio, performances run Feb. 14-March 1 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 N. Boyle Ave. (www.stlas.org)

“Millet and Modern Art: From Van Gogh to Dalí,”  featuring works by French artist Jean-François Millet and those he influenced including Vincent van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet and others, opens at the St. Louis Art Museum on Feb. 16 and runs through May 17. (www.slam.org)

“The Band’s Visit” visits the Fox Theatre from Feb. 25-March 8. Winner of 10 Tony Awards including best musical, the play revolves around a group of Egyptian musicians who land in an Israeli desert town where a café owner and other locals take them in for the night. Under the night sky, their lives intertwine in unexpected ways, and this once sleepy town begins to wake up. Tickets range from $30-$98. (www.fabulousfox.com)

In her new book “When My Time Comes,” renowned NPR radio host Diane Rehm addresses the hotly contested cause of the right-to-die movement, giving voice to a broad range of people who are personally linked to the realities of medical aid in dying. She will read from her book Feb. 28 at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters. (www.slcl.org)



Actor/comedian Michael Rapaport brings his stand-up show to the Helium Club in the St. Louis Galleria for two performances, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. March 1. The show is for mature audiences (18-plus). Tickets are $25-$35, along with a two drink or food minimum. (www.st-louis.heliumcomedy.com)

Set to the music of the Go-Go’s, whose iconic hits include “We Got the Beat,” “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels,” the musical “Head Over Heals” is loosely based on a novel from the 16th century. Presented by the always innovative New Line Theatre, performances run March 5-28 at the Marcelle, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive. (www.newlinetheatre.com)

If you haven’t yet made good on your promise to hear the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra perform this season, don’t miss the opportunity to see (and hear) Music Director Stéphane Denève conduct a program of powerful machines. Among the offerings at this special 10:30 a.m. program March 6 (and again that evening and March 7 at 8 p.m.) are Ravel’s “Bolero,” enhanced by the performance of saxophone virtuoso Timothy McAllister (www.slso.org)

It wouldn’t appear that much is funny in caring for a parent with dementia while also dealing with an insufferable daughter, but then “We Are the Levinsons” isn’t your average run-of-the-mill comedy. The play delves into some difficult but universal passages of life and underscores the need for all of us to be good to ourselves and others while doing our best to navigate life’s highs and lows. The play runs March 19-April 5 at the New Jewish Theatre. (www.newjewishtheatre.org)

Nominated for six Grammy Awards, 18-year-old alt-pop sensation Billie Eilish brings her “Where Do We Go?” world tour to the Enterprise Center at 7:30 p.m. March 28. Tickets range from $36.50 to $126.50 (www.enterprisecenter.com)


Looking ahead: April and May

Jewish Light 2019 Unsung Heroes Brothers Lazaroff make their Sheldon Concert Hall debut at 11 a.m. April 4. Promoting their recent release “Sisters and Brothers,” Jeff and David Lazaroff have been an integral part of the St. Louis music scene for more than a decade. Known for their prolific songwriting and wide-ranging collaborations, “Sisters and Brothers” is the band’s eighth full-length album, and its title represents how it approaches music in our community. (www.thesheldon.org)

It’s coming back! In case you missed it the first time it played here in 2018, thePulitzer Prize-winning musical “Hamilton,” about noted statesman Alexander Hamilton and his contemporaries, returns to the Fox Theatre for a monthlong run May 5-June 7. Single tickets are on sale  ranging from $89 to $399. (www.fabulousfox.com) 

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Jimi Hendrix, and she was a legend in her time, bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music. “Marie and Rosetta”  chronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duos in musical history. At the Black Rep at Edison Theatre on the campus of Washington University from May 6-24. (www.theblackrep.org) 

One of America’s favorite Jewish composers and lyricists gets his due when New Jewish Theatre stages “Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together,” a musical revue celebrating many of his Broadway hits. Featuring nearly 30 Sondheim tunes, the play is performed by a cast of five people who are thrown together at a party in a Manhattan penthouse. Expect to hear familiar tunes from shows such as  “Follies,” “Company,” “Sweeney Todd” and “A Little Night Music,” among others. Performances run from May 7 to 24 (www.newjewishtheatre.org)