Kibbitzing with Caplan

Columnist Lois Caplan

By Lois Caplan

BEFORE THREE PRODUCTION COMPANIES DEPART, I feel the need to share with you their excellence so that you will not miss a beat. Opera Theatre of St. Louis is presenting four operas this season, which include a world premiere of “Champion” and an incredible performance of the much beloved “Pirates of Penzance.” Meanwhile, Giacomo Puccini’s tragic masterpiece “Madama Butterfly” returns to the Union Avenue Opera stage for four performances.

Finally, you won’t want to miss the remaining concerts of the Gesher Music Festival of Emerging Artists. The festival features young professional musicians who, through performance and educational outreach, build bridges to new audiences and to the Jewish experience. I had the good fortune to hear some of the Gesher artists when they played at Central Reform Congregation on June 21 (also my daughter Leslie’s very special birthday). They are exceptionally good musicians (Leslie included).  Catch the performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29 at the Jewish Community Center’s Wool Studio Theatre (featuring works of Franz Schubert, Richard Danielpour, Judd Greenstein and a U.S. premiere by Gilad Hochman).

The festival’s final concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 30 at the Kranzberg Arts Center, 501 S. Grand Boulevard (featuring works of Felix Mendelsson, Reza Vali and Shulamit Ran).

For complete information on schedules and ticket availability call Opera Theatre at 314-961-0644, Union Avenue Opera at 314-361-2881 and Gesher Music Festival at 314-442-3283.

PARTIES OF NOTE, Saint Louis Symphony’s Volunteer Association 2013-14 fundraising program, has some fun parties to benefit the orchestra. For example, Party #5 offers “Life is a Cabaret” from 7-9 p.m. Sunday, July 14, featuring the St. Louis Sirens, a women’s vocal trio known for their high-energy show. Party #9, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13 at Busch Stadium is an opportunity to watch the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates from the exclusive suite of Cards president William O. DeWitt, III.  Other party offerings include a Mediterranean dinner, an event with Leonard Slatkin and concertmaster David Halen and on and on. All the parties are financed by symphony supporters who plan and give the party, so all proceeds benefit the SLSO. For a complete list, call 314-534-1700 or visit

WE PRESS CLUB FOLKS HAVE A PRETTY GOOD TIME at our events and almost always include non-Press Club friends and foes. At noon on Thursday, July 18, the Press Club Forum and Journalism Foundation Scholarship Luncheon will feature Dan Martin and Michael Phoenix discussing “Cartooning in St. Louis.” It will be held at the Forest Park Golf Course Clubhouse, 6141 Lagoon Drive. Phoenix is author of “Comics’ Second City: The Gateway History of the American Comic Book” and Martin is the  St. Louis Post-Dispatch Weatherbird cartoonist. RSVP by Tuesday, July 16 by phone to 636-230-1973 or online at The cost of the luncheon is $17 for members and $18 for non-members.

BEING DISABLED IS A GENUINE PAIN IN THE BUTT– if you will pardon my language. I still hobble around on a walker — I want to throw it away, but in reality I need it if I am to accomplish anything. However, not everything is terrible and I have been waiting for this opportunity to publicly thank many people for making my life bearable.  It is interesting that these are mainly folks I don’t know. They are the people who open doors for me, help me in and out of seats and cars — and all but chew my food. They make me feel like they care for me and want to help. I am especially grateful to staff people at places like the theaters and Powell Hall, at the movies and at the many places I frequent (to keep from going bananas). I wear a big, warm smile for them to let them know how much I appreciate their help. You too, readers, who put up with my occasional missed deadline. In any case, I am still alive and kicking and am anxious to know what is going on in your lives so that I can share the news with the world of the Jewish Light.

Email Lois at [email protected].