Visionary Award, WOW, Gateway Men’s Chorus, and Shakespeare

Columnist Lois Caplan

By Lois Caplan

NOEMI NEIDORFF AND KATHLEEN SITZER are among the seven outstanding women selected by Grand Center as its Visionary Award honorees for support of the arts. In addition to Neidorff and Sitzer, the honorees are Helen Gannon, Dr. Barbara Harbach, Yvette Woods, Dail Chambers and Juanita Hinshaw.

Nominee Neidorff, a musician, philanthropist and arts advocate, will receive the Major Contributor to the Arts Award. She is all over the community with her support of both visual and performing arts, and her extensive board membership makes you wonder how she has time for herself or her family.  Artistic Director Sitzer, on the other hand, devotes her life to the New Jewish Theatre, which she has grown from maybe 50 season subscribers in 1997 to 900 subscribers.  The quality of NJT’s productions has earned it several Kevin Kline Awards. Sitzer holds a master’s degree in theater from St. Louis University and is a member of AFTRA and Actor’s Equity, both professional organizations.  She will receive the outstanding Arts Professional Award.

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The 2011 Visionary Awards will be held on Tuesday, May 17 at the Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Boulevard.  The awards ceremony will be preceded by a cocktail reception for the honorees and a dessert reception to follow. For more information, visit www.grandcenter.org or call Rachel Kell at 314-289-1517.

OWL, THE VOICE OF MID-LIFE AND OLDER WOMEN, initiated the Women of Worth (WOW) program in 1980 to recognize and honor women who improve a variety of interrelated economic, social and health issues. Since 1996 the St. Louis Gateway Chapter has honored 10 to 12 women each year who have made significant contributions to the community through their professional and/ or volunteer work.   As I perused the list of past honorees I was struck by the large number of Jewish women selected by OWL for this prestigious honor, including Marilyn Probe, the late Ida Stack, Hedy Epstein, Arlen Chaleff, Alice Handelman, Eileen Schneider Edelman, Lucy Lopata and myself, too,  just to name a few.  Word from OWL is that nominations are now being sought and will be accepted until the deadline of May 21.  The WOW celebratory dinner is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13 at the Missouri Athletic Club.  All of you from the community at large are welcome to submit nominees and I urge you to do so by visiting www.owlstlouis.com or calling Barbara McQuitty at 314-989-0977. I am very proud to be an OWL Woman of Worth, the only grassroots organization dedicated to providing a voice for the 58 million mid-life and older American women.

GATEWAY MEN’S CHORUS presents “Piano Men” at its concert on Saturday, March 26 at the 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Avenue in University City.   The chorus of 70 men mixes it up with an eclectic assortment of fun, serious, old, new and everything in-between, always remaining true to their mission of presenting beautiful male choral music. “Piano Men” will appeal to anyone who enjoys the music of Billy Joel, Elton John, or Barry Manilow as well as Rufus Wainwright, Jerry Lee Lewis and Stevie Wonder. With the chorus plus its sister chorus, CHARIS, there will be dual and sometimes dueling pianos on stage. Tickets at $20 and $25 are available on-line with no ticket surcharge at www.gatewaymenschorus.org. or call the GMC office at 314-289-4169.  The non-profit Gateway Men’s Chorus sing to affirm the gay experience and promote a culture of diversity and acceptance.

SHAKESPEARE IS COMING TO TOWN!  Not really the bard but rather his annual St. Louis Festival, which runs free in Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park from May 25 through June 19. This year’s play is “The Taming of the Shrew.” The spring luncheon on April 8 at Neiman Marcus, noon to 2 p.m., will offer a sneak peek at the production’s concept, costumes and set for the play which we lowbrows know as “Kiss Me Kate.” Special guests will include the Festival’s Executive Director, play director and costume designer to explain it in depth. Cost is $55 per person and reservations may be made by calling 314-531-9800, ext. 102 or at www.shakespearefestivalstlouis.org.  The Festival’s Party on Art Hill, a benefit for the artistic and education programs, will be held on June 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the St. Louis Statue Plaza atop Art Hill.  But since this is only March, I can offer no details except to say save the date.