News and Schmooze

Air Force 1st Lt. Roslyn Litmann Schulte, 25, of Ladue, who was killed last May by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, was one of those special people who made an impact on most everyone with whom she came in contact. So beloved was Schulte that her friends, including several who attended John Burroughs with her, as well as Air Force colleagues began a fund in her name, hoping to establish a Distinguished Leadership Award for a female cadet who exemplifies the ideals that she represented. To date, the group has raised over $10,000.

They’ve done this by running races, everything from 5Ks to marathons. On the Web site they write: “Her premature passing reminds us that each of our lives should not be taken for granted. We would like to ask you to sponsor our runs, so that when our races are complete we can donate the funds to the Roslyn Schulte Memorial at the United States Air Force Academy.

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For information about how to donate, sponsoring runners or joining the group, visit the Web site.

* Touting a new take on Fiddler on the Roof, the fledgling, local Mustard Seed Theatre (MST) company had planned to stage a “framework story” of the hit Broadway musical that began with immigrants in 1948 America at Hanukkah time opening trunks and putting on costumes of their 1905 Russian ancestors. The idea was to frame the show as a historic retelling while offering a more intimate production, using only 12 actors.

But then just a week before the show was to open on Friday, MST artistic director Deanna Jent received a call from the licensing department at Music Theatre International (MTI), which holds the rights to the show, informing her that her request to use a “pre-show” was denied. Apparently, MTI didn’t like the idea of Mustard Seed messing with tradition.

No worries though, says Jent, the show will go on as scheduled from Friday, Oct. 30 to Sunday, Nov. 22 at Fontbonne College’s Black Box Theatre. “We simply will begin, as is typically done, in 1905 Russia, and play out the story that way,” says Jent. “It’s actually a small change in our show, simply eliminating the opening and ending minutes that we had originally planned.

“Our production, however, remains unique because it’s staged in a small theater, with a smaller cast and orchestra than typically used. The focus still remains on the essential conflicts of Teyve and his family: how to live a life of faith in a changing world.”

The mission of Mustard Seed, which is now in its third season, is to “explore our relationship with God and our ethical responsibility to the world.” For more information about the company or the Fiddler production, go to or call 314-719-8060.

* The Arianna String Quartet, the resident quartet at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, will perform “Messages of Hope,” a concert devoted to compositions by a trio of composers who were victims of the Holocaust: Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann and Gideon Klein. The Arianna will revitalize the work of these composers, whose compositions symbolize artist resistance and messages of hope.

The concert will begin at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. Tickets are $15 to $20. For more information, go to or call 314-516-4949.

* A couple of interesting developments on the food front this week, with no clear ties to the Jewish community except that some of us (definitely me) like to eat.

The first is the opening of Balaban’s Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar in early November (the date hasn’t been finalized), located in the Dierbergs Market Place at Clarkson and Baxter roads in Chesterfield. Steve McIntyre, executive chef and co-owner of the original Caf é Balaban in the Central West End for more than 20 years, is a co-owner of this new eatery and plans to rework some of the original Balaban’s recipes into small plates with wine pairings. McIntyre and his partners reportedly own the rights to the name Balaban’s, which was opened in 1972 by Herb Balaban and closed in 2006. Not long after, Aaron Teitelbaum and Jeff Orbin bought the CWE restaurant and opened it as Herbie’s.

The second tidbit has to do with another rebirth, only this time it is Mavrakos candy, which stopped production of its tasty chocolate concoctions in the mid-1980s. Last week it was announced that Dan Abel and his family, owners of Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Co., acquired the rights to the Mavrakos name and have started selling 11 kinds of Mavrakos chocolates at its stores and at most Dierbergs markets.