St. Lou is…Culturiffic!
From Shakespeare and musical theater in Forest Park to symphony performances in Grand Center, there are plenty of places to find unique arts and cultural activities in St. Louis. In addition to Broadway touring shows and musical theater from the African-American perspective, St. Louis is home to an eclectic array of independent theater companies, galleries, and museums that feature a variety of works. In addition to an award-winning symphony and a litany of independent theatre companies, St. Louis embraces all manner of visual and performing arts.
The Grand Center arts and entertainment district (grandcenter.org) lives up to its name, with an eclectic array of arts and cultural offerings. Grand Center is home to galleries, museums and performing arts venues such as the Fox Theatre, Sheldon Concert Hall, and Jazz at the Bistro. The acoustically perfect Sheldon Concert Hall presents live jazz, and folk and blues. The renowned Saint Louis Symphony (slso.org), led by music director Stéphane Denève, calls Powell Symphony Hall home, and the ornate Fox Theatre (fabulousfox.com) stages a variety of touring Broadway shows, dance performances and live comedy and music concerts throughout the year. The ornate Siamese-Byzantine styled theatre, which opened in 1929, is one of the most stunning performance venues in the country. The St. Louis Black Repertory Company (theblackrep.org) offers a season of drama, comedy and musicals told from the African-American perspective.
Dance St. Louis (dancestlouis.org) brings some of the greatest dancers and dance companies in the world to St. Louis audiences each year. Performances take place at the Fox Theatre, the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center and in collaboration with Washington University’s Edison Theatre, and feature the full spectrum of dance, from classical and contemporary ballet to modern, ethnic, ballroom, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and cutting-edge artists of every sort. Both the Edison Theatre (edisontheatre.wustl.edu) and the Touhill Performing Arts Center (touhill.org) host various live performances throughout the year, including opera, music and comedy concerts. The Touhill is located on the campus of the University of Missouri -St. Louis.
St. Louis boasts one of the most acclaimed opera companies in North America. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (opera-stl.org) offers classic and contemporary opera sung in English by some of the best talent in the business. Performances are held at the Loretto-Hilton Theatre on the campus of Webster University. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (repstl.org), which also performs at the Loretto-Hilton Theatre, features cutting-edge drama, contemporary comedy and classic favorites. From September through April each year, audiences enjoy a variety of live theater experiences on the main stage and in the studio theatre.
From late May through mid-June, the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis (shakespearestl.org) offers three weeks of free, outdoor performances. The show takes place every night but Tuesdays, beginning with a traditional English “Green Show” that’s filled with songs, dances and a synopsis of the play. Audience members pack elaborate picnics and food is also available for purchase on-site. Speaking of Forest Park, the magic of musical theatre can be found at The Muny (muny.org) every summer. The 10,700-seat theater has been a St. Louis tradition for generations, and it offers seven weeks of American musicals under the stars.
Community theater is alive and well in St. Louis, with a variety of professionally staged productions on the boards at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre (florissantmo.com). Florissant is home to the annual St. Louis Family Theatre Series and a number of special events, while STAGES offers classic American musicals from June through October. STAGES (stagesstlouis.org) is one of the fastest growing professional theatre companies in the country.
At the Center of Creative Arts (cocastl.org), children, teens and adults can enjoy classes and performances in the visual and performing. Unity Theatre Ensemble (utensemble.org) is a touring company offering a diverse repertoire of musical revues, gospel musicals, reader’s theater, traditional drama, and children’s theater. UTE’s touring season is July through December, with special presentations held during Black History Month each February. The St. Louis Cathedral Concerts (stlcathedralconcerts.org), held from October through April, feature spectacular music and musicians from around the world. And as far as music venues go, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis in one of the most beautiful in the country.