News Column


October 6, 2013


Oct. 06--There are lots of places to enjoy high quality theater and the arts in St. Louis, but if you're looking for a break from the usual array of Broadway musicals and arena concerts, look no further than Washington University's Edison Theater. Each year the Edison OVATIONS Series brings together a diverse range of presentations from acclaimed national and international artists in music, dance and theater that include new interpretations of traditional favorites and brand new works designed to challenge as well as entertain.

For its 2013-14 season, Edison will host artists from Argentina, Australia, China and the United Kingdom plus presentations that explore the unique experience of growing up in American during the 1960s and '70s, the roots of blues and American folk music.

"In St. Louis we have so much arts and culture available, the trick is doing what isn't already being provided," says Charlie Robin, executive director of Edison.

Robin says there are three key elements that he looks for when booking artists for the OVATIONS Series. First, he looks for returning favorites that audiences consistently enjoy. Second, he looks for new and emerging artists within a specific genre that are beginning to gain attention. Third, Robin said he always tries to include a strong international presence in the series. This can be difficult, he says, because touring schedules can mean waiting five or even 10 years before a particular group is able to make it to St. Louis. Still, it is worth the way for what these emerging artists have to offer.

The OVATIONS Series will open at 8 p.m. on Oct. 12 with a special event performance featuring an evening with Grammy-winner Judy Collins at the 560 Music Center.

Judy Collins has thrilled audiences worldwide with her unique blend of interpretative folk songs and contemporary themes. Her version of "Send in the Clowns," won Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards and her rendition of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The series description states: "Collins' eclectic sound transcends rock, pop, folk and show tunes. Her impressive musical career includes an extensive catalog from every decade for the last 50 years." Collins's career includes 14 singles on the charts with four reaching the Top 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart. She has appeared in nine films and authored seven books.

This special event performance will benefit the Edison Educational Endowment, which funds education programs such as subsidizing tickets for area students to attend field trip performances, providing transportation costs for area schools to FT performances, workshops for students, community masterclasses, discussions and more.

Next in the series is Mongolian musical group AnDa Union at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20. This group was a breakout hit at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and brings a musical style to the St. Louis that many have never experienced before.

Description notes state: "AnDa Union is part of a musical movement that is finding inspiration in the old and forgotten. Self-described music gatherers, these young Mongolians from Hohhot, China dig deep into Mongol traditions and draw their musical inspiration from a repertoire of magical music that had all but disappeared."

The series will continue at 8 p.m. on Nov. 16 with "Beyond Glory." This presentation is adapted, directed and performed by Stephen Lang from the book by Larry Smith.

In this emotional presentation, award-winning playwright and actor Stephen Lang brings the stories of eight veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and renders their first-hand accounts of valor for which they received the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

The series delves into the world of Argentina's gauchos with Che Malambo at 8 p.m. on Nov. 22 and 23.

According to series information, "Since the 1600s, the malambo has been their solo and competitive dance expression, performed exclusively by men. Primal energy and diabolic rhythms surge from intricate foot stomping accompanied by drums and guitar. French ballet choreographer Gilles Brina has created a theatrical showcase that shows the fire and fury of this ancient tradition."

Baby Boomers will get the opportunity to relive their childhood with "The Wonderbread Years" at 8 p.m. on Jan. 24 and 25.

"The Wonder Bread Years" stars "Seinfeld" writer Pat Hazell, and takes audiences on a "fast paced, hilarity that walks the line between stand up and theater." The show hearkens back to the 1960's and '70's and takes a look back on the food, toys, holiday customs, commercials, and TV shows of that amazing era. Treat your valentine to a night of music with Ruthie Foster & Eric Bibb's "Thanks for the Joy" at 8 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the 560 Music Center.

This presentation brings together longtime friends and collaborators, Ruthie Foster and Eric Bibb who are at the forefront of the new generation of blues and soul. Grammy nominee Ruthie Foster has been compared to both Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha Franklin while Eric Bibb is the godson of Paul Robeson, the nephew of John Lewis, and the son of Leon Bibb. If anybody knows how to perform the blues, it's these two.

The U.K.'s Motionhouse Dance Theatre will present "Scattered" at 8 p.m. on March 21 and 22.

Series information states: "Scattered delves deep into the majesty and savagery of water, a fundamental force in our lives. This award winning company from the U.K. pushes the boundaries of physical dexterity, melding physical dance theatre, mesmerizing aerial imagery, and pulsating visual projections. A huge curved structure serves as floor, walls, and projection screen for a water world in which the dancers move in, on, and through."

Finally, The Intergalactic Nemesis will present "Book I" at 8 p.m. on April 4 and "Book II" at 8 p.m. on April 5.

Series information states: "In 2011, The Intergalactic Nemesis, 'Book One: Target Earth' took over Edison with more than 1,250 individually hand drawn, comic book images following the adventures of Molly, Timmy and Ben as they fought to save the world from sludge monsters from the planet Zygon. Now, the adventure continues with 'Book Two: Robot Planet Rising.'"

"In this live-action graphic novel, three actors play all the roles, a keyboardist performs the score and a foley artist creates all the sound effects while panel after panel of graphic images are projected on video screen, transporting us all to a different reality."

Additionally, the family-friendly OVATIONS for Young People will offer affordably priced matinee shows. These include "The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer" at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Oct. 5, Black Violin at 11 a.m. on March 15 and 500 Clown ensemble at 11 a.m. on April 12.

The Edison Theatre is located in the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd.

For more information or to order tickets, call the Edison Theatre Box Office at (314) 935-6543, email or visit


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