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“The little cutting-edge theater that could.”
Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
And a lot of four-letter words. And every now and then, a little nudity. And lots of rock and roll.
Let's be honest. Rodgers and Hammerstein's last show was more than FIFTY years ago. We need to move on. New Line does not produce your grandparents' musicals. New Line produces world premieres like Johnny Appleweed, She's Hideous, Love Kills, In the Blood, Attempting the Absurd, and The AmberKlavier; brilliant, lesser known Broadway and off Broadway shows like Bat Boy, High Fidelity, A New Brain, Return to the Forbidden Planet, The Wild Party, The Robber Bridegroom, Floyd Collins, and The Nervous Set; absurdist musicals like Reefer Madness, Urinetown, The Rocky Horror Show, The Cradle Will Rock, and Anyone Can Whistle; abstract musicals like Hair, Assassins, Jacques Brel, and Songs for a New World; concept musicals like Chicago, Sunday in the Park with George, and Cabaret; and radical reinterpretations of more mainstream works, like Man of La Mancha, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Pippin, Sweeney Todd, and Into the Woods.
New Line Theatre was founded just as the idea of more purely artistic musical theatre was starting to take hold across the country. Miranda Lundskaer-Nielsen writes in her book Directors and the New Musical Drama, “After the pioneering efforts of theatres such as the Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons in New York, the idea of the serious nonprofit musical spread to theatres across America during the 1990s. While these shows met with varying levels of economic and critical success, the very existence of this alternative home for the art form began to redefine the musical, offering an alternative to both the traditional Broadway musical and the new West End shows. As the economics of the commercial theatre became increasingly forbidding, the nonprofit theatre became vital incubators for musical drama and nurtured a new generation of musical theatre writers.” New Line has given birth to several world premiere musicals over the years and has brought back to life many shows that did not do well in their original New York productions. New Line Theatre was recently given its own entry in the latest edition of the prestigious Cambridge Guide to American Theatre.
a 2014 profile of New Line Theatre in American Theatre
Even though New Line produces only musical theatre, we work in almost every conceivable storytelling genre – lots of comedy and drama obviously, but also film noir (The Wild Party), crime drama (Love Kills), melodrama (bare), allegory (The Rocky Horror Show), fairy tale (Into the Woods), fable (The Fantasticks), folk tale (The Robber Bridegroom), thriller (Sweeney Todd), science fiction (Return to the Forbidden Planet), documentary (Hands on a Hardbody), sex farce (I Love My Wife), social satire (Bat Boy), political satire (Urinetown), political drama (Kiss of the Spider Woman), absurdism (Anyone Can Whistle), expressionism (Jacques Brel), impressionism (Sunday in the Park with George), religious drama (JC Superstar), Hero Myth (Passing Strange), biography (Evita), autobiography (A New Brain), confessional (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), and horror (Night of the Living Dead).
► Check out New Line's past shows and read artistic director Scott Miller's essay on musical theatre from his book Strike Up the Band: A New History of Musical Theatre.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
Steve Allen of Stagedoor St. Louis says, “Scott Miller and his New Line Theatre never back down. Has a musical been a quick flop on or off Broadway? He’ll make it a hit and suddenly regional theatres are salivating to produce it. Is a musical considered too 'out of the mainstream'? No problem, let’s give our audiences a choice and see what happens.”
Peter Filichia, Broadway critic, called his trip to St. Louis to see New Line's The Nervous Set “the most valuable theatrical pilgrimage I've ever made.” In 2009, Alive Magazine named New Line the most provocative theatre in St. Louis, adding, "This regional performing arts group prides itself on pushing the envelope with alternative, politically and socially relevant productions. Whether staging world premieres, presenting lesser-known Broadway fare or reinterpreting mainstream work to make it more provocative, New Line is anything but ordinary.” In 2004, St. Louis Magazine's Best of St. Louis “A List” named New Line the best theatre in St. Louis, writing, “What's on stage is not some frivolous confection but something meaty, different, and occasionally challenging. So if you have a craving for real theatre, especially musical theatre, take a chance on New Line. At least you'll leave the theatre humming. Or better yet – talking.”
Harry Hamm has said on KMOX-AM, “You’re going to see really good, well done adult theatre at New Line that nobody else really attempts here in St. Louis.” Alive Magazine says, “New Line puts on performances that Stages St. Louis and The Muny wouldn’t dream of doing.” Judith Newmark, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says “This is musical theatre for audiences who think that musical theatre can't be hip.” The Beacon says, “Yes, New Line Theatre produces musicals, but these have an edge, a swagger. They are fierce.” Mark Bretz of The Ladue News says, “New Line Theatre is all about presentations that are daring, different or deliciously skewering the conventional.” Joe Pollack of KWMU-FM says, “When it comes to challenging St. Louis theater audiences, to stretching them, exposing them to new stimuli, hardly anyone is in a class with New Line Theatre.”
As one of the first theatre companies in America to establish a web presence back in 1997, New Line continues to embrace new technologies and cultural trends, and we've made a real commitment to exploring the possibilities of Web 2.0, the new generation of websites designed specifically for interaction. We want to enhance the theatre-going experience for our audiences, but also to extend that experience beyond the physical theatre, so that our audiences can interact with the artists who make the shows. So we're creating blogs and viral videos for each show and we maintain an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, and other platforms. New Line also provides incredible resources on our own full-service website, including research materials about shows we produce; background and analysis essays about shows; research materials on musical theatre as an art form; the promotion of other local theatre companies through comprehensive lists of St. Louis theatres and upcoming local musicals, and much, much more. See everything on our site by visiting our Site Map.
In addition to our work onstage, New Line also serves our community in so many other ways, including the administration of the original St. Louis Theatre Discussion Group (created by New Line in 1999, with over 850 local members); the creation of the first two St. Louis Theatre Racial Diversity Symposiums; the creation of the St. Louis Political Theatre Festival; New Line Theatre's intern program; New Line's Cultural Partners program; and the co-founding of the St. Louis Professional Theatre Cooperative. New Line also makes available free seats to every mainstage performance, open to any college student with a valid student ID. The company recently created a web portal just for college students, The New Line College Commons. The New Liners are fully committed not just to producing quality theatre, but also to serving St. Louis metro area audiences through our work.
TAKING A CHANCE ON LOVE
The artists of New Line honor our past and the Rodgers and Hammerstein school of musical theatre but believe that after more than sixty years of that model, it's time to move forward and explore new models and new paths. So, while working entirely within the musical theatre genre, New Line explores and experiments with audience expectations, the relationship between actor and audience, the uses of physical space, the uses of music, and the distortion or rejection of traditional linear storytelling, plot, and structure.
In 2010, President Obama hosted an evening of Broadway music at the White House, and he said, "In many ways, the story of Broadway is intertwined with the story if America. Some of the greatest singers and songwriters Broadway has ever known came to this country on a boat with nothing more than an idea in their head and a song in their heart. And they succeeded the same way that so many immigrants have succeeded -- through talent and hard work and sheer determination. Over the years, musicals have been at the forefront of our social consciousness, challenging stereotypes, shaping our opinions about race and religion, death and disease, power and politics." (Read his full remarks here.)
This art form of ours has never been more adventurous or more vigorous, and the New Liners are determined to be a part of that excitement. (Check out this great New York Times story about the new generation of musical theatre lovers.) The musical theatre is one of our very few indigenous American art forms, one of America's greatest gifts to the world, full of the raw power of the American experience, and New Line treats it with the seriousness, respect, humor, and joy that it deserves.
Click here to read even more about New Line's philosophy, its models, its process, its goals...
New Line Theatre
Washington Univ. South Campus Theatre
6501 Clayton Road
St. Louis, MO 63117
advance tickets: Metrotix, 314-534-1111
office / mailing address:
3802-A Keokuk Street
St. Louis, MO 63116
Line Board of Directors
Charles Glenn, Alison Helmer
Scott Miller, John Rhine
Line Theatre Staff
Artistic Advisors – Alison Helmer, Deborah Sharn
Music Director –
– Gabe Taylor
Music Director – Jeffrey Carter
Stage Manager – Gabe Taylor
Resident Choreographer – Robin Michelle Berger
Resident Lighting Designers –
Kenneth Zinkl, Rob Lippert
Resident Scenic Designer
– Rob Lippert
Resident Costume Designers –
Sarah Porter, Marcy Wiegert
Resident Scenic Designer – Rob Lippert
Resident Costume Designers – Sarah Porter, Marcy Wiegert
Resident Fight Choreographer – Nicholas Kelly
Casting Directors – Brian Claussen, Alison Helmer
Event Coordinators – Michelle Sauer, Kimi Short
Graphic Designer – Matt Reedy
Original Logo Design
– Tracy Collins
Original Logo Design – Tracy Collins
Photographer – Jill Ritter Lindberg
Financial Advisor – Keith Thompson
IT Advisor – Christopher "Zany" Clark
New Line's Repertory CompanyAaron Allen, Mara Bollini, Stephanie Brown, Brian Claussen, Mike Dowdy, Cindy Duggan, Zachary Allen Farmer, Ryan Foizey, Joel Hackbarth, Alison Helmer, Amy Kelly, Nicholas Kelly, Taylor Pietz, Sarah Porter, Jeffrey Pruett, John Rhine, Michelle Sauer, Todd Schaefer, Deborah Sharn, Kimi Short, John Sparger, Marcy Wiegert, Jeffrey M. Wright, Chrissy Young
The New Line BandJeffrey Carter (keyboards/conductor); Sue Goldford (keyboards); D. Mike Bauer (guitar); Clancy Newell (percussion)
► Check out some of the New Liners' personal websites..
New Line does accept submissions of new, small cast, issue-oriented musicals for production or readings. Send a full script and CD of the score to the artistic director. Please e-mail us first with a brief synopsis to see if your show is what we're looking for, before sending the full script.
Volunteer for our usher team and see our shows for free! To be an usher, email our Volunteer Coordinator Alison at Newlineushers@gmail.com.
New Line Theatre receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission,
the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, and the Missouri Arts Council.
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