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“The little cutting-edge theater that could.”

 – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

What the Critics Say

“For twenty-two years New Line Theatre has been zapping the St. Louis musical theatre scene with bolts of energy. Off-beat, eccentric, sometimes dark, often hilarious, occasionally outrageous and always fresh, New Line productions are for folks who have accepted the fact that Rogers and Hammerstein are actually dead.”

  Steve Callahan, KDHX

 

New Line Theatre never backs down. Has a musical been a quick flop

on or off Broadway? They’ll make it a hit and suddenly regional theatres

are salivating to produce it. Steve Allen, Stagedoor St. Louis

 

THE BEST THEATRE IN ST. LOUIS
“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.”
St. Louis Magazine, The Best of St. Louis “A List”

 

THE MOST PROVOCATIVE THEATRE IN ST. LOUIS
Billed as The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre, this regional performing arts group prides itself

on pushing the envelope with alternative, politically and socially relevant productions.

Whether staging world premieres (Johnny Appleweed), presenting lesser-known

Broadway fare (Bat Boy) or reinterpreting mainstream work (Into the Woods,

Sweeney Todd) to make it more provocative, New Line is anything but ordinary.

Alive Magazine, The Hot List

 

New Line puts on performances that Stages St. Louis

and The Muny wouldn’t dream of doing.

Alive Magazine

 

 

Honors from the Press for New Line Theatre

Best Musical, Night of the Living Dead, 2013

Best Couple, K. Short, J. Wright, Next to Normal, 2013

Best Musical, Cry-Baby, 2012

Best Couple, M. Dowdy, T. Carolan, Cry-Baby, 2012

Best Actor, Charles Glenn, Passing Strange, 2011

Best Supporting Actress, Charlotte Byrd, bare, 2011

Best Musical Direction, Justin Smolik, season, 2011 Outstanding Set Design, Two Gents, 2011

Best Director, Scott Miller, Evita, 2010

Best Specialty Act [Ensemble], I Love My Wife, 2010

Best Musical, Return to the Forbidden Planet, 2009

Best Supporting Actor, Zachary Allen Farmer, 2008

Best Musical Direction, Chris Petersen, 2008

Best Musical, Urinetown, 2007

Best Musical, Bat Boy, 2006
Best Musical, Kiss of the Spider Woman, 2005

Best Musical, Man of La Mancha, 2004
Best Actress, April
Strelinger, 2004
Best Musical, Bat Boy, 2003

Best Supporting Actress, Deborah Sharn, 2003
Best Musical, Chicago, 2002
Best Supporting Actress, Lavonne Byers, 2002
Most Ambitious Production, The Cradle Will Rock, 2001
Best Production, Hair, 2000
Most Ambitious Production, Floyd Collins, 1999
Best Supporting Actress, Kimi Short, 1999
Best Actress, Cindy Duggan, 1998
Most Ambitious Production, Extreme Sondheim, 1997
St. Louis Post Dispatch "Judy Awards"

 

Top Ten Musicals in STL, Cr-Baby, 2012

Top Ten Musicals in STL, High Fidelity, 2012

Top Ten Musicals in STL, BBAJ, 2012

Best Actor in a Musical, Ryan Foizey, Cry-Baby, 2012

Best Actor in a Musical, John Sparger, BBAJ, 2012

Best Director of a Musical, Scott Miller, BBAJ, 2012

Top Ten Musicals in STL, Passing Strange, 2011

Top Ten Musicals in STL, bare, 2011

Top Ten Musicals in STL, Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2011

Top Ten Shows in STL, The Wild Party, 2010

Top Ten Shows in STL, Evita, 2010

Top Ten Shows in STL, Spelling Bee, 2009

Top Ten Shows in STL, Love Kills, 2009

 BroadwayWorld.com

Most Provocative Theatre in St. Louis

Alive Magazine's "The Hot List"

 

Best Theatre Company in St. Louis
St. Louis Magazine's "A List"

 

Best of St. Louis List, Next to Normal, 2013

Best of St. Louis List, Night of the Living Dead, 2013

Best of St. Louis List, High Fidelity, 2012

Best of St. Louis List, Cry-Baby, 2012

Best of St. Louis List, Passing Strange, 2011

Best of St. Louis List, bare, 2011

Best of St. Louis List, Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2011

Best of St. Louis List, Evita, 2010

Best of St. Louis List, The Wild Party, 2010

Best of St. Louis List, Love Kills, 2009

Best of St. Louis List, Spelling Bee, 2009

Best of St. Louis List, Forbidden Planet, 2009

#1 Best Show in St. Louis, High Fidelity, 2008

Runner-Up, Top Ten Shows, Assassins, 2008

Best of St. Louis List, Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, 2007

Top 5 Comedies in STL, Robber Bridegroom, 2005
Top 5 Dramas in STL, Kiss of the Spider Woman, 2005
Top 5 Shows in STL, Man of La Mancha, 2004
Ladue News
              
Top 12 Shows of the Year,
Night of the Living Dead, 2013

Top 12 Shows of the Year, BBAJ, 2012

Best Actor in a Musical, Zachary Allen Farmer, 2010

Best Actress in a Musical, Taylor Pietz, 2010

Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis

 

Assassins, 2008

High Fidelity, 2008

Hair, 2008

Zachary Allen Farmer, High Fidelity, 2008

Best Director, High Fidelity, 2008

Urinetown, 2007

Matthew Korinko, Urinetown, 2007

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll, 2007

KDHX-FM "Radio Roses"

 

Best Musical, Love Kills, 2009

Top 10 Shows in STL, Kiss of the Spider Woman, 2005
Best Director, Scott Miller, Reefer Madness, 2004
Playback St. Louis

 

RENT (2014)

“So how did co-directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy craft the hard-faceted and brilliant gem of a show I saw Friday night from the detritus that is Rent? The mind reels. Theirs is a Rent that is sharp, incisive and viscerally moving. These characters matter; their struggles to find themselves in the wastelands of their early twenties are a potent reminder of what it's like to feel lost in your own life, and that even small steps toward maturity can feel immense. In Miller and Dowdy's hands, Rent is a show that deserves every bit of its formidable reputation as the musical that revivified musicals for the next generation. . . It is a masterpiece of stagecraft, a composition as visually stunning as it is sonically powerful.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“Jonathan Larson's 1996 rock musical unfolds to epic proportions in this lively new production. It's also sweet and funny and beautiful, under the direction of Scott Miller. . . It almost seems Mr. Miller is choosing his seasons nowadays for sheer emotional complexity, along with New Line's usual focus on strong musicianship. And the results have been enthralling. Rent continues the company's recent trend of bringing stunning characters furiously to life, in all their contradictions.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

"An intimate, emotionally charged production filled with memorable performances. . . Director Scott Miller and assistant Mike Dowdy have assembled a uniformly talented, fearless cast, and the two excel in pulling out the small moments that illuminate character development. The presence of a guiding hand is clear throughout the production, yet the movements and character nuances feel almost organic, as if each actor pulled his or her role from the inside out. The result is a unified cast that creates a truly bohemian community on the stage. And this feeling is intensified in the group numbers, where layered harmonies blend seamlessly, rising and falling with the emotion of the story." – Tina Farmer, KDHX

“With the current local production of Rent, the question was could New Line Theatre show me something the national tour hadn’t? The answer came last Saturday night: Yes. Yes, they could. . . Undoubtedly, the intimacy of a small production helps to make the story more sincere, but it’s more than that. Director Scott Miller has removed sole focus on a handful of characters to focus on the cast as a whole, and this helps to view the work as a singular organism, with a singular meaning and purpose. Even the music seemed better, with the excellent voices and performances by the cast and the New Line band under the direction of Justin Smolik, two things you can always count on at New Line. . . Everything works together throughout the entire production, top to bottom, for a powerhouse evening of theater.” – Christopher Reilly, Alive Magazine

“If you think you've seen Rent before, you really haven't. . . This is a must-see show, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. . . Scott Miller's direction, with the able assistance of Mike Dowdy, is a revelation. . . Rent is a modern classic, and New Line's wonderful production shows us why.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“This Rent has a completely different vibe from the big show that toured the country. Intimate and raw, this production makes the story coherent and the music effective, instead of merely loud. Yes, size matters – but not in the way we usually think it does.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Leave it to New Line Theater to give this seminal work a fresh spin. The result is an electric, enthralling presentation of the landmark Pulitzer-Prize, Tony-winning musical that ran for 12 years on Broadway. . . [The actors'] zeal propelled the show's intensity, and it seemed like we were seeing some of these characters for the first time.” – Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat

“The new concept and the advantage of intimacy that New Line always offers, makes this one a big, fat hit. . . It’s a total effort that shows the diversity and depth of New Line talent. Scott Miller has once again put his personal stamp on a classic show and it turns out to be yet another audience pleaser. . . this score is pulsating, tender and just a pure delight. Now we have a production that matches these great songs and makes you actually like the people who populate the show. This one’s a big hit, folks.” – Steve Allen, Stagedoor St. Louis

“I was admittedly one of those folks who didn't get all the hype around Rent after I saw it for the first time several years ago. Well, now I get it. The characters this time around, though dealing with major issues that would be tough for anyone, have an affable quality that was lacking the last time I saw it. Could it be because seeing a show like this in New Line's intimate space makes the theatre experience not just something you see, but something you feel? Yes. But it's also New Line's artistic director, Scott Miller's knack for gaining a deep understanding of whatever he puts his hands on, and translating that to his cast, who in turn translate that to us, reaching out to the audience, in this case literally, with invigorating connection. way better than the touring production. There. I said it.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

Rent is being performed by New Line Theatre to sold-out houses, including a most appreciative audience. . . Seeing Rent up close and personal at New Line’s theater is a definite improvement over the more impersonal venue at The Fox, where touring companies have done the show with seemingly less impact.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“I’m glad directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy have chosen to follow their own vision for the show. New Line’s version is full of youth and energy. It’s also staged with a sense of immediacy that brings a lot of life to the show. Although the passage of time has turned Rent into something of a period piece, New Line doesn’t treat it that way, and that’s as it should be. It’s an iconic show made achingly real, with all the truth and energy brought along with its humanity. It may have taken New Line many years to finally do this show, but this production is well worth that wait.” – Snoop’s Theatre Thoughts (local blogger)

“As a first-time observer of this story, there was a lot to take in. Rent is the kind of show that rewards its audience with repeated viewings. I could see the show five more times and discover some new facet that I completely overlooked each time before. It’s complex, funny, dark, thought-provoking and ultimately very entertaining.” – Jeff Ritter, The Trades

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (2013)

“Stephen Gregory Smith and Matt Conner breathed new life into the tired zombie trope by going back to the source – George A. Romero's iconic film – and setting it as a hard-as-nails musical. The ensemble cast conjured all the fear and loss bound into the polyphonic songs, but Zachary Allan Farmer and Marcy Wiegert were the twin cores of darkness at the heart of it all. Farmer's heroic Ben, fighting to save everyone trapped in the farmhouse, could neither comfort nor crack Wiegert's Barbra, a near-comatose woman who emerges only sporadically from her stupor to prophesy everyone's doom like a bouffanted Sybil. Director Scott Miller steadily ratcheted the tension, and then broke it all open with the single most harrowing moment to happen onstage in St. Louis this year.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“If you can really stand pure psychological terror, you can proceed west for the stunning power of Night of the Living Dead. . . It is, in fact, a play that had me looking over my shoulder for the rest of the night. The performances are so powerful, and so insistently based on maintaining an everyday frame of reference (in spite of an 'epidemic of murder' outside), that you carry the dread of it with you after the show, all the way to bedtime. Scott Miller: musical theater director and master of suspense. Who knew? . . . But this show is more emotionally focused, being all about that horrible, frozen moment, that deer-in-the-headlights sense of panic, telescoped to utterly take over these peoples' lives. And let me tell you, it's nearly unbearable. Thank God it's only 90 minutes long, at least for you and me.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“One of the most frightening evenings ever at a musical. . . Most of the pre-show talk with other audience members was whether we’d need plastic sheets for the splattering blood, but instead you had to get your mind wrapped around the terror of the unknown and unexpected as this amazing story unfolds in terrifying and compelling fashion. With the unusually beautiful score and the power of these fine actor/singers, Night Of The Living Dead is one musical you don’t want to miss. Evidently this is only the second production of the show nationally but, like so many other Scott Miller productions, news of this one should spread fast and it could become the new cult favorite.” – Steve Allen, Stagedoor St. Louis

“New Line’s take is intense, creepy and full of slow-building tension. . . The show is unlike anything I have seen in musical theater. Writers Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith have found a way to translate the classic horror story into music and lyrics that are just as terrifying and suspenseful as the original film. . . For fans of musical theater, this is a show that you have never seen before. And although it is a musical, the subject matter is just as serious as the film it comes from. For fans of Romero’s work, you’ve never seen it like this – and it’s a must see. Expect to feel the tension and hopelessness fly off of the stage and into the seats, and hold on until morning.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“A sense of dread permeates New Line Theatre's Night of the Living Dead from the very beginning, a chilling and haunting work in both expected and unexpected ways. This is the stuff nightmares are made of a serious musical adaptation of a landmark horror film that still resonates today. I've seen the original movie countless times and yet I jumped and screamed, such is the intensity of this live theatrical production. What happens is familiar, but the fact that Scott Miller's shrewdly directed piece would pack such a powerful punch is testament to the strong ensemble who plunge us down the rabbit hole with them. Miller never resorts to cheap tricks, and the us. vs. them tension builds, almost unbearably at times, as the zombie apocalypse takes place outside the barricaded doors. . . In this Night of the Living Dead world, the terror is real, not manufactured or phony, for it is not aliens or chemically-altered monsters they are trying to survive it is the human race.” Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat

“A+. I was captivated mere seconds into the production and by the time the cast took their bows I was out of breath.” Jeff Ritter, The Trades

“A must-see for fans of daring musical theatre. . . All of the cast acquit themselves well vocally, and their intensity helps to maintain the suspense and tension of this entertaining and harrowing piece. . . New Line Theatre's production of Night of the Living Dead is a real winner, especially for those who like their horror without a constant barrage of one-liners.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“This is no spoof, nor is it merely an homage; if you let it, it will lead you to think. . . The music—and this superbly strong cast—lift the piece into quite a different realm. . . By approaching these rather two-dimensional characters with such deep seriousness the cast leads us to consider some thoughts that make this show more than just a zombie thriller.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

“It’s a straightforward, dramatic musical that relies not on blood or guts, but on the notion that the boogeyman is actually coming in from the dark. You’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you. . . All the familiar New Line trappings are in full force: A strong cast singing the dickens out of a complicated score, a creative set, a tight and talented New Line band, plus the usual rock-solid staging by Scott Miller. . . With Night of the Living Dead, no blood and guts are necessary. Just bring your imagination.” – Christopher Reilly, Alive Magazine

“A taut, intriguing production. . . In gritty, sobering fashion director Miller guides his players across Romero’s harrowing landscape as interpreted by Conner and Smith with intriguing and satisfying results. . . Absorbing food for thought, with a hearty portion of goosebumps on the side.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“Like those old black-and-white horror films, Night of the Living Dead does more than scare – it will give you a chill. Bolstered by a score full of tight harmonies, surprising melodies, and a solid cast and crew, this regional premiere makes for another must see.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“It’s not a gory show at all. In fact, we never even see the ‘others,’ the rampaging zombies outside. But it’s a nightmare. Zombies start as regular people. In this world, whom can you trust? The survivors who take shelter in an abandoned house have nothing in common except, they’re still human. Can that be enough?” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“In the hands of New Line’s excellent cast and creative team, it’s a thoroughly compelling and riveting production. . . Yes, I was terrified, but that’s the point of a show like this, and wow, was it done right! I was literally shaking in my seat, and the sense of terror was palpable in the audience. This is an old-fashioned suspense thriller in the very best sense. Kudos to New Line for scaring me out of my wits and showing me that a horror show well done can be an evening well spent.” Snoop's Theatre Thoughts (St. Louis blogger)

BUKOWSICAL (2013)

“Let's hear it for the risk takers, for those who embrace originality, for entertainers who want to give audiences something different. Want to raise your eyebrows, laugh out loud and marvel at the chutzpah of creative minds? Fit the bold, brazen – and bewitching – Bukowsical into your schedule at New Line Theater during the next two weekends . . . it's unlike anything you have ever seen." – Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat

“I can't remember a show that ever creeped me out as much as it made me laugh. In fact, at the risk of sounding like a critic, I'll say that if you liked Book of Mormon, you'll love Bukowsical. In its own deeply personal style, it's just that great. It's that sensibility that says 'life is gross and people are mad, and any intelligent decision you may possibly dare to make will always be destroyed by corrupt authority figures so you might as well just jump on board the Hell-bound train and get it over with.' Plus, it's really funny and outrageous.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“For twenty-two years Scott Miller and his New Line company have been zapping the St. Louis musical theatre scene with bolts of energy. Off-beat, eccentric, sometimes dark, often hilarious, occasionally outrageous and always fresh, New Line productions are for folks who have accepted the fact that Rogers and Hammerstein are actually dead. . . Folks will either see it as one of the most outrageously funny things ever staged, or it will offend every sense. (Or possibly both.)” – Steve Callahan, KDHX

“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. Is this one too rude, crude and obnoxious? Let’s do it! And now, combining all three of the above theatrical no-no’s, New Line presents Bukowsical, the musical.” – Steve Allen, Stage Door St. Louis

“New Line Theatre's production captures this drunken genius in all his splendor. You may be shocked by what you see or hear, but I guarantee you won't forget it. This is cutting edge theatre at its finest. . . Bukowsical is a rude crude, raucous, offensive and delicious musical that treads the line between biography and satire. New Line Theatre's production is an absolute blast. Go see it immediately!” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

Bukowsical is not for everyone. But if you are a fan of shows like The Book of Mormon, or Avenue Q, there shouldn’t be anything you can’t handle. New Line Theatre does what it does best, putting on a raw and uncensored show that never pulls any of its punches. With a fantastic cast, non-stop laughs, and many memorable songs – 'you can be Bukowsical too.' And you should.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

Bukowsical riffs on the life and work of Bukowski in the form of a wild musical bursting with simulated sex, four-letter words, and clever lyrics. It's the perfect piece of theater for a sophisticated urban crowd looking for pure ribaldry on a Saturday night. . . This is the sort of goofy, lead-with-your-pelvis, sharp late-night comedy that’s perfect for a city with a thriving, risk-taking alt-theatre scene, like Chicago or New York. We’d like more of this brand, please.” – Byron Kerman, St. Louis Magazine

“Musical theater has changed a lot since Bukowski came on the scene. Now 'Love Is a Dog from Hell' is actually the title of a song – and its author is the subject of the smoky, clever, amazingly foul-mouthed show at New Line Theatre. Its often-cheery homage to traditional styles darkens this show's material. From the ironic title to the hot little combo headed by Justin Smolik to choreographer Robin Michelle Berger's stylish ensemble work, this production was plainly the work of people who know musical theater.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“This musical not only sheds considerable light on what went into making Charles Bukowski the artist he was, it also satirizes the conventions of musical theatre. It defies tradition by packaging foul lyrics about slimy behavior in these irresistibly tuneful, upbeat little songs. Under Miller's clear-sighted direction, the entire cast passionately embrace all kick-lines, key changes, and every instance of 'jazz hands.' Seeing these supposedly contradictory elements combined with such enthusiasm is what makes it so funny. The profanity may offend your sensibilities, but with everything else this show has to offer, I bet you'll get over it after about 4 minutes.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“It’s definitely not family material and absolutely full of mirth and mayhem in equal doses. New Line artistic director Scott Miller and his notably energetic and fun-loving troupe make Bukowsical an evening you won’t soon forget and may actually enjoy quite a bit. . . Miller’s pace is brisk and witty, the action is amusing, the banter is brittle and the music direction by Justin Smolik is perfectly in sync with the performers. . . New Line’s presentation of Bukowsical captures the musical’s surprisingly engaging blend of sass and sweetness.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

““New Line Theatre Director Scott Miller never shies away from challenging material, whether it be darkly tragic like Next To Normal or hilariously over-the-top like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Bukowsical definitely falls into the latter category. . . Even the shocked first-time attendees were tapping their toes, laughing and clapping with each tragically absurd scene.” – Jeff Ritter, The Trades

NEXT TO NORMAL (2013)

“I remember seeing Next to Normal at the Fox Theatre a while back and being impressed by the show. . . But New Line Theatre, for me, sets the local standard for musical theatre in our burgeoning arts community, and they’ve put together a superior staging of the play that hits even closer to the bone, and part of this is due to intimacy of the theatre itself, but a major reason is the fact that it’s blocked and staged in a manner that brings the message of the play clearly in focus. New Line Theatre’s production of Next to Normal is easily the best show I’ve seen this year so far. It has a terrific cast, a top notch band which is augmented with strings, and brilliant direction. This is a show you must see...” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“Surprising and exceptional performances from the entire cast, in a story that will not settle for less. . . it’s a major leap forward in depth of characterization offered by New Line Theatre. Watch out, everybody, the ‘bad boy of musical theater’ is growing up!” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“New Line Theatre presents the show in its St. Louis regional premiere with scorching intensity, dotted with dark humor. . . The opportunity to see this emotionally packed, captivating production in such an intimate space should not be missed.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“The show made its St. Louis debut at the Fox Theatre. That production was fine. But Next To Normal tells such an intimate story that it’s actually a better fit for New Line, a small theater company in a small space. The play deals with serious mental illness, and New Line director Scott Miller marked out the psychological musical as his home terrain years ago, with his memorable take on Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods.” – Judy Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“New Line Theatre’s Next to Normal is nothing less than extraordinary . . . For those who enjoy live theater, but have never seen the show, I can’t speak highly enough about it. The story is well written, the songs are fantastic, and the show is very honest and easy to relate to. New Line’s production looks and sounds fantastic, and continues to impress upon me the power of local theater.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“Directors Scott Miller and Mike Dowdy were inspired in their casting of the show. . . amazing acting and singing by all members of the cast. . . an affecting and thought-provoking night of theatre.” – Laura Kyro, KDHX

Next to Normal is a cerebral, up-close-and-personal account of mental illness, with a cast of six and a small accompanying orchestra that in New Line’s presentation consists of a half-dozen musicians. Seeing it at the Washington University South Campus Theatre accentuates the personal nature of the work in a way the sprawling touring production could not do. . . New Line’s artistic director Miller has a keen eye for what makes a particular musical work best, often finding hidden gems and mining their potential to sparkle. Even with this Pulitzer Prize-winning show he’s been able to accentuate the delicate emotions that are laid bare in Next to Normal.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“New Line Theatre has brought an intimate and more accessible production to their stage and everything about it is outstanding. Kimi Short is simply sensational in the difficult role of Diana. . . The packed house on opening night leapt to their feet after the final strains of ‘Light’ to show their appreciation for a talented cast and crew and a most brave production.” – Steve Allen, StageDoorSTL

“New Line Theatre has crafted an edgy, thought-provoking production that does not sugarcoat the pain of a bi-polar disorder sufferer and her family. . . I hope the St. Louis theater audience gives Next to Normal a try. It isn't a simple way to pass a few hours, but like any challenging experience it is more rewarding for the difficulty.” – Jeff Ritter, The Trades

“This production encapsulates everything perfect about live musical theater. Pulled into the dysfunction of the family so perfectly, you feel as if there needs to be an empty seat at the dinner table for you. A set that is fairly minimalist and yet is disconcerting and haunting by itself, before a single actor has walked on stage sets the audience off kilter and prepares them to enter the world of the story dysfunction. The characters are priestly in the way they become arbiters between the physical and metaphysical crag the story treacherously sets as its path. The experience perfectly completes the circuit between stage and audience. . . There is no better description for this show than to refer to it as sacramental.” – Kevin J. Bowman, Dispossessed

“The Pulitzer Prize winning musical about mental illness, Next to Normal, has been given a strong staging by New Line Theatre, where this intimate drama works much better than it did last year at the Fox.” – Bob Wilcox, Town and Style

BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON (2012)

“It's kind of hard to describe the new musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, but only because it's such a phantasmagorical journey through the life and presidency of Andrew Jackson. Parts of it are downright hilarious, while others are amazingly informative. Kind of like what Bill Cosby used to say during the opening credits of the Fat Albert show: ‘If you're not careful, you might learn something before it's done.’ New Line's current presentation of this wild and woolly excursion into history is a rockin' riot, filled with catchy tunes and funny, anachronistic humor that rarely misses the mark. . . It's a colorful and engaging tale guaranteed to delight even the most jaded theatre-goer. . . New Line Theatre's production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson earns my highest recommendation, and it continues through October 20, 2012. This is must-see modern musical theatre at its finest (and weirdest).” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“From its sensational opening number, ‘Populism, Yea, Yea!,’ this show presents its take on history without the reverence of old bio-pics (Abe Lincoln in Illinois) or the thoughtful British gloss of new ones (The King's Speech). According to Alex Timbers, who wrote the Bloody Bloody book, and Michael Friedman, who wrote the music and lyrics, our politics demand discussion in a truly American vernacular: rock 'n' roll. . . Looking at the past through a modern prism, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson reminds us that America is still a very young country. Of course we recognize Jackson and his contemporaries. As the great Southern novelist William Faulkner famously observed, the past isn't dead. It isn't even past.” – Judith Newmark St. Louis Post-Dispatch

American politics was exposed as a combination of petty grudges, blind hatred and honest ignorance in Scott Miller's incendiary staging of the musical bio of Andrew Jackson (played with macho gusto by John Sparger) for New Line Theatre. It was thoughtful, thought-provoking and at times terrifying — how do you reconcile the whole "land of the free" thing with a president who tells his best friend, a Native American, "Yeah, you were totally here first, but we don't fucking care." And it always — always — rocked.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“When the 7th President of our United States, Andrew Jackson, swaggers out onstage, in eyeliner, black nails and with a microphone in his holster, telling the audience that they are sexy, you can bet that this is not gonna be your grandma's American History lesson. Not that we would really expect that – not from New Line Theatre. . . Scott Miller directs the insanity with abandon – adroitly melding the anachronistic profanely funny 2000s style comedy with a touching reality, especially where it counts: in scenes between Andrew and Rachel, and scenes between Andrew and Black Fox. Justin Smolik leads the tight band with D. Mark Bauer adding vocals. . . So if you like your history with a little hysteria, you should definitely consider checking out this rollicking rock musical at New Line Theater.” – Bob Mitchell, KDHX

“This is a New Line show if there ever was one. It’s smart, sassy, political, and has a compelling score. . . The excellence of the material and the staging make this a vintage New Line production. [John] Sparger is a commanding figure as Jackson, and he’s surrounded by a terrific ensemble in which almost everyone plays multiple roles. We are treated to irreverent portrayals of some of the country’s most revered politicians, including three presidents, a vice president, and a speaker of the house. Most of the performers are New Line regulars who remind us of how deep a pool of talent New Line has to draw from these days. . . This production is an ideal match of artists and material, and it gives us plenty to think about as the November election approaches.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“New Line Theatre, is presenting the regional premiere of this raucous, rowdy and rapacious one-act extravaganza, which is often rude, crude and lewd, so be wary of taking children for a ‘history lesson.’ The arch, Goth style of this production, though, is brimming with energy. . . The show has so much vitality and dynamism. . . Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is frantic, antic and full of surprises as it speculates on how the west was really won and how America creates its heroes.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News 

“Bodacious and unconventional, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a turbo-charged history lesson in the guise of an emo-rock musical. Naturally, New Line Theatre would open its 22nd year as the region's first company to produce this irreverent work, especially fitting during an election year. The parallels between politics then and now are striking and a tad eerie. Liberty, what a concept! Director Scott Miller has long led the charge for alternative adult musicals, and he stretches the medium's boundaries while celebrating them, certainly admirable. Because he is fearless when pushing the envelope, Miller presents this snarky take on our seventh president with his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.” – Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News Democrat

“It's all handled in a very buoyant, funny, ironic, idiotic way, by the extremely knowledgeable producer/director Scott Miller. And most of his genuinely unbeatable 'all-stars' are along for the ride: the singers and actors who delightfully recur from show to show. John Sparger, in the title role, has never looked or sounded better, or been funnier. And then there's just this Costco-sized bundle of talented people backing him up.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway

“I can hardly think of a better way to catch a break from the onslaught of this year's presidential campaign than to check out this saucy, contemporary, in-your-face look at our seventh president. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson opens New Line Theatre's 22nd season, and this show is right up its alley. . . Under Scott Miller's high-speed direction and Justin Smolik’s tight direction of the New Line Band, this boisterous cast of New Liners deliver the musical numbers with their usual zest, and just enough cheek, complete with anachronisms like cell phones and cheerleaders. . . This is a history lesson that will prove much more interesting and entertaining than anything you've heard in school.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“The satirical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, directed by artistic director Scott Miller, lives up to its name with a stage awash with the blood of so-called “Indians,” Spaniards and Jackson himself. The history books want to know: Was our seventh president a great leader who doubled our country’s land mass or a mass murderer, an 'American Hitler'? Sound like a comedy? Not really. But Bloody Bloody, written by Alex Timbers, is laugh-out-loud hilarious. Its humor is assisted by Michael Friedman’s emo (emotional hardcore) rock score and in-your-face lyrics.” – Nancy Fowler, St. Louis Beacon

“It's quite an accomplishment for the St. Louis theater scene, and I readily recommend Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to my readers, especially those who are willing to try a production that may be outside of their usual comfort zone. To me, pushing the envelope and doing the unexpected is the most exciting aspect of acting, and you won't find too many musicals that push the envelope harder than this.” – Jeff Ritter, The Trades

“It’s the most fun you’re ever likely to spend with a politician. Director Scott Miller has brought his magic touch into play milking the irony and laughs out of every line, pratfall and stage picture. . . If you’re in the mood for a bizarre look at this iconic period in American history, you’re in for a treat with Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. It should be required viewing for every college American History course.” – Steve Allen, Stagedoor STL

HIGH FIDELITY (2012)

“Earlier this season, New Line Theatre staged two regional premiers: the wry, insightful Passing Strange and the raucous, insightful Cry-Baby. High Fidelity – by turns wry and raucous, and maybe the most insightful of all – makes an inspired conclusion. . . When New Line artistic director Scott Miller first staged High Fidelity on the heels of its Broadway failure, he rescued it from obscurity; it’s gone on to a number of successful productions at colleges and small theaters around the country. This production, also directed by Miller, is a kind of victory lap: a showcase for the musical’s clever songs, endearing characters and above all for the New Line gang. A talented bunch both onstage and behind the scenes, with High Fidelity they once again welcome theater-goers into their smart inner circle.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 

“The Number One reason to see this revival production of High Fidelity: IT ABSOLUTELY ROCKS!” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“After four years, and rave reviews from critics, High Fidelity has returned to St. Louis. . . What stands out most about this production of High Fidelity is the passion that went into it. You can tell that these actors are singing and dancing their hearts out; you can feel the raw energy and emotion that they radiate with their performances.  I listened to the original cast recording of the show, and I can honestly say that some of the recorded numbers couldn’t hold a candle to the New Line versions. . . High Fidelity is a fantastic show, filled with pure rock energy and a myriad of memorable songs. It would truly have been a tragedy if it wasn’t revived after being left for dead on Broadway. Instead of just taking the movie and slapping some songs into it, the cast and creatives really make it their own. With great performances and powerful rock music that is fondly familiar, it is a must see show that you don’t want to miss.” – Kevin Brackett, ReviewSTL

“As always, Scott Miller’s direction is right on the money. He has found the secret of making this Broadway disappointment into a vehicle for fun and frenzy that you just wish wouldn’t end. . . If you’re ready for flat-out fun, don’t miss this terrific show. It bubbles with personality and just makes you feel good all over. Outstanding performances lead the way and the almost lost score with music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Amanda Green along with the book by David Lindsay Abaire show that there’s life in any musical as long as it has heart, desire and a little help from Scott Miller.” – Steve Allen, Stage Door St. Louis

“New Line Theatre artistic director Scott Miller saw the beauty and buoyancy behind the weak Broadway effort that introduced High Fidelity as a rock musical in a disappointing effort that folded after just 14 performances on Broadway in late 2006. Miller’s New Line Theatre mounted the first regional presentation in 2008, a glorious triumph that Ladue News cited as the best production of the year. . . Now, New Line has brought High Fidelity back to its greatest success in a presentation that, if anything, is stronger and more engaging than its 2008 predecessor. . . If you love rock music and feel-good stories, High Fidelity should top your charts.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“In true New Line fashion, director Scott Miller pared the show down to what was necessary: the tale of a commitment-shy Gen-Xer struggling, buoyed by his love of music, to grow up and become a human – and by focusing on that, he made the show a hit of the 2008 season. Not resting on his laurels, though, in this production Miller opens up the space a little, allowing musical numbers to joyously jump out at you. . . The newly revived show has lost none of its original verve – in fact you could say this show is ‘re-mastered’ – in its new space, it takes the already clean master material and polishes it further, opening up the stage to let the ‘confessional booth’ tone of this charged rock musical spill out into the laps of the audience and make us question our own behaviors in our relationships, and explore how to forgive and be forgiven. . . So if rockin’ music with a good story is your idea of great entertainment, plan on seeing New Line’s High Fidelity.” – Robert Mitchell, KDHX-FM

“Right now, we can enjoy a second helping of Miller’s take on the show. Once again, the results are dazzling. . .The entire production is proof again that High Fidelity is a musical with a future.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“I was glad to see it again. I think I enjoyed it more this time and got more out of it.” – Bob Wilcox, Two on the Aisle

“If you've ever found salvation in a used-record bin, poured your soul into a mixtape or sunk into deep neurosis over the state of your romantic affairs, there is plenty here to appreciate.” – Mike Appelstein, The Riverfront Times

“Don’t dismiss them as merely regional theater – when a production such as this nails it, Broadway takes notice. Director Scott Miller and his terrific cast have certainly made a believer out of me.” – Jeff Ritter, The Trades

“New Line Theatre has revived High Fidelity after giving this musical its first regional premiere in 2008.  Based on the novel by Nick Hornby, High Fidelity suffered a short life on Broadway, but New Line's artistic director, Scott Miller, has a thing about reviving Broadway flops.  Seeing the potential and the heart at the center of this rock musical, he and his trusty crew at New Line gave it a new life then, and it's even better this time around. . . .Under Miller's perceptive direction, just about every aspect of the show seems to have been brought up a notch, and Jeffrey M. Wright's portrayal of our hero Rob Gordon (one of many wonderfully reprised roles from 2008) has matured. . . Check it out for some great songs, great performances, and a very good time.” – St. Louis Theatre Snob

CRY-BABY (2012)

 

“If you liked New Line’s productions of Return to the Forbidden Planet and Bat Boy, or if you just want to have a great time, then pick up tickets for its latest giddy extravaganza, Cry-Baby. You'll laugh too hard to catch all the hilarious lyrics. . . In fact, the whole ensemble captures the go-for-broke spirit that Miller, band leader Justin Smolik and choreographer Robin Michelle Berger relish. . . Now in its 21st season, New Line also stages serious musicals: Evita, Love Kills, Kiss of the Spider Woman and many more. And it stages them beautifully, albeit with unexpected twists. But Miller's intimate musical comedies have a distinctive charm all their own, part sketch comedy, part witty spoofs of musical-theater tradition. They don't come up that often, but when they do, they last a long time in memory.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

 

“I couldn't stop smiling and laughing through this stage-musical version of John Waters’ film, though I have to admit I never really tried. From the opening chords, which (of course) sound like some 1950s movie about teen rebels, we know we're in for a counter-cultural extravaganza. Long and lanky Ryan Foizey is fantastic as a pacifist Elvis Presley in red-scare America, and director Scott Miller and crew surround him with a cast that bristles with talent and dance that crackles with excitement.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

 

Cry-Baby is a smash, a musical and cultural send up of drape and square mores, while at the same time, a parody of the typical ‘boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back’ scenarios that we've all been exposed to in more traditional shows. At times, it’s like watching a throwdown between Little Richard and Pat Boone over who really sings ‘Good Golly, Miss Molly’ the best and most authentic. . . Scott Miller and New Line Theatre have once again given us something outside the norm, and it's a joyous ride. This revision of Cry-Baby is a sheer delight, full of characters and situations from the movie by filmmaker John Waters, but also standing on its own with a clever and hilarious score (music and lyrics by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger), having jettisoned the tunes from the film itself. Go see this play now. It’s wonderfully directed, smartly choreographed, and marvelously acted. . . This is a rave because this a rockin’ good show! Go see Cry-Baby and enjoy!” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

 

Four and half stars out of five. A glorious and infectious American regional premiere by New Line Theatre. Under Miller’s devoted and painstaking direction, this Cry-Baby rocks the room with an effervescent energy, exploding across the stage through an array of dazzling moves choreographed by Robin Michelle Berger. . . Miller has a penchant for mining rare musical gems and, sometimes, resuscitating them from their moribund beginnings. Such is the case with this Cry-Baby, which will leave you shedding only tears of laughter.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

 

Three and a half stars our of four. There’s an enthusiasm and energetic playfulness in New Line Theatre’s production of Cry-Baby that evokes some very clever laughs and lots of nostalgic friskiness. It’s a hallmark of the kind of amicably provocative show New Line likes to produce. . . Scott Miller has developed an enjoyable niche for his theater that is unique, important and always fun.” – Harry Hamm, KMOX

 

“Under Scott Miller's bull's-eye direction, Cry-Baby is bolstered by New Line's consistently energetic cast, including newcomer Ryan Foizey in the title role.  His charismatic Elvis Presley inspired Cry-Baby has just enough seeming volatility to make him seem dangerous, but all the heart to make him genuine.  Doesn't hurt that he has a great voice, too.” – St. Louis Theatre Snob

 

“Scott Miller almost always settles into a high-octane groove with his productions at New Line Theatre. That's true of his current offering, Cry-Baby, the musical adapted from John Waters’ film of the same name.” – Bob Wilcox, KDHX

 

“Scott Miller directs stylishly. . . Miller’s direction and the cast’s talent make it a fine diversion, something to see if you need a break from preparing your taxes.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

PASSING STRANGE (2011)

FOUR STARS out of Four. “New Line Theater founder and artistic director Scott Miller has chosen the ideal show to launch their new season, a production that totally matches the charter of his young, energetic and sometimes feverish theater. It’s called Passing Strange, and it is the familiar story of a young man in a search for himself and his future. . . . The energy and emotion of this production is potent. This cast displays enormous versatility & talent, and an obvious passion for the material. It is very involving for the audience. New Line knows what it’s doing and it shows. This is a terrific little show about a very personal journey that makes a night at New Line a very charged and involving experience.” – Harry Hamm, KMOX

“New Line’s season opener rocks. Literally. Never letting you forget you’re watching a play, Passing Strange challenges the preconceptions about what a musical is – a musical for people who don’t think they like musicals. It’s a high-octane, allegorical, semi-autobiographical account of a musician, Mark Stewart, who goes by the single name, Stew, and his journey of self-discovery.  . . It’s a brilliant show with memorable performances and amazing songs. Actually, I’m buying the cast recording the second I post this entry. In short, go see it. I’m not kidding.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

Passing Strange is its own show, and an excellent one. . . It’s an exciting mélange of musical styles, with seven outstanding performers sizzling across the stage. . . It’s an interesting, fast-paced evening of musical theater with an exciting score, typical of the off-beat, difficult-to- characterize New Line productions.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

“This production by New Line Theatre provides a passionate experience, emboldened by excellent performances and top notch direction, and driven by superb work from the musicians playing the tuneful score. . . Passing Strange is a must-see for all young artists, but it’s equally worthy of attention by the entire theatre-going crowd, since it’s incredibly captivating and involving, and filled with great music.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld

“New Line Theatre has once again put a strong cast and a surprisingly good story on stage and makes us fall in love with musical theatre we may not be familiar with. In other words, Passing Strange is no Sound Of Music and the audience is better for it. . . You won’t find a more daring, unexpected or entertaining evening of theater anywhere else in St. Louis.” – Steve Allen, Java Journal

“The musical Passing Strange takes the audience on a wild ride through sex, drugs and rock and roll. . . In director Scott Miller’s very capable hands, the show is poignant at times, angry at others, sometimes warm and very often hilarious.” – Christopher Reilly, The Patch

“New Line rocks on in Passing Strange! Theater artists are almost useless in isolation. It takes at least a few people to put on the simplest and smallest of shows. That’s true even when a theater artist has a big personality and big hand in the work on stage. Stew is that kind of theater artist, and so is Scott Miller. Stew (aka Mark Stewart) wrote (and won a Tony for writing), co-composed (with Heidi Rodewald) and originally starred in Passing Strange, the exhilarating, hard-rocking musical that just opened here at New Line Theatre. Miller, who founded New Line in 1991 and remains its artistic director, has directed every show that it has staged, including this one. You can see their influences in this production, shimmering with Stew’s wit and shaking with Miller’s style. But it wouldn’t matter if not for the other artists who contributed their talents, notably the band and the ensemble.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Passing Strange is an intoxicating, invigorating and beguiling piece as whimsical in its writing as in its lively and spirited music. . . A critical smash [on Broadway] but lukewarm box-office draw, it closed after just 165 performances.  Perhaps if the incomparable Charles Glenn had been belting out Stew’s free-wheeling tunes as the Narrator on the Great White Way, as he is in New Line Theatre’s sparkling presentation, it might still be playing there. Glenn has a masterful, multi-textured voice, an instrument he utilizes with utmost finesse under Scott Miller’s loving, carefully crafted direction. From the high-flying starting number, “We Might Play All Night,” to the bouncy, jaunty “Blues Revelation” to the beautiful ballad “Amsterdam” and the scintillating show tune, “The Black One,” Glenn takes control of this breezy romp and fills its two hours and 30 minutes with bravado and syncopated gusto.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“New Line is off to a flying start with the first local production of the musical Passing Strange . . . it has a marvelous score that comes to life with irresistible energy in the New Line production. Director Scott Miller is completely in tune with the show’s quest for artistic identity. . . There’s more in Passing Strange than I could take in, in one sitting. I hope this show won’t be a stranger to St. Louis theatres.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“In his program notes, director Scott Miller offers that he opted for a technically minimalist production to allow for the “rich, rowdy music and lyrics.” Set by Todd Schaefer and costumes by Amy Kelly do their duty to stay out of the way. The little that’s present does a lot to gently accentuate the show and its cast – a swirling psychedelic blue brick road underlies the journey, actors clothed in gray basics become colorful characters as they toss around bright accessories. Most importantly, Miller’s minimalism accentuates the talent of his cast. With little to distract in the intimate theatre, the space is quickly filled with the finest wrist flick or arched brow. The actors also have all the room they need to play, and easily fill the stage as they acid trip in LA and riot in Berlin.” – Emily Piro, KDHX

Passing Strange, Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s hybrid musical/rock concert experience, challenges the notions of identity and theatrical conventions even as its hero confronts the stereotype of the rock & roll bohemian as a strictly white creation.” – The Riverfront Times

“Everyone around me was raving about the singing, the story, everything. . . Overall, there is a lot to like here.” – Rosiland Early, St. Louis Magazine

BARE (2011)

“New Line Theatre's current production of bare is a devastatingly powerful presentation that features a strong and talented cast performing at an exceptional level under director Scott Miller's sure hand. . . New Line Theatre's powerful and provocative production of bare: a pop opera is must-see theatre, providing the kind of experience that absolutely defines modern musical theatre, mixing catchy, open-ended compositions with an undeniably important subject matter. Make an effort to see it soon!” – BroadwayWorld.com

“This month, the truth serum seems to come to us in live theater, in the form of the very entertaining teen-angst musical Bare. . . director Scott Miller draws both actors, and the entire cast, to performances that are strikingly real and compelling, in spite of all the possible pitfalls of the high school drama at hand. It’s another remarkably solid cast for a New Line show. . . Bare is full of great story telling and fun music, rich characters and very fine performances.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

“A 4.5 on a scale of 1-to-5. It’s smart, humorous and sophisticated, all elements readily observable in the regional premiere mounted by artistic director Scott Miller in New Line Theatre’s engaging and accessible presentation. . . Miller keeps the production moving briskly while also consistently bringing out the work’s sophistication, including guiding his players successfully through its complicated score. Really, there’s little ‘bare’ about this rendition past its title. Quite the opposite, it’s an engaging evening of entertainment.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“A Must-See. The 20-foot cross looming over the stage at New Line Theater was ominous, both in the minutes before the show began, and during the production. And it was hard to tell if it was intended to stretch wide, hugging the cast in an embrace, or to stand distant, arms akimbo in rebuke. Such thematic dualism reoccurs throughout Scott Miller’s production of bare.” – Darren Orf, St. Louis Magazine

“Go to New Line and plunge into this sad, dense, haunting pop opera. Yet for all its complexity, it’s emotionally bare. Created by composer Damon Intrabartolo and lyricist Jon Hartmere Jr., bare enjoys a cult following but not the kind of fame associated with, for example, Spring Awakening. But its similar story is equally powerful, conveyed not only by the director Scott Miller and the actors but through Intrabartolo’s romantic pop score, performed with passion by conductor Justin Smolik and the New Line Band. . . bare addresses a wealth of teen problems – substance abuse, pregnancy, questions of sexual identity, teen suicide – but it's no after-school special. It offers no answers, beyond an assertion that honesty is healthy and secrecy can be lethal.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The cast of New Line Theatre's production of bare is strong in terms of both acting and vocals. . . bare is an original show with complicated musical structure. The fine cast is able to produce some unique harmonies and chords that at first sound discordant. It is to their credit and director Scott Miller’s casting that they are able to pull it off. . . bare is a show that explores a myriad of problems facing young people and their struggle to learn from and overcome the obstacles they face. It's definitely a show worth seeing.” – Christopher Reilly, The Patch

“It’s a strong, intelligent, interesting show that has played here and there around the country for more than a decade. This is its St. Louis premiere. . . Given the story and the setting, a number of younger actors (many students at Webster University) got the chance, and there are some splendid performances.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

“The cast of New Line’s bare brings more power than is probably needed in the small space but the show’s powerful message comes through loud and clear. The cast is a good one and this cult musical makes an impressive local debut. . . It’s all tied together with the great touch of New Line’s artistic director Scott Miller. And the flawless work by the band led by Justin Smolik adds to the lovely evening. . . It’s an adult production with some very provocative scenes and music that may not be to everyone’s taste, but bare really makes for a delightful evening of musical theater.” – Steve Allen, Java Journal

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (2011)

“New Line Theatre’s Two Gentlemen of Verona is an enthusiastic, gutsy, spirited, humorous and totally entertaining show. New Line’s cast is the ultimate in professional silliness. Shakespeare has never been this much fun!” – Harry Hamm, KMOX

“It's a happy romp! It's a silly, illogical, lovely tale! And it's a hit! It's New Line Theatre's immensely enjoyable new offering, the musical comedy version of Two Gentlemen of Verona. . . The New Line cast is uniformly fine. There simply isn't a weak spot. It's full of New Line veterans brimming with talent and with that special kind of family love that Scott Miller has magically fostered in his company over the years. They all perform with such joy and confidence and generosity of heart. . . as a whole package – the show, the cast, the band, the production values – it all makes New Line Theatre's Two Gentlemen of Verona the most purely enjoyable evening of theatre I've had in a long, long time.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX

“New Line Theatre and director Scott Miller's current production of Two Gentlemen of Verona not only rocks, but it's hilarious as well, aided greatly by the spectacular efforts of an enthusiastic cast and a crack band. I honestly can't recall when I've ever witnessed an audience laugh at and enjoy Shakespeare more; the resident Bad Boy of Musical Theatre has come through again. . . I really love the way director/music director Scott Miller makes the most of each comic moment, not milking it, but mining it for the richest results. . . New Line Theatre's production of Two Gentlemen of Verona is brilliantly executed and funny as hell. This terrific presentation continues through March 26.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“Director Scott Miller's production just goes to show what you already know: That Shakespeare is so strong, a smart production can take his work in almost any direction, and it will flourish. Just take a look. . . We can identify with unfamiliar times, places or situations when theater artists help us draw fresh, imaginative connections. Miller, who often stages shows that aren't obvious or easy, not only seems to know that's possible, he appreciates how those unsuspected links can pay off in enormous theatrical pleasure. And that's exactly what Two Gents delivers.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“This winsome work by MacDermot, Guare and Shapiro is a delightful romp that is much more than the sum of its parts. Scott Miller’s inspired version directed for New Line Theatre features an exuberant and engaging cast that thoroughly enjoys itself and infectiously spreads that fervor throughout its audience. . . With Miller’s flamboyant and spirited approach, though, it’s easy to sit back and enjoy these musical Gentlemen. A 4.5 on a scale of 1-to-5.” – Mark Bretz, The Ladue News

“New Line Theatre pushes the proverbial envelope to dimensions other theatres simply do not. If you want to see a show and feel like you're in New York or Chicago, go see a show at New Line. Go see Two Gentlemen of Verona. It'll be the most fun you have at the theater this year.” – Christopher Reilly, The Patch

“The familiar New Line crew never disappoints, and the ensemble members are always completely engaged and energetic. . . I was struck with how familiar the songs sounded and then I remembered, oh yeah, Galt MacDermot did the music for this. He also composed the music for Hair, and the music for Two Gents is very reminiscent of that (with a little Spanish spice thrown in) – engaging, groovy, and the New Line Band was tight and handled it well. . . After a while, you forget that it's Shakespeare.  And I mean that in a good way.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“This is one you don’t want to miss. It’s really a piece of history and the infrequency of productions of Two Gentlemen of Verona makes it a true must-see.” – Steve Allen, Java Journal

“Mardi Gras in St. Louis turned cold and blustery, but spring is very much in the air, thanks to this bright, funny, beautiful show. And if you were expecting another New Line musical with a dark, cold edge to it, you'll be very pleasantly surprised by this thoroughly light-hearted adventure. Producer/director Scott Miller must be in love – or, at least, in love with this show.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

“It’s like the counter-culture that invaded the musical a few years earlier in Hair has now been integrated into the fabric of society. . . The New Line production is so much fun that no one with the least curiosity about this show should pass up the rare opportunity to see it.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“It's bright and breezy in its current production by New Line Theatre. It opened last night and will run delightfully through March 26. . . Scott Miller's direction is solid, and Robin Michelle Berger did some charming choreography, well-handled by the cast. The acting also is strong. . . a highly enjoyable evening.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

I LOVE MY WIFE (2010)

“New Line Theater bows I Love My Wife, an often hilarious musical spoof of the so-called ‘free love’ era and how two married couples discover the truth about ‘four play.’ New Line Theatre always does great work. When they perform, you’re always up close and personal. Sometimes the performers are only three to four feet from where you’re sitting, so you really get involved in the show. I Love My Wife also happens to be a very funny show. . . enjoyable and a nice start to New Line’s 20th season.” – Harry Hamm, KMOX

“New Line, the little cutting-edge theater that could, is opening its 20th season with I Love My Wife. . . Leave it to Miller to rediscover this little gem. I Love My Wife turns out to be a clever, musically sophisticated and ultimately sweet show, intimate in every sense of the word. . . New Line has done well with Hair, which it has mounted several times. It’s also staged strong productions of Grease and Chicago, the beat musical The Nervous Set, the slacker musical High Fidelity and Return to the Forbidden Planet, set either in the 1950s or the future, maybe both. Put them all together, and it's an era-by-era look at changing American mores. Miller’s anthropological twist on musical theater gives New Line a distinctive point of view, brainy and bold. I Love My Wife is an apt addition to that repertoire.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The swingin’ 70s were a nonstop, hedonistic thrill ride. Marriages were open, key parties were de rigueur, love was American Style – everybody got laid all the time and twice on Sunday. But all revolutions come to an end, especially sexual ones. The Michael Stewart and Cy Coleman musical I Love My Wife takes you back to the final spurts of the musky 70s with a jazzy tale of wife-swapping, sex and romance, and explores how maybe all that free love came with a hidden cost – and we ain’t talkin’ about herpes.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“This is a production that nobody who cares about musical theatre should miss, because if there ever is another local production, the passionate advocacy of the current production will be hard to match.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“With their funky and fun production of I Love My Wife, New Line Theatre begins their 20th season with a trip back to the swinging seventies, when the last dying embers of the sexual revolution were still smoldering in the suburbs. It was a time when collars were broad, chests were hairy, and polyester was the fabric of choice. And though the obvious reference point for some might be Paul Mazursky's 1969 film Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, the two are actually quite dissimilar, except for the fact that two couples wind up sharing the same bed. But, I Love My Wife is more concerned with friendships and making connections. New Line's presentation of this perfectly charming adult comedy is superbly cast and directed, and well worth your time and attention.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“Those who lived through the 1970s will nod familiarly at most of the lines and lyrics in I Love My Wife. Those too young to remember will understand why certain styles, certain moments, certain memories will bring goofy looks to their parents’ faces. . . but it's an accurate view – and spoof – of an era that generated a movie called Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, that still was enjoying the drug culture and sexual freedom that started in the 1960s. . . The tale of a husband’s desire to join the sexual revolution he fears has begun without him, using his friend’s wife to help him get up to date, is bright and tuneful, well-paced under Scott Miller’s on-point direction. . . It’s powerful, and it’s fun.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

“Top-notch performances highlight this New Line production . . . I Love My Wife is a nifty little musical that is given a first-rate production by the folks at New Line Theatre. Because of the subject matter, I would consider it adults only but you’ll have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs at this one.” – Steve Allen, Java Journal

“Interesting and hilarious.  Now, it's not as though there's a detailed plot for this show, but under Scott Miller and Alison Helmer’s direction, watching it all unfold and seeing how these individuals respond to the opportunity is an entertaining ride, well worth the price of admission.  This show may be set in the 70s, but the themes are still relevant.” – Andrea Torrence, St. Louis Theatre Snob

“New Line Theatre jazzes up I Love My Wife. . . Having showcased their badness with Love Kills and The Wild Party, Scott Miller and his New Line Theatre, self-christened the Bad Boy of Musical Theatre, have decided to back off and just be a little naughty with their current offering.” – Bob Wilcox, KDHX

EVITA (2010)

“Simply put, New Line Theatre’s current production of Evita absolutely rocks! Employing a more intimate staging and utilizing stripped down orchestrations acts to reinvigorate the work, personalizing the story and adding a real edge to the music. This is one of the chief reasons I'm always drawn to New Line’s productions; they don't conform to the norm, offering regular theatre goers the opportunity to witness creative and imaginative takes on new works as well as more familiar ones. If you're already a fan of Evita (or musical theatre in general), or if you've only seen the misguided movie version with Madonna in the lead role, and you've been turned off to the subject as a result, then you owe it to yourself to check out New Line's darkly engaging presentation. . . Scott Miller’s direction is impeccable. The story moves along at a whirlwind clip, with seamless transitions allowing the action to flow unabated. The cast is sharp and focused throughout, and the ensemble singing is gorgeous.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber come in for their fair share of criticism, but future historians may judge them a little more kindly than we now suspect, if this new Evita is any guide. True, we already know that Lloyd Webber can give us lovely musical passages. And here, director Scott Miller's excellent New Line chorus and band, featuring a fiery leading lady, sets our hearts marching into battle. . . . It's a perfect show for this moment in (North) America.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

“I was intrigued because Scott Miller is the one director I can think of who would find the politics in Evita more interesting than the style. What New Line gives us is an Evita where the incrusted style has been stripped away and the politics have been beefed up. . . I really admire what Scott Miller and New Line found in Evita, and I’m afraid the standard version is going to disappoint me even more when I see it next.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle

“A 4.5 on a scale of 1-to-5. Having neither the space nor the quantity of musicians to present the full orchestration of Lloyd Webber's music, New Line Theatre artistic director Scott Miller wisely focuses instead on a sextet of players who provide passionate, intense support for the performers on stage. Aided by the delicious support of choreographer Robin Michelle Berger, who accentuates the array of musical motifs with an eclectic mix of terpsichorean moves, the result is an engaging and absorbing account of not only one man’s (lyricist Rice) interpretation of a time and place but a riveting theatrical experience. . . Miller’s Evita is visceral, raucous and always entertaining, bringing out the best in Lloyd Webber’s complex and diverse score and underscoring Rice’s sophisticated and compelling lyrics in clever fashion.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“Only two nights remain to see the New Line production of Evita, and it's worth trying to get there. Every performance for the last week has been sold out, so it may not be easy, but I highly recommend it. With John Sparger a wonderful, sardonic, sarcastic Che and Taylor Pietz a more-than-tyrannical Evita, this is a splendid production, and director Scott Miller’s direction is spot-on. His ideas work well, and his casting eye and ear have put together an exciting chorus that never falters. . . Robin Michelle Berger's choreography is splendid. . . The chorus is rich and powerful. . . Todd Schaefer's set, Thom Crain's costumes and Kenneth Zinkl’s lights gave Evita a smooth and polished look, a strong contrast with the edgy score. The story of power, and its corruptive qualities, is as strong as it ever was.” – Joe Pollack

“With posters of modern political figures framing his production, New Line artistic director Scott Miller reminded everyone what an invigorating and provocative work this musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice still can be. Drawing uncomfortable parallels between charismatic politicians and easily swayed followers, New Line’s rendition featured a sizzling performance by John Sparger as the revolutionary Che, a deliberately toned-down Todd Schaefer as Argentine dictator Juan Peron and Taylor Pietz displaying a beautiful voice and haunting presence as Peron’s mistress-turned-wife Eva Peron. With the crisp accompaniment of the New Line band conducted by Chris Peterson, Miller’s Evita was visceral, raucous and always entertaining. ” – Mark Bretz, The Ladue News, “2010 Year-in-Review”

Evita, the celebrated 1978 musical by lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, is what might be considered a big undertaking for any theatre company, so not a lot of small groups in the St. Louis area have attempted to mount a production. But one such has taken on the challenge: New Line Theatre. What results is a impressive and entertaining.” – Laura Kyro, KDHX-FM

“Taylor Pietz is a riveting Evita. . . . The ensemble is just as impressive as the principals. Each member’s many expressions manage to create a real human being with a back-story. We see a spectrum’s worth of feelings for Eva, from affection to unabashed adoration. How hopeful they look in ‘A New Argentina,’ too.” – Peter Filichia, TheatreMania.com

“New Line Theatre, a company that regularly turns its shoestring budget into vivid ribbons of musical theater art, is probably best known for offbeat, counter-cultural work. Shows like Bat Boy, Love Kills and Return to the Forbidden Planet seem to define the distinctive New Line brand, partly because they suit artistic director Scott Miller’s sensibilities and partly because New Line is the only place in town you’re apt to see them. But there's another important thread that runs through New Line's history: stripped-down performances of big-name musicals. In seasons past, New Line has produced shows like Camelot, Man of La Mancha, and Cabaret – shows that we associate with lush productions at the Muny, the Fox or Stages St. Louis. Evita, the latest New Line production, belongs to this adventurous tradition.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

TOP TEN SHOWS OF 2010: “While some might view a presentation of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita as a safe choice, New Line Theatre's incendiary production was anything but, infusing this modern classic with a rock and roll edge that served the material particularly well. Taylor Pietz (Eva Peron), Todd Schaefer (Juan Peron) and John Sparger (Che) do stunning work under Scott Miller's direction, neatly bringing these characters to life with a genuine sense of enthusiasm and energy that I've found lacking in other productions. This stripped-down, rocking rendition of Evita was truly inspired.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

THE WILD PARTY (2010)

“They call themselves the bad boy of musical theatre in St. Louis and they are – this is a very adult show. . . If you like shows like Cabaret and Chicago, you’ll like The Wild Party. . . You’re going to see really good, well done adult theatre at New Line that nobody else really attempts here in St. Louis. . . It’s a good strong cast with a couple of really, really, really strong individual performances.” – Harry Hamm, KMOX

“Andrew Lippa's musical adaptation of Joseph Moncure March's epic poem, The Wild Party, is a brilliant work, especially if you're anything like me, and you like your entertainment on the dark side. It's a decadent jewel gleaming with sinister possibilities, and thus, far removed from the current trend toward sunny shows with predictably happy endings. Though set in 1928, it manages to perfectly capture the current mood of cynicism that seems to have run rampant through our country over the course of the last fifteen years. New Line Theatre's current presentation of The Wild Party is a deliriously engaging experience, easily making it one of the best productions of the year so far.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“Imagine a strobe-light flashing rapidly; or a coin flipping in the air, heads becoming indistinguishable from tails as it spins. Likewise, the flashing strobe creates an effect somewhere between bright light and pure dark, as the transitions themselves become a blazing, third state of energy. So it is with Scott Miller's fantastic new production of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. . . Thanks to the cast's combined expertise and with the help of director Miller, they turn in a solid-gold hit. It's almost like the American answer to Cabaret, leading us up to the edge of the Great Depression. But, like America itself, it keeps its brave face on, dancing right to the bitter end. Don't miss this excellent show.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

“With so much blood and tawdriness as its inspiration, you’d think The Wild Party would celebrate the ugly side of humanity; it definitely doesn’t shy away from sin and vice and everything nice, but there’s a morality at the center of the play shining out from beneath the filth. . . By the end of the night, Queenie wonders how everything ended so poorly between her and Burrs; how did ugliness supplant their love? When was the first unkind word spoken? When was the first blow struck? When did it all turn to shit? These are the questions not just of a failed relationship, but of the end of any gilded age. The Wild Party shows you in lurid detail the dying moments of just such a relationship and an age, and it's difficult if not impossible to ask the same questions of the first decade of the 21st century when the lights come back up.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

A large number of fine performances, spot-on, rapid-fire direction by Scott Miller and plenty of sex make the show fast-moving, highly entertaining and oh, my goodness, bawdy and naughty. In other words, while there's no real sex and no nudity, there's a great deal of simulated sex that follows a large amount of foreplay, including much kissing while groping, stroking, squeezing, rubbing and other touchy-feely stuff. Not for the children and the easily embarrassed. ” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

“A fascinating and absorbing show that capably showcases Lippa’s talent for interesting lyrics and lively music. New Line artistic director Scott Miller’s direction is disciplined, focused and consistent throughout, and he benefits from some exemplary technical support as well as solid portrayals by his large cast. The result is an ambitious and laudatory effort that is richly rewarding. . . The subject matter is definitely adults only material, but The Wild Party tells an interesting story in lively and engrossing fashion.” – Mark Bretz, The Ladue News

“If you like your tragicomedies with a dash of self-analysis and a heaping helping of sex, you'll want to RSVP in the affirmative to The Wild Party, produced by New Line Theatre. . . The play is a good fit for director Scott Miller and New Line, which bills itself as The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre.. . . ‘People die and parties fail,’ Queenie notes in her finale. But even though her party ended badly, The Wild Party does not, leaving its audience entertained and with enough food for thought to last until the next New Line musical.” – Nancy Fowler Larson, St. Louis Beacon

The Wild Party takes you on a wild ride. . . In 1928, writer Joseph Moncure March sketched the New York demimonde in an epic poem, The Wild Party. He might as well have wrapped it up in a package for Scott Miller, artistic director of New Line Theatre, to open 82 years later. . . Few musicals are so graphic as this one, which is absolutely not for the family. This time, Miller has spilled everything onto his stage: bootleg, blood and other bodily fluids. From the first scene, we can almost predict the outcome. Someone’s bound to slip and get hurt.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“New Line Theatre artistic director Scott Miller presented a provocative and compelling version of a show titled The Wild Party that had indifferent success off-Broadway in the 1999-2000 season, based on a narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March about an abusive clown and a showgirl dancer caught in their own fatal attraction in the waning moments of vaudeville, with masterful performances by Jeffrey Pruett and Deborah Sharn.” – Mark Bretz, The Ladue News, “2010 Year-in-Review”

TOP TEN SHOWS OF 2010: If there's any group capable of generating sparks it's New Line Theatre, and their dark and decadent production of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party blew me away. Scott Miller's impeccable direction, as well as his sharp work on the ivories pounding out this genre-hopping blend of space age bachelor pad music and cool jazz, brought this black comedy to life in fine fashion. Jeffrey Pruett's performance as the scary clown named Burrs was especially memorable.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

LOVE KILLS (2009)

Love Kills is a gripping and fascinating evening in the hands of director Scott Miller and New Line Theatre. . . Love Kills is not a comforting evening, not by a long shot. Identify too much with one couple or the other and you're bound to feel bad about yourself. But Jarrow keeps feeding you moments in which you want the four of them to achieve everything they desire, even when the characters are at cross-purposes. The end result is much like navigating love – how do you give yourself to someone else and hold on to yourself at the same time? Life is long; if you're lucky, long enough to figure it out.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“I make it a point to seek out productions by New Line Theatre because I know I’ll see something edgy and original, and with the regional premiere of Kyle Jarrow’s provocative work Love Kills they’ve, once again, fulfilled that desire. Jarrow’s musical meditation on the relationship between Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate, who embarked on a killing spree in Nebraska during the late 1950s, is an intriguing piece that succeeds in confounding expectations. The question as to whether or not Caril Fugate actually participated in the murders is one of the issues raised by Jarrow, and if there’s any truth to be gleaned from the facts presented in this dramatization, then New Line’s compelling production will provide you with the opportunity to judge for yourself. . . [Scott] Miller, who's also the artistic director of New Line, likes to color outside the lines, and his determination here reveals his passion for bringing fresh and challenging new musicals to the St. Louis region. This might be considered a risky choice, but I'm glad he and the company were willing to take it on, because I might not have gotten the chance to experience it otherwise. . . If you’re looking for something outside the norm, then you should definitely check out New Line’s production of Love Kills.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“Watching their story unfold through a raw punk-flavored rock score and fine acting on the parts of all four cast members is sublime. The bad boy of musical theatre is gloriously back! . . . Composer Kyle Jarrow defines Love Kills as an ‘emo rock musical,’ and in the sense that it is highly charged and personal, that’s fair. Scott Miller directs with passionate intensity, and it’s among the finest work I’ve seen from this company, which is saying a lot. This isn’t the world’s best musical, but I defy anyone to leave it without much to ponder and plenty to talk about. I hope audiences will give it the attention it deserves.” – Andrea Braun, KDHX-FM

“To open its 19th season New Line Theatre has the good fortune to host the world premiere of Jarrow’s rock musical Love Kills, which tells the grisly story of the multiple spree killings of Starkweather and Fugate in one act and a tidy 95 minutes. . . . New Line’s effort, under the expert guidance of artistic director Scott Miller, features a quartet of terrific performances by Miller’s carefully chosen cast and excellent singing . . .  Miller keeps a tight focus on the gritty story throughout, demonstrating a precise ability to handle such sobering drama. . . Given the subject matter, Love Kills is surprisingly fresh and provocative material that immediately grabs audience interest . . .  New Line’s world premiere offering of Love Kills provides a memorable evening of pathos and pulsating music that will give you reason to ponder the varying effects of love and violence in surprising fashion.” – Mark Bretz, Laude News

“I had a wonderful surprise at New Line’s production of Love Kills, a world premiere. . . The show bowled me over. It has a very well-crafted story and a powerful score, with more variety than might be expected from a rock score.” – Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle, KDHX-TV

“New Line Theatre's Love Kills is a strange but effective view of a killer and his paramour, and how they became who they are.” – Harry Hamm, KMOX

“Scott Miller directed effectively on what is almost a bare stage, and the trio of Mike Renard on guitar, Dave Hall on base and Mike Schurk on drums was first-rate. An interesting evening and a look at what came out from under a Nebraska rock.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks

Love Kills, directed by Scott Miller, is performed without an intermission, but you won't even notice because the story is engaging and moves along at a quick pace. It will leave you with plenty to talk about: What would you do in the name of love?” – Gabe Hartwig, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

BEST OF ST. LOUIS 2010, Best Actor in a Musical: “Effectively portraying an emotionally shut-down middle-aged man who's squarer than a block of wood is difficult enough; but to do it in a musical — about spree-killer Charlie Starkweather no less — requires an exceptional combination of talent and technique. Zachary Allen Farmer met both requirements in spades. His eyes hidden behind bulky glasses, Farmer conveyed Sheriff Merle Karnopp's repressed inner life through a deadpan mouth, muted movements and a glowering presence. Then the dam broke, and Farmer's rich voice flooded the room with "Someday," and all the smothered tenderness of Merle Karnopp manifested; every strangled movement and slowly bitten word that followed illuminated the emotional damage wrought by a lifetime of repression. In this New Line Theatre production, Zachary Allen Farmer drew a portrait of the man in negative, every shadow and snarl a window into a lonely, hurting soul, as wounded as Charlie Starkweather himself but better able to hide it.” – The Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2010

BEST OF ST. LOUIS 2010, Best Actress in a Musical: “History will remember Caril Ann Fugate as either Charlie Starkweather's hostage or his willing accomplice on his multistate murder spree. Taylor Pietz's portrayal of Fugate in Kyle Jarrow's musical Love Kills offered a third possibility: Maybe she was an overwhelmed teenager who was both options at various times. Pietz played Fugate as a defiant juvenile delinquent, a lovesick young girl, an innocent swept up in a whirlwind of violence and a snarling hellcat bent on revenge for schoolyard slights, jumping between these emotional identities with the facility of a teenager. And then there was her voice, a soaring, spine-tingling instrument that grew ever stronger during her heartwrenching/mending performance of 'Love Will Never Die,' building to a peak that shattered with the intensity of a modern-day Isolde singing her liebestod. Pietz took a demanding role and rather than make it look easy, made it look exactly as difficult and confusing and draining as it should have.” – The Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2010

BEST MUSICAL OF 2009: “I'd like to congratulate both Stages and New Line Theatre for their amazing productions in 2009, especially New Line's Love Kills, one of the best musical versions of a dramatic (and real-life) story I've ever seen.” – Andrea Braun, Playback STL

TOP TEN SHOWS OF 2009: “It would have been easy for Kyle Jarrow to score his tale of killer Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate’s incarceration, Love Kills, to a more conventional and period accurate 1950s flavored beat, but that would have softened his characters and weakened the emotional impact overall. Jarrow opts instead for a harder edge that suits the material much better, after all, Charlie isn’t Danny Zuko, he’s a murderer. New Line Theatre brings this dark vision to life under Scott Miller’s taut direction, but it’s the grounded performance of Alison Helmer along with Zachary Allen Farmer’s quiet intensity as Merle, the sheriff, that really makes this piece cook.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (2009)

TOP TEN SHOWS OF 2009: “Director Scott Miller crafted a hilarious production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that had me rolling in the aisle. The cast, consisting of: Nicholas Kelly, Alexis Kinney, Katie Nestor, Deborah Sharn, Mike Dowdy, Aaron Allen, Emily Berry, John Rhine and Brian Claussen were all impeccable, and that's not an easy task given William Finn’s catchy, but challenging score.” Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“Laughter rocked the house and spontaneous applause broke out often. A standing ovation ensued, and the audience left The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in great good humor.” – Andrea Braun, KDHX-FM

“All of the stress and self-doubt of puberty are relived in delightfully meticulous and humorous detail in director Scott Miller’s uproariously magnificent production of this surprise Broadway hit from 2005. Miller has assembled a smart and energetic cast who throw themselves hilariously into their squirming roles, while also managing some poignant moments as well. Indeed, this version plays even better than did the touring show at The Fox a year ago, as Spelling Bee is a small musical that is most effective in a cozier venue. . . New Line’s Spelling Bee is what e-n-t-e-r-t-a-i-n-m-e-n-t is all about and a positive life lesson to boot.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“This Spelling Bee radiates the goofy, familiar charm of a sketch comedy show that you try not to miss. You know the players; the fun lies in seeing what they'll do this time. . . It’s just a sweet, imaginative look at pressure and how we badly we sometimes handle it. The adults laughing in the audience may have more finesse than the kids portrayed on stage – but we wouldn't laugh if we didn't know exactly how they feel.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“[Bookwriter] Rachel Sheinkin and [composer] William Finn celebrate the pariah in devastatingly funny songs. Scott Miller's production is exceptionally fine, exploiting the large laughs of the precociously confident William Barfée (Nicholas Kelly), a mucously enhanced young man who lauds his magic spelling foot in a Busby Berkeley-esque fantasia (courtesy of choreographer Robin Michelle Berger). Miller just as deftly develops the quieter moments, such as parolee-cum-rules enforcer Mitch Mahoney (John Rhine), who sings of wanting to beat the children to teach them real pain, but instead hugs and comforts them. Because that's all anyone can do: Say ‘good job,’ and hope the vulnerable are resilient enough to take the punches when they come.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“A charming evening of song, wit and wisdom by New Line Theatre . . . The delightful production is more effective on the smaller stage, with its more intimate atmosphere, than it was when a touring company played the Fox a few years ago. Scott Miller’s direction is crisp and on the mark . . . Spelling Bee is a great deal of fun.” – Joe Pollack

“Life may be pandemonium, as the lyrics goes, but Miller’s direction is quite disciplined, and his cast is top-notch.” – Peter Filichia, TheatreMania.com

“An over the top delight. New Line Theatre's current production is a perfectly cast show filled with moments of high hilarity. . . I can't remember when I've laughed so hard and so long at a show. New Line's presentation of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is priceless entertainment.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com

“Sabotage, the casting off of perfection, and the tender beginnings of love stir the emotional pot of act two. In the end, only one speller emerges victorious, but everyone who came to see the play also wins, in terms of money and time well spent for a night’s entertainment.” – Nancy Larson, St. Louis Woman

RETURN TO THE FORBIDDEN PLANET (2009)

“One of the best Shakespeares I’ve ever seen.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2013

I'll tell you one show in 2009 that thrilled me and delighted me. I went back to see Return to the Forbidden Planet three times, and I've heard it said that when a theatre critic goes back for fun, that's a good sign. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. . . It was exhilarating, it really was.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on KDHX-FM, 2009

“Bob Carlton's whimsical take on The Tempest as refracted through a 1950s sci-fi prism features a galaxy's worth of fantastic rock & roll songs, punning wordplays on snippets of Shakespearean monologues and intentionally ‘Pigs in Space’ costuming (courtesy of Betsy Krausnick). But this is no parlor trick of a musical; there's a rich vein of Shakespeare's favorite ingredient the wondrous depths of the human heart that elevates the show from cunning stunt to artful meditation on the destructive nature of power and the redemptive power of love. . . Smart show, smart cast, smart director with an understanding of what's going on under the notes and behind the dialogue – this is what audiences deserve.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

New Line Theatre presents a lot of intriguing work, but now and then it gets everything so right that you're ready to see the show again before you're out of the theater. Hair was like that; Bat Boy, too. And so is its new production, Return to the Forbidden Planet a smart, giddy, musically ingenious spoof written by Bob Carlton and directed by Scott Miller. – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Remember the halcyon days when we were terrified of the Russians, they were terrified of us, and Shakespeare wrote his first intergalactic R&B hit, "It's A Man's Man's Man's World?" Sweet fancy Moses, those were the days. Wait, that never happened. Or did it? Yup, looky here: Return to the Forbidden Planet. It's sweet Billy Shakes vs. Golden Oldies vs. Space Age Love Songs. Just what Dr. Tempest ordered.” – Calendar Pimp, The Riverfront Times

New Line artistic director Scott Miller meticulously blends the comic sensibilities of his talented cast with the brisk, jaunty style of the New Line band to make this foray into outer space a campy and delightful journey. There are stars aplenty in this cosmos. – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“The most delightful musical to hit St. Louis in many years. . . a wondrous evening of musical theatre.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

Irresistible. Under the guidance of director Scott Miller, New Line Theatre is presenting a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable production . . . This is a fun show, and director Scott Miller has assembled a talented cast and crew that seems to be having a blast” – Chris Gibson, KDHX-FM

Forbidden Planet plays for laughs, which it receives in abundance. . . [Director] Miller takes chances, and they nearly always pay off.” – Andrea Braun, The Vital Voice

NIGHT OF THE LIVING SHOW TUNES (2009)

“Scott Miller and the ‘New Line All-Stars’ put together a really fun show last night. Yeah, it’s a musical theater revue – one with some really funny, smart material, a lot of it drawn from shows that New Line has staged in their entirety. . . The stately [Sheldon Concert Hall] and the offbeat material made a great combination, elegant but relaxed – you know, like you have style, but you’re used to it.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“A special evening of song designed, in part, to raise funds for the New Line Theatre scholarship fund, took place over the course of two nights in the shimmering acoustic surroundings of the Sheldon Concert Hall. Artistic Director Scott Miller tickled the ivories in expert fashion as a parade of local talent favored the audience with an eclectic mix of tunes culled from a wide variety of shows. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and it definitely piqued my curiosity about some of the more obscure material that was presented.” – Chris Gibson, KDHX-FM

HAIR (2008)

“This is New Line’s third production of Hair in less than ten years, and you know why from the moment you smell the incense. Director Scott Miller has a wonderful feeling for this material; his production delivers the hippie world with sensual precision. It comes through in the exotic aroma, in the eye-popping set designed by Todd Schaefer, in the era-exact costumes by Thom Crain and the dreamy sound of Chris Petersen’s six-man rock band. Most of all, it comes through in the cast, an ensemble known as the Tribe.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Hair at New Line Theatre is unexpectedly, beautifully, joyfully, mournfully, tragically relevant again. Gerome Ragni and James Rado have turned out to be poet-prophets and their book and lyrics are given life by Galt MacDermot's eclectic rock score. . . I'm happy that New Line chose to produce Hair because I'd never seen it live; I am sorry that it can't just be a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the show but that it still has so much relevance. See it to celebrate, to mourn, and finally to celebrate again for there is hope and light and no matter how hard 'they' try, they cannot ‘end this beauty’.” – Andrea Braun, PlaybackSTL

“Here we are in a similar, but I would say even darker place – at least America still had Posse Comitaus and Glass-Steagall back in 1968. Hair shows us, forty years later, both where the hippies went wrong and where they were right on. And that to abandon the project of striving for equality and justice (even if it doesn't involve spliffs and paisley) would damn us to our own Greek tragedy. I can't tell you exactly what happened when the Osage Tribe gathered on stage to sing ‘Let The Sun Shine In,’ but it felt an awful lot like the Holy Ghost, or someone like him, was in the house.” – Stefene Russell, St. Louis Magazine

Hair is not so much a musical as it is an invocation, a sort of vision quest designed to shake you out of your torpor and make you think. Let's describe it as ‘a group of people with strange clothes and a shared faith in nebulous concepts who make strange proclamations about society's ills’ – are we describing hippies, the religious right, the secular left or the military's press conferences on the war in Iraq? Regardless of what you think you are, Hair challenges your perceptions. A kaleidoscopic, mandala-esque painting on the stage provides a locus for the characters to dance and sing and poke fun at the world outside the theater. And there is a lot of fun.” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“Much smoke is blown, and much adolescent naughtiness is waved like a banner. But just to see the glowing idealism on the faces of fine actors like Khnemu Menu-Ra, Aaron Lawson and others is somehow astonishing in this age of bitter disappointment and gloom, and to hear the folksy and dramatic songs of Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot  raised so beautifully is a great pleasure. . . . For the generation of psychedelic awakening and sexual revolution, this lock of Hair is a sentimental touchstone and a heart-warming bit of modern Americana.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

“Scott Miller knows this material well, and his skilled direction keeps the action flowing and the actors focused. The tribe is well cast, and seem completely comfortable with one another. And they make a marvelous sound harmonizing together on this catchy score. Thom Crain's costumes add a nice air of authenticity. Chris Peterson's work on piano and conducting the small ensemble is impeccable. The band provides a solid pulse to this electrified revival meeting.” – Chris Gibson, KDHX-FM

HIGH FIDELITY (2008)

BEST SHOW of 2008: Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, this stylish musical didn’t last long on Broadway, but its first incarnation beyond the Great White Way was a smashing success under the inspired direction of Scott Miller.  Superbly capturing the essence of Hornby’s characters, led by music-store-clerk-turned-owner Rob, the energy and passion of Miller’s cast was infectious and immensely appealing.  Jeffrey Wright showed us Rob’s vulnerability and sweetness beyond the rock ‘n’ roll sass, and his easy-going musical style delightfully conveyed the show’s triumphant spirit.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News Theater Year in Review”

“New Line’s version is brimming with joy, the lyrics are sharp and funny, and the music is riddled with in-jokes and references to the actual pop songs that substitute for Rob’s emotional life. It's a very, very good show. . . New Line Theatre brings the show to a college campus black-box theatre, an ideal reflection of the show's youthful feel and self-absorbed hero. The tough little coming of age story is now allowed to shine, and it's very bright indeed. . . The music is sharp and clever, and the New Line Band performs it all quite rockingly. . .” – Paul Friswold, The Riverfront Times

“A 5 on a scale of 1-to-5. Sweet and charming while also faithful to its raw rock roots, New Line’s rendition of High Fidelity soars on the energy of its solid music and consistent comedy. Highlights abound throughout, from the entertaining and pulsating opening number, “The Last Real Record Store on Earth,” to the poignant ballad, “Laura, Laura”. . . New Line’s High Fidelity can be cherished as fondly as Rob’s coveted collection of old 45s. What a rewarding sound it is.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

In the spirit of author Nick Hornby, I'm presenting the top five reasons you should go see New Line Theatre's production of the musical High Fidelity, in reverse order. Number five, because it features catchy songs from composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Amanda Green. Number four, because David Lindsay-Abaire’s script captures the novel’s flavor better than the film adaptation did. Number three, because this is the midwest premiere, and you'll want to see this in it’s purest form before it gets de-fanged for mass consumption. Number two, because it features a terrific cast, and a crack band. And number one, because New Line has put together an incredibly entertaining show that deserves your attendance. – Chris Gibson, KDHX-FM

“The stars are in perfect alignment for the regional premiere of Tom Kitt and Amanda Green's musical, based on the novel by Nick Hornby. Director Scott Miller has put together a fine cast of actors and singers (in an interesting new venue), to stage the lives of young men in a used record shop, and the women who love them. Individually, and in delightful groups, they blaze through a series of power ballads, make-up songs, break-up songs and more, covering musical idioms from the soulful sixties to the acrid eighties. . . Critics of the recent movie and the subsequent Broadway musical seemed to seize upon the mere quirkiness of these slacker-esthetes, adrift in a sea of post-adolescent angst, as the main thrust of the evening. But the intimate confines of the Hotchner studio theater at Washington University serve them well, helping us focus on small tragedies and moderate evils, raising them to a grander scale. A bigger stage, or a more dazzling theater would merely wage war on an intimate story like this. Instead, in these pleasant, bare-bones surroundings, High Fidelity finds a perfect setting.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

High Fidelity started out as a delightful novel by Nick Hornby, then turned into a cute movie starring John Cusack. But it's not an obvious candidate for the musical stage. That's because when we think of musicals, we tend to think of flashy extravaganzas. New Line Theatre, however, specializes in small, smart shows instead. Maybe that's why its production of High Fidelity pays off: The whole thing is built to scale. . . High Fidelity makes for appealing entertainment.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

ASSASSINS (2008)

“[New Line Theatre’s] Assassins is essential theater for people who disdain musicals because they think they're too pretty, too silly or just dumb. This ugly, serious, very smart production adds up to one of the most challenging theater pieces to play here in ages. . .  But underneath all the entertainment lurks a serious question: How did picking up a gun turn into a way to say, ‘Here I am’? And how do we make that change? We have no answers on this stage – just acute questions that deserve to be raised.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“[Director Scott] Miller's direction is subtle but tight. He moves his players around the stage, and even the auditorium, with grace and authenticity. Russell J. Bettlach’s costumes evoke the eras in which they lived. The assassins remain on stage when they aren't directly involved in the action. They sit quietly in nine chairs on a simple set surrounded by a few props, including an ominous package that Oswald believes are curtain rods until Booth reveals the rifle beneath the wrappings. The rest of David Carr and Jeffrey P. Breckel’s set is simple with an ingenious, large wooden piece to serve various purposes and three graphics hanging above. Stephen Moore’s lights deserve special mention because they are key to the various moods of madness, elation, fear, and sorrow that this roller coaster of a show evokes. On stage, excellent support is provided for the voices by the New Line Band.” – Andrea Braun, KDHX-FM

“Seated like the sides of a parenthesis in the middle of the stage are nine dysfunctional figures. Collectively, they slump their shoulders, keep their eyes to the ground and convey the impression of the misfits that they are. All presidential assassins or would-be assassins, they come together here, in a breezy one-act musical, to tell us why they did what they did, not for forgiveness. With a book by John Weidman and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Assassins crackles with energy, comedy and sassy class.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“If you're looking to add another notch to your Sondheim gun belt, here is an infrequent opportunity to see a cynical, unsettling entertainment by the defining theater composer of our generation.” – Dennis Brown, The Riverfront Times

SEX, DRUGS, AND ROCK & ROLL (2007)

New Line Theatre, whose fans followed the company around town for years, opens its 17th season in a new venue with a revue that stirred up controversy before the show even opened. The dustup, which centered on a clause in the contract to sell a church and turn it into a theater, died quickly. As it turns out, Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll makes a strong season opener. . . There's no plot. Still, Scott Miller, who conceived and directed the show, plays songs from different eras off each other, adding unexpected context and resonance. . . Overall, Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll makes for an entertaining evening that shows off New Line's sensibility, performers and new home.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“The four final numbers in the first act, from Avenue Q, Naked Boys Singing, Tomfoolery and I Love My Wife, were a perfect blend and an ideal example of using satire to make a political – or sexual – statement. . . Good voices and ensemble work from all the performers; Matthew Korinko and Isabel Pastrana, plus pianist Chris Petersen, left fine impressions. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, fast-moving, tuneful entertainment at the Ivory Theatre.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

“Miller keeps the two-act, two-hour show moving at a brisk and enjoyable pace for the most part, and he’s assembled a strong cast that is comfortable and engaging delivering tunes from myriad works. . . Miller’s energetic troupe delivered the goods with fun and flair.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“After a little controversy about whether it was suitable fare for a theater built in a former church, the verdict is in. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll is not obscene! (What a relief.) The good thing is that The New Line Theatre and its fearless Artistic Director, Scott Miller, received thousands of dollars worth of free publicity during the mini-squabble, and hopefully it will sell more tickets to this worthy musical review about three aspects of life in which most adults participate in at least 2 out of 3.” – Harry Hamm, KMOX

URINETOWN (2007)

“An exhilarating, don’t-miss experience. . . Urinetown plays like a tale of class warfare as performed by the Marx Brothers, and [director Scott] Miller doesn't let politics get in the way of the laughs. The cast is first-rate, and Robin Michelle Berger’s choreography is gloriously in step with the story. So put your pennies together for the funniest, most tuneful show in town.”  – Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“If you ever take a reviewer's advice, let this be it: GO SEE THIS PLAY. Seriously. . . I have enjoyed quite a bit of theatre over the years and this is in the top 10.” – Kirsten Wylder, KDHX-FM

“New Line Theater's production of this biting satire of politics, capitalism, corporate greed, environmental crises and, most importantly, of musical theater itself, was first-rate, particularly the extremely talented cast.” – Amy Burger, PlaybackSTL

GREASE (2007)

Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's Grease is one of my favorite shows, and I've seen several different versions over the last few years. Having seen the movie when I was a teenager, I'd always preferred productions that included songs from the film. But, ever since I saw New Line Theatre's raw, original take, I've become something of a purist.” – Chris Gibson, BroadwayWorld.com, reviewing the national tour in 2009

“Witty entertainment with something to say about teen sexuality, peer pressure and the erotic power of pop music. It must have been there all along, hiding under layers of poodle skirts and Clearasil.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“New Line opts to go back to basics and present the play more as it was originally conceived complete with raw language and frank sexuality. This is a horny and vulgar Grease that flips the bird at convention. It's a daring approach that pays off... What New Line is presenting is more of an ensemble piece and, thankfully the cast delivers an entertaining night of theatre with attitude.” – Chris Gibson, KDHX-FM

The best thing about the current production of Grease by the New Line Theatre is the tight, driving band led by Chris Petersen. The night I was there, a good chunk of the audience stood around after the show to listen to Petersen channel Jerry Lee Lewis as the band wound things up. There is nothing dull on that bandstand.” – Bob Wilcox, West End Word

JOHNNY APPLEWEED (2006)

“This smart, engaging musical satire clearly intends to reclaim American mythology for folks whose political sentiments are proudly left of center. . . With book, music, lyrics and direction by Scott Miller, Johnny Appleweed has the energy and wit of the early Saturday Night Live. Indeed, there’s a gloriously irreverent sketch-comedy sensibility at work. . . Even if you don’t share its attitudes about marijuana, the state of American democracy or the current occupant of the Oval Office, Johnny Appleweed is likely to win you over. It’s a giddy delight.” – Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“It may just be that producer/director Scott Miller has wasted his greatest talents on highly authentic revivals of other people's shows these last sixteen years. It may be that all that time, he should have been writing musicals about other people just getting wasted. . . Johnny Appleweed is full of excellent melody and excellent humor carried through by highly proficient performers, in this latest entry in the St. Louis Political Theatre Festival. . . The physical direction sparkles, and the band led by Chris Petersen is agile and compelling. The songs are beautiful, and the jokes are nearly all sure-fire. . . It's quite stupendous.” – Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com

“It's hard to believe that Johnny Appleweed is a musical – thankfully, it doesn't resemble any of your typical Broadway fare. . . Without ruining the end, I'll just say that it's magical. In more ways than one. But the idea that was handed to me in the most obvious way during this musical was about popular culture. Too many people regard potheads as complete idiots, but this depiction of them was brilliantly intelligent. I really liked everything that they had to say. Maybe we should start listening to those potheads.” – Kaylen Hoffman, PlaybackSTL

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (2006)

“Director Scott Miller has brilliantly reimagined the early Andrew Lloyd Webber triumph for the here and now. . . Lloyd Webber’s unforgettable music and Tim Rice’s witty lyrics benefit mightily from Miller’s chamber-musical approach. Without the customary bombast, it’s possible not only to hear the show, but to listen to it. . . [The two leads] bring superlative showmanship to the proceedings without forsaking emotional truth. And their singing is at once convincingly anguished and gloriously theatrical. . . Smart, engaging and ultimately poignant, this Superstar is a winner. ” – Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

A climax that was shocking both in terms of the action itself and in terms of what impact it brought to the production as a whole. . . Miller's modernization concept gives the production a thought-provoking aura. The production also avoids the tendency of the final scenes to feel interminable.” – Backstage

“Director Scott Miller promised to bring something new and different to his New Line Theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and he did. . . There is excellent work throughout the cast, and Miller’s casting choices are exemplary. . . A superior production. . .” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

“This production rocks the house. If your soul needs re-charging plug in to the Art Loft for some soul food. Be warned, as I said, it's apparently not for everyone, but then what is anymore? Take an open mind and a need to groove.” – Kirsten Wylder, KDHX-FM

“New Line Theatre's minimalist approach focuses audience attention appropriately on the music, which is well-sung by the ensemble and backed up by a great band.” – Deanna Jent, The Riverfront Times

BAT BOY (2006)

“New Line's artistic director, Scott Miller, has brought Bat Boy back in all its screwball glory. It is a moment to savor… Bat Boy is just as much fun as it was the first time around… This is musical theater for audiences who think that musical theater can't be hip. They're in for a very smart surprise.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“New Line Theatre scores another hit this season with its wacky musical, Bat Boy: The Musical… Congratulations are in order for Miller and his amazing cast/crew for putting the fun back in musical theater. This production will definitely be in contention for my best show of 2006. Kudos to New Line Theatre!” – Jim Campbell, Playback STL

“Part spoof, part fantasy, part plea for tolerance and understanding and love, part rowdy and raucous musical comedy, Bat Boy adds up to outstanding entertainment, and the New Line Theatre production brings the evening to exciting, high-powered life.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

“Snatched directly from the headlines of your friendly neighborhood grocery-store tabloid, Bat Boy is raucous entertainment with a social message occasionally emerging from pun-strewn humor. The New Line Theatre production scores nicely, with Scott Miller's direction gathering up almost all the loose ends.” – Backstage

“Some shows are just too much fun to let slip away. In that vein, nearly the entire cast of New Line’s 2003 Bat Boy has returned to sink their teeth into this show (and into American life) one more time. They do a spectacular job with a silly comedy full of deep meanings, under the highly organized direction of Scott Miller… as always, it comes down to great singing and great comedy. This show has more than enough of each to draw us out of our own mid-winter's bat cave, foraging for fun.” – Richard Green, KDHX-FM

“You've read about him in the Weekly World News; now see the Bat Boy live in this energetic New Line Theatre production… Director Scott Miller's slick staging keeps the story in sharp focus, maintaining a difficult balance between the script's campy comedy and its genuine emotion.” – Deanna Jent, The Riverfront Times

THE FANTASTICKS (2005)

At New Line Theatre, the audience is used to surprises. . . this time, the surprise lies in the voices - the best that New Line has ever showcased. They make the familiar, unassuming musical sound, of all things, lush. ” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“This was a night that I was glad to enjoy the simplicity of theater the old-fashioned way. In an age of spectacle, The Fantasticks is fantastic in its smallness. . . New Line's Fantasticks is not a musical to blow you out of your seat. Rather, it is an experience in the goodness of the human heart, and does in fact speak of timeless themes relevant to our selfish modern world. . . listeners should take some time next weekend to enjoy the simple bliss that is The Fantasticks courtesy of the New Line Theater. ” – Doug Storm, KDHX-FM

Less is more with The Fantasticks, and that makes it an ideal show for artistic director Scott Miller's New Line Theatre. The Fantasticks accommodates just two musicians, harpist Sue Taylor and pianist Chris Petersen, whose soft, subtle renditions of the jazzy tunes of lyricist Tom Jones and composer Harvey Schmidt nicely complement the low-key action on stage. Under Miller's sure and steady direction, his ensemble delivers the wit and charm of this gentle show in a way that reminds us of why The Fantasticks was performed a staggering 17,162 times in a tiny theater in New York for 42 years (!) beginning in 1960.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“New Line’s The Fantasticks is a good illustrator of why it’s sometimes okay to just let a piece be what it is, whether that be simple or grandiose, fluffy or deep, comedy or tragedy. It also shows why the best shows mix these labels up, or, rather, have a little of everything. Sometimes it’s worth just seeing a good play done well. You might get your thoughts provoked, or you might not, but the enjoyment makes it all worthwhile.” – John Shepard, Playback St. Louis

   KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN (2005)

Director Scott Miller has cleared the bases with a rousing grand slam of an interpretation of this fabulously rich musical. It's a gritty and glorious salute to the combined genius of Kander, Ebb and McNally, with appropriate respect to Puig, and his cast is clearly equal to the task.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“Over the years, New Line has done well with other shows by John Kander and Fred Ebb (Cabaret, Chicago). But this production demonstrates that New Line's artistic director, Scott Miller, has an affinity for their viewpoint that transcends the 'greatest hits' approach. The story of Molina [Scott Tripp] and his revolutionary cellmate, Valentin (Nicholas Kelly), combines left-wing politics, imaginative musical numbers and a seedy, ripped-stocking glamour. That's the New Line aesthetic in a nutshell. It's a great fit.... It adds up to a fascinating evening of unusual theater... the New Line production never relinquishes the play's central point. That deals with questions of personal loyalty and overriding social good. It won't make theater-goers feel comfortable. But Miller and his company can feel proud to address a play so hard to take and make it pay off on its own terms.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

”Director Scott Miller knocked the casting ball out of the park by bringing together a top-notch and very talented group of actors... Miller should be doubly proud: first, for what he has accomplished this season with New Line Theatre, but also for being able to bring all of these fine actors together for a truly extraordinary performance.” – Jim Campbell,
Playback St. Louis

Kiss of the Spider Woman is one of New Line's best productions.” – Bob Wilcox, KDHX-FM

THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM (2005)

Scott Miller has a hit on his hands! The New Line Theatre has opened The Robber Bridegroom, and you definitely must see this show. Sweet and charming and outrageous and corny and violent and sexy and utterly engaging, this wonderfully imaginative piece is based on a novel by Eudora Welty... It's delightful, it's charming, and it's absolutely Edenically innocent.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

God Bless New Line Theater and Artistic Director Scott Miller for having the sense to put on a show as interesting as The Robber Bridegroom. New Line Theatre, the self-proclaimed Bad Boy of Musical Theater, lives up to the title yet again with their most recent production… By challenging the way we look at musicals, [New Line] makes them more accessible to the common man, while giving theater snobs something to love in the process. For those that fall somewhere betwixt the two, you’re in luck, as New Line’s players will indeed entertain.” – Tyson Blanquart, Playback St. Louis

The Robber Bridegroom suits Miller’s smart, no-frills aesthetic – and boasts the added advantage of unfamiliarity. It’s one show that nobody’s seen ‘too many times.’ Yet it’s a charmer. . . But The Robber Bridegroom is a fairy-tale for grown-ups. The four-man band serves up the blue-grass score (by composer Robert Waldman and lyricist Alfred Uhry) in likeable, familiar, laid-back style. But catch the lyrics to songs like ‘Two Heads’ or ‘Poor Tied Up Darlin.’ There’s no latent message here. Violent, sexual and avaricious impulses are right on surface of this story, in which civilization and self-control are as easy to rip off as Rosamund’s dainty frocks. ” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

"Director Scott Miller scores a triumph with his delightful production that smartly captures the free spirit and charming effervescence of this romp through the woods.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

The indomitable Mr. Miller [as director] has taken what he's got and whipped his cast into a proper frenzy of comic cataclysm.” – Richard Green, Talkin’ Broadway.com

“A bright, charming production by New Line Theatre. . . Highly entertaining.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

MAN OF LA MANCHA (2004)

“Director Scott Miller and a talented ensemble meaningfully reinterpret for today this stirring hymn to individualism from the experimental theatre movement of nearly forty years ago. . . The entire company's approach and embodiment of Wasserman's and Cervantes' quest for truth in illusion inspires admiration.  With Miller's moving yet focused direction, each performer contributes talent and conviction throughout. . . New Line proves Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha is not dead, but lives ‘a life worth living’.” – Nancy Crouse, KDHX-FM

Man of La Mancha is in the pantheon of stellar shows in the Broadway musical canon. The New Line Theatre production, directed with keen intuition and appropriate reverence by Scott Miller, beautifully underscores the inherent nobility and passion of the work with a masterful presentation. . . a stunning triumph.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“The show is another hit from one of the most stylistic theater companies in St. Louis. For those out there that tend to shy away from musical theater, I highly recommend this production, as it will remove any ill-conceived notions you may have about the genre, and make you think twice about judging a book by its cover. ” – Tyson Blanquart, Playback St. Louis

            

“Once it begins to roll, it sweeps like an avalanche. . . a great show in every respect.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

             

The layers encasing this performance keep the audience at a shrewd distance, though the intimate staging does not. Todd Schaefer [as Cervantes/Quixote] fiddles with the relationship between actor and role and between actor and audience. . . Miller's production is all about thinking hard... They keep it honest for two meaty, intermission-free hours.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

             

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2004)

“What's a girly boy to do when his sex-change operation is botched? Form a rock & roll band! Todd Schaefer shows off an amazing voice in this confessional concert piece, which features a kick-ass band and great cross-gender supporting work from Stephanie Brown.” – Deanna Jent, Riverfront Times

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a challenging piece of theater, to audiences and to the St. Louis theater community as well… the sort of theatre St. Louisans should be exposed to.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

“Mr. Schaefer's [Hedwig] gains the edge by having the stamp of a Scott Miller production: clearly thought-out; artistically consistent; and faithful to playwright Cameron Mitchell's intent. The New Line/WAPP version gives us a Hedwig whose gifts are indisputable – and whose past, present, and future are even richer, thanks to greater artistic virtuosity.” – Richard Green, KDHX-FM

Hedwig is genuinely worth seeing more than once from different points of view. In fact, the book by John Cameron Mitchell and the music and lyrics by Stephen Trask are so intellectually and musically compelling that a first viewing creates an appetite for a second. One interpretation sparks interest in another.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Todd Schaefer projects a bittersweet and melancholy portrayal of Hedwig, describing the tragic tale of the unhappy and lonely soul, underplaying the anger and focusing instead on the character’s confusion and angst. He is nicely complemented by Stephanie Brown’s taciturn twist on Yitzak, both carping and retreating from Hedwig’s futility. Scott Miller’s direction wisely emphasizes the strengths of the musical score, which offers a number of superior rock anthems, from the pulsating opening number ‘Tear Me Down’ to the plaintive ‘Origin of Love’ and the lovely ballad ‘The Long Grift,’ which offers some sweet harmony by Schaefer and Brown.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

REEFER MADNESS (2004)

“When it comes to goofy fun, Reefer Madness has kilos to spare.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“The New Line cast is bursting with energy and talent. . . the excellent band and the bright performances will ensure that you'll have a high old hoot of a time at New Line's Reefer Madness.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

“Kevin Murphy's sly lyrics and Dan Studney's music are the highlights of New Line Theatre's mostly hilarious telling of this cautionary tale. . . Robin Berger's choreography is humorously snappy; combined with the fun songs, they happily critique the silly things Americans fear.” – Deanna Jent, The Riverfront Times

“New Line Artistic Director Scott Miller has a reputation in St. Louis for taking chances with unconventional shows. Witness New Line’s production of Batboy: The Musical last season. He comes up swinging again with Reefer Madness, the rock musical based on the 1936 scare-film of the same name. . . As with most New Line Theatre shows, Scott Miller has a point to make, and Miller gets his point across wonderfully with this production.” Tyson Blanquart, Playback St. Louis

New Line Theatre’s production is an amusing, tongue-in-cheek treat under the clever, droll direction of Scott Miller. The music to Reefer Madness has an ingratiating and appealing quality, with clever lyrics by Kevin Murphy and plenty of upbeat music by Dan Studney, both of whom collaborated on the book.” – Mark Bretz, Ladue News

THE NERVOUS SET (2004)

Many times, I've traveled thousands of miles and spent hundreds of dollars to see obscure musicals, but catching The Nervous Set at New Line turned out to be the most valuable theatrical pilgrimage I've ever made.” –  Peter Filichia, TheaterMania.com

God bless Miller for letting us see this odd bit of history. And bless him for the continuing adventure that is New Line Theatre.” –  Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

It's difficult not to get drawn into the idealism and hypocrisy of a group of young, disillusioned, brilliant show-offs. Bitterly funny irony and far-ahead-of-its-time social commentary.” –  John Shepherd, Playback St. Louis

The songs, by composer Tommy Wolf and lyricist Fran Landesman, are the engine of The Nervous Set, driving us through the narrow streets of Greenwich Village and to a few other outposts of greater New York... Today, we're inclined to see the Beats –  with their skepticism about consumerism society and their embrace of 'far-out' ideas in an era that valued conformity –  as cultural heroes. But The Nervous Set reminds us of some of the less attractive aspects of Beat culture: its thoughtless sexism (men pursue ideas, women work to support them and lie down to please them), its arrant homophobia and its self-destructive addictions.” –  Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

New Line artistic director Scott Miller's forte is musical theatre and that strength is apparent... Jeffrey Pruett (Brad), Michael Deak (Bummy), and Nicholas Kelly (Danny) shine... This Nervous Set is jittery for good reason...” –  Mark Bretz, Ladue News

It was a pleasure to hear Fran Landesman's glorious lyrics and Tommy Wolf's music.” –  Joe Pollack, KWMU

SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (2003)

The ArtLoft [Theatre] has the potential to change with every show. For New Line Theatre's current production there, Sunday in the Park with George, director Scott Miller and set designer Justin Barisonek exploit that potential with elegance and wit. . . Rarely staged, Sunday is an odd work. Its proportions are unfamiliar; it's slower and more cerebral than most musicals, and its century-long story arc demands a little patience. But with their apt design and distinctive staging, Miller and Barisonek set a welcoming pace, one that's a pleasure to keep.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

New Line Theatre's invigorating and richly rewarding production... is a strong, stirring, delicately textured work of art on its own.” – Mark Bretz, KDHX-FM

Stephen Sondheim composed his gorgeous score from a palette containing colors of astonishing beauty and texture... New Line's four-piece band does a Herculean job of conveying the inherent artfulness in this lush score.... Todd Schaefer emanates assurance and authority. In Act II, as Seurat's great-grandson, he even finds the evening's underlying conscience.” – The Riverfront Times

PARTY (Out of Line Productions, 2003)

The compelling thing about nudity onstage is that it erases the borders between character and actor – certainly the actors are still portraying people other than themselves, but there are no wigs and accents when the costumes come off – it's the real body of a real person in real time and space. It's this fascinating and unavoidable reality that is the strength of this production.... An audience member in front of me sighed happily as the play ended and said, 'Can we come again tomorrow night?' – Deanna Jent, The Riverfront Times

Party delivers exactly what is expected along with a genuinely sympathetic portrayal of gay men seeking, in [director Scott] Miller's words, 'the comfort of a collective culture'... The script has some outrageously funny lines that draw huge laughs. Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS (2003)

New Line Theatre's production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas ultimately provides not only marvelous music and dance but substantial food for thought. Deanna Jent, The Riverfront Times

Director Scott] Miller, who loves musical comedy, chooses to emphasize the musical over the comic in this production. . . But, having made his decision, he executes it with care and intelligence, delivering a production with charms of its own.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

BAT BOY (2003)

“Bat Boy: The Musical has everything anyone needs for a great night of theater: sex, laughs, music, drama and dead cows. . . New Line Theatre's production of Bat Boy The Musical is profoundly theatrical, asking audience members to imaginatively participate in an unexpected journey that's thrilling, scary, funny and thought-provoking.” – Deanna Jent, Riverfront Times

“So weird. So smart. So shocking. So entertaining. Bat Boy, a hit off-Broadway, has found a worthy roost at New Line Theatre, where artistic director Scott Miller has spent 12 years honing a taste for musicals with just those characteristics. . . this show is in a class by itself – and New Line's confident production lets it stand on its own webbed feet.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Splendid fun. Todd Schaefer is dazzling in the title role, acting and singing and well, dominating the stage. April Lindsey, Jason Cannon and Deborah Sharn stand out as his 'family,' and the rest of the cast, in a wild variety of roles, costumes and genders, bring West Virginia to madcap life.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

Even if you hate musicals, you will not be disappointed by this one.  This is a "do not miss"; I was more satisfied by Bat Boy than by most of the productions I have seen at The Fox.” – Stanford Griffith, The Current

This production works on many levels thanks to the exuberant cast. Todd Schaefer is spectacular in the title role.” – Sheila Schultz, KDHX-FM

One of the best musical theatre scores I've heard recently. . . Miller and New Line never do shows that waste either their time or ours.” – Bob Wilcox, West End Word 

ATTACK OF THE SHOW TUNES (2003)

“We're fortunate to have a professional company in St. Louis willing to take creative risks and facilitate the reshaping of audience tastes.” – Sheila Schultz, KDHX-FM

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (2002)

Rocky reminds us vividly of the emotional power actors can exert when they're in the same room as their audience, even if they're kidding around.” – Judith  Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“When it comes to challenging St. Louis theater audiences, to stretching them, exposing them to new stimuli, hardly anyone is in a class with Scott Miller. . . Rocky Horror will bring much-needed light and laughter to downtown.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

  “Scott Miller directs the New Line production with a grand sense of theater that showcases the campy wit of the musical while still maintaining a necessary discipline to the process.” – Mark Bretz, Laude News

CHICAGO (2002)

"Smart, steamy and a heck of a lot of fun, marking one of New Line's strongest efforts" -- Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Extremely entertaining . . . Because the New Line production is stripped down to its essence, it reveals something that neither of the flashier, more expensive New York productions embodied: likeability. . . All in all, this is the most fully realized New Line production I've yet seen. . . This is the sort of opportunity that musical theater lovers pray for, and then travel great distances to indulge in.” – Dennis Brown, Riverfront Times

"Chicago is highly enjoyable, with fine musicians and enough talent on the stage to keep things rolling from start to finish." -- Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

"If you want to see another New Line hit packed with great music, dancing, costumes, and actors, don't miss Chicago." -- Nicole Trueman, KDHX-FM

"A rousing production . . . a capable cast is given license to gleefully cavort to the infectious, jazzy tone of the show, and New Line's performers are up to the challenge." -- Mark Bretz, Ladue News

“A showy, brightly produced musical filled with extremely talented actors, singers and dancers, who give it their all.” – Cathy Cohn, The Vital Voice

A NEW BRAIN (2002)

"A neurotic, quirky and profoundly life-affirming show" -- St. Louis Post Dispatch

"A delightful, albeit dark comedy. Scott Miller's inspired direction of this sung-through musical keeps the show galloping at a brisk pace with restful interludes. . . Todd Schaefer, who plays the gay lover of our angst-ridden lead, has an outstanding voice. . . Lovely of voice, Mo Monahan brings enough compassion to the role to mitigate Mother's overbearing trait. . . Terry Meddow's energetic portrayal of the bug-eyed Bungee suggests that, despite appearances, it isn't easy being green. Karen Page gives a stellar performance as the Homeless Lady who shuffles in and out of Schwinn's consciousness. . . The remaining cast and 4-piece band do an exceptional job with a score, the complexity of which demands consummate skill and precision. . . Here's one show you're unlikely to find on any other stage in St. Louis." - Sheila Schultz, KDHX-FM

"Scott Miller's New Line Theatre is all about presentations that are daring, different or deliciously skewering the conventional. . . There's enough to appreciate in Finn's inspired whimsy, and New Line's zestful interpretation by its capable cast under the judicious care of director Scott Miller, to make A New Brain a pleasing, if offbeat and quirky, selection." - Mark Bretz, Ladue News

"[Composer William] Finn . . . is known for stretching the boundaries of the genre. . . Deborah Sharn is engaging and brings energy and depth to Rhoda, Schwinn's agent . . . The always excellent Terry Meddows does a fine job as Gordon's boss, the man-frog Mr. Bungee. The audience most enjoys the entertaining Nicholas Kelly as the self-effacing 'nice nurse' Richard. . . I'm glad Finn recovered, and he deserves credit for experimenting with the form." -- Brian Hohlfeld, Riverfront Times

"Terry Meddows is bright as Mr. Bungee, who owns the TV show, and there is splendid work from Nicholas Kelly as Richard, the night nurse. Deborah Sharn is outstanding as Rhoda, [Gordon's] good friend, and Karen Page and Ken Haller are often entertaining." -- Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

"Gordon's boss (Terry Meddows), a sardonic sourpuss in a toad costume brings a welcome dash of vinegar. . . And Nicholas Kelly sparkles as the 'nice nurse'." -- Judy Newmark, Post Dispatch

THE CRADLE WILL ROCK (2001)

"Most Ambitious Production of 2001" -- Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch, "The Year in Theatre"

“[New Line's] Cradle Will Rock is one of the most memorable shows I have ever seen. This joint venture is not only brilliant in idea, but also in execution.” – Tony Burnett, Talkin Broadway.com

“An intriguing new production . . . energetic, intelligent . . . passionate, stylized and exciting.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

A spirited, entertaining production . . . absurd and chilling at the same time, the perfect blend of musical form and content.” – Brian Hohlfeld, The Riverfront Times

“New Line’s production of The Cradle Will Rock is a delightful and compelling show, featuring numerous strong performances.” – Mark Bretz, KDHX-FM

HAIR (2001)

“New Line’s production . . . forged an intense connection with its audience. . . The finale, ‘Let the Sun Shine In,’ was almost unbearably emotional. and brought the audience onto the stage to tearfully hug and dance with the cast.” – Allison Xantha Miller, American Theatre Magazine

“When a director revives a play less than a year after he first staged it, he better have good reason – reasons like style, audience appeal and abundant energy. New Line artistic director Scott Miller has all the reason he needs for this summer's revival of last summer's hit, Hair. . . [It] is, above all, an ensemble piece. It emerged from a time when it seemed possible that group efforts to change society could succeed. This play, and New Line's production of it, succeed on exactly those same terms.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Director Scott Miller’s Osage Tribe is an ensemble cast of frenzied and frolicking psychedelic-perfection. . . The Osage shout, scream, wail, sing, point, dance, laugh, plead, and rage to the audience that is intimately wrapped around the stage like some morphed tribal council in trance. It is wondrous.. . But it is the Osage ensemble that is the real star. Their unbridled energy and communal vocals framed within Miller’s imaginative choreography provide a manic tale that when finished finds you somewhere in between tears and euphoric joy.” – Colin Murphy, The Vital Voice

"Don't let the language and the nude scene fool you – there's a lot of innocence and idealism on the stage, and those are two things we need – any time – whether with Hair or without.” – Joe Pollack, KWMU-FM

“New Line Theatre shows off its crowning glory in an open-ended run of Hair.” – Byron Kerman, The Riverfront Times

“Artistically, [Hair in June 2000] was one of the best productions New Line ever staged, and everybody seemed to know it.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

ANYONE CAN WHISTLE (2001)

“Instead of bringing serious matters to the foreground, as he often does, director Scott Miller went all out for entertainment and let the issues emerge from a framework of farce. The resulting show offered much to enjoy on the surface without obscuring the depth.” – Gerry Kowarksy, The Sondheim Review

“The best reason to see Anyone Can Whistle, the appealing mess of a show that New Line Theatre is staging at the ArtLoft is simple. You’re not likely to get another chance. . . Still, anything by Stephen Sondheim has an element of fascination, thanks to his enormous influence on modern musical theatre. New Line’s artistic director Scott Miller, who has staged a number of Sondheim shows, directs this one with verve and intelligence. . . Miller and choreographer JT Ricroft make the most of the ArtLoft’s flexible space.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“[Director Scott] Miller and choreographer JT Ricroft stage the musical numbers with brio – nicely adapting to the ArtLoft’s shallow stage and making intriguing use of aisle space.” – Cliff Froehlich, The Riverfront Times

CABARET (2001)

“A small spotlight falls on a door, slightly ajar. A hand reaches out, showing off black-polished nails. The index finger beckons seductively. Then the middle finger signals. With that opening moment, director Scott Miller condenses his entire approach of Cabaret – tempting, vulgar, shrewdly theatrical and admirably economical. It's one of the most powerful productions that Miller's company, New Line Theatre, has ever staged. . . [The band’s] raw sound suits the mood that Miller and choreographer JT Ricroft evoke in steamy Klub numbers like ‘Money’ and ‘Two Ladies,’ visually exciting and metaphorically explicit. We're in a very sick world. . . Christopher Crivelli's venomous performance as the Kit Kat emcee sets the standard for this show – leering, cold, totally in control. Robin Kelso plays the English star of the club, Sally Bowles, with a lot of flair both in her ‘onstage’ scenes (more pose than talent) and her ‘offstage’ scenes (more pose than heart). Yet her winning, tiny smile, coupled with occasional bursts of warmth, complicates the character. You can't dismiss her, and you can't trust her. It's a provocative combination. . . But the cold heart of the play lies in the Kit Kat Klub ensemble, whose entertainments reveal a morally bereft world-view that still can frighten us. And should.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

"I'm sitting in the front row of the most remarkable production to hit St. Louis this season. . . We're close enough that this once familiar musical is transformed into something quite unlike any production of it you may have seen. It's Cabaret . . And it's one of the best things I've seen the New Line Theatre do. . . Director Scott Miller has made his New Line Theatre a St. Louis institution, and I'm happy to see that it has so vibrantly survived the loss of the St. Marcus. It is very much at home in the Art Loft Theatre on Washington. Besides his deep understanding of musical theatre, Miller's chief gift, I think, is for the gathering of outstanding talent.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

“A must-see for anyone who is interested in theatre in St. Louis.” –Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Cabaret, at the New Line Theatre, is a flawed but noteworthy production of the groundbreaking musical, which is as fresh and provocative as it was when it was created in 1966. The production is at its strongest in the musical numbers, all staged deftly on the tiny clublike stage by director Scott Miller and choreographer JT Ricroft. Vocally, the cast is first-rate [and] the band excellent (the accordion is a nice touch). . . In the opening number, ‘Wilkommen,’ the over-rouged, zombielike Kit Kat girls and boys, and their Emcee (Christopher Crivelli) perform enough pelvic thrusts and simulated oral sex for several productions. We're supposed to be shocked, shocked, but the gestures are so mechanical and contrived that they become boring and meaningless. Perhaps that's what director Miller intended: Sex has become common currency, as devalued as the German mark.” – Brian Hohlfeld, The Riverfront Times

HAIR (2000)

“A gripping production from New Line Theatre. . . The in-the-round presentation, with actors running through the audience, suits director Scott Miller's intense style. His production moves with the studied emotional focus of a dream – or a memory. . . And this production perfectly captures the deep, genuine anger that the Vietnam War provoked at home. 'Three-Five-Zero-Zero,' a song in which the hallucinating Claude envisions his hippie friends falling in battle, is a stunning depiction of how immediate the threat felt to people a world away from the war.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“New Line Theatre's production of Hair, which opened last weekend in the A.E. Hotchner Drama Studio on the Washington University campus, may pull you into a gallop down memory lane (if you're older) or (if you're younger) may cause an attack of envy because your parents lived in much more interesting times than you do. Whatever the effect, a strong, musical cast make the book, music and lyrics seem as fresh and fun as they were in 1968.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

“At once historical and iconoclastic, this classic hippie postcard from the summer of love remains as brittle and quirky as ever, but the New Line production reveled in the shaggy spirit, and proved largely enjoyable.” – Brian McCary, KDHX-FM

OUT ON BROADWAY 2000

“At least the quirky little [St. Marcus] theater is going out in style. Scott Miller's revue, which presents musical theater songs in a gay context, has graceful, small-scale proportions, just right for this theater in terms of music, voice and staging. Furthermore, the show's message – a plea for tolerance, particularly in regard to sexual orientation – is a fair summation of the point that many St. Marcus shows have made . . . Miller even works in “Danny Boy.” But the ensemble rendition changes the terms so drastically that “Danny Boy” gains fresh meaning, tender and powerful. The song underscores the value of shows like this one: They reveal the familiar in a fresh light. Audiences need places that offer us that perspective.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Out on Broadway 2000, Scott Miller's beguiling assemblage of show tunes, looks like a lot of fun to do. . . This show makes you want to dish about the wise and witty performances of each singer.” – Sally Cragin, The Riverfront Times

“The gimmick sometimes works too, culling surprises from familiar lyrics when placed in a new context. I discovered I'd never really listened to the lyrics of ‘Far From the Home I Love,’ from Fiddler on the Roof, until I heard it in Out on Broadway 2000.” – Bob Wilcox, KDHX-FM  

"New Line Theatre's Out on Broadway 2000 gender-reversed Broadway and cabaret standards and provided dreamy entertainment. All that was missing was the clink of ice cubes and a blue haze of cigarette smoke." -- The Riverfront Times, "Best of 2000"

FLOYD COLLINS (1999)

“New Line Theatre . . . continues the hot streak that began last season with Camelot and Into the Woods. Scott Miller's productions always are small in scale, but the imaginative scope of these recent shows has impressive depth. . . It offers perspective instead of self-indulgence, imagination instead of ego. It's a compelling musical and one that is well-suited to the New Line Theatre's stripped-down style.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Adam Guettel, the composer and lyricist, and Tina Landau have turned this dark, sad tale into a remarkable piece of musical theater that, although hardly flawless, is consistently interesting both in its music and it the way the story is told. . . New Line Theatre has fielded a strong cast whose vocal abilities are generally matches for Guettel's often demanding music. . . and what a pleasure it was to hear natural, unamplified voices.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

“Scott Miller's New Line Theatre company, in the small cave of the St. Marcus Theatre, is shouting out a beautiful exploratory cave call: they have been delving into the subterranean recesses of musical theatre for some years, and now they've opened a fine production that epitomizes their own search. . . The cast abounds with strong performances.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

HEAD GAMES (Out of Line Productions, 1999)

“[Author Scott] Miller provides an intelligent and interesting context, genuinely witty and clever lines, and a wholesomeness and honesty both unexpected — under the circumstances — and exhilarating. . . This, besides the verbal brilliance, is where Miller takes Head Games well beyond the dick-play genre. His director's program note and the piece in last week's RFT tell the audience in advance what Miller is going to do, but it's like a magician's explaining a trick before he performs it and still amazing his spectators.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

“The funniest moment in Head Games occurs when a character questions the artistic integrity of a director who plans to stage a play with gratuitous nudity. The irony is that the actor expressing these sentiments is gratuitously nude. . . Miller is an astute critic, and these questions are obviously important to him . . . The arguments about theater and sexuality are thought provoking, balanced and often amusing.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

INTO THE WOODS (1999)

“With Into the Woods, [director Scott Miller] continues his experiments in proportion. His intimate production of Stephen Sondheim’s sophisticated fairy tale reduces the Broadway hit to a nursery scale, befitting both its subject matter and its psychoanalytic viewpoint. The production . . . makes the most of the St. Marcus Theatre, turning its small size into an asset. . . Into the Woods brings together an exceptionally consistent cast.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“You can savor those words and music [of Into the Woods] in what may be New Line’s finest production yet. . . The cast plays with smart assurance, without a weak link in the chain. . . The whole production turns these old tales into adults versions rich in wit, music, and emotion – the most satisfying kind of entertainment.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

CAMELOT (1999)

“This show does not look, sound, or feel like any other Camelot [but] . . . this stripped down version has a lot going for it.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“It’s a longish evening, but so full of fine voices and serious, convincing performances, that its command of our attention is unfailing.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

“The musical’s dark ending doesn’t jar against too light and romantic a tone in the earlier scenes. Elemental passions and their potential for trouble lurk in the first moments, when even wise Merlin succumbs to the seductions of the flesh.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times  

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD (1998)

Songs for a New World is that very rare beast: an abstract musical. . . Here is a musical that doesn’t try to bombard or cajole you – it simply speaks honestly through fine music and proves that less can most certainly be more. . . Individually, the performers are fine, together they are fabulous, and the harmonies and group singing are uncommonly rich and vibrant. . . The mystical union of song and performance was simply profound at the St. Marcus. . . a true theatrical gem.” – Mike Isaacson, The Riverfront Times

"I'm at a loss as to just what to call this production, except fascinating, engrossing and totally absorbing. Its the kind of performance that just cries out to be seen more than once, just to get all the nuances of the lyrics of the songs. Maybe one could call this a musical call to personal reflection, almost a contemporary worship service without dogmatics, but even that might be to limiting a description for such a freewheeling exploration into the human soul.. .  The voices of the cast members are all outstanding and the emotion they put into each piece lifts the presentation from just a bunch of songs into something between poetry and worship. Most of the time the message is a powerful message of hope and faith in a God who knows the future, but sometimes it becomes a picture of the despair that comes when one looses that hope and faith. It is, as you can tell, a complex and fascinating evening you'll be thinking about for a long time to come. Come see the presentation with a friend whose opinion you value, then plan to spend many invigorating hours talking about what you heard on stage." -- Russ Thomas, KDHX-FM

“Just as personally inspiring for me was watching five local actors pour their hearts and talents into Songs for a New World, another New Line production, featuring the fine songs of Jason Robert Brown. . . making for a truly cherished memory.” – Mike Isaacson, “1998: The Year in Theatre,” The Riverfront Times

PARTY (Out of Line Productions, 1998)

Party is consistently amusing and frequently hilarious.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Party is light, funny, and mildly shocking if you’re not scandalized by full frontal male nudity and lots of it. . . Party is also innocent – it means no harm and does no harm. It celebrates friendship, tolerance, acceptance of self and others, and freedom from unhealthy inhibition.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

ASSASSINS (1998)

“For the most part, 1998 was full of supreme performances in solid productions. Looking back, only New Line Theatre’s production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins was, as a whole, a wild and gratifying surprise. Here, a talented group of locals inhabited Sondheim’s creepy vision of what lives under America’s political rocks. It was intense, entertaining, and terrifically ‘out there’.” – Mike Isaacson, “1998: The Year in Theater,” The Riverfront Times

“Intriguing and surprisingly funny. . . The production – a bare-bones, in-the-round presentation – emphasizes the show’s gallows humor and clever lyrics.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“There is a rare, exhilarating thrill to be had for the next two weeks in St. Louis. New Line Theatre’s frequently thrilling Assassins sets a new standard for the St. Marcus Theatre, and it easily ranks as one of the finest works ever produced there. The evening is funny, disciplined, scary, intimate and strangely credible. . . The astounding intensity of the cast, and the admirable fact that they never once step ‘outside’ the material or comment on it, but fully dwell in this strange, murky netherworld, must be credited to the co-direction of Scott Miller and Alison Helmer.” – Mike Isaacson, The Riverfront Times

MARCH OF THE FALSETTOS (1998)

“New Line Theatre’s current production of Falsettos may be the best work this company has done. . . Scott Miller and Alison Helmer direct a tight, inventive show with imaginative use of expressionistic images.” – Box Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

“Angry, challenging work . . . the New Line performers point up the conflicts within the characters as well as between them.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch  

WOMAN WITH POCKETBOOK (1998)

“The music by Jeff Blumenkrantz is pleasant, and the lyrics by Annie Kessler and Libby Saines are often very clever. With appealing performances from the New Line cast, Woman with Pocketbook adds up to an engaging curtain-raiser [to March of the Falsettos].” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“The cast treats this new material well, with really strong comic performances.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times  

EXTREME SONDHEIM (1997)

“At New Line Theatre, where Extreme Sondheim is now playing, comedy carries the day. The show sparkles in an imaginative trio of comedy songs near the end of the first act. . . All these songs, with their dazzling lyrics and sophisticated musical style, capture Sondheim’s contemporary, New York attitude and are strong enough to work in a revue, stripped of their plot lines.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

"For those not familiar with his work this production will provide a marvelous overview of the work of a talented composer and lyricist. If you are a Sondheim fan you will relish in sitting back and enjoying an evening of wonderful music presented by a diverse and talented group of performers." - Norma West, KDHX-FM

“What I did realize, hearing the songs out of context this way, was not only how clever and how lyrical Sondheim’s songs are, but how dramatic they are.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

THE BALLAD OF LITTLE MIKEY (1997)

“When you think you’ve seen it all, along comes something like The Ballad of Little Mikey, the only musical comedy ever to include a number about anonymous sex in a public bathroom. . . That willingness to poke fun is the sharpest thing about the play.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Though your jaw may drop, you’ll be hard pressed not to smile, for this number [“Tap”], and in fact most of Little Mikey, is offered with such a winning spirit that you can’t resist. . . Particularly in the first act, the show is smartly self-mocking, exploring the gay ethos with predictable romantic fawning and some sure, swift kicks.” – Mike Isaacson, The Riverfront Times

“Scott Miller and his New Line Theatre continue to bring St. Louis challenging, refreshing musical theatre that you simply can’t see anywhere else. . . The Ballad of Little Mikey will make you think and it will teach you a thing or two.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

JACQUES BREL (1997)

“New Line Theatre . . . has taken on the challenge and acquits itself with an entertaining and thoughtful production. . . directors Scott Miller and Brian Tibbets have understood and captured Brel’s smoky, bittersweet flavor.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Jacques Brel himself may have died a few years ago, but his spirit and his unique songs are indeed alive and well and living at the St. Marcus Theatre. . .The New Line Theatre’s current production captures all the potent poetry of Brel, and it is surprisingly fresh and current, despite the sometimes strong political or social content.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM

PASSION (1996)

“The New Line Theatre production of Passion is a triumph for director Scott Miller and his company. . . Miller’s cast and crew supply the fervor and understanding required to bring out the haunting melancholy of [James] Lapine’s book and [Stephen] Sondheim’s words and music.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“At once outrageous and courageous, Scott Miller’s production . . . has the audacity and insight to strip away the layers of pretension and seriousness that enveloped the original New York production. . . resulting in a wild, bold ride for the audience. Bring a friend, because you’ll have a lot to talk about. . . All involved deserve praise for attacking the difficult assignment with considerable intelligence, honesty, and of course, passion.” – Mike Isaacson, The Riverfront Time

SWEENEY TODD (1996)

“Under director Scott Miller, Sweeney appears in a completely different light, pared down and bitterly funny. . . Miller’s treatment makes sense and the tiny, peculiarly shaped St. Marcus Theatre is exactly the right setting for it. . . To be honest, I’ve seen Sweeney Todd before and never liked it. But this production made me consider it from a different perspective; I appreciate that.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Ultimately, it is the challenges that make Sweeney Todd, like so much Sondheim, a stimulating evening in the theatre.” – Box Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

“I was amazed at how beautifully the show fits in the tiny St. Marcus Theatre. . . I’m now convinced that is how it is most effective.” – Steve Callahan, KDHX-FM  

OUT ON BROADWAY (1996)

“A sweetly rewarding and happy surprise. . . Not since Tom Clear and Joan Lipkin’s Some of My Best Friends Are held court has a musical evening so expertly fused the intimacy, politics, and spirit of the St. Marcus. . . United in song and spirit, the cast and audience celebrate the fusion of a Broadway past into the home for a community’s political future.” – Mike Isaacson, The Riverfront Times

“Entertaining and thought-provoking, Out on Broadway, the new revue from New Line Theatre, offers musical theatre with a decidedly different twist. . . It’s what theater, at its best, is for.” – Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“A most thought-provoking, touching, and entertaining production.” – Christopher Jackson, News-Telegraph

“Some of the evening’s best moments owe their power to flawless harmonizing.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

IN THE BLOOD (1995)

“Ideas loom large in this work. The central one is ingenious. . . Two things do work for me in In the Blood. One – and it surprised me – was the vampire business. . . The other thing is the love story between the vampire and the hematologist. . . Much of that emotional conviction grows from [Author and composer Scott] Miller’s music, which is, I think, the best score he’s done for a show.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

“Conflicts lead to high-voltage confrontations, but the verbal fireworks do not result in a choice or a resolution.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

PIPPIN (1994)

“If you like musical theatre that goes for the guts, head for the St. Marcus Theatre . . . where New Line’s Pippin runs.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

Pippin seems to me to be New Line’s slickest production to date – skilled cast, excellent technical work, and polished vision. . . The pit band is nothing short of outstanding.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

ASSASSINS (1994)

“A surprisingly effective theater piece, in spite of, or perhaps because of, its unusual subject matter. The current production by the New Line Theatre brings out the best the show has to offer. . . The disparate elements of the show come together in large part because of the teamwork of the New Line cast. Individually, the performers all have fine moments, but they are at their best in what they do together.” – Gerry Kowarsky, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“New Line Theatre’s current production at the St. Marcus Theatre shores up the unity of this analysis of presidential assassins. . . Assassins is ambitious, fascinating work.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

“Anyone who tackles any Sondheim show and succeeds in entertaining without embarrassing themselves is a worthy force. But this group seems to go beyond that and strives for perfection in every aspect.” – Steve Allen, KFUO-FM

BREAKING OUT IN HARMONY (1993)

“There are a lot of truths – and a lot of questions – in Breaking Out in Harmony. . . [Author and composer Scott] Miller has dealt with a subject that continues to make news and cause controversy. . . Miller has written a musical that is ‘about something,’ and about something important too. It’s worth seeing, thinking about, and most important, acting on.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“Some of Breaking Out’s songs are rousers.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

ATTEMPTING THE ABSURD (1992)

[Author and composer Scott] Miller has a nice sense of the ridiculous. He also shows a good feeling for whimsy and, most important, he has a deep and abiding love for classic American musicals. I liked the show better than I thought I would; it’s collegiate, sometimes sophomoric, but there are moments of great charm.” – Joe Pollack, St. Louis Post Dispatch

“About as good an evening of first-view musical comedy as I’ve seen for a while. . . Miller’s book, music, and lyrics range widely, intelligently, unsentimentally, and wittily over familiar and unfamiliar territory.” – Harry Weber, The Riverfront Times

A TRIBUTE TO THE ROCK MUSICALS 2 (1992)

“The impressively – sometimes overwhelmingly – enthusiastic, talented, skilled, and well-trained cast and band made A Tribute to the Rock Musicals 2 … a high-energy, highly entertaining evening.” – Bob Wilcox, The Riverfront Times

  

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