Metro Theater Company Announces 2021-22 Season

Metro Theater Company, St. Louis’s  professional theater for youth and families, announces its 2021-22 Season.

Metro Theater Company (MTC), St. Louis’s  professional theater for youth and families and St. Louis’ third-oldest theater company, announces its 2021-22 Season, the 49th season in its history.

The 2021-22 season kicks off with Digging Up Dessa (October 17 – November 7), written by Laura Schellhardt and directed by Julia Flood. Dessa is a modern-day 12-year-old with no shortage of mysteries to solve and fossils to find. Her days are filled with buried treasures just waiting to be uncovered. But when her family of three unexpectedly becomes a family of two, this smart, funny young scientist struggles to overcome her grief and anger at all the changes in her world. Dessa’s unlikely comfort comes from a remarkable new friend, one only she can see and hear—Mary Anning, the 19th-century paleontologist who discovered a breakthrough dinosaur fossil at the age of 12 and became a pioneer in her field. But why is her portrait not on the museum wall alongside those of her male counterparts? Dessa decides that she’s going to fight to earn Mary the respect she deserves. With help from her new classmate and once-rival, Nilo, Dessa unearths secrets of the past and present—for Mary’s legacy and her own way forward.

Next up is Say Something, Do Something (touring in October – December 2021) written by Jason J. Little, directed by John Wolbers, and facilitated by Tyler White and Gen Zoufal. Say Something, Do Something is an interactive and immersive program that uses participatory theater techniques to build critical thinking, decision making, and interpersonal skills to help students think about how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence. Students witness a recreated scene based on real-life situations they experience, then have the opportunity to actively help the target of the scene’s violence. Students interview characters to develop a deeper understanding of what influences people to make these negative choices. They are invited to replace the actors, re-play the scene, and improvise their own strategies for a more positive outcome. After this rehearsal for real life, students will be better equipped to recognize potential conflict in their schools and take action to create a culture of non-violence. Say Something, Do Something is primarily designed for 4th – 6th grade students, as studies show that building resiliency around issues of violence at this age is optimum to achieve long-term success.

Following that is Last Stop on Market Street (February 6 – 27, 2022) written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson, adapted for the stage by Cheryl L. West, and directed by Jacqueline Thompson. Get ready for a heart-thumpin’, toe-tappin’ joy ride in this Motown/hip-hop musical adaptation of New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning picture book Last Stop on Market Street! CJ is reluctantly staying with his Nana, in a world considerably different from the one he’s used to, always plugged in to his phone and tablet. The uncompromising child is dragged on a bus ride that’s loud and gritty and weird. Guided by his veritable force-of-nature Nana, CJ travels a little closer to his roots and sees that things are not always what they seem.

Next, is Bold, Brave, Curious! (March – April 2022) written by Mariah Richardson and directed by Gaby Rodriguez. Delilah and her two best friends, Lupe and Stanley, are 11 years old. Growing up together in St. Louis, they share a common bond, born of the fact that each has an absent parent: Delilah’s mother is deployed in the Middle East, Lupe’s father is in the process of deportation, and Stanley has grown up in long-term foster care. One afternoon while exploring Delilah’s attic, the three stumble upon a strange magical relic – one that can transport them into the memories of their missing parents. Discovering these memories together, they find courage, resilience, joy, and inspiration to support one another to find their best selves. Bold, Brave, Curious! empowers young people to examine friendship, bias, community, and individual power. The play is the next chapter in St. Louis-based playwright Mariah Richardson’s ongoing series about Delilah, which first appeared on the stage at Metro Theater Company more than 10 years ago with the world premiere of Delilah’s Wish.

Closing the season is In My Granny’s Garden (May 15 – June 19, 2022) Inspired by the children’s book by acclaimed playwright and New York Times bestselling author Pearl Cleage and her husband, writer and director Zaro W. Burnett Jr., In My Granny’s Garden invites the youngest audiences to explore the glory of growing your own food. Watch a tiny seed become a field of corn, green beans, collard greens, and bright red tomatoes. Step into a visual feast inspired by world renowned artist Radcliffe Bailey’s original paintings, and discover the one superpower that fuels Granny’s garden. The play promises to leave the very young nourished in body and soul. In My Granny’s Garden was commissioned by the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia.

All 2021-22 Season productions will be performed live for in-person audiences. All live audiences over the age of 12 will be required to provide proof of vaccination in order to attend, and masks will be required. In addition, to ensure continued digital accessibility across the St. Louis region and beyond, MTC continues online streaming of all upcoming productions, as part of PNC Arts Alive’s newly funded MTC Remote initiative. MTC is also continuing its pay-what-you-can viewing period for each mainstage production (live or streaming) so that economic barriers do not prevent families from experiencing the season’s productions. To support neurodivergent audiences and those with varying physical abilities, sensory friendly, audio described, and sign language interpreted performances will be available for each production as well. To advance community dialogue around important issues in each production, MTC is hosting panel events in connection to each production as well. Dates for these special events will be forthcoming.