St. Louis’s own Union Avenue Opera has never shied away from large, complicated works since its founding in 1995. This year they take on a Broadway show for their last summer festival offering, Lost in the Stars. Based on Alan Paton’s novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, Weill’s last work is indeed difficult, with its wrenching story of the effects of apartheid in South Africa that found plenty of echoes in the post-war, pre-civil rights movement United States. Championed by Tazewell Thompson and Anne Bogart in recent years, Lost in the Stars continues to prove its relevance in today’s world.
The company has engaged well-known singers to head up the cast: Kenneth Overton in the lead role of Rev. Stephen Kumalo, Krysty Swann as Irina, Melody Wilson as Linda, and Roderick George as the Leader. The score marked one of Weill’s attempts to bring Broadway and opera closer together, and it includes several operatic numbers in addition to more conventional Broadway songs. Two choruses take an unusually prominent role in the show. Shaun Patrick Tubbs, holder of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Kurt Weill Fellowship in 2015, directs, with longtime UAO Artistic Director Scott Schoonover wielding the baton.
Several preliminary events are planned. A panel discussion feauring Tubbs, Overton, Swann, and Tazewell Thompson took place on 7 August, with lectures, a concert, and an open house also in the works.
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Comments by Tubbs and Schoonover from the Kurt Weill Newsletter
Learn more about Lost in the Stars