"The little cutting-edge theater that could."Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
New Line Theatre, "The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre," was created in 1991, at the vanguard of a new wave of nonprofit musical theatre being born across the country during the early 1990s, offering an alternative to the commercial musical theatre of New York and Broadway tours. The New Liners believe in what Broadway and film actor Laurence Luckinbill once wrote in a letter to artistic director Scott Miller: "Go broke if you must, but always over-estimate the public’s intelligence. They will thank you for it." Steve Allen of Stagedoor St. Louis says, "Scott Miller and his New Line Theatre never back down. Has a musical been a quick flop on or off Broadway? He’ll make it a hit and suddenly regional theatres are salivating to produce it. Is a musical considered too 'out of the mainstream'? No problem, let’s give our audiences a choice and see what happens." Peter Filichia, Broadway critic, called his trip to St. Louis to see New Line's The Nervous Set "the most valuable theatrical pilgrimage I've ever made."
The only company of its kind in the country, New Line was founded to involve the people of the region in the creation and exploration of provocative, alternative, politically and socially relevant works of musical theatre – daring, muscular, intelligent theatre about politics, race, violence, drugs, sexuality, religion, art, obscenity, the media, and other contemporary issues.
And a lot of four-letter words. And every now and then, a little nudity. And lots of rock and roll.
Let's be honest. Rodgers and Hammerstein's last show was more than FIFTY years ago. We need to move on.
New Line does not produce your grandparents' musicals. New Line produces world premieres like Johnny Appleweed, She's Hideous, Love Kills, In the Blood, Attempting the Absurd, and The AmberKlavier; brilliant, lesser known Broadway and off Broadway shows like Bat Boy, High Fidelity, A New Brain, Return to the Forbidden Planet, The Wild Party, The Robber Bridegroom, Floyd Collins, and The Nervous Set; absurdist musicals like Reefer Madness, Urinetown, The Rocky Horror Show, The Cradle Will Rock, and Anyone Can Whistle; abstract musicals like Hair, Assassins, Jacques Brel, and Songs for a New World; concept musicals like Chicago, Sunday in the Park with George, and Cabaret; and radical reinterpretations of more mainstream works, like Man of La Mancha, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Pippin, Sweeney Todd, and Into the Woods.
New Line Theatre was founded just as the idea of more purely artistic musical theatre was starting to take hold across the country. Miranda Lundskaer-Nielsen writes in her book Directors and the New Musical Drama, "After the pioneering efforts of theatres such as the Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons in New York, the idea of the serious nonprofit musical spread to theatres across America during the 1990s. While these shows met with varying levels of economic and critical success, the very existence of this alternative home for the art form began to redefine the musical, offering an alternative to both the traditional Broadway musical and the new West End shows. As the economics of the commercial theatre became increasingly forbidding, the nonprofit theatre became vital incubators for musical drama and nurtured a new generation of musical theatre writers."
New Line has given birth to several world premiere musicals over the years and has brought back to life many shows that did not do well in their original New York productions. New Line Theatre was recently given its own entry in the latest edition of the prestigious Cambridge Guide to American Theatre.
Read the 2014 profile of New Line Theatre in American Theatre magazine.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
In 2009, Alive Magazine named New Line the most provocative theatre in St. Louis, adding, "This regional performing arts group prides itself on pushing the envelope with alternative, politically and socially relevant productions. Whether staging world premieres, presenting lesser-known Broadway fare or reinterpreting mainstream work to make it more provocative, New Line is anything but ordinary. St. Louis Magazine's Best of St. Louis “A List” named New Line the best theatre in St. Louis, writing, "What's on stage is not some frivolous confection but something meaty, different, and occasionally challenging. So if you have a craving for real theatre, especially musical theatre, take a chance on New Line. At least you'll leave the theatre humming. Or better yet – talking.”
Read the 2015 profile of New Line Theatre in The Riverfront Times
Harry Hamm said on KMOX-AM, “You’re going to see really good, well done adult theatre at New Line that nobody else really attempts here in St. Louis.” Alive Magazine says, “New Line puts on performances that Stages St. Louis and The Muny wouldn’t dream of doing.” Judith Newmark, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says “This is musical theatre for audiences who think that musical theatre can't be hip.” The Beacon says, “Yes, New Line Theatre produces musicals, but these have an edge, a swagger. They are fierce.” Mark Bretz of The Ladue News says, “New Line Theatre is all about presentations that are daring, different or deliciously skewering the conventional.” Joe Pollack of KWMU-FM says, “When it comes to challenging St. Louis theater audiences, to stretching them, exposing them to new stimuli, hardly anyone is in a class with New Line Theatre.”
Click here to read more about New Line's philosophy, its models, its process, its goals...
Steve Allen of Stagedoor St. Louis says, "Scott Miller and his New Line Theatre never back down. Has a musical been a quick flop on or off Broadway? He’ll make it a hit and suddenly regional theatres are salivating to produce it. Is a musical considered too 'out of the mainstream'? No problem, let’s give our audiences a choice and see what happens." Peter Filichia, Broadway critic, called his trip to St. Louis to see New Line's The Nervous Set "the most valuable theatrical pilgrimage I've ever made."
3310 Samuel Shepard Drive
St. Louis, MO 63103
all advance tickets:
office / mailing address:
3800-A Keokuk Street
St. Louis, MO 63116
Barry Cordes, Kevin Corlett,
Charles Glenn, Alison Helmer, Scott Miller,
John Rhine, Anna Skidis Vargas
Honorary Board Members
Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim
Artistic Director – Scott Miller
Associate Artistic Director – Mike Dowdy-Windsor
Resident Choreographer – Robin Michelle Berger
Resident Lighting Designers – Kenneth Zinkl, Rob Lippert
Resident Scenic Designer – Rob Lippert
Resident Costume Designer – Sarah Porter
Resident Fight Choreographer – Nicholas Kelly
Casting Directors – Brian Claussen, Alison Helmer
Box Office Manager – Kimi Short
Volunteer Coordinator – Alison Helmer
Event Coordinator – Michelle Sauer
Graphic Designer – Matt Reedy
Original Logo Design – Tracy Collins
Photographer – Jill Ritter Lindberg
Web Designer – Cristopher Ontiveros
Financial Advisor – Keith Thompson
IT Advisor – Christopher "Zany" Clark
Reynaldo Arceno, Mara Bollini, Brian Claussen, Christopher "Zany" Clark, Kent Coffel, Cindy Duggan, Zachary Allen Farmer, Evan Fornachon, Joel Hackbarth, Alison Helmer, Ann Hier, Nicholas Kelly, Todd Micali, Sean Michael, Taylor Pietz, Sarah Porter, Michelle Sauer, Christopher Strawfun, Todd Schaefer, Kimi Short, Margeau Steinau, Keith Thompson, Larissa White, Marcy Wiegert, Dominic Dowdy-Windsor, Jeffrey M. Wright
Jeffrey Carter (keyboards/conductor); Sue Goldford (keyboards); D. Mike Bauer (guitar); Andrew Gurney (bass); Twinda Murry (violin); Clancy Newell (percussion)
New Line does accept submissions of new, small cast, issue-oriented musicals for production or readings. Send a full script and CD of the score to the artistic director. Please e-mail us first with a brief synopsis to see if your show is what we're looking for, before sending the full script.
New Line has an internship program in directing and technical/design work. Positions are unpaid and are on a per-show basis. E-mail us to find out more.
Volunteer for our usher team and see our shows for free! To be an usher, email our Volunteer Coordinator Alison at Newlineushers@gmail.com.