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The Wild Party

“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. . .  Don't miss this excellent show.”

– Richard Green, TalkinBroadway.com


“While highly melodramatic, sometimes to the point of hysteria, a large number of fine performances, spot-on, rapid-fire direction and plenty of sex make the show fast-moving, highly entertaining and oh, my goodness, bawdy and naughty.”

– Joe Pollack, St. Louis Eats and Drinks


“The Wild Party takes you on a wild ride.”

– Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Read more reviews here.

It's the greatest night they'll ever regret.

It was a roaring age of bootleggers, flappers, and talkies; the hard-won vote for women; widespread social conflict; and the birth of organized crime. As unprecedented prosperity and sweeping social change dazzled the public, the restrictions of the Victorian nineteenth century vanished, and many of the institutions, ideas, and preoccupations of our own age emerged. America became, for the first time, thoroughly Modern.

And, much like America today, the culture spun dangerously out of control...

New Line's 19th season continued in April and May, 2010, with the St. Louis premiere of Andrew Lippa's raunchy, rowdy jazz musical THE WILD PARTY. Based on the notorious poem about a decadent and deadly all-night party in 1920s Manhattan, it captures the potent cocktail of bewildered innocence and worldly cynicism at the fiery peak of the Jazz Age, just a year before the Crash of 1929, when everything would change.

Margeau Baue Steinau and Keith Parker in New Line Theatre's THE WILD PARTYA stylistic cross between Chicago and Cabaret, this high-energy musical centers on two desperate, damaged lives spiraling downward, two lives filled to the brim with meaningless sex, drugs, jealousy, betrayal, murder – all the things that make a party wild. It's the story of a relationship scarred by vicious recklessness, between vaudeville dancer Queenie and vaudeville clown Burrs. Intent on hurting each other as publicly as possible, they decide to throw a party to end all parties, and as the guests arrive, we meet an assortment of people living on the fringes of society, and we can taste the heady blend of tabloid sizzle, hot jazz, and show biz. After a long night of sex, drugs, and drink, Burrs' jealousy erupts and a romantic double-triangle ends in tragedy. In the stark light of a new day, Queenie moves out into a brighter world, although not necessarily a brighter future, leaving the passed-out revelers in her wake.  

The New York Daily News called the show “sizzling, vital and groundbreaking.” The New York Times said, "Its strong suit is summoning the anxious restlessness behind the hellbent hedonism of the days of Prohibition." The legendary Beat writer William Burroughs said of the infamous original poem, "It's the book that made me want to become a writer."

The cast of New Line Theatre's THE WILD PARTYThe Wild Party won the 2000 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music, the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, three Lucille Lortel Awards, and one Obie Award. It was nominated for twelve additional Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding New Musical. New Line is proud to present the St. Louis premiere of The Wild Party.

The cast of the New Line production included Margeau Baue Steinau (Queenie), Jeffrey Pruett (Burrs), Deborah Sharn (Kate), Keith Parker (Black), Emily Berry (Mae), Mara Bollini (Delores), Mike Dowdy (Oscar), Zachary Allen Farmer (Eddie), Nikki Glenn (Madelaine), Joel Hackbarth (Phil), Theresa Hermann (Lois), Macia Noorman (Nadine), Eeyan Richardson (Max), Michelle Sauer (Ellie), Troy Turnipseed (Sam), and Aaron VanderYacht (Jackie). The show will be directed by Scott Miller and Alison Helmer, with choreography by Robin Michelle Berger, costume design by Thom Crain, scenic design by Todd Schaefer, and lighting design by Shannon Fedde.


New Line's Wild Party


Jeffrey Pruett as Burrs in The Wild Party

Want to explore more? We recommend:

The Wild Party cast album and vocal selections

Composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa's personal website

Joseph Moncure March's 1928 epic poem, The Wild Party, the basis for the show, with illustrations by Art Spiegelman

Director Scott Miller's background and analysis essay about The Wild Party

The New Liners' Wild Party blogs -- director Scott Miller's blog, Mara Bollini's blog, Joel Hackbarth's blog, Margeau Steinau's blog, Troy Turnipseed's blog, Aaron VanderYacht's blog

The not-very-good 1975 movie version 

The true story upon which the poem and show are loosely based

An article about another stage adaptation and the poem's background

The website 1920s Fashion and Music.com

The University of Virginia's excellent vaudeville site, the New York Public Library's Vaudeville Nation, the American Vaudeville Museum, the excellent Jolson and Friends vaudeville blog, and a short history of vaudeville

A short history video history of vaudeville from University of Arizona, and other vaudeville related videos on YouTube


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