St. Louis Eats and Drinks Review: “Dogfight” at Stray Dog Theatre

6a00d8341c0b6a53ef01bb087faf2f970d-320wiLuke Steingruby and Kevin O’Brien are the other two Marines, bringing in an occasional touch of a Stooge (as in The Three) to go with their bravado and bluster.

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St. Louis Post Dispatch Review: “Dogfight” at Stray Dog Theatre

Most of the show takes place in San Fransisco on the night before Birdlace and his pals, shrewd Boland and innocent Bernstein (Luke Steingruby and Kevin O’Brien), ship out. 

Birdlace seems like a good guy, but the 3Bs, as they call themselves, are looking for trouble. They drink, get tattoos, get in fights – and play a cruel game, Dogfight. 

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Preview: Dogfight at Stray Dog Theatre

Photograph courtesy of Stray Dog Theatre

Some movies (like Heathers) don’t seem to lend themselves to the musical treatment, while other films seem so ripe for it, it’s only a wonder it took someone so long to do it. Such is the case for Dogfight, a cult classic from 1991 starring River Phoenix (two years before his death) and Lili Taylor.

The story is set in 1967, but primarily takes place in a flashback to 1963 when Corporal Eddie Birdlace and his friends, fresh out of marine boot camp and headed off to Vietnam, decide to have one last raucous night on the town. First up, a dog fight, where the marines each try to win $100 by bringing the ugliest girl to a dance. Eddie, who is running out of time to find a date, happens across Rose, a shy, folk-singing waitress who works at her mother’s café. When Eddie asks her to the dance, Rose is excited about having her first date, but finds out about the contest and has her hopes dashed. Eddie tries to make up with Rose and learns a lesson about love and forgiveness.

“We think it has a very important theme about how to look at people in a new way and see them for what they really are inside,” says Gary Bell, artistic director of Stray Dog, which will stage the St. Louis premiere of Dogfight this month.

The pop/rock musical was written by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek (James and the Giant Peach, Edges, and A Christmas Story: The Musical) and closely follows the original film. When it premiered Off-Broadway in 2012, it received generally favorable reviews.

Huffington Post wrote, “The tunes that the songwriters have penned … not only bring to mind the anthems of the era, but they also zing with the sounds of contemporary musical theater.” The New York Daily News said the musical “sings,” and Entertainment Weekly called the songs “arresting.”

Unfortunately, the movie and musical are also about cruelty. There’s the dogfight itself and then Eddie’s friends, whose night is interspersed with Eddie’s and Rose’s love story. They visit a brothel, get into fights, and generally act like jerks. And the language from the foul-mouthed jarheads is so blue, Stray Dog Theatre warns the show is for mature audiences only.

But staging off-beat or controversial subject matter is what Stray Dog excels at. This season, they’re also staging Hedwig and the Angry Inch (March/April 2016), a musical about a German diva who underwent a botched sex change operation.

“We don’t want to shy away from things that are uncomfortable,” says Bell. “We want things that can stimulate and provoke thought and some self-examination.” And Dogfight, which raises questions about toughness and innocence and how cruelty can co-exist with both, does just that.

Dogfight runs October 8 through October 24, Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Performances take place at Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee. Tickets are $25 for adults, and $20 for students and seniors. For more info, call 314-865-1995 or go to

St. Louis Magazine

Drama teacher Tom Murray hits a milestone at CBC

“Joseph” is the 120th show that Murray – a well-known St. Louis character actor in his own right – has directed at CBC.  That averages out to more than three productions a year over the 37 years he’s taught drama at the school.

“We counted about 85 (alumni) in Los Angeles who are working as actors or in a related field, and another dozen or so each in New York and Chicago,” Murray said.  Two popular St. Louis actors, Jim Butz and Luke Steingruby, are CBC alumni, too.

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Tickets On Sale for “Dogfight” at Stray Dog Theatre

Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul / Book by Peter Duchan / Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort
Buy Tickets For This Show Now!
October 8 – October 24

8 PM Thursdays-Saturdays

Additional performances 8 PM Wednesday, October 14 and 2 PM Saturday, October 24.
 In this acclaimed musical adaption of the notable film, three young Marines set out on the eve of their deployment in 1963 for one final night of debauchery, carousing and a little trouble. A “dogfight” competition ensues to determine who can find the most unattractive girl to bring to the party. Corporal Eddie Birdlace picks Rose, an awkward, idealistic waitress, who will rewrite the rules of the game and teach him the power of love and compassion.
 This production is intended for MATURE AUDIENCES.
American Arts Experience


ROSE FEENY: Shannon Cothran

BERNSTEIN: Kevin O’Brien

BOLAND: Luke Steingruby

MARCY: Sara Rae Womack








Director: Justin Been

Music Director: Chris Petersen

Choreographer: Zachary Stefaniak

Tower Grove Abbey

2336 Tennessee Avenue

Saint Louis, MO 63104-1434

The best way to purchase tickets and ensure availability is to purchase tickets online by using the link above or on the Tickets page. You may order tickets through the Box Office by calling (314) 865-1995.
 All tickets are non-refundable. Individual tickets are not exchangeable. Any tickets that are not picked up by ten (10) minutes prior to curtain will be released to waiting customers.
Subscribers may exchange tickets up to 48 hours in advance of a performance.

Missed subscriptions that are not addressed within 24 hours will not be able to be exchanged.
Box Office/Will Call opens 1 hour prior to performance. House opens half-hour prior to curtain. Tower Grove Abbey is a “general seating” theatre.

RFT Names “The Threepenny Opera” at New Line Theatre the Best Musical of 2015

Best MusicalThe Threepenny Opera, New Line Theatre
Staff Pick

Jill Ritter LIndberg Macheath’s gang celebrate the boss’ wedding.

Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera has everything you could want from a musical: a jazzy score, a diverse cast of shady characters and a ruthless compunction for wallowing in vice, sin and corruption. New Line Theatre mounted a savage production of the show that rubbed our faces in society’s filth and failings, and made us enjoy it despite the horrors on display. Threepenny is a sharp, cynical work that subverts your expectations at every turn, and the New Line cast embraced this ethos thoroughly. Scenic designer Rob Lippert built a grimy nocturne for them to play in, and the cast gleefully cheated and backstabbed their way through it. Familiar tunes such as “Army Song” and “Jealousy Duet” sounded fresh and intoxicating — so fresh that Brecht’s mordant lyrics were shocking all over again. Consistently surprising, eminently rewarding and endlessly fascinating, New Line’s Threepenny Opera was the show that set a new standard for St. Louis musical theater.

RFT Best Of 2015

American Arts Experience STL Giving Away Two Free Tickets to “Dogfight”

Visit the “American Arts Experience STL” Facebook page here for a chance to win two free tickets to “Dogfight” at Stray Dog Theatre!

Time for our annual giveaway! First up: Two tickets to Dogfight: The Musical put on by Stray Dog Theatre. Comment below to enter the drawing!

Posted by American Arts Experience St. Louis on Friday, September 4, 2015

American Arts Experience STL Announces “Dogfight”

Dogfight: The Musical
Regional Premiere! On the eve of their deployment to a small but growing conflict in 1963 Southeast Asia, three young Marines set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble. But when Corporal Eddie Birdlace meets Rose, an awkward and idealistic waitress he enlists to win a cruel bet with his fellow recruits, she rewrites the rules of the game and teaches him the power of love and compassion.

For MATURE AUDIENCES: In an effort to keep the selection of shows engaging and dynamic, this production may not be appropriate for all ages.

Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Book by Peter Duchan. Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort. Presented by special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

OCTOBER 8-24, 2015: Showtimes are:

Thursdays – Saturdays at 8:00pm.

Additional performances:

Wednesday, October 14 at 8:00pm and

Saturday, October 24 at 2:00pm.


Tower Grove Abbey, 2336 Tennessee Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63104. Gated Parking.

TICKETS: Adults $25.00 / Seniors (65+) & Students $20.00 (Cash/Checks/All Major Credit Cards)

Event & Ticket Information:
Thu Oct 08, 2015 – Sat Oct 17, 2015
8:00 pm – 10:15 pm
$20 – $25

American Arts STL

St. Louis Post Dispatch Fall Preview

War: This season it comes with songs. “Dogfight,” from Stray Dog, aptly enough, follows three marines through a night of drinking and games before they go to Vietnam.

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