Cover Stories

Hit the Stage: STAGES St. Louis

STAGES St. Louis is helping put the StL on the map when it comes to world class theatrical productions. This month, the performing arts company will present the pre-Broadway world premiere of The Karate Kid – The Musical, a new show based on the beloved 1984 film. “This is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened for St. Louis,” says Jack Lane, STAGES co-founder and executive producer. “You usually think of L.A. and Chicago as places to premiere shows, but my goal is to make St. Louis the destination for Broadway-bound debuts. The production means so much for putting us on the international artistic map.”

The Karate Kid, which will be on stage at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center May 25 through June 26, is a global collaborative effort, bringing together a team of professionals from St. Louis, New York and Japan. Pre-production planning began during the pandemic, so many meetings were conducted over video conference, but Lane says the team is excited to be working in person during workshops and rehearsals. “It’s great to have everyone together in the same room, getting the show ready for opening night,” he notes. “The process really taught us about the potential of collaboration. I’m sure this won’t be the last international production for STAGES.”

The Karate Kid will be helmed by director Amon Miyamoto, who was the first Japanese director of a Broadway production with his revival of Pacific Overtures. The musical’s book was written by Robert Mark Kamen, who wrote the original film’s screenplay based on his own experiences as a teenager learning martial arts. The creative team is rounded out by composer and lyricist Drew Gasparini, choreographers Keone and Mari Madrid, Tony Award-winning scenic designer Derek McLane and costume designer Ayako Maeda. “These are professionals at the top of their game, which motivates everyone involved to work harder,” Lane says.

The musical’s cast is filled with a mix of veteran performers and young actors, many of whom may end up making their Broadway debut with the show. “The cast is wonderfully diverse, and everyone understands that they are a part of something really special,” Lane explains. “All of the performers have been working so hard. It’s exhilarating to be surrounded by so much young talent. The eyes of New York are truly on this production.”

STAGES’ 2022 season also will include Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and the classic musical A Chorus Line. After the difficulties of the last two years, Lane notes that everyone is excited to be back on stage. “It’s going to be a thrilling season as we rise out of the pandemic,” he says. “The fact that we are able to present something like The Karate Kid is testament not only to the tenacity of STAGES, but also the unwavering support of the community. When it comes to the arts, St. Louis is one of the most supportive communities in the country, and we wouldn’t survive without that generosity.”

STAGES St. Louis is presenting the pre-Broadway world premiere of The Karate Kid – The Musical May 25 through June 26 at the Kirkwood Performing Arts Center. Pictured on the cover: Director Amon Miyamoto works with choreographers in a workshop.. For more information and to purchase tickets, call  314.821.2407 or visit stagesstlouis.org.
Cover design by Julie Streiler | Cover photo courtesy of STAGES St. Louis

Pictured at the top: Director Amon Miyamoto and writer Robert Mark Kamen
Photo courtesy of STAGES St. Louis

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