Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Junior College Acting Class Spawns Community Theater

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Junior College Acting Class Spawns Community Theater

Article excerpt

By day they're caterers, nurses and accountants. Then - through the magic of footlights, costumes and applause - they're transformed into ladies of the night, macho southern sheriffs and lusty cafe singers.

Local actors are attracted to community theater such as the Heartland Theatre Company of St. Peters because within that context their talents can blossom whether they're actors, costumers, set designers, directors or all of the above - which is often the case.

The fledgling Heartland Community Theatre was spawned 18 months ago from an acting class at St. Charles County Community College. The group's first two productions were performed at the St. Peters Cultural Arts Center in St. Peters.

The audiences were too big for the small cultural arts auditorium, and the Heartland group moved into storefront space in Eldorado Plaza on Mexico Road and Kimberly Drive in St. Peters.

The Heartland's production of the adult musical "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" will play at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $6 for general admission, $5 for senior citizens and students.

The show is not recommended for those under 13 years old. To reserve tickets, call 453-9899 or 279-6753.

Dennis Shelton is the artistic director of the Heartland Community Theatre. Shelton's main job is catering manager at the St. Louis Airport Marriott. But the former college theater major and performer says he never strays too far from his first love.

"I have to do theater part time or I go crazy," he explained.

The Heartland's theater at Eldorado Plaza seats 80 people. The stackable chairs and a piano were donated by the Marriott. The non-elevated stage is in a carpeted area and the lighting is installed on the ceiling.

Shelton said that almost without exception the Heartland plays to full houses.

"And there isn't a bad seat in the place because the chairs are spread out in three long rows," he added.

The set for "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" was designed by woodworking hobbyist and retiree Sam Palmer of O'Fallon. Each lady in the establishment has a colorful cubicle of her own. …

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