Next summer, Hana Sharif will officially take the helm at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis as its new artistic director. Sharif, who fell in love with storytelling at a very young age, tells Gazelle her taste in theatre is eclectic.
“I am drawn to work that reveals something fundamental about our humanity. I love the ephemeral glimpse at our vulnerabilities, our dreams, our most elemental truth,” she explained. “In a musical, the most urgent impulses present themselves through song. In comedy, somewhere in the belly of our deepest laughter is our most honest reflection of self. In dramas, it is through the trials of the characters onstage that we stand open and unguarded to face our own pain. Through all of these genres, we are able to begin the transformative work of seeing and honoring and appreciating our own journey.”
Sharif adds she’s looking forward to exploring the city.
“I had the wonderful opportunity to drive from north to south and east to west across St. Louis. I enjoyed watching the shifting architecture, landscape, and energy of the city. I am excited to dive into the various communities and learn more about the pulse of the city,” she said.
Sharif, who currently serves as associate artistic director at Baltimore Center Stage, is following in the footsteps of longtime artistic leader Steven Woolf, who will be retiring at the end of the 2018-2019 season following a 30-year tenure. Sharif launched her professional career at Hartford Stage in 2003; throughout the years, she has served in various roles, including as artistic leader, director, playwright and producer. She’ll officially assume her new role in June 2019.
In other Rep news, the organization has announced a $1 million endowment goal to honor the legacy of Steven Woolf, who is retiring as The Rep’s Augustin Family artistic director at the end of this season. The money raised will fund an endowment in his name to support the hiring of brilliant directors, designers and actors for future Studio Theatre productions. The endowment campaign, which has been boosted with a $350,000 matching challenge grant from the Berges Family Foundation, will run throughout the season and conclude on May 31, 2019. Visit repstl.org for more information.
Save the date: Radio Arts Foundation’s annual wine and jazz fundraiser take place Friday, Sept. 14, at the Butterfly House. This year’s event will feature fine wine and appetizers, gift raffles and live music from Miss Jubilee, with proceeds benefiting RAFSTL’s mission to support classical music programming in St. Louis. For more information, visit rafstl.org/wineandjazz.
The Women’s Foundation of Greater Saint Louis’ signature event, Making a Difference, will be held Thursday, Sept. 20, at Hilton St. Louis Frontenac. This year’s honoree is Build-A-Bear’s Maxine Clark. The event, which also features Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, is co-chaired by Maureen McCarthy and Deb Zimmerman; Gazelle’s Cillah Hall is serving as honorary co-chair, along with June Fowler and Tessa Trelz, The Women’s Foundation works to advance economic independence for women and girls in the St. Louis region. Visit wfstl.org for additional information and event registration.
The Friends of CharacterPlus is holding its 14th annual Fall Party on Friday, Nov. 16, at Moulin. The year, the party will have a Mexican fiesta theme featuring a gourmet street-taco bar and El Chico desserts. The Friday-before-Thanksgiving fundraiser supports the work of CharacterPlus, the nation’s longest-running and most successful character education initiative of its kind. In the St. Louis area alone, CharacterPlus has programs in more than 500 schools. For tickets, call Claudia McMillin at (314) 692-1215. Gazelle is serving as the event’s media sponsor.
An award-winning journalist recognized for her media leadership and for promoting diversity, Trish Muyco-Tobin has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcasting. She is also a dedicated community volunteer, and proudly serves on the boards of the St. Louis Press Club, Friends of Character Plus, and the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis.