History

May 8, 1966: Webster University dedicates the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts, the first facility in the United States designed specifically to house both a professional acting company and an undergraduate theatre arts department.

July 1, 1966: The Rep debuts its premiere production with a performance of The Private Ear and the Public Eye. The Rep began as a true repertory company, with numerous plays performed in a rotation by a resident company of actors.

1970-1971: The Rep goes dark for a year to reassess and improve its financial situation.

1971-1976: The Rep roars back to life, growing its subscriber base from 3,500 to 16,500 within five years.

1975: The Rep’s Imaginary Theatre Company makes its first performances for young audiences. The program is still going strong more than 40 years later, entertaining youngsters in schools, libraries and community centers throughout Missouri and Illinois.

March 29, 1978: The Rep presents its first-ever Studio Theatre production with David Rudkin’s Ashes.

1980: Under new artistic director Wallace Chappell, The Rep disbands its resident acting company and begins to bring in more nationally known stars to perform in its shows.

1981: The Rep presents Sam Shepard’s controversial Buried Child, featuring future Oscar winner Holly Hunter.

1982: Featuring a cast of more than 80 performers, A Tale of Two Cities becomes The Rep’s biggest production ever.

1983: The Rep presents the world premiere of Under the Ilex, featuring six-time Tony Award-winner Julie Harris.

February 1986: A 29-year-old Tony Kushner directs Clifford Odets' Golden Boy on The Rep's Mainstage. Five years later, the first half of his landmark Angels in America would premiere in San Francisco. Kushner also wrote and directed several productions with The Rep's Imaginary Theatre Company during his time in St. Louis.

1986-1987: During The Rep’s 20th Anniversary Season, the theatre undergoes a momentous change in leadership. Steven Woolf officially becomes The Rep’s artistic director, and Mark Bernstein arrives as managing director. The two have endured in their respective positions ever since.

1992: Future Hollywood star Lucy Liu appears in The Rep’s production of M. Butterfly.

1992, 1995: The Rep premieres two of Tony Award-winning composer Steven Lutvak’s musicals: Almost September (‘92) and Esmeralda (’95).

1996: The Rep debuts its WiseWrite Young Playwrights Festival, bringing the work of elementary school students to life on stage.

1996-97: The Rep celebrates its 30th anniversary with an artistically ambitious season that includes The Three MusketeersArcadia and The Glass Menagerie.

2002: The first-ever St. Louis Food & Wine Experience creates a new tradition of culinary celebration to benefit The Rep.

2005-2008: The Rep's Off Ramp Series brings daring and unconventional works to the Grandel Theatre in Midtown St. Louis.

2007: The Rep wins a company-record 18 Kevin Kline Awards for its work. AceUrinetownI Am My Own Wife and The Musical of Musicals lead the way in racking up awards for The Rep.

2010High, starring Kathleen Turner, enjoys its world premiere at The Rep.

2012: A production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George earns mass acclaim for The Rep, and later wins eight St. Louis Theater Circle Awards.

2012: One year before he wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Disgraced, playwright Ayad Akhtar premieres his production The Invisible Hand at The Rep. Its debut coincides with the launch of The Rep’s Ignite! Festival of New Plays.

2016: The Rep celebrates its 50th anniversary with a packed season of all-star shows.

2016: St. Louis theatre icon Joneal Joplin appears in his 100th Rep production, portraying Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol. It's his fourth time appearing in a Rep staging of the show and his third time appearing as the ghost of Scrooge's former business partner.


Rep Productions Pictured Above (L-R):

Row 1: Frankenstein (1979), Under the Ilex (1983), The Mighty Gents (1986), Henry IV, Part I (1991)

Row 2: To Kill a Mockingbird (1995), Into the Woods (1999), Anything Goes (2002), Crowns (2005)

Row 3: Altar Boyz (2007), Red (2011), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (2015), The Lion in Winter (2016)