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It's Curtains For Ovations Series At Washington University's Edison Theatre

"Three Acts, Two Dangers, One Radio Host" features Ira Glass. It will be at the Edison Nov. 1 & 2.
David Basemore, provided by the Edison

Washington University is ending its Ovations series of professional performances at the Edison Theater.

The Giordano Dance Company’s presentation next April will be the last dance for the 41-year-old series.

Ovations has built a solid reputation for introducing new work and emerging performers to the area, and offering quality children’s fare. Artistic director Charlie Robin looks back on his 14 years there as a magical time when the Edison helped launch the careers of many emerging artists. He's sorry to see it end.

“I’m definitely disappointed,” Robin said.

Robin noted that the Edison has introduced to the area groups like the Reduced Shakespeare Company comedy troupe, and performers including pianist/composer Philip Glass. The 2014-2015 season includes the national debut of a contemporary dance company from Vietnam.

“We know St. Louis and Missouri people aren’t necessarily ready to jump on the bandwagon with the unknown and yet we’ve been able to show them that there’s a heck of a lot out there,” Robin said.

Robin isn’t sure who in St. Louis will carry forward the Edison tradition. He’s concerned that the end of Ovations will leave a significant gap.

“I think St. Louis will be a little bit less rich,” Robin said.

‘Looking at all the options’

The university wouldn’t comment in detail about why it’s ending the Ovations series. Broadly, it cited limited resources, a desire to present more student and faculty programs, and an increasing number of performance venues in St. Louis.

Robin’s not sure what his next move will be.

Charles Robin
Credit Provided by Edison Theatre
Charlie Robin

“I will be exploring every opportunity to stay in St. Louis. I am a native son. My whole family is here,” he said.

But Robin’s skill set — uncovering artists and exploring cultures — may not find another place to land in St. Louis. He may have to move for the right fit.

“My search will become a national one, even an international one,” Robin said. “I’m looking at all the options. “

Meanwhile, the show will go on — for almost another year. The new Ovations series open Sept. 27 with “Unveiled.” The  one-person performance by Rohina Malik of Chicago examines the lives of Muslim women in America after 9/11.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

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