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Get on the bus for new STL site-specific political comedy ‘Off the Record’

Gubernatorial hopful Henry Lee Neale  (Stephen Peirick) and his wife Elizabeth Neale (Maggie Conroy) are all smiles.
Provided by OnSite Theatre
Gubernatorial hopful Henry Lee Neale (Stephen Peirick) and his wife Elizabeth Neale (Maggie Conroy) are all smiles.

Missouri’s next gubernatorial election is a year and a half away, but a St. Louis play gets a rolling jump-start on the campaign.

The OnSite Theatre comedy, called “Off the Record,” opens this Friday and runs for two weekends. The play by Alec Wild takes place aboard a moving school bus that delivers a fictitious candidate — and the audience — to a handful of local campaign stops.

Artistic director Ann Marie Mohr said that even the ticket-holders have an active part in the show.

“The audience is going to come on and have a role as being kind of the press corps, and go on a wild ride with the governor and some of his interns and staff,” Mohr said.

Stops and scandals

Audience participation may involve asking direct questions, getting text messages or live tweeting. But participation is voluntary. One character (Lorraine played by Donna Weinsting) is the designated veteran reporter.

Campaign manager Stephen (Charlie Barron) and intern Nina (Sarajane Alverson)
Credit OnSite Theatre
Campaign manager Stephen (Charlie Barron) and intern Nina (Sarajane Alverson)

All that’s required of the 40 ticket-holders is to ride along for about an hour with candidate Henry Lee Neale (Stephen Peirick), his wife Elizabeth Neale (Maggie Conroy) and their inner circle (intern Nina played by Sarajane Alverson and campaign manager Stephen, played by Charlie Barron). The play is directed by Tom Martin.

Mohr said the journey is filled with personal revelations about the candidate and his wife, as the bus makes a series of familiar stops.

“We’ll be stopping at the Science Center, at Crossroads School and at a church. So they all have kind of a different meaning and purpose to help tell the story,” she said.

At some point, it’s time to employ damage-control. But Mohr declined to reveal more about any scandals that come to light. But if you’re wondering how much it costs to rent a school bus, Mohr did say that First Student charges $180 for a minimum of three hours. That fee includes a driver.


‘Off the Record’ by OffSite Theatre

Where: Meet at Tavolo V, 6118 Delmar Blvd., 63112

When: 8 p.m. Fridays, April 3 and 10; 7 and 9 p.m. Saturdays, April 4 and 11

How much: $25

Tickets/Information:  OnSite website

Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

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.