St. Louis Actors’ Studio’s fundraiser enlists celebrities with St. Louis connections

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  William Roth West End Grill & Pub Sterling K. Brown St. Louis Actors' Studio Sam McMurray Neil Labute Jon Hamm Corey Finley Blue Strawberry Beau Willimon  For 48 years CWEnder William Roth, above, has poured his heart and soul into the St. Louis theater-scene, both as an actor and as founder and artistic director of St. Louis Actors’ Studio, a 99-seat theater that opened at 360 N. Boyle in 2006.

To mark the occasion of the theater’s 10th anniversary, I posted an article about what drew Roth to the then derelict building that now houses the theater, West End Grill & Pub (Roth is a partner in that venture), and the recently opened Blue Strawberry.

Along with countless businesses across the nation affected by the pandemic, theaters and everyone associated with them—actors, stagehands, set designers, ushers, etc.—have also taken a huge hit. Looking for a way to keep his theater and other local theaters afloat, Roth dreamed up a novel fundraiser, the Small Professional Theater Sustainment Fund, which he described in an interview with Fox 2’s John Pertzborn in the news clip that follows.

As Roth set it up in the interview: “I’m not doing anything right now, and neither are they,” referring to celebrities with a St. Louis connection.  In the past, their busy schedules made it hard to get any of them to find time to help local theaters.

Everyone Roth reached out to was willing to pitch in. Those former St. Louisans include actors Sterling K. Brown (a graduate of MICDS), Jon Hamm (John Burroughs), actor Sam McMurray (Washington University), playwright/screenwriter/activist Beau Willimon (John Burroughs), writer/director Corey Finley (John Burroughs), and playwright Neil Labute (St. Louis Actors Studio Associate).

Here’s how you can get involved and help St. Louis Actors Studio and, if enough funds are raised, other local theaters as well: For a $75 donation you will receive 50 chances to have a 20-minute or so online video chat with one of the participating celebrities. Winners’ names will be drawn out of a hat on September 17.

Here is William Roth’s interview with Fox 2’s John Pertzborn:

Win a chance to hang out with celebrities and support local theater

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture  William Roth West End Grill & Pub Sterling K. Brown St. Louis Actors' Studio Sam McMurray Neil Labute Jon Hamm Corey Finley Blue Strawberry Beau Willimon  And if you’d like to watch Hamm and Brown again, here is Jon Hamm’s pitch for the fundraiser, and Sterling K. Brown’s is here.

Pitch in if you can. More information about St. Louis Actor’s Studio’s fundraiser can be found on the website.

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