ArtEventsNewsThe SouthSider

St. Louis premiere of Paula Vogel’s “Indecent” takes the stage at Max and Louie

GRAND CENTER – The St. Louis premiere of Paula Vogel’s play “Indecent” opens on Friday, June 21, at the Grandel Theatre.

The play tells the story of a somewhat forgotten play from history: Sholem Asch’s “God of Vengeance,” which moved from Europe to Broadway in 1923 but was met with resistance because of its depiction of a lesbian romance. The cast and crew were all arrested on March 6th, 1923, with obscenity charges. Vogel’s retelling of the play ties together themes of immigration, art and love in the face of discrimination.

The St. Louis premiere is directed by Joanne Gordon, a renowned expert on musical composer and librettist Stephen Sondhiem. Gordon, an award-winning director, said that “Indecent” was a play that she just “had to direct.”

Stellie Siteman, the Artistic Director of Max and Louie – the company lucky enough to secure the St. Louis premiere – had much to say about the show. After each seeing the Broadway premiere in New York, each woman knew they would jump at the opportunity to partake in the show.

“I knew I just had to do this play,” Siteman gushed.

Both Siteman and Gordon said they were drawn to the way Vogel’s play weaves together a tale about “inclusion, tolerance and love,” as Siteman put it. As a Jewish woman, Siteman said, she feels as added tie to the play, which heavily features Jewish characters.

Speaking about the importance of “Indecent” in response to modern issues, Siteman said that one of her biggest dreams in putting the play on its feet was to get people of all political backgrounds to engage with the show.

“How do we get [conservatives] to come see the show?” she asked in an interview with The SouthSider. She hopes that Max and Louie’s inclusion of talkbacks after the shows will help draw in a varied audience.

The cast features seven actors: Paul Cereghino, Zoe Farmingdale, Tim Schall, Judi Mann, TJ Lancaster, Katie Karel and John Flack. In addition, three musicians take the stage with them to fill out the ensemble.

“Indecent” opens on Friday June 21st, with a preview Thursday night. Tickets range between $25 and $60. For tickets and more information, visit

Samantha Auch

Sam Auch graduated from Knox College, where she studied Theater and Gender Studies. Outside her work with The Northsider, she works as an actor, playwright, and artist. You can found out more about her at her website

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