My act II is beginning. Everyone take your seats!

For the last 23 years, I have been the Post-Dispatch theater critic – a wonderful job. 


Since I retired a few weeks ago, I have mostly been in Chicago, where my daughter Jordan and her husband, Dan, welcomed their daughter, Stevie. I was lucky again: I got to spend Stevie’s first weeks cuddling her, reading to her (it’s never too soon!) and doing anything I could to make her parents’ lives a little smoother. 


But I am back now. And I am back at the theater. 


In July 2018, I went to the theater exactly once, to see “Gypsy” at the Muny. I’d need to reach back over some 25 years to find a month like that, maybe more. I’ve always been an avid theater-goer, whether it was part of my job or not. I love going to the theater. I intend to keep going. And to keep talking about it. 


In this new blog, "Judy, Act II," my posts will be different from the reviews I wrote for the Post-Dispatch – shorter, maybe quirkier, more like a conversation than an essay. 


I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this blog, you are already interested in what’s on St. Louis stages. I don’t expect to dot every “I” and cross every “t.” You already know a lot of that, and I don’t need to spell it out. 


Instead, I think of "Judy, Act II" as a chat among friends who share an interest in theater here, and who are generous enough to welcome my 2 cents. It will also be the place where I continue giving my annual Judy Awards and the monthly JJ Awards to recognize work I especially appreciated on, and behind, St. Louis stages. 


That said, blogs did not even exist when I became a newspaperwoman. I am figuring this out as I go along (counting on my personal “tech team,” my two daughters and sons-in-law, for help!) If you are involved in professional St. Louis theater and want to let me know what you’re up to, shoot me an email at judithnewmark@gmail.com


As I remain a voting member – and vice president, and cofounder – of the St. Louis Theater Circle, I plan to keep attending professional productions here, as my schedule allows. (I also plan to go to Chicago a lot, so we’ll see how it goes.) 


I’m looking forward to that. Since I retired from a hard job – and I wish my successor, Calvin Wilson, all the best in it – I feel like I’ve taken off a hat made of lead. There were a lot of responsibilities. But going to the theater? That was always a pleasure. And this is no time to deny myself.


And now, ON WITH THE SHOW!