New Line Theatre will open its sixteenth season of provocative, adult, alternative musical theatre with the world premiere of the hilarious new musical comedy JOHNNY APPLEWEED, with book, music, and lyrics by Scott Miller. The show runs October 12-November 4, 2006, at the ArtLoft Theatre in St. Louis, as part of the St. Louis Political Theatre Festival.

Fiercely funny and outrageously original, “Johnny Appleweed” is a fearless satire of America in the new millennium, guaranteed to outrage while it amuses, the first musical ever to make a serious case for the spiritual, existential, and psychological properties of marijuana. Through the lens of this pot-friendly worldview, the show takes comic aim at hot-button issues like American religious fervor, American party politics, the War on Terror, the American culture of violence, gun control, sexuality, and lots more, all through the eyes of the laidback, neo-mythic purveyor of pot Johnny Appleweed, an itinerant philosopher-stoner, who argues that only through the mind-expanding properties of marijuana can we see the Larger Truths, so we can finally solve our problems and move our civilization forward. The show has been described as a heady mix of Hair, The Daily Show, Waiting for Godot, The Wizard of Oz, and the movies of Kevin Smith.

Over the course of the first act, Johnny meets up with a Republican closet-case, a lesbian performance artist, Jesus Christ himself, and a perky former televangelist. In Act II, this gang of five travels to Washington DC to meet the President, and they set about trying to convince him to change his political ways. The show has one central agenda as a political document, insisting that American democracy only works if its citizens are thoroughly and thoughtfully engaged in the business of the nation. For more info on the show, go to

The “Appleweed” cast includes Aaron Allen, Brian Claussen, Ember Hyde, Alice Kinsella, Matthew Korinko, Kimi Short, and John Sparger (as Johnny), with direction by Scott Miller, orchestration by Louis Goldford, lighting by Kenneth Zinkl, costumes by Russell J. Bettlach, and sets by G.P. Hunsaker.

In October, St. Louis Magazine and American Theatre magazine will both feature stories about “Johnny Appleweed.”

This will be the show’s world premiere, but Johnny’s roots go way back. Back in the 1930s, mainstream theatre became intensely political with shows like Waiting for Lefty, The Cradle Will Rock, Power, One Third of a Nation, It Can’t Happen Here, and many others. Once America entered World War II, rabid patriotism overpowered political dissent, and agitprop theatre (short for agitational propaganda) faded away. The post-war period brought prosperity and conformity to America like never before, and political dissent faded further (due largely to Joseph McCarthy). But when the 60s arrived, our theatre returned to fiercely political drama and satire, with shows like Hair, Viet Rock, Cabaret, McBird, US, and many others. The trend continued into the 1970s, but the materialism of the 80s and the dot-com prosperity of the 90s lessened the public appetite for political theatre once again. Then came the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the Bush administration. Now, political theatre is back again, and it’s healthier than ever, both here and abroad.

Scott Miller, author and composer of Johnny Appleweed, has written nine musicals and two plays, all of which have been produced. His play “Head Games” has enjoyed successful runs in St. Louis, Los Angeles, London, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Miller has also written five books on musical theatre and is the artistic director of New Line Theatre in St. Louis. His latest book, “Strike Up the Band: A New History of Musical Theatre,” will be out in late 2006.

New Line Theatre is a professional company dedicated to involving the people of the St. Louis region in the exploration and creation of innovative, provocative, socially and politically relevant works of the musical theatre. New Line receives funding from the Regional Arts Commission and the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis. For more about New Line, go to — or to join the St. Louis Theatre Discussion Group, go to

“Johnny Appleweed” is part of the first ever St. Louis Political Theatre Festival. More info on the festival is available at

And don’t forget about our BARGAIN THURSDAYS — New Line has LOWERED our ticket prices for students and seniors to only $10 for all Thursday night performances!

JOHNNY APPLEWEED runs October 12-November 4, 2006, at the ArtLoft Theatre, 1529 Washington in downtown St. Louis, less than two miles east of the Fox Theatre, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m. October 12 is a preview. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors on Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors on Thursday nights. Tickets are on sale now through all Metrotix outlets, including Famous Barr stores, the Fox Theatre, and select Schnucks stores, or by calling 314-534-1111. “Johnny Appleweed” contains a LOT of adult language and content. All programs are subject to change.



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