Each January, the Arts and Education Council presents the St. Louis Arts Awards where we gather to celebrate the individuals and organizations whose contributions to our artistic community make the bi-state region more vibrant. On January 27, at the 2020 St. Louis Arts Awards, we’ll celebrate seven honorees, including Lifetime Achievement in the Arts honorees Jack Lane and Michael Hamilton.

Jack Lane and Michael Hamilton, co-founders of STAGES St. Louis, mark 33 years of exceptional accomplishments in advancing the art of musical theatre in St. Louis. During that time, STAGES has grown to become one of the top regional musical theaters in the nation.

They first met when Michael was directing a production of “West Side Story” and Jack was playing the role of Tony. Immediately, they hit it off.

Lane said of Hamilton, “I thought he was one of the nicest people and most talented people I had ever met. He told me of his dream to come back to his hometown of Kirkwood, Missouri and open a theater company.”

With the support of Hamilton’s mother, who provided the seed money, and the City of Kirkwood, which rented them the Robert G. Reim Theatre for their performances, that dream became a reality. Over thirty years later, STAGES St. Louis will be housed in the new Kirkwood Performing Arts Center which is set to open summer of 2020. The facility will feature a 500-plus seat main theater, event space and building shell for a studio theater. Lane and Hamilton are excited about the possibilities the new space will present.

As Artistic Director, Hamilton has directed or choreographed over 100 STAGES productions and been honored with multiple Broadway World, St. Louis Theatre Circle and Kevin Kline Awards.

The Broadway quality of STAGES’ productions is matched in caliber by the STAGES Performing Arts Academy’s education and outreach programming. Now in its 15th year, the Academy educates thousands of students each year. Their curriculum provides high quality professional training in the musical theatre arts and includes unique programs like “Access the Arts”, which includes performance opportunities for youth with physical, cognitive and developmental delays to fully participate in the arts.

Their reach extends beyond St. Louis. Hamilton’s work has been seen at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Mill Mountain Theatre, Cohoes Music Hall and Music Theatre North. Lane is the multiple award-winning producer of “The Humans” (2016 Tony Award winner for Best Play), “Fun Home” (2015 Tony Award winner for Best Musical), “Peter and the Starcatcher” (2012 Tony Award Nominee for Best Play), the international hit Broadway comedy “The Play That Goes Wrong”, the Off-Broadway hit comedy “Shear Madness”, and the acclaimed Broadway musical, “The Prom”, nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2019.

When Lane first heard that they were being honored with Lifetime Achievement in the Arts he thought, “I’m not done. I have so much more that I want to achieve in my life. For STAGES, especially in the new performing arts center and also on Broadway. I have so many plans and so many dreams that I’m not done. But, I am also so deeply honored.” 

Jack Lane and Michael Hamilton’s Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award is sponsored by Merry and Jim Mosbacher.

Proceeds from the St. Louis Arts Awards help the Arts and Education Council invest in the people and organizations that create diverse performances, exhibitions, workshops, art education programs and so much more for 1.6 million adults and children in our community each year. Tickets for the 2020 St. Louis Arts Awards start at $300. Learn more about the event here.

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