‘Lemp Legends’ Tells St. Louis’ Most Infamous Ghost Story Through Dance
As beer flowed through the bars of St. Louis in the early 20th century, few drinkers could have predicted the turmoil that was brewing in the home of one of the city’s most prominent families—turmoil that would soon spill over, leading to the deaths of four family members.
Today, the Lemp family is known more for the mansion they haunt than the beer empire they built. With its new production, “Lemp Legends: A Ghost Story,” The Big Muddy Dance Company looks beyond the curse that afflicted the family for generations and instead to the individuals who inspired endless eerie tales.
According to artistic director Brian Enos, “Lemp Legends” began as a Halloween-themed piece, but it quickly evolved into a history lesson for the company.
“So often the focus of the Lemps is on the hauntings, but as we began diving into the family’s past, we walked away with more insight into each family member and their individual stories,” he says. “That’s been the most eye-opening part of curating the show—to learn just how much the Lemps contributed to making St. Louis the beer capital it is and to discover the legacy they left behind.”
“Lemp Legends” opens in the lobby of the Lemp Mansion as guests prepare for a tour of the infamous haunted house. Over the course of the evening, dancers switch between present day and the past through movement and music to tell the stories of six different family members through a series of flashbacks.
To truly capture each person’s life and personality, every vignette was created by a different in-house choreographer from The Big Muddy, including Dustin Crumbaugh, Geoffrey Alexander, CJ Burroughs, Karina Cardella, Brandon Fink and Thomas Jacobson.
The show is just the first production in The Big Muddy’s St. Louis-centric 2018/2019 season. Upcoming works include “Home Grown,” arranged by St. Louis-based choreographers, and “Footnotes,” which spotlights the city’s musical roots.
“Lemp Legends: A Ghost Story,” presented by PNC Arts Alive, runs Nov. 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. at Washington University’s Edison Theatre. Post-show receptions will follow, allowing audience members to engage with the company and learn more about their creative process.
Tickets for “Lemp Legends” are $35 for general admission, $25 for students/seniors and can be purchased through The Big Muddy Dance Company’s website.
Featured image courtesy of Gerry Love.