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WHAT’S IN A VERSION? Chorale tackles unconventional Brahms project

By Paul Horsley Many musicians would give their E-string for a chance to resurrect Mozart or Beethoven or Brahms for an hour or two, just to ask them some burning questions that have been left to historical speculation. Wolfgang, did Salieri really poison you? Ludwig van, did you honestly intend the ridiculously fast tempos implied […]

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THOU ART TRANSLATED: KC Ballet presents full-length adaptation of Shakespeare comedy

By Paul Horsley For four centuries, Shakespeare’s plays have served as an inexhaustible inspiration for literature, operas, films and even Broadway musicals. And as the world commemorates the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death this year, we are more sharply aware than ever of the adaptability of his works. In no realm is the process […]

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WHO TO CRY FOR? KC Rep ‘scales down’ Broadway hit, to considerable effect

By Paul Horsley A fresh take on a familiar Broadway musical can be invigorating, but such an endeavor has its perils. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s “reimagined” version of Evita, which opened September 16th, is a scaled-down production that allows the viewer to focus on the songs, the text and the personal drama of the […]

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TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE: Lyric Opera fills fairy-tale classic with clowns, Hollywood idols, gingerbread

By Paul Horsley Updated versions of well-known operas work best when they remain true to their concept from beginning to end. Director Doug Varone’s version of Hansel and Gretel is set in Depression-Era New York, and that’s fine: The 19th-century rural poverty of Humperdinck’s story translates relatively easily into urban poverty in the 1930s. Instead […]

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MAGIC, PLEASE: KC Actors Theatre offers fresh, modern take on American classic

By Paul Horsley When 17-year-old Blanche DuBois caught her husband in flagrante delicto with an older man, she impulsively lashed out at what she called his “degeneracy” (“You disgust me!”). The beautiful young man, whom Blanche loved desperately, went out into the yard and blew his brains out. Such an early trauma could screw with […]

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WELCOME TO THE (DIVERSE) FUTURE: Harriman series presents pioneering classical ensemble

By Paul Horsley In an increasingly diverse 21st-century America, sectors of society that have remained predominantly white are continually being challenged to examine their methods, purposes and even future viability. Classical music is no exception: If great music is “universal,” then why have its practitioners and audiences remained unrepresentative of the ethnic and cultural makeup […]

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STOP CLOWNING: Lyric’s season opener retells Grimm tale with wit and a tad of darkness

By Paul Horsley Clowns are fun and scary at the same time, and in that sense they are a lot like Grimm Fairy Tales. We shove goofily painted clowns in front of our kids all the time, yet many of us fear clowns so deeply that there’s even a clinical term for it: coulrophobia. So […]

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IF YOU BUILD IT, WILL THEY COME? New choir amazed by local interest

By Paul Horsley If you want to start a new chorus in Kansas City, you’re going to need a solid concept, some chutzpah, and boundless optimism. Jackson Thomas brought all of those things when he formed KC VITAs Chamber Choir last year, a chorus of top-flight singers that, after an astonishingly successful debut last year, […]

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DECISIONS THAT STICK: Starlight production features local actress who made it big

By Paul Horsley Once we’ve made tough life-choices, we either learn to live with them or experience the toxic effects of regret. Still, it’s only human to wonder sometimes what might have happened if we’d taken that “other path.” One of the most daringly experimental pieces of theater in recent Broadway history, If/Then is a […]

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