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Backstage And Beyond

SISTER, SING: Songs of women reveal commonalities, not conflicts

By Paul Horsley If we listen to stories and songs of men, we learn of conflicts and wars, preening pride and costly conquest. If we turn our ear to women’s songs, we are more likely to hear common, and often more constructive, themes emerging: family, nurturing, and the “cycle of life” including love, marriage, childbirth, […]

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PLAYING RIGHT THROUGH: Summerfest continues exploring new approaches

By Paul Horsley Here’s a hint for performing-arts groups: If you want to keep the public interested year-in, year-out, you have to try new things all the time. Kansas City’s Summerfest, a breath of fresh air each July in the form of professional chamber-music in appealing venues, is about to begin its 27th season. And […]

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MOMMY MOST FOUL: Local-boy-turned-celeb ponders big questions in HASF’s 25th anniversary

By Paul Horsley For actor Nathan Darrow, Hamlet is not some dreamy philosopher pondering the meaning of life. The title character of Shakespeare’s essential play is asking some very specific questions: What the heck is going on here, in this nation that I’m supposed to be ruling one day? Does my mother love me? Does […]

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DANCING FOR LIFE: Misty Copeland, ABT Principal Dancer, returns home to honor KC roots

By Paul Horsley From the moment she first discovered the freedom and beauty of movement, Misty Copeland had one goal in life: to become a Principal Dancer at the American Ballet Theatre. That the vaunted company had never had an African-American woman in this position did not allow the Kansas City-born dancer to stray from […]

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THE WAY WE TALK: KCAT presents stern, witty play about life, ennui, dying

By Paul Horsley If we were to write out our conversation the way we actually speak, it might look like the scrawled musings of a child. Or it might look a bit like Will Eno’s play The Realistic Joneses, a striking piece of theater that had its Broadway premiere in 2014 and was proclaimed, by […]

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IT’S ALL THERE FOR THOSE WHO SEE: KCB program shows breadth of American dance (REVIEW)

Paul Horsley If you’ve ever wondered what ballet in America is about these days, the Kansas City Ballet’s current Director’s Choice program might be an ideal place to start. In just three works spanning 65 years, the company reveals a glimpse of the breadth and depth of dance today: from the Russian-inspired Balanchine Theme and […]

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AMERICAN HORROR STORY: KC Ballet takes on modern shocker

By Paul Horsley Many of us still remember the jolt of our first reading of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” the 1948 short story that begins so amicably in Small Town, USA, and ends with the brutal stoning of a randomly chosen citizen by her fellow villagers. Choreographer Val Caniparoli remembers his own horror when reading […]

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MEMORIES OF WAR: Symphony pulls out stops for Britten masterpiece, as an early participant reminisces

By Paul Horsley Music lovers often fantasize about what it must have been like to attend the first performance of a huge masterpiece, or indeed to have taken part in one. For the musicians involved, it’s often not apparent at the time whether the piece has “clicked” or not. In May 1962 at Coventry Cathedral […]

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STIFF UPPER DECK: Lyric Opera recruits UK director for quintessentially British comedy

By Paul Horsley We think of England as a sort of motherland for the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, and indeed for more than a century the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company was the standard-bearer for “authentic” performance of these works. But during this same period these “plays-with-songs” also became staples of companies the world over, and […]

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