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Backstage And Beyond

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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FAIRY-TALE PLUS FILLER: KC Ballet presents full-length classic for first time in its history

By Paul Horsley The Sleeping Beauty is a ballet with a bit of something for everyone: There is some actual storytelling in the middle, with a dashing Prince revivifying a comatose ballerina-Princess with a kiss, and there’s a cornucopia of classical ballet of the most rigorous kind in the outer sections. The Kansas City Ballet’s […]

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ANATOMY OF A CANCELLATION: Operatic duo saves the day for Harriman-Jewell Series when choir’s tour collapses

By Paul Horsley One of the marks of a great arts presenter is the ability to jump into the breach at a moment’s notice when crises arise. The Harriman-Jewell Series’ had originally announced that a highlight of its current season was to be a visit by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Choir, a group of […]

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BOULEVARD OF DREAMS: MET’s upcoming move spurs growth of Main Street as KC’s ‘mini-Broadway’

By Paul Horsley If there’s a sleeping giant among Kansas City theater companies, that genial beast appears to be on the verge of waking up, with a roar. The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre has been doing increasingly excellent work for 12 seasons: classics and new works, comedies and ponderous plays that deal with racism, sexism, ageism, […]

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BEHIND BARS: Lyric Opera takes a stab at problematic prison opera (review)

By Paul Horsley Dead Man Walking is like the Clockwork Orange of opera. You might appreciate its artistic achievement, admire its remarkable attention to detail, even recognize its potential for redeeming social value. But you really don’t have fun, and at the end you find yourself asking whether you’ve gained anything from the grueling experience […]

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