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Backstage And Beyond

WINNING TEAM: Nationally renowned arts program brings hope to children, families

There are many ways to save lives. Laura Shultz and her colleagues at Harmony Project KC are providing students from Kansas City’s northeast with life-affirming tools that build self-esteem through the sort of teamwork we normally associate with sports. But instead of footballs or baseball bats, they’re using violins, cellos, flutes, and clarinets. “It’s more […]

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WHAT’S ON THE WEB TONIGHT, DEAR?

Kansas City arts group respond to pandemic with ample online content This year fans of the performing arts have learned that you don’t have to leave home to take in a show. Although some organizations have experimented with carefully-distanced outdoor (and occasionally indoor) performances, local audiences still remain disinclined to attend indoor events. And because […]

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JUST FOLKS: They’re not exactly normal suburbanites (but almost)

If you drive by the Belcher home during the day, you’ll find little to distinguish it from any other house on the tranquil street in suburban Liberty. But if you slow down and listen, you might hear Danny out in the yard, rehearsing a new American opera while cutting the grass. “I thought the mower […]

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SIMPLY THE BEST: Symphony rejoices at landing one of America’s finest

Extraordinary musical talent often emerges from a perfect storm of natural gifts, enthusiasm, and exceptional early instruction. When Josh Jones arrived at the Chicago Symphony’s Percussion Scholarship Program at age nine, he already possessed a set of skills that challenged the whole nature-versus-nurture conundrum. Granted, he had been hitting on things since at least age […]

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STRONG ENOUGH: Performers find resilience and innovation in the midst of crisis

If the current arts crunch has demonstrated anything, it is the resilience of performing artists. All three of the founding artistic directors we spoke with recently emphasized the same trends that many small- and medium-sized groups are finding nationwide: the pandemic has slowed but not stopped their activities, the funding community has stood steadfastly by […]

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GIFTED AND BLACK: Kansas City’s performing artists strive toward new levels of equality

The arts have marched at the forefront of most every major cultural movement in history. In Kansas City, performing arts organizations large and small have begun to recognize the importance of Black voices both onstage and behind the scenes, and many are also realizing just how far we still have to go before equality is […]

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LIFE AFTER GEORGE: Former New York City Ballet dancer finds niche right here in her home town

At first it appeared that a young ballerina’s worst nightmare was coming true. Three years into a brilliant career at New York City Ballet, Taryn (Wolfe) Mejia had developed a stress fracture in her leg that threatened to sideline her for at least six months. “By the time they caught it, it was pretty severe,” […]

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SEND THE VERY BEST: Lyric to make history with fresh version of holiday classic

NOTE: Since the publication of this article, the Lyric Opera has announced that, in light of new Covid-19 restrictions, live performances of ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ cannot take place. However, the Lyric is filming the production, using the originally announced cast, puppeteers, and set designs. Beginning December 15th the company will offer a high-quality video […]

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BEING FRANK: Sky’s the limit for Kansas City-born actor

Frank Oakley III’s advice for aspiring actors is something we could all take to heart: Your value is not in your work, but in who you are. “Don’t put your identity and self-worth in the things that you do, even if you’re good at them,” said the graduate of Wyandotte High School and UMKC Theatre, […]

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