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Backstage And Beyond

FALLING HARD: Lyric’s production of Verdi staple features stellar cast, lush production

By Paul Horsley If you read Francesco Piave’s libretto for Verdi’s La traviata carefully, one startling notion jumps out at you: Violetta Valéry, the “courtesan” of the title role, whose profession is to entertain wealthy gentlemen in whatever fashion they desire, has despite all her savvy fallen in love for the first time. It’s something […]

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NO LETTING UP: After passing 40-year mark, Unicorn forges ahead with all pistons firing

By Paul Horsley [NOTE: For a full transcript of our interview with Cynthia, check back here next week at kcindependent.com.] When Cynthia Levin took the reins of the Unicorn Theatre in 1979, she had a specific vision: To produce plays that no one else was doing at the time, and to cultivate local talent to […]

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MUSIC THAT UNITES WHERE DOCTRINE CAN’T: Local Cathedrals see eye-to-eye on concert series

By Paul Horsley Episcopalians and Roman Catholics have had their differences over the centuries, conflicts that have at times engulfed their musical establishments as well, but locally the month of August has long been an “era of good feelings” between the two downtown Cathedrals, thanks to a concert series that is held alternately in both […]

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SING YE OF SOLIDITY: Chorale’s new season continues on a road toward fiscal and artistic success

By Paul Horsley With several Grammy Awards to their name and an international reputation to uphold, Charles Bruffy and the 24-voice Kansas City Chorale certainly count as one of our city’s great success stories. The 2014-2015 season that begins this October will see an appearance by the international jazz and R&B singer Patti Austin; a […]

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CAN’T SCHMAN’T: Actor-comedian recounts his own obstacles and triumphs in Fringe Fest show

UPDATE: One more show added to Malcolm Grissom’s run, at 8 p.m. Saturday August 26th. By Paul Horsley Since its beginnings in 2004 the KC Fringe Festival, which continues to grow like Topsy each year, has prided itself on an incredibly wide range of offerings: from theater to dance, comedy to puppetry, burlesque to world […]

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THE MUSIC’S THE THING: Shakespeare Festival incorporates live music, to brilliant effect

By Paul Horsley Live music was an essential part of period performances of Shakespeare’s plays, but not until this year has it become central to the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s free annual performances in Southmoreland Park. Their presentation of the rare The Winter’s Tale, which runs through July the 6th, incorporates three live musicians […]

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MEET AND GREET: Passion for friendly classical environment drives summer chamber season

By Paul Horsley Summers are increasingly busy times for music, theater and dance in Kansas City, but for nearly a quarter-century Summerfest has presented the most substantial summer offerings in classical music, by a long shot. It thrives for two main reasons: (1) top-drawer musicians, many from the Kansas City Symphony, who offer the best […]

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MADE GLORIOUS SUMMER: KC performing arts groups vying for ever-growing summer audiences

By Paul Horsley Kansas City was once a sleepy place culturally during the summer, with a few notable exceptions. As the regular season began to overflow with events, that situation changed: KC Symphony members started playing chamber music, enterprising KC Ballet dancers began mini-festivals, the Fringe Festival took off, and theater companies began to offer […]

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HERE TO STAY: Quality Hill Playhouse offers generous array of Gershwin’s amazing talents

By Paul Horsley Sometimes it’s the things that accidental geniuses do “on the side,” to pay the bills, that we most remember them for. George Gershwin, like many gifted American composers of the early 20th century, desperately wanted to be remembered for his achievements in “serious” classical music, but he had a gift for tossing […]

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