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Backstage And Beyond

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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TALK TO ME: Summerfest fosters great music, ‘face time,’ innovations

By Paul Horsley There are several reasons why Summerfest concerts have thrived for more than a quarter-century. They offer some of the best chamber music in town, performed by Kansas City Symphony musicians and friends, during a period in which there’s little other classical music going on locally. They play programs that balance light-hearted music […]

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ALL THAT JAZZ: New Theatre Restaurant brings top talent for Kander & Ebb classic

By Paul Horsley Great works of theater can succeed in a multitude of formats. As long as the material is strong and you bring great performers and direction, a small show can be staged on a grand scale, or a traditionally lavish production can work on a small- or medium-sized stage. When the New Theatre […]

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RESTRAINT IN THE FACE OF TRAGEDY: KC Symphony introduces significant new Leshnoff work

By Paul Horsley War poetry often contains all the drama, spectacle and tragedy that a composer needs to create a powerful musical setting, and history is rife with such statements—from Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death to Britten’s War Requiem and beyond. Letters from the battlefield, on the other hand, written in dire conditions to […]

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FROM FRIENDSHIP FORGED: KC’s top contemporary dance company celebrates 25 years of American choreography

By Paul Horsley It all started over lunch, during a festival in Vancouver, B.C., where Mary Pat Henry and Leni Wylliams were discussing their favorite dancers and choreographers. She was a dance teacher from South Carolina and he a rising star in the New York dance scene, but the two discovered they had remarkably complementary […]

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WHAT’S A SUMMER WITHOUT A SHOW? KC jumps to life from now through Labor Day

By Paul Horsley Kansas City was once a sleepy place from May to September, then several things happened at once. First, some of the established organizations began to spread their seasons well into June, and others sought to start theirs in August. Second, the dozens of new theater groups, choruses, dance ensembles, chamber series and […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric ‘Carmen’ keeps us intrigued, introduces stunning mezzo-soprano

By Paul Horsley The highest compliment you can pay an operatic production is that you went out of the theater thinking not about stagecraft, acting skills, catchy tunes or vocal prowess but about the ideas in the piece, the “meaning” even. The Lyric Opera’s Carmen that opened April 23rd is just such a production: It […]

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WOLFIE, IS THAT YOU? Spinning Tree closes season with ambitious Shaffer play

By Paul Horsley The message of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus is that God touches only a few with genius, and rest of us don’t matter. Or is it, really? Those familiar with earlier versions of this Tony Award-winning 1979 play (and its 1982 film version) might remember the theme thus: Antonio Salieri is resentful toward God […]

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