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Backstage And Beyond

Like many Southerners of her generation, choreographer Mary Pat Henry had a front row seat for the explosive events surrounding desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement. As a child in Columbus, South Carolina, she remembers being continually jolted by the racism she encountered all around her. For two years now she has grappled with reenacting some of […]

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Symphony in the Flint Hills this year features not only the live strains of the Kansas City Symphony echoing out over the verdant hills of Chase County, Kansas, but also the hickory twang of country superstar Lyle Lovett, who will sing a few tunes. Scheduled for June 12th with a rain date on June 13th, it’s an all-day […]

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Bruce Sorrell has spent a great deal of his life thinking about Mozart, and it shows when he conducts the composer’s music: He has a special understanding of this most challenging of Classicists. Astonishingly, the founding music director of the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra finds that he has never conducted Mozart’s iconic Requiem, and this week […]

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The Kansas City Ballet continues to be the envy of mid-sized American companies, maintaining fiscal health while continuing to challenge itself artistically. At Thursday’s season finale opener, veterans and younger dancers mingled like a well-oiled machine in two distinguished world premieres and a reprise of Twyla Tharp’s elegant Nine Sinatra Songs. And the company showed that it has a […]

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Is there anything worse than an evening of bad Gilbert & Sullivan? If there is, let me know. The Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s production of The Pirates of Penzance came as a shock to my system, perhaps because I’ve become too accustomed to mediocre-to-awful productions of the operettas by this celebrated team of Victorian satirists. This version, to my […]

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Saying goodbye is an art form unto itself. You want a farewell to be just the right length, use just the right words and contain the perfect mix of sentiment and encouragement, tristesse and hope. Saturday’s Friends of Chamber Music concert at the Folly Theater was part of a 60-city farewell tour of the Guarneri String Quartet, […]

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In the famous opera scene in Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts asks Richard Gere how she’s supposed to know what’s happening onstage if everyone’s singing in Italian. “Oh, you’ll know,” he replies. “Believe me, you’ll understand. The music’s very powerful.” I’ve always scoffed at the pre-supertitle cliché that if a performance is good enough you can follow an […]

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There are several reasons why you might expect Benjamin Bagby’s performance of Beowulf to fall flat on a contemporary American audience. The renowned medievalist performs the epic as a one-man bard, accompanying himself on a diminutive six-string harp that is his only prop. He recites-sings the monodrama in the original Anglo-Saxon, which to non-expert ears sounds like a mixture […]

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The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields is one of the most venerated musical establishments in England, one could even say in the history of English music. You know a chamber orchestra has clout when it can convince a composer of the stature of Sir William Walton to compose a new work for it. Well, almost […]

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