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Backstage And Beyond

IN REVIEW: Choreographed version of Oz story bursts with visuals, stagecraft

It’s amazing, really, that in the dazzle of costumes, projections, puppetry, lighting and even a mechanical Toto, Septime Webre’s new The Wizard of Oz still managed to remain a ballet. The Cuban-American dance maker, who recently left a longtime post at Washington Ballet to take a position at Hong Kong Ballet, is a gifted choreographer, […]

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BRICK BY YELLOW BRICK: KC Ballet and renowned choreographic storyteller build brand-new ‘Wizard’

When Septime Webre set about to create a ballet of The Wizard of Oz, he recognized the challenge facing anyone who adapts L. Frank Baum’s story: Audiences come with certain expectations. The key, as he and his designers had to confront right off the bat, is to satisfy those desires and to push us to a […]

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IN REVIEW: The Coterie’s scintillating new MLK play is a must-see

What strikes you first about Kevin Willmott’s Becoming Martin, which the Coterie Theatre commissioned it for its 40th anniversary, is the sharp craftsmanship and concise economy of its language. The play’s portrait of the teenaged Martin Luther King, Jr. uses dialogue that sounds so natural that you can easily believe that, although this is technically […]

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IN REVIEW: Lyric’s ‘West Side Story’ shines light on the show’s real star

West Side Story remains a bit of a conundrum. More than 60 years after its first appearance, it continues to fascinate for its mixture of conventional musical theater with ballet, witty lyrics on a Gilbert-and-Sullivan level, and a healthy dose of “opera.” Francesca Zambello’s high-end production, which opened at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City on […]

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FORMULATING THE DREAM: Coterie marks 40th anniversary with new play by prominent KU author

If there was one thing that 15-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr., knew for certain when he enrolled at Atlanta’s Morehouse College in 1944, it was that he did not want to become a minister like his father. As headstrong as he was precocious, the eager teenager felt that life as a church pastor could never […]

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LYRIC OPERA STEPS OUT: Landmark of American musical theater pricks our collective conscience more than ever

It’s hard to imagine a more apt time to be reviving West Side Story. For not only does 2018 mark the birth-centenaries of composer Leonard Bernstein and choreographer Jerome Robbins, whose contributions to this revolutionary work helped redefine American musical theater, but the themes of this path-forging “choreographed musical” are as relevant today as they were […]

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SPREADING OUR WINGS: ‘Open Spaces’ charts international course for KC arts

If you haven’t heard of Open Spaces yet, chances are you’ll be getting an earful in the coming weeks. This sprawling, nine-week celebration of the visual and performing arts, which runs from August 25th to October 28th, will be dominating the city’s cultural scene this Fall with dozens of exhibits around Town (showing the work of […]

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NEW WIGS ON OLD MUSIC: Local Baroque ensemble explores Versailles’ fresh excesses

At least once a year, some enterprising Kansas Citian comes up with an idea for an arts organization that has us slapping our foreheads saying, Why didn’t we think of that? Our Town has certainly seen no shortage of visiting early-music groups (thanks to the efforts of several well-established arts presenters), and smaller groups have […]

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HEY, LET’S PUT ON A SHOW: KCDF is fulfilling early promise, and then some

When Anthony Krutzkamp and Logan Pachciarz welcomed the audience to the Kansas City Dance Festival’s inaugural performance in June 2013, some doubted that such an endeavor could thrive in KC’s previously uneventful summer months. But these two former Kansas City Ballet dancers made it crystal-clear that KCDF was here to stay. “In our first curtain […]

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