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Backstage And Beyond


Local offerings of music, theater, and dance display evolving awareness of diversity and inclusiveness    FEBRUARY 18-27 Kansas City Ballet; Dracula; Michael Pink’s 1996 choreographic setting of Bram Stoker’s novel, with an original score by composer Philip Feeney, was a runaway hit at its local premiere in 2014, and audiences have been awaiting its return; Kauffman […]

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PULLING THE STRINGS: Local groups use puppets for youth initiatives and standard theater

Puppet theater has been around for millennia: Archaeologists have found remains to suggest that puppetry existed in ancient Egypt, Asia, and Africa some 3,000 years ago or more. It has formed an essential part of performance culture wherever theater has flourished, so it is perhaps not surprising that it has played an active role in […]

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GIRLS JUST WANNA SOLVE CRIMES: Rep presents new female-centered Holmes play

Why should boys get to have all the fun? That’s one of the questions Kate Hamill asked herself as she began to refocus the Holmes and Watson stories to view them through the lens of a woman who had always felt left out of the “buddy stories” of literature, television, and film. “As a kid, […]

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SLEEPERS, AWAKE: New composition inspires inclusion while challenging classical status quo

As our nation struggles with issues of inclusion and racial equity, performing-arts organizations also find themselves reexamining their own core values, to ensure that their activities reflect a changing America. One institution that has struggled most fervently toward change is the symphony orchestra, which has long been perceived as a bastion of European culture. It […]

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VIEW FROM THE TOP: Kansas City violinist’s career takes a giant leap with three competition victories in a row

It was not preordained that Maria Ioudenitch would become a professional musician. It’s true that her parents, Kansas City-based pianists Tatiana and Stanislav Ioudenitch, saw an innate musicality in her from an early age, and that she showed fascination with the tiny violin they gave her when she was all of three years old. But […]

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FALSETTO THAT’S ANYTHING BUT FALSE: Series presents countertenor who is radically altering expectations

Countertenors have been with us for hundreds of years. If it seems that they are suddenly everywhere, it’s partly because the demand for them internationally has spurred conservatories toward a new level of training, to the point where we suddenly have dozens of really great ones. It took the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions nearly […]

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BUILDING BRIDGES: Friends concert will use transcontinental technology to join choirs and audiences

The pandemic of recent months has inspired a number of remarkable innovations among Kansas City’s performing-arts groups, from livestreamed concerts and “Zoom theater” to high-tech ventures combining seemingly disparate art forms. Yet for all that, the Friends of Chamber Music and the Kansas City Chorale may have come up with something that is unique: A […]

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POPCORN WITH YOUR PUCCINI: Lyric celebrates opera’s long-standing connection to film

Hollywood thrives on cliché, and its treatment of classical music through the years has ranged from the puerile to the downright offensive. When it comes to opera, though, filmmakers have sometimes taken a higher road, using that art form’s intensely expressive qualities to heighten the emotion of a scene, or of an entire film. An […]

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A NEW HOPE: Kansas City Symphony celebrates the composer who redefined film music

When we think about musical giants of our time, we often completely overlook a hugely significant segment of the community. In terms of the impact their music exerts on our lives, the great movie composers must stand proudly alongside the likes of George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, or Irving Berlin. And “in […]

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