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Backstage And Beyond

BUT HOW DID SHE FEEL? Joyce and Yannick are breaking all the rules for Harriman-Jewell

Great artists are frequently blessed with the most inquisitive of minds. For two decades, Prairie Village native Joyce DiDonato has established herself not only as one of the great singers of our time but also as an artist constantly exploring fresh repertoire, innovative formats, and artistic landscapes where operatic mezzo-sopranos have dared not tread. On […]

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LEAN ON ME: Maverick company presents fresh take on ‘holiday spirit’

One late night a few years back, as playwright Harvey Williams was leaving the Just Off Broadway Theatre where his KC MeltingPot Theatre is based, he noticed the familiar flicker of “campfires” in the Penn Valley woods. A handful of Kansas City’s homeless were nestled up there, trying to stave off winter’s chill, as far […]

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TOP OF HER GAME: At 90, Kansas-born superstar still finding new fans

One of the great things about living long is that sometimes you get to see trends you thought were lost forever make surprising comebacks. Marilyn Maye, the Wichita native who got her start some 70 years ago performing what we now call the “American Songbook” (a genre that was pushed aside for a number of […]

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FINDING HOME: MET mounts American epic by Texas original

There is nothing flashy about Horton Foote’s language. He writes the way people talk. Yet his plays and screenplays have the power to move strong men and women to tears. Small wonder he has won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama (for The Young Man from Atlanta), two Best Screenplay Oscars (for To Kill a Mockingbird and […]

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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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