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In Review

IN REVIEW: ‘Hamilton’ finally takes the stage in Kansas City (and good luck getting a ticket)

Part of the genius of Hamilton lies in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recognition that rap and hip-hop, which have already brought enormous energy to nearly every aspect of American culture, might also cast light into some of the more obscure, moribund corners of the Broadway musical. From the very first number of this instant classic (“Alexander Hamilton”) one […]

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IN REVIEW: With a single program, the Kansas City Ballet has altered the tone of the performing arts in our community

Four women far upstage in pajama-like outfits skip in place, their limbs flying in precisely crafted, whimsical calisthenics. Downstage, a ballerina in red pointe shoes is dancing, now two ballerinas, and now with men, in a juxtaposition of classical and contemporary styles that appears all the more startling because of the ensemble’s placement in front […]

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REVIEW: Visually appealing ‘Pearl Fishers’ entertains by embracing the opera’s conundrums

Contrary to popular opinion, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers does not rely on a single beautiful duet: It has several quite lovely numbers and a few choruses that are worth your time. To be sure, taken as a whole this opera, which preceded the inimitable Carmen by 12 years, is a bit of a mess. Yet to […]

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ANALYZE THIS: Lyric’s ‘Così’ is scintillating fun that spares us needless exegesis

The glory of Così fan tutte is, to a great extent, its music: Mozart is the reason we continue to treasure this masterpiece, more than two centuries after its premiere in Vienna in 1790. Thus we were grateful, at the opening of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s production on March 16th, that director James […]

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SUSPENSION OF BELIEF: Ballet presents Romantic-era tale of love and death

From a purely visual point of view, Lady of the Camellias is one of the most appealing full-length works in the current repertory of the Kansas City Ballet, which in recent years has focused much attention on more “family-oriented” stories. Val Caniparoli’s choreography for this retelling of a semi-autobiographical Alexandre Dumas fils tale will delight the […]

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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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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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IN REVIEW: Lyric sings lovely Barber, splashing color and silliness into the mix

Is opera music, or is it theater? That the best answer to that question is “yes” is part of what makes this art form so intriguing: The struggle over whether “la musica” or “la parola” (the word) should prevail in opera has raged since its inception around 1600. As I watched the Lyric Opera’s production […]

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