Sunday, February 28, 2010

David Frishberg review by Bill Brownlee

While Elton John and Billy Joel packed the Sprint Center, another songwriter and pianist performed Saturday at the nearby Folly Theater. Dave Frishberg, far less celebrated but no less talented than the pop stars, demonstrated why he's considered a worthy successor to composers of the classic American songbook including Hoagy Carmichael and Cole Porter.

"Broke-ology" review by John Coovert

There comes those rare moments where various pieces of things fall together to create something that is unmistakable from reality and the story it tells. Such is the case in the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of Broke-ology.

more at Lost in Reviews

Tonganoxie students try out for MTV's "Made"

It isn’t every day your e-mail inbox includes a message from producers at MTV, but that was the case for Tonganoxie High School principal Jamie Carlisle. In a note that Carlisle nearly deleted, MTV outlined its interest in giving his students the opportunity to live out their dreams on the MTV reality show “Made.”

Vinson Cole review by Timothy McDonald

Who said you can’t go home again? Vinson Cole, one of Kansas City’s favorite musical icons, returned to town to delight an audience with his supple and lyrical tenor voice. The recital, part of the Signature Series of the UMKC Conservatory, took place Saturday night at White Hall.

"The Secret Policeman" review by Phil Grecian

What a pleasant surprise that student playwright David Bury has crafted an involving play that gets even better as it goes. It takes place in Dublin in 1991 during the political/religious internecine war charmingly referred to by the Irish as "The Troubles."

more at the Topeka Capital-Journal

Burlesque battle between Beaumont Club, Uptown

Under the radar of even the most astute denizens of Kansas City’s entertainment scene there was a recent no-holds-barred dust up among competing burlesque events. I only wish I had more photos of the ruckus if only because my imagination leads me to believe there were feather boas and pasties flying everywhere.

more at KC Confidential

Mark Edelman catches Katherine McNamara on Broadway

How many times do you get a call to work with Catherine Zeta-Jones on Broadway? For Kansas City kid actress Katherine McNamara, once was just enough. She shines in the new revival of A Little Night Music, warming up the Big Apple in a great season of 1,000 watt star power.
more at KC Confidential

"Footloose" review by brn2act1969

Footloose-High Energy
Rating: 4

River City Community Players

"Barrymore" review by brn2act1969

Barrymore - Spectacular
Rating: 5

Theatre Atchison

Millage Gilbert at the Mutual Musicians Foundation

watch it at Youtube

Starlight's community ticket program

Starlight Theatre donates 364 community tickets to fellow not-for-profit organizations for each Broadway show performance. This program is intended to provide a professional entertainment experience to groups representing individuals who would otherwise be unable to enjoy live theatre performances due to economic, medical or other restrictive causes.

As it is not possible to assist all interested 501(c)(3) organizations, the Starlight community ticket program is focused on those groups dedicated to enhancing the lives of underprivileged and at-risk youth, the medically dependent or disabled, and low-income senior citizens.

Information regarding ticket request for Starlight Theatre's 2010 season are available online.

"Footloose" review by saquebut

Footloose is really 'FootTight'
Rating: 5

River City Community Players

Grant writing workshop

Writing for Your Dreams – Writing Winning Grants
Grant Writing 101, Saturday, March 20, 2009, 9 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
To be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1700 Westport Road

This workshop will explore these topics and provide attendees with all the basic knowledge they need to write a grant. This class will provide the novice grant writer with the knowledge they need to write successful grants and the experienced grant writer ways to write grants better to bring in needed funds. All participants will get one hour free phone or email grant writing consultation from Impact Consulting scheduled after the class.

Topics include:
  • Where to seek funding?
  • Advantages of grant writing
  • What it takes to get a grant approved
  • Great grant writing tips
  • And of course: How to write a winning grant
The cost of this 6 hour workshop is $100 (25% discount available for students) which includes lunch and all materials. VISA/MasterCard accepted and established organizations can be invoiced. Credit cards are processed through PayPal and a $3 processing fee is required. For more information please see or the Nonprofit Connect website under nonprofit training.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Broke-ology" review by Robert Trussell

Nathan Louis Jackson has done something I thought I would never live to see. He's a written a valid play about the lives of people in this community too often ignored by journalists and artists alike.

"Our Town" interview by Kelly Evenson

Even though Olivia Heacock has one of the smaller roles in Truman High School’s production of “Our Town,” she feels that it is just has important as any of the others.

more at The Examiner 
(sorry, post is late and the event was last weekend)

Russian National Orchestra review by John Heuertz


Stop me if you've heard this one. The Folly Theatre, as marvelous as it is, isn't big enough to handle the sound of more than 30 or 35 musicians at once. The Russian National Orchestra's 60 musicians got most of the way around this difficulty by playing a program of 19th century Slavic music with chamber-like precision Friday night for about 800 people as part of the Harriman-Jewell series.

KC Ballet winter program review by Lisa Jo Sagolla

Hats off to Kansas City Ballet’s plucky artistic director William Whitener for honing such a remarkably versatile company. At Thursday’s opening-night showing of its winter program at the Lyric Theatre, the troupe of strong, ballet-trained dancers persuasively embodied a striking diversity of dance genres.

more at

Ed Asner appearing in Topeka

Ed Asner will return this spring to the capital of his home state when he takes on the role of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in "FDR," a one-man play the Topeka Performing Arts Center will stage April 27.

more in the Topeka Capital-Journal

Union Station balancing its budget

Union Station Kansas City Inc. officials say the nonprofit, which operated at a smaller loss in 2009, has set itself on the right track to break even this year.

more at the Kansas City Business Journal

Free State High School retaliates with its own lip dub video

Free State High School students take part in a school-wide "lip dub."

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Art House opened in Lawrence

Record a song. Edit a movie. Paint a picture. Take a guitar lesson. Get a haircut. All these options are readily accessible in a town like Lawrence. Now, all can be found in one house. Such is the conceit found at the Art House.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Robert Levin masterclass

University piano professor and acclaimed performer Robert Levin will coach three area students on performance technique in front of a live audience. All are invited to attend this FREE event Thursday, March 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Founders' Hall, 415 W. 13th Street.

Call 816-471-0400 for your FREE reservation, or click here to make your FREE reservation online.

Pianist Robert Levin is the Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of Music at Harvard University and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and in Asia, appearing with several leading orchestras. In addition to his performing activities, Prof. Levin is a noted theorist and Mozart scholar.

more at The Kansas City Symphony

Alternative music with alternative instruments

At some point in their lives, many people harbor a dream of becoming a rock star. Usually these visions revolve around electric guitar, bass or drums. But increasingly, instrument preferences seem to be getting more diverse. Artists such as the Punch Brothers, Sufjan Stevens and Bela Fleck are re-popularizing lesser-used instruments such as mandolin and banjo. At Mass Street Music, 1347 Massachusetts St., employee and local musician Jason Jones says he’s seen more interest in the instruments from college-age customers. The ukulele, too, appears to be making a comeback, being used by musicians ranging from Youtube phenomenons such as Jake Shimabukuro to mainstream artists such as Jason Mraz. With artists like these getting attention for playing different instruments, people are making the choice to start learning alternative instruments themselves.

more at the University Daily Kansan

Jesse Highley interview by Adrianne DeWeese

Jesse Highley dreamed as a child of running away and joining the circus. Beginning at age 5, Highley’s father would take him each year on his birthday to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. Highley would return home from the circus and would teach himself new skills he had observed – juggling, riding a unicycle, gymnastics tumbling and walking on stilts, among others.

more at The Examiner 
(sorry, post is late and the event was on Fri, Feb. 19)

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Cactus Flower" review by Kellie Houx

I enjoyed it. I love farces. The play ended up with the right folks in love with each other.

more at KC Studio

Liz Conant interview by Kelly Evenson

Liz Conant is theater director at Raytown High School. Raytown’s spring production of “The Nerd” by Larry Shue is 7 p.m. today and Saturday at Raytown High School, 6608 Raytown Road. Admission is $4 for students with ID, $6 in advance and $7 at the door. For more information, call 816-268-7300.

more at The Examiner

Dave Frishberg interview by Joe Klopus

Composer, pianist and singer Dave Frishberg didn’t start out to be a supremely hip jazz singer-songwriter. But it has worked out well that way for the creator of “Peel Me a Grape,” “My Attorney Bernie,” “Do You Miss New York?” and the “Schoolhouse Rock” flagship song, “I’m Just a Bill.”

KC Ballet "Lambarena" review by Lisa Jo Sagolla

Hats off to Kansas City Ballet’s plucky artistic director William Whitener for honing such a remarkably versatile company.

UPDATE: Zhou Long interview by Laura Spencer

UPDATE: KCUR added an internet-only interview with Zhou Long.

As a teenager during the Cultural Revolution in China, composer Zhou Long was sent from his home in Beijing to work on a rural state farm. Here, he talks about the experience. 

listen to it here

Zhou Long interview by Laura Spencer

The thousand-year-old Chinese folk tale, "Madame White Snake," is the story of a white snake demon who longs for love. And there are tragic consequences. It’s the subject of the first opera for composer and UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance professor Zhou Long. In the production, elements of traditional Chinese opera meet the style of the West. 

listen at KCUR

KU faculty and alumni create museum documentary

When the National Park Service officially opens its visitor center for the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City on Saturday, Feb. 27, two University of Kansas faculty and two KU alumni will be among those credited for the center’s signature film.

more at Infozine

Improv comedy in Lawrence

Jordy Altman just wanted to get funny people together and laugh. He had participated in forensics all through high school, but when he came to the University he had no outlet for his favorite act of creativity, improv. So Altman rounded up friends and former forensics competitors to get together and play improv games once a week. And what started as a handful of people quickly grew into 20, and Stitch Tactics was created.

more at the University Daily Kansan

Stand-up comedy in St. Joseph

You’ll find a few bands playing at bars around town on most nights, but stand-up comedians only come to St. Joseph on rare occasions. Local comedians Nick Ford, Brian Myers and David Allison plan to fill that void.

more at St. Joe Live

Rachel Lee, Michael Brown performance at the Folly

Violinist Rachel Lee and Pianist Michael Brown performed a free Discover Concert presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series on Saturday, February 13, 2010, at the Folly Theater.

watch it at Youtube

"Chicago" review by Luv2Yn

Chicago And All That Jazz
Rating: 5

Chicago: The Musical
City Theatre of Independence

Music events this weekend

One of Kansas City’s most illustrious musical sons is tenor Vinson Cole.

Top Rated Shows: Feb. 22-Mar. 1

Reviews - Current Performances
  • 5.00 Rent - CenterSeason Theatre (7 Votes)
Ratings - Current Performances
  • 5.00 Rent - CenterSeason Theatre. (7 Votes)
  • 5.00 Spooky Dog: A Scoobydoo Mystery: Plagiarized and Improvised - The Coterie Theatre. (1 Vote)
  • 4.33 Life On The Mississippi - The Coterie Theatre. (3 Votes)
  • 4.00 Say You Love Satan - Egads Theatre Company. (3 Votes)
  • 3.67 Grey Gardens - Unicorn Theatre. (3 Votes)
  • 3.00 Chicago: The Musical - City Theatre of Independence. (2 Votes)
Ratings - Top Ten Rated Shows of the Last 3 Months
  • 5.00 Rent - CenterSeason Theatre (7 Votes)
  • 5.00 Madeline's Christmas - Theatre for Young America (2 Votes)
  • 4.33 Life On The Mississippi - The Coterie Theatre (3 Votes)
  • 4.29 The Great American Trailer Park Musical - Olathe Community Theatre Association (7 Votes)
  • 4.00 King O' the Moon - City Theatre of Independence (9 Votes)
  • 4.00 The Wiz - The Barn Players, Inc. (7 Votes)
  • 4.00 Glorious! - American Heartland Theatre (5 Votes)
  • 4.00 It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play - American Heartland Theatre (3 Votes)
  • 4.00 Say You Love Satan - Egads Theatre Company (3 Votes)
Reviews - Five Most Recent of Past Performances
  • 4.29 The Great American Trailer Park Musical - Olathe Community Theatre Association (7 Votes)
  • 4.00 Glorious! - American Heartland Theatre (5 Votes)
  • 4.00 Slammed: KC Speaks Out on the Recession - UMKC Theatre (1 Vote)
  • 4.00 King O' the Moon - City Theatre of Independence (9 Votes)
  • 4.00 It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play - American Heartland Theatre (3 Votes)
Rate or reviews shows at KC Stage

"Broke-ology" review by Lightman2005

Broke-ology, a worthwhile production
Rating: 4

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Chicago" review by Trying2beFAIR

Chicago is just the suburbs
Rating: 2

Chicago: The Musical
City Theatre of Independence

Val Caniparoli "Lambarena" interview by Rachel Murphy

In the midst of the winter snows and frigid temperatures, the performance of Val Caniparoli’s "Lambarena" will seem like a gust of savannah wind. The Kansas City Ballet’s winter performance will consist of "Lambarena," "Piano Concerto #2" with choreography by Robert Hill, and José Limón’s take on Othello, "The Moor’s Pavane," set to the music of Henry Purcell. All performances will take place this weekend at the Lyric Theatre.

more at the KC Free Press

"Slammed!" review by Alexia Lang

The recession has hit home. The protective bubble that once guarded the Midwest has been popped. "Slammed! KC Speaks out on the Recession" is a snapshot of how Kansas Citians of all walks of life have been affected by the current economic downturn.

more at the University News

Brad Zimmerman interview by Abbie Stutzer

Bradley F. Zimmeran's home is the theater — literally. For the past 12 years, the intimate, offbeat Chestnut Fine Arts Center in downtown Olathe has doubled as Zimmerman's home and playhouse.

more at the KC Free Press

KC Symphony: Copland, Crumb, Beethoven preview

Kansas City Symphony Music Director Michael Stern previews this concert featuring guest pianist Robert Levin. Repertoire includes George Crumb's "A Haunted Landscape," Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Copland's Symphony No. 3. Tickets start at just $10! Call 816-471-0400 to order today.

watch it at Youtube

"Aluminum Show" preview

After witnessing this performance, you’ll never look at kitchen foil the same.

more at the University Daily Kansan

Robert Butler is sick of the sick

In “It’s Complicated,” Meryl Streep drinks too much and ends up worshipping at the porcelain altar. In “Crazy Heart,” Jeff Bridges is an alcoholic country singer who interrupt his sets to call for “Ralph” in a back alley trash can. These two current Oscar nominees are part of a stomach-churning trend. The most popular bodily function in the movies these days isn’t sex. It’s vomiting.

Trussell looks at the crossover between musicians and theatre

Theater performers are often broken into arcane categories: dancers who sing, actors who dance, singers who act, actors who move and on and on. That helps stage directors find the people they need for a specific show, especially musicals. But there’s another way to describe them: They are performers who perform. Period.

"Slammed!" review by Alan Scherstuhl

Last fall, Stephanie Roberts, a UMKC Theatre Department professor, dispatched her students into the city to collect stories about how people were faring in this recession. The result is Slammed!, an extraordinary achievement of community reporting and ensemble creation. Its power doesn't derive from any singular voice or revelation but from the steady accumulation of both.

more at The Pitch

Nate and Ben Rosenbloom interview by Lindsey Slater

It takes two to make the Free State High School Thespian Club run right. Twins Nate and Ben Rosenbloom rank as president and vice president of the group, but don’t expect a power struggle between the duo. When it comes to participating in the arts, Nate and Ben are about as similar as it gets.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Marty Dowds "Riverdance" interview by Adrienne DeWeese

Irish native Marty Dowds is admittedly shy and soft-spoken. His responses are brief as he is asked about his experiences of traveling the world for 13 years as a dancer.

more at The Examiner

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Music Theatre for Young People 2010 Season

Here is the 2010 season lineup for Music Theatre for Young People:
  • The Drowsy Chaperone (14th Annual Senior Show), June 5-6
  • Thirteen (1st Annual Middle School Camp), June 14-20
  • Snow White and the 17 Dwarfs (Day Camp), June 21-25
  • Children of Eden (Broadway at Baker), Session 1: July 11-18/ Session 2: July 25-Aug 1
  • Zombie Prom (Broadway at Baker), Session 1: July 11-18 / Session 2: July 25-Aug 1
  • The Secret Garden: 10th Anniversary (8th Annual Alumni Show), TBA
more at Music Theatre for Young People

American Indian Repertory Theatre interview by Steve Walker

As Lawrence, Kansas is the home of Haskell Indian Nations University, it would make sense that the city would be the site of the American Indian Repertory Theatre. Established in 2006, it’s just one of a handful of theaters in the United States devoted to Native American artists and plays. And it’s the only such theatre in the Midwest. 

listen at KCUR

Behzod Abduraimov preview

Fresh from his electrifying win of the 2009 London International Piano Competition Grand Prize at the age of 18, Behzod Abduraimov joing Van Cliburn International Piano Competition Gold Medal winner Stanislav Ioudenitch in a Friends of Chamber Music Special Presentation concert at 8pm Friday, March 5, at the Folly Theatre.

watch it at Youtube

UCM Wind Ensemble to play Carnegie Hall

The University of Central Missouri Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Scott Lubaroff, director of bands in the University of Central Missouri Department of Music, will travel to New York City in March to perform in Carnegie Hall as part of the Carnegie Hall Concert Series.

more at the University of Central Missouri

David Rush, Chisa Hutchinson named Inge House Playwrights-in-Residence

The Inge Center welcomes Spring 2010 Inge House Playwrights-in-Residence David Rush and Chisa Hutchinson, who will draw inspiration for new scripts by living in the William Inge Historic Family Home in Independence.

more at Broadway World

Mona Störling-Enna interview by Kevin Selders

Following Störling Dance Theater’s recent production of Underground at the Music Hall, Artistic Director Mona Störling-Enna sat down with Present Magazine to discuss reactions to the show from critics and the public, as well as future plans for Underground.

more at Present Magazine

Störling Dance Theater review by Kevin Selders

To some, the reality of America’s past sin of slavery might seem too heavy a subject to convey through theatrical dance. For the third year in a row, however, Störling Dance Theater has successfully covered the topic by focusing on the other side of this dark chapter in our nation’s history: the ability of a people to overcome such a reality and those who helped them along the way.

more at Present Magazine

Earl Brooks interview by Andy Hyland

For Earl Brooks, a lot of things in life can be explained through jazz music.
Jazz music helped get him into Kansas University. Jazz music helped put him on the path to his degree. But, perhaps even more important than all that, the KU senior from Topeka said, it’s inspired him to look at life a little deeper.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World