Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Bachorlette" actor Ron Mayer interview on "KC After Hours"

Ron Mayer was one of the bachelors on a previous season of The Bachelorette. Find out what he's doing now and where his life has taken him.

"Thinking About Dreaming" short film by Michelle Brost

Lighting assignment for cinematography class, subject is my roommate Kati

Critic of the Kauffman Center's architecture

The ancients believed beauty resulted from balance, subtlety and proportion.

more at the Kansas City Gazette

[Thanks, Tony]

IFC taking submissions for "Every Pictures Tells a Story"

Filmmakers are to create a film that features a 2- or 3-dimensional original work of local art (painting, photograph, sculpture, etc.). The film should “tell the story” behind the artwork, either in a creative narrative or documentary work. The film may or may not feature the artist.

more at the Independent Filmmaker's Coalition

"Venice" star Matt Sax appears on "Last Call with Carson Daly"

“Last Call” is going to feature music from “Venice” (which premiered in KC in April) at the top of Friday’s show — which is to say, the show airing in the wee hours of Saturday morning — and Sax is slated as a guest on the show.

more at

ArtsKC Inspiration Breakfast raises $164,000

On October 14th, the Arts Council packed the Leedy-Voulkos Art Gallery with art connectors, supporters and transformers! Guests were entertained with a special performance from Beau Bledsoe and Nathan Granner, ArtsKC Fund Inspiration Grant recipients. They also heard testimonials from Erin McGrane, Inspiration Grant recipient, and Allan Gray, Arts Council Board Member, on how the Arts Council has created a ripple effect of benefits in their lives and in our community. Honorary Chair, Shirley Bush Helzberg, addressed the group and encouraged them to contribute to the every day operations of the Arts Council. The Inspiration Breakfast raised over $164,000 in cash and pledges over the next five years.

Unicorn "The Seafarer" review by Walter Winch

This dark comedy, was written by playwright and director, Conor McPherson, who was born in Dublin, Ireland. The setting is a coastal town named Baldoyle, north of Dublin on Christmas Eve. The two-act play opened in London in 2006 and in New York in 2007.

more at Infozine

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Margo May "Up, Up, Up and Away" music video

Touring musicians visit local high shcools

Joyner, a 25-year-old Atlanta violinist with the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra — composed of young African-American and Latino players — had stopped by the Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts to play for and talk with students about the role of classical music in his life.

more at

Auditioning for the Lawrence Community Theatre

If Harry Caray could do it, surely I could too. The famed baseball announcer had sung a rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch of countless Chicago Cubs games. A longtime pitchman for Budweiser, Caray often sang like his vocal cords had been well-lubricated with that fine product. And everybody still seemed to love the show.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Coterie "Sorority House of the Dead" review by Russ Simmons

In the mood for some over-the-top camp that you can really sink your teeth into? If so, then the Coterie production of "Sorority House of the Dead" may be just the horror spoof you’re looking for.

more at Sun Publications (after the review for The Seafarer)

Unicorn "The Seafarer" review by Russ Simmons

When it was announced that The Unicorn Theatre and the Kansas City Actors Theatre were collaborating, local theater buffs anticipated something special. After all, both of these companies have consistently provided entertaining, high-quality offerings. Fortunately, "The Seafarer" lives up to those high expectations.

more at Sun Publications

Time lapse video shoot at the Filling Station

We had a production at the Filling Station (39th & McGee) a few weeks ago. We rolled this camera for most of it (but the battery died 2/3 of the way through). It was a long weeknight but we got some great shots and had a pretty good time.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eric Rosen, Matt Sax "Venice" on the road to Broadway

Is Kansas City Repertory Theatre set to midwife its first musical project on Broadway? Maybe. If it can survive a tough tryout in LA at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

more at KC Confidential

History of the song "Kansas City"

If it isn’t one of the most popular rock ’n’ roll songs ever, “Kansas City” is at least the best-known song written about this town. It has been covered dozens of times by some of the giants in rock and popular music, including the Beatles, whose revised version, released in December 1964, is as well-known as Wilbert Harrison’s, who first made it a hit in 1959.

more at

Missouri Univesrity stage makeup class photos by Ally Anderson

The MU stage makeup class transformed into trees, brick walls and aliens as they experimented with fantasy makeup Monday afternoon.

more at the Missourian

Charlotte Street "See-Saw" review by Greta Moore

The Charlotte Street Foundation hosted “See-Saw,” an installation-based performance created by composer Mark Southerland and choreographer Jane Gotch.

more at the University News

Rodrick Pocowatchit "The Dead Can't Dance" interview by Jerry Rapp

The last Rapp Sheet covered the growth of the impressive Tallgrass Film Festival and the notable filmmaking community that has been steadily growing out of Wichita, Kansas. As an accent to that point comes a feature film from director Rodrick Pocowatchit, who is a descendent of the Commanche, Pawnee, and Shawnee Nations and calls Wichita his home.

more at Review

KC Ballet "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" review by Nicole English

The Kansas City Ballet opened the 2010 season with a dynamite program that featured several pieces by Russian composer George Balanchine, as well as an encore performance of the popular “Lark Ascending” piece, choreographed by Bruce Marks for the Ballet West company in 1979.

more at the University News

Pianist Stanislav Ioudenitch interview by Alex Smith

This coming weekend, Kansas Citians will have the chance to hear two internationally-known concert pianists. And they're traveling all the way from . . . Parkville.

listen at KCUR

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brenda Harris "Norma" interview with

Brenda Harris recently sat down with via Skype and discussed at length the title role in Norma, what is so difficult about the role, and how she prepares for it.  Ms. Harris also reflects on why it is as important for her to understand the psychology of the characters as it is to master the arias.

more at the Lyric Opera

Art Institute 2010 animation demo reel

Official 2010 showreel for the Academy Award winning Animation Department at the Kansas City Art Institute. Featuring clips from the 2010 Spring semester.  Please have a look around our channel for full versions of most of these films.

Sphinx Chamber Orch, Harlemt Quartet review by DSM

The inaugural program of the new alliance between Friends of Chamber Music and the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance occurred yesterday afternoon—a concert by Sphinx Chamber Orchestra and the Harlem Quartet.

more at Chamber Music Today

UMKC "King Stag" review by Kristen McMillan

“The King Stag” is a must see. The audience agreed the humor and vibrant setting, along with a carefully selected cast of actors, made this play irresistible. It was easy to follow and there was never a dull moment.

more at the University News

Coterie "Sorority House of the Dead" review by Jill Schleiden

House of the Dead,” we were greeted by risers of easy chairs and couches glowing in backlight. The house manager led us to our seats- in the front row, a.k.a. the “splatter zone.”

more at the University News

Lied Center "Fiddler on the Roof" review by Thomas Hardy

Tradition came to Lawrence on Thursday in the form of a traveling production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” a musical about the friction generated when social change pushes families and friends apart. Old Tevye’s doggedness about tradition reverberated through Lawrence, one of Kansas’ more rebellious daughters, and we showed that we can still appreciate a classic.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Unicorn "The Seafarer" review by BeninKC

The Seafarer Sails on Vision and Talent
Rating: 5

The Seafarer
Kansas City Actors Theatre

If the first ever collaboration between The Unicorn and Kansas City Actors Theatre is any indication, this is a partnership that should be utilized many more times.  Their current production, The Seafarer, by Conor McPherson, at the Unicorn's Jerome Stage, seamlessly weaves a seemingly realistic, yet oddly mystical tale, in modern day Ireland.  Set in a basement  in Baldoyle, Ireland, on Christmas Eve, the play is the story of Sharky (David Fritts) and his encounter over a game of higher-stakes-than-expected poker with Mr. Lockhart (Victor Raider-Wexler), who we quickly recognize to be an earthly incarnation of the Devil.  Filling out this ensemble of eccentric Irish card players are Sharky's blind brother, Richard (Allan L. Boardman), and friends Ivan (Stuart Rider) and Nicky (Dean Vivian).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Anita Cordell interview by Jefferson Donald

Anita Cordell is a local actress who is making her dream of becoming a nationally recognized talent happen.  Having only been acting professionally for four years, she has already amassed an impressive list of film, television and commercial credits, including her latest, an independent feature film called “Pitching Hope”.

part one, part two at

Stanton Welch, Houston Ballet II interview by Lisa Jo Sagolla

Sometimes it takes an outsider to make you appreciate what’s going on in your own backyard, which is exactly what Australian choreographer Stanton Welch is trying to do for heartland ballet audiences.

more at

Unicorn "The Seafarer" review by Robert Trussell

“The Seafarer” was first staged in 2006, well before the Irish recession officially began, but as executed in the Unicorn Theatre/Kansas City Actors Theatre co-production, the play’s depiction of hard-drinking losers in a neighborhood populated by winos and young thugs tracks with a society reeling from an economic meltdown.

more at

A message from Cloris Leachman

Coterie "Sorority House of the Dead" review by Actor's Eyes

A Bloody Disappointment
Rating: 1

Sorority House of the Dead
The Coterie Theatre

I was thoroughly excited for the Ron McGee double feature (Sorority House of the Dead and Young Frankenstein) on Monday the 25th at the Living Room.  However, I left sorely disappointed by the first performance (though the staged reading that followed was a complete riot and very well received).

While the show had its moments, it was about an hour longer than it needed to be.  They could have gotten the point across AND all of the successful jokes out in a mere 30 minutes.  However, I did very much enjoy the dance sequences and crazy 80s styles.

Also, the space had a splatter zone in the front row.  The audience was not warned of this until the house manager started passing out plastic to hold in front of them.  I heard several complaints from these patrons who wouldn't have minded sitting in a splatter zone, if they had only been aware that that was where they were only made aware of it before hand.  The fake blood was only water that they didn't even bother to color red, but I still consider it a common courtesy to advertise the fact that the audience members would be getting wet.  There was also a character that swung fake limbs around, sometimes in his teeth, in order to spray more "blood".  However, a woman in the front row was actually hit in the face with an arm.  I doubt that she paid $10 for that.

I guess that after seeing Evil Dead, there is just no appreciating other horror spoofs on stage.

read the review at KC Stage

Egads "Evil Dead: The Musical" review by Actor's Eyes

Eubank does it again
Rating: 5

Evil Dead: The Musical
Egads Theatre Company

Steven Eubank is a genius.

I have always maintained that Steven is one of the best directors in town and a pure joy to work with.  Though I was not fortunate enough to be a part of his most recent production, Evil Dead the Musical, I am not at all upset that I was not cast.  Every actor in this show was cast perfectly for their part and I wouldn't have it any other way.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it is a musical parody of the Evil Dead movie trilogy featuring Bruce Campbell.  I attended the 11pm performance on October 22nd (their late night shows not only have great discounts, but never fail to be a little more rowdy).  I had the great pleasure of sitting next to the dramaturg, Matt Leonard, who is an absolute expert on the cinematic version of the story, and he was almost as entertaining to watch as the show itself as he quoted the famous lines along with the actors and cheered hardily at successful stage deaths.

I also decided to brave the infamous "Splatter Zone", where patrons are pretty much guaranteed to get at least some stage blood on them.  If you really want to get covered, all you have to do is nab a seat in the center of any of the stage side rows; that's where the majority of the gore strikes.  Egads Theatre Company has t-shirts for sale in the lobby so that you can take home a souvenir covered in blood if you so choose.

On to the performers: in a word, AMAZING.  Eubank did a phenomenal job casting this show.  All of the singing voices were perfectly matched to their characters and I was impressed with the breath control during the intense dance sequences (courtesy of choreography Derek Ferguson).  Sam Wright (Ash) was a shoe in for Bruce Campbell and his lovey-dovey relationship with Linda (played by Aurelie Roque) was almost more disgusting then all the gore.  Ethan Miller (Ed) had a very cute little number called "Bit Part Demon" and my only complaint was that he didn't show off the tap dancing skills that he demonstrated in Egads' last production, Eating Rauol. Noah Whitmore was absolutely hilarious as the sex driven Scott and had a beautifully grotesque death scene that featured him pulling out his own intestines.  Whitmore was also the most liberal with sharing blood with the patrons in the "Splatter Zone".  Chioma Anyanwu (Cheryl) spent the majority of the show as an "evil dead" and the contrast of her evil voice from the original, shy Cheryl was astounding.  She sounded like two completely different people and I'm sure that she had vocal fatigue from how much energy she threw into the role.  I was also amazed by her incredible stage death when she went down like a felled tree with absolutely no abandon.  Dana Joel Nicholson played the aptly named "good ol' reliable Jake"; you could rely on him for a red neck good time and beautiful comedic timing (though the rest of the cast did not lack this in the least).  Last, but not least, my personal favorite, Olivia Marsh.  Marsh played two characters, Shelly and Annie, both sexy but different in almost every other aspect.  I was very impressed with how she made a clear distinction between the characters (the audience would not need the different costumes and wigs to differentiate between the two).  Shelly was a complete idiot, content to slate Scott's sexual appetite and remember Cheryl's name by using her vagina as a ventriloquist dummy, and Annie was an academic who insisted on being control of everything.  Both characters featured scandalous costumes but no one in the audience seemed to mind whenever she bent over.

The set and lighting were perfect compliments to the performances of the actors with the special touch of blood actually shooting out of the stage.  They also utilized fog very well.  One particular moment I enjoyed was when a steady gust of air from downstage left blew back Roque's hair during her duet with Wright.  In the middle of the stage was a cellar door that Anyanwu often popped out of to spout off bad puns.  Several of the actors had interactions involving the trap door and it appeared to be very heavy and slightly dangerous (it was slammed shut often).  I know for a fact that Nicolson was injured during one of the previous performances when his arm was pinched in the door.  This factor of the set, as well as some branches that attacked the characters, were very worrisome to me and I was concerned for the actors' safety because of them.

Overall, Evil Dead the Musical receives a five out of five from me.  I've never laughed so hard in the theatre.  My hat is off to Steven Eubank and is marvelous cast.  I hope to see the show again before it closes!

read the review at KC Stage

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

She&Her "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" review by Actor's Eyes

Pleased by Peanuts
Rating: 4

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown
She&Her Productions

SheHer Productions has done a terrific job of transforming the Crane building in the West Bottoms into an inviting performance space.  The theatre seats are comfortable and set on risers to create excellent sight lines and there is a cozy room off to the side of the performance space where patrons can enjoy drinks.  My only qualm with the facility was that there was only one, though beautifully decorated, bathroom.

The October 18th performance of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown was extremely entertaining and provided an all around fun night of theatre.  The costumes, hair and makeup brought the audience back to their childhood days of enjoying the Peanuts comic strips and cartoons; Jennifer Coville-Shweigert (co-producer) and Tracy Van Unen were especially convincing as Lucy and Sally.  The set was simple, but effective and the lighting by Russell Langdon, no stranger to lighting design, was extremely impressive for such a small space.  The orchestra, led by J. Preston Schell, was completely up to par; I never heard a missed note and the sound was mixed well.

As to the performers, this show was very well cast though I was least impressed with Jason Patrick Pollard as the title role and Alisha M. Garnier as Snoopy.  This could be because I hold actors in such pivotal roles to a higher standard, but Pollard seemed more monotone than sad and Garnier struggled with some of the notes (always a danger when casting a female Snoopy) and downright exhausted during her choreography.  In her number "Supper Time", I was concerned that she was going to pass out right in front of me!  Perhaps this was just an issue in this particular performance.  One must consider that actors are just as susceptible to fatigue and illness as everyone else.

Though all of the actors were entertaining (some more than others) my absolute favorite performance was given by Phillip Russell Newman as Schroeder.  His voice was perfectly suited for the role and his energy topped all the rest.  I actually felt like jumping up and celebrating Beethoven Day with him!  Newman's brother Jeff played Linus and he also gave a spectacular performance.  His number "My Blanket and Me" included an impromptu tap dance that the entire cast participated in.  It was clear that there were only a few with any tap experience and the rest of the performers struggled with the basics.  I commend them for taking on the choreography with no previous training and know that I could do know better myself.  Watching them dance, I could identify the names of the moves, but know that I would not be able to execute them any better than the novice dancers on the stage.

Overall, I give this performance a four out of five stars and I look forward to not only seeing more shows in this venue, but hope to participate in them myself.  It is clear that She&Her Productions is on their way to being a very successful theatre company and I can't wait to see it blossom.  Congratulations to the cast and to director Tiffany Garrison-Schwegert on an entertaining production of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.

read the review at KC Stage

UMKC "Black Comedy/White Liars" review by Piddums

As Different as Black and White
Rating: 4

Black Comedy/The White Liars
UMKC Theatre

Black Comedy is an often produced play from the Peter Schaeffer catalog and an oddity from that author. Not concerned with those touched by God and the men who envy them (essentially the plots of Equus, Amadeus and The Royal Hunt of the Sun), Black Comedy is a farce. Brinsley Miller and his debutante fiance are holding a party to show his art pieces and also meet his fiance's military father. They've borrowed his neighbor's prized antique collection without permission to impress their guests and are waiting when the building is sent into blackout. The unexpected appearances of the neighbor and an ex girlfriend complicate matters with Brinsley spiriting the furniture out of the apartment and hiding the angry ex in the upstairs bedroom.

Schaffer uses the convention that when the room is lit in the play, the stage is in blackness and when the room is in blackness the stage is brightly lit. The pace is wonderful in this production and the cast is so uniformly good that I find it hard to single anyone out, but I absolutely must mention Virginia Hubbard as another neighbor with a secret drinking problem and J. Will Fritz as the flamboyant antique owning neighbor who may or may not have had a relationship with Brinsley himself.

The White Liars is a lesser known Shaeffer play, which is done mostly as a companion piece to Black Comedy as it originally was done on The West End and Broadway. The reason that it's lesser known and often omitted is because it's dreadful. The story of a fortune teller and two customers who all have secrets is jam packed with bloviating monologues which seem endless. The cast of three are quite charming and do their best, but there is no raising of this corpse.

Five out of Five for Black Comedy. Two out of five for the White Liars.

read the review at KC Stage

Enter to win two free tickets to Imago Dei's "A Christmas Carol: An Urban Cautionary Tale"

Enter to win two free tickets to Imago Dei's production of A Christmas Carol: An Urban Cautionary Tale, playing Nov 11-13, by taking a short poll on donations. More information about the production can be found at Imago Dei. The survey closes on November 8 at noon, and winners will be picked at random.

"Spotlight on Kelly Farrar" by Angie Fiedler

This article is from the September 2010 issue of KC Stage

Music has always been a big part of Kelly Farrar’s life. “I love to sing,” she says with dancing eyes. “It’s just something I do because I love to do it: it’s not something I would ever in a million years dream of doing as a career.”

But music has been a part of her career, whether she realizes it or not. In fact, the production she saw that made her realize she wanted to do theatre was the musical Grease. “It was one of the matinees that they do just for the school field trips. Before the show started, they brought us all up on stage, and they had this little dance party for us. And I remember standing up there and looking out, and I was like, ‘Yeah. This is where I’m supposed to be.’”

Born in New Haven, Conn., she moved to Des Moines when she was 12. At 19, her mom got a job in Kansas City. “I wasn’t quite ready to leave the nest yet,” she says with a laugh, and so she moved here as well. Having done some theatre training at a small community college in Des Moines, she wanted to continue the process and signed up with Andy Garrison’s Actor Training Studio.

“This sounds really bad,” Farrar says when explaining why she chose Garrison, “but he was the first one in the phone book.” She’s quick to continue, “I’m glad that he was the first person in the phone book, because I learned so much from him. He’s a genius.”

Garrison suggested Farrar join the Independent Filmmakers Coalition, and six months after joining, she became a board member. Being a member of the IFC led her to several bit parts in area films, including her latest, Jack in the Box, which the producers plan to submit to the Terror Film Festival in Philadelphia.

Music has a part in one of her films, too - she was part of the documentary Ten Songs. “It was a really cool premise, where if someone was making a movie out of your life, what ten songs would be on the soundtrack?” She takes a moment, then admits with a laugh, “I couldn’t tell you what ten songs were on the soundtrack at that time. I’m sure it was really, really bad late ‘90s, early 2000’s crappy pop music.”

It is a good bet, though, that at least one of the songs was a Billy Joel one, as Farrar is a big fan. In fact, in one of her part-time job as a karaoke DJ, she sings “New York State of Mind” a lot. “That’s a song I can sing in my sleep. I could be getting over strep throat and my voice be all scratchy and I can still nail it.”

She aces another Joel song in karaoke - “We Didn’t Start the Fire”. In fact, part of her ‘other skills’ is the boast that she knows all the words to it. “It’s my default song when I can’t sing or lost my voice.”

Singing is part of her current production, as she plays Balthasar (as well as a couple of other roles), who sings the “Sigh No More” song in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot IV: Much Ado About Nothing, which opens Sept 11 at the Alcott Arts Center ( Full disclosure: I am the stage manager (and married to the director) of this year’s production, and I directed Farrar in last year’s SITPLOT (she was one of the Dromio twins in Comedy of Errors). In fact, Farrar has been in or a part of all four SITPLOT’s - she stage managed the first one (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and got the role of Kate in Taming of the Shrew, the second year’s production.

For the first year, she says, “I went and auditioned, and Kim Hentges - who directed - sent me an e-mail asking me to stage manage. I was like, ‘Hey, why not? I can learn more this way.’ I think they had a year break, and then the second year I showed up and that was when we did Taming and that was my first ever role in any Shakespeare, minor or the lead. So, I kind of came out of the gate with Shakespeare like insanity, but it was a blast.”

For last year’s Comedy, the Dromios are men. Farrar says of playing a man, “That was awesome. You know what’s funny? I remember going to the first rehearsal and being really, really pissed off because I didn’t get Adriana. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I take the script home and I read it a little more thoroughly, and I was like, ‘Wait a second. I got the better part!’ It was something I’d never done before, and so it was fun.”

As for why Shakespeare, Farrar doesn’t even have to think about it. “I love Shakespeare,” she says, “and I feel the same way about the Greek plays. It’s very raw and cut down, and there’s not a lot to hide behind. You kind of have to be out there, doing it, you know? In more modern plays, you have a little bit more luxury and a bit more leeway, and if you mess up a line, it’s kind of easier to flub your way until you get what you want. You can’t do that with Shakespeare. I can’t speak in iambic pentameter by myself. You’d think at this point I’d be able to,” she says with a laugh, “but no. It’s more of a challenge, because you actually have to figure out what they’re saying.”

Music has another part of her life, as she is one of the hosts of an internet radio show called The Big Dumb Fun Show ( Described on their website as “a drive-time style format”, the show broadcasts live on the website and through affiliate radio stations on Mondays from 7 - 10 pm.

“I got on because I was my ex-boyfriend’s ride,” she says with a laugh. “I would just drive him there every Monday. There were three hosts at the time: Aaron Gnirk, Venkman, and Frank. And Frank and Venkman were both gone, and my guy at the time was going to be one of the fill-in hosts. The Big Dumb Fun girl didn’t show up that day either, so I just sort of ended up being on a mike. And then six or seven months later, they gave me my own entertainment trash segment where I come in and talk about Hollywood for a segment or two and then I leave. And then it sort of morphed into me being there all the time.”

Farrar plans to move to New York in January, and major in theatre and elementary education. “I want to do theatre, but I currently work,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t like to have a backup plan, because that makes me feel like I don’t have enough faith in myself, but it’s something I can do to pay the rent, you know? I do before and after school care for the YMCA. The first thing since acting that I’ve felt a real passion for is working with the kids. I would like to continue working with the Y while I’m paying rent.”

Farrar knows theatre will always be a part of her life. When asked why she does it, she’s brutally honest. “I’m not qualified to do anything else. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. I mean, I’ve done film, and film’s okay - I like doing it. I like the experience of it. But no matter how many movies I do, I’m always going to go back to theatre. There’s something about being on the stage and then being right there. That’s a rush.”

Coterie "Sorority House of the Dead" review by Robert Trussell

"Sorority House of the Dead" is the perfect show to see with a standing-room-only audience, as your intrepid theater critic did Sunday night.

more at

"Venice" opens in Los Angeles

Los Angeles critics responded with near-raves to mixed reviews for “Venice,” the hip-hop musical that received its world premiere at Kansas City Repertory Theatre earlier this year.

more at

Monday, October 25, 2010

Park University fundraising concert

Since Van Cliburn Award-winner Stanislav Ioudenitch started Park University’s International Center for Music in 2003, its students have brought home more than 20 international awards, most of them first-place medals.

more at

Coterie "Sorority House of the Dead" review by TheatreDiva

That was Olivia Newton-John, you bitch!
Rating: 4

Sorority House of the Dead
The Coterie Theatre

Going into 'Sorority House of the Dead', you know you're not in for an evening of 'typical' theatre. From the giving of plastic covers to the front row for the 'splatter effect' to the announcement that sounds like a Mad Lib gone wrong, there's the sense of being in it 'just for the fun of it' that is the marking of a Ron Megee show.

The show, set in 1987, is about three pledges at a sorority house - but not everything is as it seems. Filled with horror movie clichés and '80s references (including the three main characters dressed in the 80s fashion of Desperately Seeking Susan' Madonna, Joan Cusack's geek from 'Sixteen Candles', and the shoulder-pads power girl who references 'Working Girl'), the sense of fun that you feel just sitting in the space at The Living Room is what makes this show work.

While the special effects of the blood splatter (and the opening moment of tearing up a Girl Scout body) was definitely a high point, it was the 'low budget' special effects such as the montage and making the cast do a 'rewind' at one point that made it worth it (and the 'letterbox format' that let them bring in items from below). The only negative aspect of this was a door gag which was barely funny the first time, and was made the show grind to a halt the second time used.

In fact, over all, even though this show was barely an hour long, my only complaint was that the pacing was uneven. While most of the show was fast and furious, the times it did slow, it was a crawl - as if the cast somehow lost momentum and wasn't sure where it went. Thankfully, those times were few and far between - and they got back on track fairly quickly.

If you're looking for a fun Halloween outing, save your money from a haunted house in the Bottoms - and instead go see this show. It's a hoot.

read the review at KC Stage

"Dried Up" Art Institute animators interview by Peter Wayner

For Stuart Bury, Jeremy Casper and Isaiah Powers, the path to a student Academy Award for their stop-motion animation cost less than $1,000, although it did require four months of often constant filming in Mr. Powers’s basement.

more at the New York Times

Heartland Men's Chorus celebrates 25 years

Lydia Diamond "Harriet Jacobs" interview by Robert Trussell

Since before the Civil War, the media have promulgated the horrific images of slavery in memoirs, novels, plays and eventually movies and television. But when Diamond began work on “Harriet Jacobs,” the last thing she wanted to do was write a conventional history play.

more at

KC Chorale, René Clauson review by Paul Horsley

The Kansas City Chorale is in a remarkably good place these days, both institutionally and artistically. This week the multiple-Grammy-winning chorus of local professionals opened its 2010-2011 season with a concert of music by René Clausen, which I attended on October 19 at Asbury Methodist Church.

more at The Independent

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Theatre in the Park call for directors

The Theatre in the Park is seeking directors for the 2011 season. The shows are:
  • The Sound of Music: June 10 -12 and June 16 -19
  • Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka: June 24 - 26 and June 30 - July 3
  • Elton John & Tim Rice's Aida: July 8 - 10 and July 14 - 17
  • Seussical: July 22 - 24 and July 28 - 31
TTIP Season 2011 Directors will be hired as employees of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. Applications will be accepted until November 12, 2010. Applications may be submitted online at Applications may also be submitted in person or by mail at the following address:

Johnson County Park and Recreation District
Attn: Human Resources
7904 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS 66219

Applications should include the following:

  • A letter of interest stating a desire to direct at The Theatre in the Park, including which show(s) the applicant is interested in, and a basic concept for the stated show(s). 
  • Any possible schedule conflicts that may exist during the pre-production, production, and performance dates of Season 2011. 
  • A current resumé that includes all productions directed, including location and year. Other relevant theatre experience may also be included.
  • A list of three references familiar with the applicant's past work. This list must be complete with the reference's name, telephone number(s) and email address.

Interviews will be held in late November 2010. Directors will be selected in December 2010 and will be announced on The Theatre's website ( once all positions are filled.

"Worlds-O-Fun According to Sarah Julson" short film by Michelle Brost

I recorded my good friend Sarah retelling a memory about an unusual experience at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, and animated it!

[Thanks, Tony]

Sue Viceroy KC Jazz documentary preview by kcjazzlark

There was a certain leap of faith last April when I wrote about the passion and potential going into Sue Vicory's film, Kansas City Jazz and Blues: Past, Present and Future. But after talking with Sue for a couple hours, I didn't feel then like I was stepping out on too fragile a limb.

more at kcjazzlark

The Theatre in the Park producer Tim Bair interview by Jessica Marshall

Johnson County Park & Recreation District has announced that Tim Bair is the new executive producer of The Theatre in the Park. Bair officially joins theater staff on Nov. 15, taking over the post of former executive director Melissa Wyckoff, who resigned in June.

more at Sun Publications

Coterie "Sorority House of the Dead" interview by Mel Neet

Director Ron Megee and writer Mitch Brian are quickly becoming the two-headed juggernaut of fun Halloween scares. Last year, their Maul of the Dead, for Coterie at Night, spoofed the zombie Dead movies. Starting tonight, the dark duo opens Sorority House of the Dead, another great spoof with a cast which includes Kimberely Queen, from Maul, as the vampire vixen-slash-den mother.

more at KC Free Press

KC Rep "Harriet Jacobs" director Jessica Thebus

An inspirational, true story of a slave woman's anguished journey to freedom after running away from her master and hiding for nearly seven years in a small attic. Recommended for junior high and up.

Metropolitan Chorale Kristopher Taylor interview by Kelly Evenson

Kristopher Taylor loves to sing and has been doing so since he was 5 years old. As a student at Truman High School, he was a member of every possible choir and musical group. He then went onto Brigham Young University, where he spent two years singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Back home in Independence working on a music education degree, he decided to start singing again, joining the Metropolitan Chorale at Metropolitan Community Colleges-Blue River.

more at The Examiner

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Local cinemas looking at alternative programming

In a world that seems to be run by corporations, a little guy has to hustle harder. Doesn’t matter if you operate a mom-and-pop candy store or an independent movie theater. You have to keep coming up with fresh ideas to hold your own against the big boys.

more at

Coterie "Alexander's Very Bad Day" promo

Interviews with actors on their characters and the coping skill they use to handle a bad day!

Actor Steven Eubanks narrates Judith Viorst's poem.

Jordan Janota, Scenic Designer, shares how pop art inspired the set design.

Arts and industry in the West Bottoms by Alex Kane

A short film showing one of my favorite places.... the West Bottoms in Kansas City. This video intends on showing the weird symbiotic relationship between industry and art in the area.

Mark Robbins "Seafarer" interview by Mel Neet

Mark Robbins has been all about family and the bottle lately. This past summer saw the productions of Sam Shepard’s True West and of Marion Bridge by Kansas City Actors Theatre (KCAT), of which Robbins is Artistic Director. This week, Robbins and the cast of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer will open at the Unicorn.

more at KC Free Press

Tallgrass Film Festival preview by Jerry Rapp

Once upon a time, a vast tallgrass prairie covered 140 million acres of North America. Today less than four percent of it remains, mostly in the Flint Hills of Kansas. The preserve protects the last significant remnant of the prairie's visual beauty and cultural resources. In this tiny patch, the tallgrass makes its last stand. But in a certain city in Kansas, another tallgrass legacy is growing, deepening its roots, expanding exponentially, and providing a different kind of cultural resource. It has become a gathering place to celebrate the love of cinema.

more at Review

Coterie "Sorority House of the Dead" preview by Robert Trussell

Let us review: We have Kimberely Queen as a vampire house mother and Cody Wyoming re-creating a cheesy 1980s sound on vintage electronic instruments. We have a stage play by screenwriter Mitch Brian, and actors who had to attend “vampire class.” With Halloween looming, this could only be one thing: a new show from director Ron Megee.

more at

Gem Theatre "Pocketbook Monlogues" preview by Robert Trussell

Sharon K. McGhee, news director for WVON radio in Chicago, came across a disturbing statistic about the rate of HIV infection and AIDS among heterosexual black women.

more at

Friday, October 22, 2010

Theatre for Young America "Dinosaur Play" review by Russ Simmons

Union Station’s "Dinosaurs Unearthed" exhibit, a collection of life-sized animatronic models, has proven to be a very popular attraction. The engagement has been extended through Jan. 9. As part of this Jurassic celebration, Theatre for Young America is presenting "The Dinosaur Play," an interactive time-travel tale designed for the theater’s youngest demographic group.

more at Sun Publications

Street organs in Weston

They call it “the happiest music on earth” and there was plenty of it this past weekend in downtown Weston.  The weather was beautiful, the crowds large, and smiles all around. 

more at The Platte Chronicle

Public piano in Lawrence

What started this summer with 60 pianos as part of a public-art exhibition in New York City has expanded into downtown Iowa City and, just recently, even the south-central Kansas town of Hutchinson.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

UMKC "King Stag" preview by Kellie Houx

Nothing beats a fairy tale. Originally, adults were the audience of a fairy tale just as often as children. Literary fairy tales appeared in works intended for adults, but in the 19th and 20th centuries the fairy tale became more associated as a child’s tale.

more at KC Studio