Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2011 Kansas Governor's Arts Awards announced

The Kansas Arts Commission is pleased to announce the 2011 Governor’s Arts Awards recipients. This year’s honorees are Arkansas City Area Arts Council (Arts Organization); Louis Copt, Lawrence (Artist); Willa Griswold, Marysville (Arts Advocate); Martha E. "Betty" Muncy, Dodge City (Arts Patron); and Linda Reimond, Lawrence (Arts-in-Education).

more at Infozine

Lied Center "Legally Blonde" Bend-and-Snap contest

Contest winners receive two tickets to the musical, plus meet the cast after the show. VOTE in the comments section for the best Bend and Snap! KU Students: Submit your video today! lied@ku.edu. Winner selected Dec. 2

Christmas concerts benefit charities

An Eastern Jackson County tradition is continuing as two area communities celebrate the holiday season while raising money for the Community Services League at the same time.

more at The Examiner

New Christmas CD by local musicians

Thomas Ransom (guitarist) arranged and produced all 12 songs on the new Christmas CD, Comfort & Joy. Songs are sung by noted vocalist, Toni Gates and rounded out with the skillful playing of percussionist, Clarence Smith. These delightful contemporary jazz versions will become your favorites of the holiday season.

more at Infozine

KC Rep "Christmas Carol" promo

This is the 30th Anniversary production of A Christmas Carol at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. The show is directed by Kyle Hatley and runs November 19 - December 26, 2010 at the Rep's Spencer Theatre.

Unicorn "Distracted" promo

Check out this preview of Unicorn Theatre's production of Distracted by Lisa Loomer. Find out more about the produciton at www.unicorntheatre.org. co-produced with UMKC Theatre. Video by Overlooked Productions

Monday, November 29, 2010

KU Fall Dance Concert review by Nicole English

Janet Hamburg, professor of dance and an internationally known movement analyst and lecturer, was killed Sept. 4 in New York City. Internationally known for her groundbreaking work in Laban Movement Analysis and the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, Hamburg helped to build the KU dance program into its current place as a department in the School of the Arts. The performances in this concert were dedicated to her memory.

more at University News

MOMMA film summit in Columbia

The Missouri Motion Media Association (MOMMA) is holding its first annual film summit and conference, which begins December 6 and runs through December 7.

more at examiner.com

Alaturka photos by kcjazzlark

Turkish jazz in the stockyards? I dare you to find that outside of Kansas City.

more at kcjazzlark

Todd Norris "Candy Apple Red" premiere a sell-out

Last night was HUGE for Kansas City's Independent movie scene. Filmmaker Todd Norris Debuted his short film Candy Apple Red to a capacity crowd at The Screenland Crown Center.

more at Tony's Kansas City

LAC Voices inspired by "Glee"

The singers are gathering for rehearsal, but the topic of conversation isn’t today’s music. “Did you see this week’s episode? It was the ‘Never Been Kissed’ episode. The boys choir sang …” They’re talking about “Glee,” the FOX TV show that features a fictional show choir that has performed everything from show tunes to the songs of Kiss.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Unicorn "Distracted" review by Robert Trussell

Good actors do good work in the Unicorn Theatre/UMKC Theatre Department co-production of “Distracted,” Lisa Loomer’s satirical take on our media-saturated era, but this play is maddeningly unsatisfying.

more at kansascity.com

KC Symphony "Christmas with the Von Trapp Children" promo

The great-grandchildren of the famous von Trapp family who inspired The Sound of Music are featured in a wonderful family concert for the holidays. Tickets start at just $18! Call (816) 471-0400 or visit www.kcsymphony.org

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Photo of Granada Theatre part of historic collection

This photograph, taken by Farm Security Administration photographer John Vachon, captures the Granada Theater in Lawrence, Kansas, in Oct. 1938. The caption reads: "Southern California architecture in Lawrence, Kansas". The photograph is one of 164,000 gathered by photographers between 1935-1945 for the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information. Both collections reside in the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. Nearly 1,000 of the photographs were taken in the state of Kansas.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

KC Symphony "Christmas with the Von Trapp Children" preview by Patrick Neas

The Kansas City Symphony is planning a concert full of sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles. “Christmas With the von Trapp Children,” featuring the great-grandchildren of Georg and Maria von Trapp, will be 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Lyric Theatre, 1029 Central St.

more at kansascity.com

KC Symphony "Messiah" review by Timothy McDonald

The holiday season is replete with traditions, and the annual performance of Handel’s monumental oratorio Messiah is one of the region’s richest musical customs.

more at kansascity.com

American Heartland "Plaid Tidings" review by T. Winchester

 Know the Difference between "Hep" and "Hip"?

Plaid Tidings
The American Heartland Theatre

If not, don’t worry. Plaid Tidings, the Christmas sequel to Forever Plaid at American Heartland Theatre will give you a crash course in the lingo and music of a variety of swinging crooners from the 50s and 60s. Featuring an enjoyable quartet of the hardest working, self- proclaimed “never was-es” in show business (played by Seth Golay, Adam Branson, Grant Golson and Ian Jordan Subsara), the musical starts off on a muted note when the deceased quartet returns to earth for one final show. Initially, they are somewhat confused by their mission but with a little ethereal cell phone guidance from their guardian angel, Rosemary Clooney, the four realize the great dream they had in life: a plaid Christmas special, complete with matching red cardigans and Santa hats, that is highlighted by their role as backup singers to Perry Como.

Don’t worry if you haven’t seen the original production; early on, the performers give the audience a lively musical mish-mash of songs that functions as a summary of the first show. Over the course of the 2 ½ hour show, they perform all or part of approximately 35 songs, most of which are old favorites from the period. Not all of the songs are geared toward the holiday season, but as the energetic crescendo builds to the great Christmas special finale, we are treated to a south-of-the-border holiday celebration (complete with Golay in a Carmen Miranda fruit hat) and a comical bell-ringing performance, both of which include audience participation.

Learning so many songs, which often segue from one into the next, in and of itself had to be a major challenge, so it’s not difficult to see why one or two minor lines are flubbed during the performance (which the audience didn’t seem to notice), and the choreography that accompanies the numbers is quite appropriate for the period. The four songsters have smooth, silky voices, and Subsara’s is nearly angelic at times when it goes into the upper registers. But don’t underestimate their capacity for real comedy as well. They are accompanied by Anthony Edwards on piano and Brian Wilson on bass, both of whom play the long-suffering “straight men” to the quartet’s comic antics.

There was a problem with the set descending correctly from the fly space in the final number, but all worked out well in the end. Anyone who is a fan of plaid will love the show, since you’ll see more if it here than anywhere else: the plaid-collared jackets, scarves and matching prop suitcase are the epitome of “retro-swank.” Who knew that you could take one suitcase to heaven (as long as it weighs less than 50 pounds)? The local merchants are already in the holiday spirit this season, but if you aren’t in the mood just yet, this show will get you geared up. And it plays until December 26th, so there’s plenty of time to get tickets.

KC Rep "Christmas Carol" review by Robert Trussell

Kansas City Repertory Theatre's handsomely produced 30th anniversary production of "A Christmas Carol" is an uncanny blend of the familiar and the new and a pleasant reminder that this classic tale is still valid drama.

more at kansascity.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Topeka Civic Theatre "White Christmas" review by Bill Blankenship

You won't ever catch me dreaming of a white Christmas, especially one like last year with its nightmarish amount of snow, but Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy's production of "White Christmas" is one dream of a musical.

more at the Topeka Capital-Journal

True/False doc festival passes on sale

It’s time to remind you that Simple Pass sales for the 2011 True/False Film Fest began earlier this week. The “films only” pass is likely the most common, affordable way to experience T/F, with $60 getting you 10 ticket reservations for Friday-Sunday films. You’ll also be able to gain admission to any other film — except the screening featured during the opening-night Jubilee — without a ticket via the fest’s “Q” system, if space is available, and — for an extra $10 at the door — to the Friday night @ction party.
more at the Columbia Tribune

Holiday music in Douglas County

The holiday season brings the return of a strong local tradition: annual vespers concerts at Kansas University, Baker University and in Lecompton.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Friday, November 26, 2010

Miss Vixen Pin-up Pageant review by Annie Cherry

Between the pinup contestants and the Kansas City Society of Burlesque, almost 20 gals were backstage, and no one’s claws were out! Ha ha… Not what one might expect in a pageant environment, but in the Kansas City Pinup Community that Vixen Pinup Photography and Retro Vixen boutique have helped to cultivate, pinup girls and savvy boys alike got together this past Thursday at Knucklehead’s to celebrate some red-hot hot-rod culture, and to debut Vixen Pinup’s 2011 calendar!

more at Annie Cherry's Refined Madness

Making Movies "Tormenta" music video by Mammoth Media

English version

Spanish version

Martin City Melodrama "Triple Feature Holiday Show" preview by Robert Trussell

There’s no escaping the fact that the season of holiday entertainment is upon us. But here’s a safe bet: You won’t find another show quite like the one running through Jan. 2 at the Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Company.

more at kansascity.com

Robert Altman Emerging Filmmakers Fund gives grants to local filmmakers

Local moviemakers could catch a break next year with the establishment of the Robert Altman Emerging Filmmakers Fund, which will award grants of up to $5,000 to local writers, directors and producers of short films.

more at kansascity.com

Topeka Ballet "Nutcracker" preview by Bill Blankenship

For a third year, Topeka Ballet's artistic director Linda Virr-Niemackl will stage an edited version of "The Nutcracker," which she said is an accommodation for busy families generally and "Dads and boys" in particular who "don't want to sit through anything too long."

more at the Topeka Capital-Journal

Unicorn "Distracted" preview by Robert Trussell

Now the Unicorn is preparing to open Loomer’s “Distracted,” which was initially produced at the Roundabout Theatre in New York last year. The play takes a look at attention deficit disorder at a time when many of us are exposed to sensory stimulation like never before.

more at kansascity.com

Lawrence Arts Center "Snow Queen" preview by Emily Mulligan

With more than 130 actors, dancers and stage hands of all ages, the Lawrence Arts Center’s production of “The Snow Queen” will bring magical fairy tale action to the holiday theater scene.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Artemus Vulgaris interview by Annie Cherry

I have to preface this interview with a few notes. First of all, Artemus Vulgaris is also known as Damian Blake, my fiancee. So, needless to say, it took weeks of hounding and effort to track him down for an interview. Eventually, I just trapped him in our bathroom by holding the doorknob from the outside, and withholding whiskey until he talked.

Lawrence Civic Choir holiday concert preview by Chansi Long

Eubank is now preparing the choir for its annual holiday concert, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave. The centerpiece of this year’s concert is “Gloria” by composer Linda Wells, which Pat Fairchild, chair of choir’s board, describes as “exciting and complex.” It’s the choir’s first time performing the number.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Scott Joplin audio history by Bob Priddy

His father was a railroad laborer and they were a black family in Texarkana, Texas.  It took a lot of earning to scrape together the money for an old piano so their third son could teach himself to play.  At the age of seven the child was doing so well that a German music teacher in the area decided to help him learn piano theory and music appreciation.  This background produced the King of Ragtime, Scott Joplin.

more at Missourinet

"Messiah" sees its last year in Independence

Next year, the tradition moves to the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The 220-voice Independence Messiah Choir will join the Kansas City Symphony and Chorus at 8 p.m. Saturday for one last “Messiah” at the auditorium, 1001 W. Walnut St., Independence.

more at kansascity.com

Lawrence students will sing in Carnegie Hall

Five Ottawa University students from Lawrence will sing in Carnegie Hall in January.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

American Heartland "Plaid Tidings" review by Russ Simmons

"Safe" is perhaps the best way to describe "Plaid Tidings," the current holiday offering from the American Heartland Theatre.

more at Sun Publications (after the Coterie review)

Coterie "Alexander's Terrible Day" review by Russ Simmons

If Missy Koonce ever directs "Waiting for Godot," it will undoubtedly be a fast-paced and energetic affair. Her patented brand of vivacity invigorates "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," a rousing and entertaining musical adaptation of Judith Viorst’s classic children’s book, now playing at The Coterie Theatre.

more at Sun Publications

American Heartland "Plaid Tidings" review by Grace Suh

Plaid Tidings was assembled from the most commercial components available and precision-engineered for maximum holiday cheer. Unfortunately, it underperforms manufacturer's claims.

more at The Pitch (after the "Awake and Sing!" review)

Metropolitan Ensemble "Awake and Sing!" review by Grace Suh

Born into a poor, Jewish immigrant family and raised in the Bronx, Odets was a young man by the time of the Great Depression, when he wrote his poetic, passionate masterpiece, Awake and Sing! The play held up a mirror to that moment: families evicted onto sidewalks, workers struggling ineffectually for fair treatment, and an ever-widening gap between the obscenely rich and the desperately poor — scenes too familiar in our own moment.

more at The Pitch

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jerry Jay Cranford "Plaid Tidings" interview by Robert Trussell

Jerry Jay Cranford doesn’t really try to steal scenes — or whole shows.
It’s just that he loves performing so much, you naturally want to watch him, no matter how small the role may be.

more at kansascity.com

UMKC Conservatory raising money for Steinway piano

Just in time for this gift-giving holiday season, the UMKC Conservatory is sponsoring a unique fundraiser. By purchasing one or more of the 88 keys on a Steinway piano, you can help the Conservatory raise money to buy a new Steinway “D” Concert Grand piano dedicated to the memory of Professor Emeritus Richard Cass, who passed away last year.

more at UMatters

Rossville High School stages green musical

A "green musical" commissioned by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment had its world premiere Tuesday in Rossville, and there wasn't a gas-guzzling limousine in sight.

more at the Topeka Capital-Journal

Lyric Opera "Norma" review by Grace Suh

Soprano Brenda Harris was incendiary as the Druid high priestess who sacrifices everything for love.

more at The Pitch (after the Coterie review)

Coterie "Alexander's Terrible Day" review by Grace Suh

Youth isn't the only thing wasted on the young. So is excellence. Children in this city have no idea how good they have it with the reliably excellent shows at the Coterie Theatre. Kids aren't discriminating. They watch any old crap and like it, as long as it's entertaining. But Jeff Church, the Coterie's longtime producing artistic director, consistently mounts high-quality content with brilliance, hoisting kids' cultural standards without their even realizing it.

more at The Pitch

Greg Brown, KC Ballet "Nutcracker" interview

Greg Brown, Master Electrician with the Kansas City Ballet, talks about his time with The Nutcracker with Present Magazine.

Area bands head to NY for Macy's Parade

Countless pieces of luggage wait to be loaded for a 2,358-mile roundtrip journey to New York City, N.Y., where the 232-member Golden Regiment Marching Band from Blue Springs High School will perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The band traveled on seven different flights, arriving in New York Nov. 21. The parade will air at 10 a.m., CST, Nov. 25, on KSHB Channel 41. An estimated 45 to 50 million people tune in to the parade worldwide.

more at the Blue Springs Journal and KMBC
also KMBC's coverage of Lee's Summit North and both schools

Friends of Chamber Music Zuckerman, Bronfman review by Paul Horsely

Few things in concert life are as satisfying as hearing musicians who have attained near-legendary status actually live up to those legends. On November the 19th at the Folly Theater, Pinchas Zukerman and Yefim Bronfman played the Brahms’ Second Viola Sonata so gorgeously and insightfully, and with such detailed nuance and color, that one was reminded why these artists have achieved the stature they have. The recital, part of the Friends of Chamber Music’s 35th anniversary season, counts as one of the high points of the season so far.

more at the Independent

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Claude "Fiddler" Williams photos by kcjazzlark

Among the Kansas City greats there that day was Claude “Fiddler” Williams. He was 95 years old and looked frail (he would pass away six months later). He sat inside the Foundation and pulled out his violin to play. He started weakly. But after several minutes, once warmed up, there sat the Claude “Fiddler” Williams I knew, swinging jazz and blues like a man seventy years younger.

more at kcjazzlark

Todd Norris "Candy Apple Red" preview by Jerry Rapp

In April, when the Kansas City Film Festival started its traditional industry panel series, it did so with gusto, launching with the seminar "Hollywood Style Imagery without Hollywood Style Budget: It's All in the Camera." Here, amongst the humble theater seats of the Westport CoffeeHouse director and cinematographer Todd Norris conducted a presentation which reaffirmed a basic fact of moviemaking: When it comes to capturing a story, a shooter wants the most innovative, trailblazing, and efficient way of lensing it.

more at Review

Metropolitan Ensemble "Awake and Sing" review by Robert Trussell

Revisiting a well-made play from a distant era is often an eye-opening experience, and so it is with the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre’s well-acted production of “Awake and Sing!”

more at kansascity.com

Quality Hill "Christmas in Song" review by Robert Trussell

The annual production of “Christmas in Song” at Quality Hill Playhouse holds few surprises but delivers what we’ve come to expect — sharp musicianship and a nice blend of secular and spiritual songs.

more at kansascity.com

KC Symphony "Messiah" preview by Adrienne DeWeese

Longtime Independence resident Carl Mesle sat in the audience of the Community of Christ Auditorium, watching a tradition that started nearly 100 years ago, when he was 2 years old.

more at the Examiner

Friends of Chamber Music Zuckerman, Bronfman review by Robert Folsom

Violinist Pinchas Zukerman and pianist Yefim Bronfman practiced the art of making the difficult look effortless Friday night when the Friends of Chamber Music presented the venerated musicians in concert at the Folly Theater.

more at kansascity.com

"Fall Reading Guide" compiled by Angie Fiedler

This article is from the October 2010 issue of KC Stage

As schools start up once again, we asked the contacts at the organizations registered with KC Stage Magazine to help us come up with a fall reading guide ― books they’d recommend for people wanting to be involved the performing arts, whether it’s on stage, back stage, or in administration. Here’s what we got ― so get ready for the school year and study!

The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations by Michael M. Kaiser, published 2008, Brandeis University Press
“I attended a forum for the arts where Michael Kaiser was the guest speaker.  His personal experiences in reshaping arts’ organizations are inspiring and motivating. I often read his book when I feel discouraged, and soon remember what my purpose is here in the arts.” ―Connie Willis, Robidoux Resident Theatre in St. Joseph.

Carver’s Manual on Community Theatre Directing by Jim Carver, published 2010, Hansa-Hewlett Publishing Co.
“Jim Carver, long-time director at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, published a step by step approach to directing. It is primarily aimed at new directors, but includes much for experienced directors as well. Mr. Carver talks about how to get started; preparing the production concept; how to block using sub-text to tell the story; audition procedures; conducting rehearsals; techniques for directing the actor; and what to be concerned about when directing comedies, dramas and musicals. Mr. Carver is an expert in directing comedy and has conducted many workshops on the subject.” ― Carole E. Ries, Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy, Inc.
Acting Professionally by Robert Cohen, published 2009, Palgrave Macmillan
“Get the latest edition you can find. I have the 6th edition updated in 2004. If you are pondering acting as a profession you need to read this book. This isn’t theory or artistic debate: it is nuts and bolts information on the profession itself, the agents, the auditions, theatre, film, resumes, contracts, locations, unions, casting directors, and more.”― Herman Johansen, Martin Tanner Productions.

The Intent to Live: Achieving Your True Potential as an Actor by Larry Moss, published 2005, Bantam
“A dynamic acting text written in 2005. Moss studied with the likes of Adler and Meisner and coached the likes of Helen Hunt, Leo DiCaprio, Tobey McGuire, Jim Carrey, and Jason Alexander. This is very concrete, accessible material and he knows what he’s talking about.” ― Herman Johansen, Martin Tanner Productions.

The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution: Real-Time Strategic Planning in a Rapid-Response World by David LaPiana, published 2008, Fieldstone Alliance
“The current ‘bible’ on strategic planning and fundraising for non-profits. If you’re on that end of the art, it is a great resource and even has a CD included with sample documents and outlines for planning.” ― Herman Johansen, Martin Tanner Productions.

Have a recommendation yourself? E-mail afiedler@kcstage.com with a short paragraph or two as to why you recommend the book. Please include your name and the book’s title, author, published date, and publisher.