Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free State Film Festival promo by Through a Glass Productions

more at Vimeo

Quality Hill "Pete n Keely" preview by Steve Walker

After a season of musical retrospectives saluting such composers as Rodgers and Hart, and Kander and Ebb, Quality Hill Playhouse is interrupting its regular programming for the Off-Broadway musical comedy, Pete 'n' Keely.

more at KCUR

KC Symphony "Celebration at the Station" performance

KCPT is pleased to televise Bank of America Celebration at the Station. This FREE Memorial Day Weekend event in the Midwest returns for its Tenth Anniversary! The Kansas City Symphony, led by Music Director Michael Stern, performs patriotic favorites against the backdrop of Kansas City's historic Union Station on May 27, 2012 at 7:30pm. Bank of America Celebration at the Station concludes with the most blazing fireworks display of the year!

New Chevy commercials feature local bands

If you watch late-night TV over the next several weeks, chances are good the sounds of local bands will come into your den, bedroom or wherever you watch the tube.

more at

Read more here:

Gary Ortiz sings Verdi after watching "Rigoletto"

Hi, I'm Gary Ortiz and as an Assistant County Administrator for the Unified Government I have the great privilege of serving on the board of directors for the Kansas City, Kansas Convention and Visitor's Bureau which, as it turns out, is more fun than work.;) I recently had the pleasure of seeing Giuseppe Verdi's world famous opera Rigoletto at the Legends 14 Theatre in Kansas City, Kansas. What was that, opera in Kansas City, Kansas? You heard right. Through an emerging entertainment medium called "Opera in Cinema" and "Ballet in Cinema" local lovers of the fine arts can catch world class performances from the finest venues in the world recorded live and shown to adoring audiences in theaters around the world.

Unicorn 2012-13 season preview by Robert Trussell

The Unicorn Theatre, which a few weeks ago announced some of the shows on its 2012-13 season, now has a complete lineup. It’s an eclectic group of plays and musicals, mixing humor, drama and philosophical reflections.
more at

Read more here:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kevin McKinney "Corporate FM" fundraiser

Corporate FM, the film from director Kevin McKinney, has been getting absolutely rave reviews across the board. Corporate FM is the story of "local radio disappeared from communities across the US following the Telecommunications Act of 1996," told via the prism of Lawrence radio station the Lazer.

more at the Pitch

Unicorn "Everyday Rapture" review by Paul Donovan

The struggle to find one’s place in this world is a topic that never gets old, and it’s one that has fueled many books, movies and plays. And of all such struggles, the ones that deal with religion perhaps hit closest to home for many of us. This is a world that has always had an awkward relationship with religion, and if anything, it is getting more awkward every year. The final show of the season at the Unicorn presents a unique twist on this archetypal battle. 

more at Camp

Phone app connects musicians with audience

Prairie Village resident and technophile Steve Revare has a passion for music.  So the night he watched a concertgoer squinting into his cell phone’s screen as he recorded a video of the band playing their hearts out onstage, he had an epiphany: There’s got to be a better way to use phones to connect an audience with performers.

more at the Prairie Village Post

Tiger Style Dance Crew interview with Shorty and the Boyz

This week Shorty and the Boyz sits down with Kansas City B-Boy Dance Crew Tiger Style, and Midwest Graffiti artist Jesse "Chewy" Hernandez. Check us out Thursdays on

[Thanks, Tony]

Nino Cassisi "A Nice Family Gathering" interview by Adrianne DeWeese

“A Nice Family Gathering” wasn’t exactly Nino Casisi’s first choice as a director this season at City Theatre of Independence.
Originally, Casisi had wanted to direct the 32nd season’s opener, “The Foreigner.” But then, Nancy Eppert, whom Casisi had directed in City Theatre’s 2007 production of “Funny Money,” told him he had to read the script for “A Nice Family Gathering.”

more at the Examiner

Tara Varney "Sexing Hitler" interview by Berry Anderson

If KC's Fringe Festival has a face, it might be Tara Varney's. For the past four years, the playwright, director and producer has been involved with at least one of the festival's 10 most-attended shows. Among the big scores: 2008's Jesus Christ, King of Comedy; 2009's Lingerie Shop; 2010's Khaaaaan! The Musical; and 2011's Hexing Hitler. This year, she and her creative partner, Bryan Colley, have received an Inspiration Grant from the ArtsKC Fund for their latest Fringe work, Sexing Hitler.

more at the Pitch

"Dust" preview by John Ngirachu

When Kansas City artists Cody Critcheloe, Jaimie Warren and Peggy Noland got a $4,000 Rocket Grant for an art project, they immediately decided it would go into the making of a music video.

more at

KC Symphony "Celebration at the Station" photos by Eric Bowers

Sunday night Memorial Day Weekend symphony concert at Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri. This was the tenth annual, and my sixth consecutive year getting shots if I’m counting correctly.

more at Eric Bowers Photoblog

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wedding videos by Nouvelle Vids

Bobby Watson "Celebration at the Station" review by Plastic Sax

Tens of thousands of people heard Bobby Watson perform as a featured guest artist at Sunday's Celebration at the Station.  Thousands more will take in the public television broadcast. 

more at Plastic Sax

Stephens College "Rockstar!" preview by Janelle Pfeifer

If you could impersonate your favorite rock star, who would it be? The students at Stephens College Summer Theatre Institute will get that chance Friday night when they perform "Rockstar!"

more at the Missourian

Blue Star Awards at Starlight Theatre

Broadway honors its best with the Tony.  Kansas City celebrates the best of high school musical theater with the Blue Star Award.

KC Sound Collective review and photos by kcjazzlark

I’ve said it before: My rediscovery of Kansas City’s jazz scene, bursting with amazing young talent, inspired the start of this blog nearly three years back.  So, when five of those exceptional musicians form a new group and release their first CD, you’ll find me at the release show. 

more at kcjazzlark

Monday, May 28, 2012

12 Years of MK12 Logos

13-year-old Ryan Emmons enjoys acting and robots

It really doesn’t matter what type of stage 13 year-old Ryan Emmons chooses to unleash his passion for performance upon, he is a star on the rise. From acting and building puppets and robots to computer video game designs, Ryan has found his stride.

more at the Northland Lifestyle

Topeka Jazz Workshop funds series with run-walk

A summer of band concerts in public parks, including one preceded by a fundraiser run-walk and dinner, will get started with a performance by the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band at the Gage Park Amphitheater.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Unicorn "Everyday Rapture" review by Mark Edelman

The far-from-friendly Fred Phelps family usually finds itself outside the theater, ranting on the sidewalk about some wacky message from God. Well, welcome inside the Unicorn Theatre, oh my Topeka brothers—it’s probably not the one your Scripture had in mind, but the Everyday Rapture has arrived and you’re in it.

more at KC Confidential

KC Symphony "Celebration at the Station"

The 10th Annual Celebration at the Station at Liberty Memorial.

Thousands in Kansas City will be paying tribute to all of the fallen soldiers and those who have or are serving overseas.

Week-on-Stage: May 28-June 4

Auditions for this week
  • Guys and Dolls Summer Camp Intensive Show Auditions - Christian Youth Theater
  • Happy Days - A New Musical - River City Community Players
  • Parallel Lives - The Barn Players, Inc.*

Performances for this week
  • 37 Postcards - Corbin Theatre Company (Closes Jun 9)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum - Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre (Closes Jun 17)
  • A Nice Family Gathering - City Theatre of Independence* (Closes Jun 10)
  • And The Oscar Goes To... - Chestnut Fine Arts Theatre (Closes Jun 17)
  • Broadway's Seth Rudetsky Tells You Everything You Wanted to Know about the Tonys - Music Theatre for Young People of Kansas City (Closes Jun 3)
  • Chicago - Music Theatre for Young People of Kansas City (Closes Jun 3)
  • Everyday Rapture - Unicorn Theatre (Closes Jun 3)
  • Exhibit Sway: In the Current - Charlotte Street Foundation (Closes Jun 1)
  • Exhibit Sway: In the Current - Charlotte Street Foundation (Closes Jun 2)
  • Pete 'n' Keely - Quality Hill Playhouse (Closes Jul 1)
  • Prelude To A Kiss - The Barn Players, Inc.* (Closes Jun 17)
  • S"Seth Rudetsky Tells You Everything You Wanted to Know About the Tonys: A sassy - Music Theatre for Young People of Kansas City (Closes Jun 3)
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - New Theatre Restaurant (Closes Jun 17)
  • The 39 Steps - Theatre Atchison (Closes Jun 10)
  • The KC Improv Company's Big Show - The KC Improv Company (Closes Jun 30)
  • The Night of the Assassins - The Mystery Train (Closes Jun 9)
  • Visiting Mr Green - The White Theatre (Closes Jun 10)
  • Who's In Bed With The Butler - Paradise Playhouse Dinner Theatre (Closes Jun 16)
Events for this week **
  • Arts Cultural Competency Workshop - Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City
  • LIVE! in the Crossroads, featuring Making Movies - Mid-America Arts Alliance, Performing Arts Division
  • Titanic: The Artifacts Exhibition - Union Station Kansas City, Inc.
  • Winnie the Pooh Theater Arts Camp for ages 4-5 this summer - Christian Youth Theater
Reviews - Current Performances
  • 4.00 Everyday Rapture - Unicorn Theatre. (1 Vote)

Ratings - Current Performances
  • 4.00 Everyday Rapture - Unicorn Theatre. (1 Vote)
  • 2.00 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - New Theatre Restaurant. (1 Vote)
Ratings - Top Ten Rated Shows of the Last 3 Months
  • 5.00 Black Comedy - Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Real Inspector Hound - Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Barber of Seville - Lyric Opera of Kansas City. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 Pride and Prejudice - Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Laramie Project - The White Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Laramie Project : Ten years Later - The White Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 4.67 Two Rooms - Olathe Community Theatre Association. (3 Votes)
  • 4.50 Titanic: The Musical - Leawood Stage Company. (2 Votes)
  • 4.50 Sweeney Todd - Starring Don Richard & Cathy Barnett - Musical Theater Heritage. (2 Votes)
Reviews - Five Most Recent of Past Performances
  • The Fantasticks - Spinning Tree Theatre. 4.29 (7 Votes)
  • Masters of American Dance - Kansas City Ballet. 5.00 (1 Vote)
  • Xanadu - The Barn Players, Inc.. 4.15 (66 Votes)
  • Little Shop of Horrors - Kansas City Repertory Theatre. 3.00 (4 Votes)
  • Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead - The Living Room. 4.33 (3 Votes)

Lawrence summer arts guide

Whether you’re a kid or adult, bookworm or concert junkie, want to dress up like Harry Potter or Elvis, Lawrence has plenty of opportunities to keep you busy this summer, from the season’s staples to one-time-only special events. Our guide will take you through our best bets and the best of the rest of the Lawrence arts scene this summer.

more at the Lawrence Journal World

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wildlife City "You Want It" music video by Evan Wuncsh

For more music from Wildlife City:
Directed and Animated by Evan Wunsch
Contact Evan:

Percussion expert visits KC Academy

An expert percussionist visits KCA's World Percussion class.

"Between Bob and Matt" theatre reviews

Bob and Matt deal with pent up sexual frustration over "special" guest Philip Russell Newman from Dog Sees God. After discovering that they need to update their show calenders Bob and Matt review Everyday Rapture at the Unicorn...kinda.

Lyceum Theatre season preview by Jill Renae Hicks

Call them out from behind the curtain: The company members at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre have returned. Well, sort of — each season brings in a slightly different cast of professional-level actors from as far away as the East Coast and as close as next-door. The Lyceum, a not-for-profit organization based in the historic town about 40 miles northwest of Columbia, is in the business of putting on superb-quality productions and has done so for half a century.

more at the Columbia Daily Tribune

LightLyre Film Camp teaches kids filmmaking

In the early 1990s, the storefront at 731 N.H. was a treasure trove. It belonged to a man named Chapman, who sold a plethora of goods, stacked high and piled onto shelf upon shelf in the cathedral-ceiling-like stone space. But when Dan Ginavan bought a laserdisc camera there, he had an idea: that space could be a movie studio.

more at the Lawrence Journal World

Bob Kohler, Greg Butell "Visiting Mr. Green" interview

Actors Bob Kohler and Greg Butell talk about the play "Visiting Mr. Green."

Quixotic 2012 Fire Reel

Anthony Magliano - Artistic Director/Founder
Mica Thomas - Associate Artistic Director
Stephen Goldblatt - Videographer
Rick Willoughby - Editor/Videograph

Fontana preview by Gabrielle Schock

Kansas City is home to hundreds of fountains, some of which can be seen in the wedding photos of Kansas City-area couples. But one fountain in particular has shaped the atmosphere of more weddings than perhaps any of the water-spouting fountains in Kansas City: Fontana, a trio of violin, viola and cello-playing women who have been sharing their music at various events for the past few years.

more at the Johnson County Lifestyle

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Ecos: Get Washed" commercial by Brian Paulette and Jeff Rumans

Ecos - 30-Second commercial - Get Washed by Brian Paulette and Jeff Rumans with Cinnamon Schultz Paulette, Leo Paulette and Anika Paulette.

Addison Frei wins Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition

A Lawrence native made a splash this week at the Jacksonville (Fla.) Jazz Piano Competition. Addison Frei, 20, took first place in the Thursday night competition, which kicked off the three-day Jacksonville Jazz Festival.

more at the Lawrence Journal-World

Bernard Labadie, KC Symphony interview

On May 18-20, 2012, Maestro Bernard Labadie conducted the Kansas City Symphony in Helzberg Hall. Here are his remarks about performing with the KC Symphony and the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Eric Rosen, KC Repertory interview by Robert Trussell

He’s sticking around. At least for a while. Maybe for a long while. That’s the word from Eric Rosen, Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s 41-year-old artistic director, who plans to remain at the helm of the city’s leading nonprofit theater company at least through 2014.

more at

Blue Star Award winners

Congratulations to all of the 2012 Blue Star Award recipients, nominees and participating high schools! Thank you for helping us celebrate excellence in high school musical theatre by attending our Blue Star Ceremony on Thursday, May 24.

more at Starlight Theatre
and at The Examiner

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival preview by Lauren Collinsworth Claflin

By 1990, independent theatre producer Marilyn Strauss had already enjoyed an immensely successful career. She had worked with many of the best actors and directors in New York. She had produced several hit shows, and won Tony awards. Wondering what her next project should be, she talked with Joseph Papp, the legendary founder and director of New York’s Shakespeare in the Park. He told Strauss that her hometown, Kansas City, did not have a Shakespeare festival, and suggested that she start one.

more at Johnson County Lifestyle

"Day After" reunion planned in Lawrence

The Watkins Museum invites those who took part in the making of the made-for-TV movie “The Day After” to attend a cast and crew 30th anniversary reunion from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 28, at the museum.

more at the Lawrence Journal World

Starlight Theatre season promo

Friday, May 25, 2012

"Hope Springs" short film by Stephen Locke

Joplin, Missouri

KC Burlesque Festival performances

Madame MacKay ~ Professional Dancer and the world's premiere classicaly trained on point Tassel Twirler! Performing Petite Paris at the 2012 Kansas City Burlesque Festival!

Foxy Von Trap performs on the Lyra at the 2012 Kansas City Burlesque Festival!

Madame MacKay at the 2012 Kansas City Burlesque Festival!

Please excuse the poor video quality. This footage is from the backup camera. Upon another opportunity to shoot this piece this video will be replaced.

Maria Ioudenitch interview by Laura Spencer

A teenager takes the stage tonight at Helzberg Hall with the Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. And she’ll be right out front.

more at KCUR

Human Observation Lab history by Leo Wetherill

In the late 80’s, a few UMKC Conservatory and art department students were determined to showcase off beat performances in Kansas City.  Stimulus & Response (SARCO) was the answer.  The pop up theatre began showcasing impromptu performances at classic drinking establishments like The Ship and later The Grand Emporium.  

more at the Living Archive

Slash and Bash Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival preview by Bill Blankenship

The undead strolling along S. Kansas Avenue once again will liven up downtown as the Topeka Zombie Walk returns as part of the spring edition of the Slash and Bash Horror and Sci-Fi Film Festival.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Barn Players seeks directors for 2012-2013 season

The Barn Players are seeking directors for their 58th consecutive exciting season of plays and musicals.

PROCESS: Submit a letter of application to The Barn Players, along with your resume. Please indicate your choice of show in the application letter, include your vision for the production and your reasons for applying for that particular show. An interview will then be scheduled with the Artistic Director, the Assistant Artistic Director and one other members of The Barn board of directors.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: July 15th, 2012

INTERVIEWS: Will be scheduled from July 16 – 31, 2012, by appointment only.

Directors will be announced following the August 8th board meeting.

To submit an application or for more information, please contact Eric Magnus, Artistic Director of The Barn Players at

Black House Improvisers Collective Workshop review by Hunter Long

The tenth Black House Composers’ Workshop is now complete and I have to say that this has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. The collaboration with the Gamelan ensemble was as fun as it was intimidating. My thanks go out to all the members of Gamelan Genta Kasturi for being so accommodating and tolerant of our awkward attempts to write for them. I also want to thank Angelica Sandoval for creating the lighted canopy for us and Justin Hundley and Trina Warren for sharing their dance talents with us. Lastly, my congratulations go out to all the members of the collective for all their hard work.

more at the Black House Improvisers Collective

Lawrence Arts Center SmART Moves program preview

The Lawrence Arts Center Arts Based Preschool incorporates dance, drama and music into the preschool curriculum to get kids moving. The SmART moves program was made possible with a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Funny Days Section 1: The Birthday Party" short film by Zac Eubank

Bee Auguste, first documented appearance: Bianca Smith's birthday party in July of 2012, Van Nuys, CA. This marks the beginning of Bee's improbable journey to becoming the most infamous clown of the 21st century. In this section you will learn about Bee's late parents, her normie lifestyle, the origin of the derogatory term "Chaplin," the indomitable Zuzu, and a mysterious figure you'll soon learn about in upcoming sections. Make sure to read up on past sections on the history of Commedia and some of the laws that govern the United States during the 21st century.

Summer theatre preview by Robert Trussell

The summer theater season in Kansas City really means the summer musical season, because you’ll be hard-pressed to find plays that don’t involve singing, dancing and over-the-top emotions between now and early September.

more at

Read more here:

Spinning Tree "Fantasticks" review by Kelly Luck

Fantasticks rises above problems with excellent performances
Rating: 4

The Fantasticks
by Spinning Tree Theatre

There are two old showbiz sayings, Michael Grayman and Andy Parkhurst noted at the beginning of Sunday afternoon's performance of "The Fantasticks" at the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center. One is "Break a leg;" the other, "The show must go on." They proceeded to note wryly that, over the past week, they had managed to accomplish both.

Readers of arts news will most likely have heard that the star of this production, Vigthor Zophoniasson, tore his Achilles tendon on the opening night, forcing them to abort the evening's performance and the following matinee. Over the previous week, however, the show has been retooled, and thus do we find our El Gallo back in the saddle, albeit with aid of crutch and wheelchair. But the show must go on, and does, with a commendable spirit that brings this production above the common.

The story is, of course, a classic one: Based on Edmund Rostand's playful take on "Romeo & Juliet", young neighbors Luisa and Matt (Sarah Anne Goeke and Seth Jones, respectively) connive to spend time together, lingering over the wall that separates them, never suspecting that the wall - and indeed the feud between their parents (Tom Lancaster and Julie Shaw as Luisa's father and Matt's mother) - is a prop, a connivance on the part of the parents to bring the two young ones together through the power of forbidden love. The plan has drawn fruit: the two are desperately in love with each other, but how to end the feud? Enter El Gallo, bandit for hire, who conspires with the parents to attempt an abduction of the girl, complete with Indians, bandits, and optional musical accompaniment. With the help of itinerant Shakespearean Henry (Kip Niven) and his compatriot Mortimer (Martin Buchanan), the abduction is staged. Matt comes flying to the rescue, the "bandits" are foiled, Luisa rescued, the feud ended, joy bells ring, happy ending and curtain.

Ah - but!

It's never quite so simple as that, and as we enter the second act, the story quickly begins to turn. Somehow the reality isn't quite as nice as the fantasy. Tempers fray, the mood turns sour. And when an itemized bill for the "abduction" appears, all hell breaks loose. This second half is full of worldly wisdom and lessons hard won. If the first act is a song of innocence, the second is a song of experience. Tom Jones' story and Harvey Schmidt's lyrics have stood the test of time for over fifty years. Cynical but romantic, hopeful but worldly wise. Sometimes cruel, sometimes kind, and very often downright hilarious. This play is a workhorse, and not without reason.

With its staging deliberately minimal, "The Fantasticks" is a good fit for the Off-Center venue. It makes for an unusually intimate space, one which suits the mood of the play quite nicely. It gives the performers enough room to move and interact to a limited degree with the audience, and the open nature of the theatre does an excellent job of bringing the audience into the story in a particularly intimate way.

Of course, all of this would be for nothing without the performances themselves, and thus we come to the elephant in the room: an El Gallo in a wheelchair? Limping about on crutches? Can, in fact, it possibly work? Well, I am pleased to report that, for the most part, yes. It does. They have taken the unfortunate circumstance and, in the true spirit of the theatre, made it work. There are bits of comedic business that have been added; lines once delivered straight take on new comedic import. Zophoniasson is still every inch El Gallo, and if his injuries have affected his mobility, they have done nothing to impact his voice, which is tremendous. Also of note is Ms Goeke, an absolutely stunning soprano. We see that she graduated from UMKC in 2010 with a degree in vocal performance, and it absolutely shows. Shaw & Lancaster play their parts with the comfortable ease of seasoned performers; and as for Niven and Buchanan... well, for this reviewer, Henry & Mortimer can make or break the show. Happily, these two turn in excellent performances, delightfully comic.

Technically the show is quite good. The musical accompaniment is just visible stage rear, making for the second performance in a row we've seen with the musicians visible. Unusual to say the least, but not at all unwelcome. Lighting was generally good; the sound quite adequate, though there were some issues with mike popping during some of the more vigorous scenes.

So. We have a classic show with simple performances in an intimate space. And no, it is not as polished as the Robert Goulet touring version this reviewer was privileged to see twenty-odd years ago. Yes, there are minor glitches here and there. And yes, seeing El Gallo confined to a wheelchair for the majority of the performance does take a bit of the impact. But the performances on the stage more than make up for these issues. To anyone of two minds on this, please take my heartiest recommendation: when all is said and done, it's a question of the skill of the artists before you, and the Spinning Tree Theatre is very fortunate to have some very talented artists indeed. That this production is continuing at all is a testament to the spirit of the show and its cast and crew. See it for the songs expertly sung. See it for the laughs, old and new. See it because you won't see a production quite like this again. Or just see it because it is Fantastick.

Katie Gilchrist, Jerry Jay Cranford "Everyday Rapture" interviews

Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City is proud to be chosen for the first production outside of New York for Everyday Rapture, and without Sherie Rene Scott. Watch actress Katie Gilchrist and director Jerry Jay Cranford talk about our production. More information at

Coterie 2012-2013 season preview by Robert Trussell

For years the Coterie Theatre has pushed the boundaries of acceptability when it comes to what a children’s theater can and can’t do. Some shows are clearly aimed at young-adult audiences, while others fit comfortably in the educational niche designed to get busloads of kids into the theater. So it’s not so surprising that the respected theater company in Crown Center will kick off its 2012-13 season with “Spring Awakening,” an edgy rock musical about teenagers discovering their sexuality.

more at

Mara Gibson "Canopy" review by DSM

I recently had the privilege to experience a new chamber music composition by Mara Gibson at the opening of a new art exhibit in Kansas City. The work was commissioned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Premiered in April by Michael Hall, ‘Canopy’ was inspired by ‘Ferment’, Roxy Paine’s (1966-) outdoor installation in the sculpture garden at the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

more at Chamber Music Today

Unicorn "Everyday Rapture" review by Kelly Luck

Rapturous, but Far from Everyday
Rating: 4

Everyday Rapture
Unicorn Theatre

"Everyday Rapture" is the story of one woman's journey from humble origins and her struggle to achieve her dreams. Along the way, she has a series of eye-opening experiences with a number of quirky strangers, and emerges a fully realized woman. She experiences heartbreak and rapture, success and failure, and re-enacts it all for us in just under two hours.

No, no - come back here. Sit down, sit down. It's not what you think. I swear.

Actually, Topeka native Sherie Rene Scott's story is told with wit and charm, taking the tropes of the "one-woman show" and musical revues both, and gleefully subverting them in a most entertaining way. We go from her half-Mennonite roots in Kansas to the bright lights of New York, singing all the way and always with a saving dose of self-depreciating wit. Accompanied by her backup-singers-cum-Greek-chorus the "Mennonettes" (Christina Burton and Chioma Anyanwu), Sherie (represented here by Katie Gilchrist) starts off with her earliest memories, singing Judy Garland songs with her favorite cousin, and discovering the joy of music. She takes us around town, discusses some of the area's more famous and infamous inhabitants (most particularly the Westboro Baptist crowd, which were just beginning to get their coveted notoriety). She eventually escapes for a month to New York, her "runaround" month before settling in and being a good Mennonite, but the showbiz bug has bit, and it's only a matter of time before she finds her way back.

Along the way, she discovers love, hate, magic, and Mister Rogers. Incidents from her life as she works her way to Broadway stardom are replayed, though reports of some incidents are, shall we say, greatly exaggerated. Throughout it all, she keeps singing. Pop tunes, TV themes, and showbiz standards are picked up and gleefully folded into the narrative. This is a deeply personal work, but it is also a deeply personable one. Scott takes us into her confidence, lets us in on the backstage of her life. Sometimes it's a bit hard to look, but it's all done with gusto and showmanship, and in the end one cannot help but applaud.

Audience goers at the Unicorn will be experiencing a unique production, in that it is not only the first time this play has been performed outside of New York, but it is also the first time that Ms Scott is not playing herself. It is perhaps somewhat disconcerting to see such a highly personal memoir being played out by a third party, but Ms Gilchrist does a superlative job, and we suspend our disbelief. This is not hurt by the fact that her voice is more than up to the task at hand. Her performance was all the more remarkable because, as we learned after the show, she was a last-minute substitute when the previous star got pneumonia. With between 9 and 12 days to learn the role, she has done a spectacular job, and one can only stop to admire her ability. The "Mennonettes" are both excellent singers as well, and bring quite a lot of the humor in the show.

The set is simply dressed: a video screen on one wall, cityscapes sliding in from the sides when needed, all other props deliberately minimal, wheeled out as needed. Due to the musical nature of the production, the band (led capably by Jeremy Watson) is placed in the rear of the stage, visible to the audience. This is not something we see in the average musical production, but here it works very well, not least because they do an excellent job rendering the music. We understand the Unicorn is planning on having a visible band again during the upcoming season, something to look forward to.

There were very few weaknesses to speak of in the production. A couple of minor opening-night stumbles, such as are to be expected, but nothing major. In terms of the story itself, we found it generally well-paced, with some gaps here and there. A particular sequence, detailing her interaction with a YouTube user lip-synching her songs, seemed to go on a bit long to this reviewer, though this is of course entirely subjective. In general, the production was a satisfying and entertaining one all around.

"Everyday Rapture" is a story about finding the magic in every day, about seizing opportunities, and finding one's place in the world. Broadway fans will no doubt enjoy it, but it will resonate equally well with anyone who ever dreamed of escaping their old hometown, or has ever lived inside a song.

Topeka Jazz Workshop 2012-2013 Season

All concerts are held on Sundays from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the Topeka Downtown Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, 420 SE 6th Street, unless otherwise posted. Come join us for the excitement! Click here for more information on becoming a member of the Topeka Jazz Workshop, Inc. for the 2012-2013 season!

more at the Topeka Jazz Workshop

[Thanks, Plastic Sax]

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quixotic May 2012 promo

Sodance Couple Club preview by Jennifer Gordon

Every Friday night, 12 to 14 members of the small but faithful group meet at the Joyce Raye Patterson Senior Citizens Center for an evening dance. A recent Mother’s Day event drew nine; a couple of the regulars were battling illness. Nothing permanent, the present members note.

more at the Northeast News

Heart of America Shakespeare Featival promo

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival presents A Midsummer Night's Dream and Antony and Cleopatra June 19th-July 15th. For more info go to

Kevin McKinney "Corporate FM" interview by Dan Lybarger

Local filmmaker Kevin McKinney suggests in his documentary “Corporate FM” that radio stations that cut local programming are hurting themselves and their communities.

Read more here:

more at

Michael Pagán interview by Eric Crump

The Kansas City-based performer, composer and music educator has brought more than 30 years of experience to his job this semester as Missouri Valley College's first jazz artist in residence this past semester.

more at the Marshall Democrat

[Thanks, Plastic Sax]

Lied Center 2012-2013 Season

Highlights include Ravi Shankar, the guiding spirit of the world music movement; John Lithgow’s one-man theatrical memoir, Stories by Heart; Kansas City’s own Quixotic; West Side Story, the timeless love story with Tony Award-winning choreography and many other moving, entertaining and intriguing performances.
more at Infozine

Living Room 2nd Anniversary promo

Some thoughts from The Living Room friends and family on the occasion of its second birthday. By Mitch Brian & Todd Norris.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Him & Her" short film by Heather Brown

Unicorn Theatre 2012-2013 Season

Unicorn Theatre, under the artistic leadership of Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin, announces the 39th season of bold new plays. The new season will open September 5, 2012 and includes seven regular season shows. In addition to a full line up of new productions to Kansas City, the Unicorn will also continue the In-Progress New Play Reading Series which brings scripts in development to be read that are being considered for production in upcoming seasons. Also announced, the Unicorn’s annual fall gala will take place Saturday October 6, 2012. More details on the season, including casting, and the gala will follow this summer. Subscriptions are on sale by calling the box office at 816-531-7529 ext., in person at 3828 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111 and soon can be purchased online at There are discounted subscriptions for students and patrons Under 35.


The Motherf**ker With the Hat
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Sidonie Garrett
September 5-30, 2012
On The Jerome Stage
Veronica and Jackie have been in love since 8th grade. Jackie, out on parole, is newly sober. Veronica is anything but. When Jackie finds a mysteriously placed man’s hat in Veronica’s apartment, he suspects that she is having an affair and the emotional boxing match begins. Introduce Jackie’s A.A. Sponsor and his wife, along with Jackie’s hilariously fastidious cousin Julio, and you have a high-octane rollercoaster ride on stage. This play was a 2011 Tony Award Nominee for Best Play and closed on Broadway in June 2011.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Written by Alex Timbers
Music and lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by Cynthia Levin
Co-Produced with UMKC Theatre
October 10-November 2, 2012
On The Mainstage
Andrew Jackson kicked British butt, shafted the Indians and smacked down the Spaniards all in the name of these United States−who cares if he didn’t have permission? An exhilarating and white-knuckled look at one of our nation’s founding rock stars, this infectious Emo Rock musical recreates and reinvents the life of “Old Hickory,” from his humble beginnings on the Tennessee frontier to his days as our seventh Commander-in-Chief. It also asks the question, is wanting to have a beer with someone reason enough to elect him? What if he’s really, really hot?

Inspecting Carol
By Daniel Sullivan and The Seattle Repertory Theatre
Directed by Theodore Swetz
Co-Produced with Kansas City Actors Theatre in partnership with UMKC Theatre
November 28-December 23, 2012
On The Mainstage
With a mix of Noises Off and Waiting for Guffman, this season we take you behind the scenes of an obligatory Yuletide classic. A struggling Midwestern theatre company is mounting its annual production of A Christmas Carol when they learn their government funding, and their future is on the line. When a wide-eyed wannabe actor gets mistaken for an inspector from the National Endowment for the Arts, good intentions backfire, the production goes horribly awry, and hilarity ensues.

A World Premiere
BlackTop Sky
By Christina Anderson
Directed by Mykel Hill
January 23-February 10, 2013
On The Jerome Stage
Klass, a homeless young man, sets up residence in the courtyard of a housing project where Ida Peters lives. Triggered by a confrontation between a local street vendor and the police, they quickly develop a precarious bond. Inspired by the Greek myth “Leda and the Swan,” BlackTop Sky explores the concept of love, violence, and seduction.

My Name is Asher Lev
By Aaron Posner
Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Cynthia Levin
April 17-May 12, 2013
On The Mainstage
This moving story follows the journey of a young Jewish painter torn between his Hassidic upbringing and his desperate need to fulfill his artistic promise. When his artistic genius threatens to destroy his relationship with his parents and community, young Asher realizes he must make a difficult choice between art and faith. This stirring adaptation of a modern classic presents a heartbreaking and triumphant vision of what it means to be an artist.

By Katori Hall
Director TBA
June 5-23, 2013
On The Mainstasge
Taking place on April 3, 1968, this play is a gripping reimagining of events the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After delivering one of his most memorable speeches, an exhausted Dr. King retires to his room at the Lorraine Motel while a storm rages outside. When a mysterious stranger arrives with some surprising news, King is forced to confront his destiny and his legacy. This play closed on Broadway in January 2012.

Barn Players 6x10 Play Festival call for scripts

Grab your pencils! Or laptops! The Barn Players Theater is holding
its fifth annual 6x10 Play Festival on December 7 – 9, and we are looking
for some great scripts. The Festival will produce six short plays,
each roughly ten minutes in length and all by local writers. Tell us
a great story in ten minutes and you'll get the chance to see your
work performed on our stage.

Playwrights whose scripts are selected will be encouraged to
participate in rehearsal and to work collaboratively with the
director. They may modify their script as they watch it take shape on
the stage.

Playwrights are encourage to participate in Writer's Workshops to be held at The Barn Theatre on June 23, July 7 & August 18 from 10am – Noon. There is no charge to participate in the workshop sessions. Participation in workshop sessions is not required for selection, nor is participation a guarantee of selection.

  • All playwrights must live within 200 miles of Kansas City.
  • Scripts may not have been produced previously.
  • Scripts should be easily produced in the context of a ten-minute play festival (i.e. small casts and simple sets)
  • Each playwright may submit up to two (2) scripts for review.
  • Scripts may be submitted electronically or through the mail.
  • Electronic: send to ""
  • Mail: send TWO copies to "6x10 Festival, The Barn Players, 6219 Martway, Mission KS 66202"
  • Please put your name and contact info on a separate page from the text of the script.
  • Deadline for submission is August 31, 2012.
  • Selections will be made and all playwrights informed by September 21, 2012.
  • Scripts sent by mail will not be returned.
  • No comments or feedback on the scripts will be given.
  • There is no entry fee.
By submitting a script for consideration, the playwright agrees that
The Barn Players may produce the script during the festival. The
playwright agrees to waive any royalty for the production of the piece
in the festival and relinquishes all rights to casting decisions or
scenic choices.

For more information, please contact Eric Magnus, Artistic Director of The Barn Players at

The Barn Players embraces diversity in all aspects of our organization. Non-traditional and equal-opportunity casting is encouraged.

KC Academy Grassroots Music Concert performances and interview

KC Sound Collectiver review by Plastic Sax

Perhaps the most radical aspect of the KC Sound Collective is the ensemble's conservative approach.  Consisting of five of Kansas City's most notable young jazz musicians, the band carefully hews to the hard bop tradition.  While each member excels at playing in less conventional contexts, the Collective elects stay within the familiar framework codified half a century ago. 

more at Plastic Sax

Winds damage E.M.U. Theatre "Waiting for Godot" set

After their outdoor set fell prey to wind, the cast of “Waiting for Godot” is teaming up to piece it back together before this weekend’s performances.

more at

Chris Hazelton "Peregrination" review and photos by kcjazzlark

Ever since Jimmy McGriff performed as the headliner who wasn’t rained out the year I presided over the Kansas City Jazz Festival, I’ve been a fan of the Hammond B-3. With Peregrination, whether on an updating of a Rogers and Hart classic, or on a ruminative ballad, or on an original by himself or Danny, Chris shows a masterful touch.

more at kcjazzlark

Spinning Tree "Fantasticks" review by Steve Wilson

In the theater to wish an actor good luck you tell them to “break a leg.”  It wasn’t a broken leg but a torn tendon that stopped the Saturday May 12 performance of the Fantasticks at Off Center Theatre located inside Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.  One week later on Saturday the 19th Vigthor Zophoniasson, who plays El Gallo and The Narrator, appeared on stage on crutches wearing a white cast from his left knee to his toes.

more at

Monday, May 21, 2012

"30 Seconds to Midnight" short film by Through a Glass Productions

It's New Year's Eve and a woman must meet up with the guy of her dreams before time runs out.

JCCC "Light Up the Lawn" photos and video by Mike Strong

This was JCCC's first of the season "Light Up the Lawn" Summer concert series Friday Mary 11, 2012, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, Kansas, on the front lawn of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.

more at KC Dance

Paul Giamatti and others perform in Joplin

A trio of Hollywood actors is in Joplin to help the community's emotional healing one year after the deadly tornado.

Week-on-Stage: May 21-28

Auditions for this week **
  • Actor/Performer Fall 2012 - Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Company
  • Coterie and Unicorn Adult Auditions - The Coterie Theatre
  • Twelfth Night - She&Her Productions*

Performances for this week **
  • And The Oscar Goes To... - Chestnut Fine Arts Theatre (Closes Jun 17)
  • Everyday Rapture - Unicorn Theatre (Closes Jun 3)
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - New Theatre Restaurant (Closes Jun 17)
  • The Fantasticks - Spinning Tree Theatre (Closes May 27)
  • The KC Improv Company's Big Show - The KC Improv Company (Closes Jun 30)
  • The Night of the Assassins - The Mystery Train (Closes Jun 9)
  • Who's In Bed With The Butler - Paradise Playhouse Dinner Theatre (Closes Jun 16)

Events for this week 
  • 10th Annual Kansas City Cappies Gala - Kansas City Cappies*
  • Arts Advocacy - Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City
  • Creative Writing Workshop "Feel It in Your Toes" - Alcott Arts Center*
  • Titanic: The Artifacts Exhibition - Union Station Kansas City, Inc.

Theatre Reviews

Ratings - Current Performances 
  • 5.00 The Fantasticks - Spinning Tree Theatre. (4 Votes)
  • 2.00 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - New Theatre Restaurant. (1 Vote)

Ratings - Top Ten Rated Shows of the Last 3 Months 
  • 5.00 The Fantasticks - Spinning Tree Theatre. (4 Votes)
  • 5.00 Billy Bishop Goes To War - Kansas City Actors Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 Black Comedy - Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Real Inspector Hound - Shawnee Mission Northwest High School Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Barber of Seville - Lyric Opera of Kansas City. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 Pride and Prejudice - Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Laramie Project - The White Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 5.00 The Laramie Project : Ten years Later - The White Theatre. (2 Votes)
  • 4.67 Two Rooms - Olathe Community Theatre Association. (3 Votes)

Reviews - Five Most Recent of Past Performances 
  • 5.00 Masters of American Dance - Kansas City Ballet. (1 Vote)
  • 4.10 Xanadu - The Barn Players, Inc.. (62 Votes)
  • 3.00 Little Shop of Horrors - Kansas City Repertory Theatre. (4 Votes)
  • 4.33 Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead - The Living Room. (3 Votes)
  • 3.50 Completely Hollywood (abridged) - Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Company. (2 Votes)

Kenny Barron review by Chuck Berg

Although he describes his playing as “a work in progress,” jazz pianist Kenny Barron is in a class of his own. Transcending all categories, Barron is a well-traveled veteran whose scintillating yet sensitive stylings have lifted bandstands with jazz icons ranging from the flame-throwing bopster Dizzy Gillespie to the smoldering melodist Stan Getz.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Foxy Von Trap, KC Burlesque Festival performance

Foxy Von Trap performs her famous Pearls number at the 2nd Annual Kansas City Burlesque Festival!

Lied Center "Here to Stay" preview

Here to Stay, featuring Ryan VanDenBoom, Sylvia McNair and Kevin Cole, provides unique and entertaining insight into the legendary George and Ira Gershwin duo and offers rare audio and video footage of them. Family photos, video clips and state-of-the-art visuals provide a distinct and unique experience.

New Maplewood Barn Theatre reopens after fire

Forty years ago, a unique community theater was established in Columbia — one centered on a big red barn. Just more than two years ago, that same barn burned to the ground. Now, the blackened cinders of that timber have been swept away as a new barn has been erected at the old location in Nifong Park. Along with the return of spring comes the swell of music. Fiddle music, to be exact.

more at the Columbia Daily Tribune