Wednesday, May 8, 2013

OffStage has moved

KC Stage's performing arts news blog OffStage has moved to a new website. The new blog can be found here:

The new location gives the blog a facelift and lets you comment on articles or share them on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more. You can also search the articles by keyword or filter by tag. Articles will also be posted on KC Stage's Facebook and Twitter.

If you are currently receiving email updates you will no longer be able to follow the blog this way, although we hope to offer this feature in the future.

Click here to subscribe to the RSS feed for the new blog. If you aren't currently using a feed reader, try

The OffStage archive here will remain online but will not be updated with new posts.

If you have any questions or comments email

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

KC Ballet "Hey-Hay, Goin to Kansas City" review by Alexia Lang

The Kansas City Ballet’s 55th season is going out with a bang. The final program features three distinct sections that are very different, but have a uniting theme of jazz and sass. 

more at the Vignette

Composer John Chittum interview by Hunter Long

What is your opera about and what is your ritual? My opera is about morning coffee...and what happens when the ritual of morning coffee gets taken way too far.

more at the Black House Collective

Spinning Tree "Hello Again", Living Room "Hurlyburly" previews by Robert Trussell

“Hello Again,” an Obie-winning musical that premiered off Broadway in 1993. Spinning Tree Theatre gets sexy with its production of Michael John LaChiusa’s

more at the KC Star

Read more here:

KC's jazz origins by kcjazzlark

Saxophonist Ben Webster was born in Kansas City in 1909. He performed here with Bennie Moten’s and Andy Kirk’s orchestras and recorded with both. But he first gained international recognition after moving East, as lead tenor in what was arguably Duke Ellington’s greatest orchestra in the early 1940s.

more at kcjazzlark

"Envision Arts KC" by Kelly Luck

This article is from the March 2013 issue of KC Stage

Character. That’s the word I was looking for.

We were in groups, six of them scattered around the top floor of the ArtsTech building on Holmes Street. The brainstorming was in full swing, and the facilitator asked us to name the things about our town that made it unique. We were a pretty mixed bag: visual artists, musicians, actors, educators, and others, and once the suggestions started flowing they came in all directions: the city’s history as an incubator of artists, the Crossroads district, the unique musical heritage, and new artist communities popping up all over the metro area. All good things, fine things. But I couldn’t help but feel these were all subsets of something larger, something untouched-on. It wasn’t until afterwards that what I had been searching for hit me.

KC Ballet "Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City" review by kellyluck

Leave The Tutus At Home; KC Ballet Ends Season In A Decidedly Modernist Trip Rating: 4

Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City
Kansas City Ballet

The Kansas City Ballet is wrapping up another season at the Kauffman, and in grand style. These last couple of years at the new venue have been ones of experiment, and the season closers have been time for the troupe to step out of the ordinary, to present new and interesting ideas. For the programs on display Friday night, they have gone with three fascinating and nicely executed pieces.

First on the program is Energy Made Visible, a performance in six movements by Karole Armitage with music by Bobby Watson. Mr Watson is a busy man just of late, having just come off of a short run of "Kansas City Swing" at the UMKC Theater. There as here he provides the music onstage, accompanying himself in his own compositions. He plays in full jazzman kit, a porkpied piper whose music sends the dancers through their frenzied movements. The transmutation of jazz into other mediums is a tricky business, and one fraught with hazards. Fortunately, there is confident skill at the helm, and the dancers move with the improvised music, seemingly letting it pull them along.

Some interesting business throughout the performance involves a giant "canvas" at which the dancers hurl imaginary "paint", slowly recreating some of the works of Jackson Pollock. The effect was quite interesting, albeit the animated splatter didn't always line up with the throwing movements, hurting the illusion. Nevertheless, it was an interesting experiment and sound and visualization with excellent small and large group choreographies and of course Mr. Watson's wonderful score.

After the first intermission, the mood changed significantly with Common People, Margo Sappington's tour through William Shatner & Ben Folds' 2004 collaboration "Has Been" (this is the same ballet that was featured in the 2009 documentary "William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet", which is entirely recommended). Taking us through seven of the featured songs, Sappington gives us an interesting if occasionally uneven experience, with choreography that matches the eccentric, offbeat yet strangely engrossing nature of the material. Highlights are the title track at the beginning, the surprisingly dreamlike "Together", and the final two parts: a frenzied interpretation of "I Can't Get Behind That" and "Has Been", in both of which the choreography was seasoned with just the right amount of wit, making a good solid finish to the set.

Finally, we had Donald McKayle's Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City, in which some of the great jazz classics that shaped this city are brought to life. We start off with Euday Bowman's "12th Street Rag" and proceed through the works of Jesse Stone, Charlie Parker, Count Basie and other memorable performers. The dancing here is interesting; something about the looseness of the movement put this reviewer in mind of a Hart Benton painting come to life. Vintage recordings were used of the originals, adding more to the atmosphere and bringing us back to a time and place that looms almost legendary in the annals of our city. Here dancing as storytelling was given its strongest push, each song a vignette. The dancers performed strongly as indeed they had all through the night, and all in all it was a decidedly enjoyable performance.

A few months ago, announcements were made regarding the upcoming 2013-14 season. It will be a solid return to the classics, starting with Jerome Robbins and finishing with Prokofiev's "Cinderella". It should be a good season, but the experimentation of the ballet's first two Kauffman seasons will lie long in this reviewer's memory. And dance aficionados wishing to see and hear something truly creative and interesting are highly recommended to catch this show before its closing night on the 12th.

"Rose Brooks Project SAFE" short film by Stephen Locke

Created by Stephen Locke Film and Video

Monday, May 6, 2013

KC Actors Theatre 2013-2014 Season preview by Bob Evans

Count on the classics of American theater to generate excitement, and when these classic plays come from icons of the theater world, expect something special. Everyone who follows theater knows the names of noted playwrights Inge and O’Neill so what could be better to kick off a season that two of their favorite plays?

more at

"The Harvester" short film by Joseph Pollock

The Harvester is a short horror/suspense film Director by Joseph Pollock, Directors of Photography TJ Baurain & Jesse Smith, Fabulous Features Matt Olson, Editor Joseph Pollock, Colorist TJ Baurain, Production Assistant Joe Knotts. Filmed on Canon 7D and T2i.

Riverkey Creative on "Startups: Made in Kansas City"

It's no coincidence that creativity is in their name. For ten years, Riverkey Creative has worked with clients developing 3D animations, graphics, video and film for the small screen of the web to the giant screens in sports arenas.

Starlight Blue Star Awards preview by Bob Evans

Kansas City’s largest theater, Starlight Theatre, located in Swope Park and adjoining the KC Zoo announced its nominations for their Blue Star Awards, based on student performances and productions across the Kansas City Metro area, to be presented May 23 in a ceremony, free to the public at the Starlight Theatre.

more at

Spencer Museum of Art Spring Arts and Culture Festival review by Meagan Thomas

The weather may have been dreary, but the inside of Spencer Museum of Art was lively with music, dance and art during the annual Spring Arts and Culture Festival on Saturday.

more at the Lawrence Journal World

Musical Theatre Heritage Parlor Series featuring Harold Arlen

The MTH Parlor Series is an intimate affair seating 15-17 patrons and is presented 6 times a year in the crossroads Arts District in Downtown, Kansas City. The Series is hosted by Nationally syndicated radio host, George Harter and highlights the work of a different composer at each event.

Theatre Lawrence closes doors on old building as it prepares to move

It must seem awfully strange to Mary Doveton to be moving into a building designed specifically for theater. Theatre Lawrence’s executive director has been adapting other facilities to her needs since helping found the organization in 1977. “We just rolled with the punches of whatever we had,” she says, reminiscing on 36 years of community theater productions.

more at

Joel Wachs, Warhol Foundation speaks at Charlotte Street luncheon

JOEL WACHS, Warhol Foundation CEO, speaks at Charlotte Street Foundation luncheon

KC Ballet "Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City" review by Libby Hanssen

Kansas City Ballet ended its 55th season with a celebration of American dance, music and hometown talent in “Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City.” This vibrant company offered an exhilarating trio of pieces on Friday night, including the world premiere of Karole Armitage’s “Energy Made Visible.”

more at the KC Star

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Unicorn "My Name is Asher Lev" extended run by Bob Evans

Because of sell-out crowds, great reviews, and spreading word of mouth, The Unicorn Theater in Kansas City extends its current show, My Name is Asher Lev for another week until May 19.

more at

CinemaKC seeking help for move out of Screenland

We have to be out of Screenland Crossroads by May 20th. Just days away. With events planned out for the year, a new website about to launch, and a show about to start filming we find ourselves without a base. Please join us for our final two events with Screenland and help us raise the funds we need to maintain our operations for the next year.

more at CinemaKC

Victoria Alaadeen poetry honors Ahmad Alaadeen

For two years she couldn’t listen to the music she loved for nearly half her life. Every jazzy note holds a memory of her husband, Kansas City jazz great Ahmad Alaadeen. The songs press a key deep in her heart: loss.

more at the KC Star

Quality Hill "You've Got a Friend" review by Kellie Houx

A standing ovation is the form of applause where members of a seated audience stand up while applauding after an extraordinary performance of acclaim. The collaborative voices and musicians at Quality Hill Playhouse for the current show, You’ve Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers, deserved every round of applause and the standing ovations.

more at KC Studio

OffStage is moving

KC Stage's performing arts news blog OffStage will be moving to a new website on Wednesday, May 8. The new blog can be found here:

The new location gives the blog a facelift and lets you comment on articles or share them on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and more. You can also search the articles by keyword or filter by tag. Articles will also be posted on KC Stage's Facebook and Twitter.

If you are currently receiving email updates you will no longer be able to follow the blog this way, although we hope to offer this feature in the future.

Click here to subscribe to the RSS feed for the new blog. If you aren't currently using a feed reader, try

The current OffStage archive on Blogspot will remain online but will not be updated with new posts.

If you have any questions or comments email

Shawnee Mission East nominated for ten Blue Star Awards

The nominations are out. And the cast and crew of SM East’s The Drowsy Chaperone couldn’t be much happier.

more at the Prairie Village Post

Karole Armitage, KC Ballet interview by Laura Spencer

Choreographer Karole Armitage, a native of Lawrence, Kan. says artist Jackson Pollock can be viewed as "a metaphor for the creative process"; his lines of dripped and poured paint are like a dance. Kansas City Ballet concludes its season with a world premiere by Armitage, exploring the intersection between art, jazz, and dance.

more at KCUR 
and more here

Mayor's Task Force for the Arts, Envision KC report by midtownkcposter

Lots of Kansas Citians have gotten involved in the Envision Arts & Culture KC discussion, and we’re starting to get a picture of what they’re saying.

more at the Midtown Post

Aerial footage demo reel by Isaac Alongi

This is a quick reel for all my aerial stock footage of new york, miami, kansas city, chicago, seattle, antigua, nashville and cape town. FOOTAGE IS FOR SALE AT

Topeka Civic Theatre "Next to Normal" preview by Bill Blankenship

Although it is as far as a Broadway musical can get from its historic feel-good fare, those who see Topeka Civic Theatre & Academy’s Studio Series production of “Next to Normal” should leave feeling better having explored a subject that touches far more lives than any of us care to admit — mental illness.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Blue Star Award nominees announced

Starlight Theatre, in partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, are proud to announce the official nominations for the 2012-2013 Blue Star Awards! Make plans to attend the Blue Star Awards Ceremony taking place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23, 2013.

more at Starlight Theatre

KC Repertory, Tony Nomination on "The Local Show"

HISTORY AT THE REP: The Kansas City Repertory Theater is nominated for a Tony award. It's a first for the 49 year old theater company. We're joined by the theater's producing director Jerry Genochio.

"Writers Place" promo by Metaphor Media

Cultural Arts Coalition Biennial Recognition Dinner by Kelly Evenson

Dozens of community members were recognized during the Cultural Arts Coalition’s Biennial Recognition Dinner.

more at the Examiner

Crystal Parish interview with KC NoVA

Mother:Crystal Parish, whose son was shot March 12, 2012, asks young people in the city to stop their violence before their mother has to go on You Tube to tell her own story about losing a son. "We cannot sit in silence and let this go on anymore."

KC Symphony, Screenland "Hitchcock!" preview

Imagine watching scenes from classic films on a huge screen in Helzberg Hall, while your Kansas City Symphony performs the timeless soundtrack. That's the unforgettable experience of Symphony at the Movies. Alfred Hitchcock's films feature some of the most mesmerizing movie scores of all time, and his use of music has influenced generations of filmmakers. The Kansas City Symphony and Narrator Butch Rigby, owner of Screenland Theatres, take you on a haunting journey through several of Hitchcock's masterpieces, including To Catch a Thief, Strangers on a Train and Dial M for Murder, proving Hitchcock's theory that film music can play a role all its own.

Capital City Chorus preview by Bill Blankenship

At least three generations of singers will be represented on stage when the Capital City Chorus presents its spring concert Saturday.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

May issue of KC Stage is online

The May issue of KC Stage is available online for subscribers.

Chestnut Fine Arts "It's a Small World" review by BobEvans

Small World on small stage nets big results Rating: 5

It's A Small World
Chestnut Fine Arts Theatre

Kansas City audiences expect entertainment, smiles, laughs, and familiar melodies every time they attend a custom-built musical review at Olathe's Chestnut Fine Arts Theater, and the current show delivers the music from the Disney legacy from the 1930s through the balance of the decade.

Quality Hill "You've Got a Friend" review by BobEvans

Quality reigns supreme with Carole King and James Taylor music Rating: 5

You've Got a Friend: Music That Raised the Baby Boomers
Quality Hill Playhouse

Carole King and James Taylor's music sets the tone for the current show through May 19th at Quality Hill Playhouse in Kansas City where musical reviews and cabaret shows set the tone and bring audiences to their feet more times than not.

Encore Theatre "Tut, Tut, Tusy" preview by Sheila Davis

Encore Theatre’s latest production, “Tut, Tut, Tutsy,” opens Friday at the Sermon Center Powerhouse Theatre. A dinner theater will be held on Saturday evening, but reservations had to be made in advance. Virginia Hudson, who plays Mrs. Drayton, answered some questions about the play.

more at the Examiner

Unicorn "My Name is Asher Lev" review by Deborah Hirsch

Art is Asher Lev's passion, his language, his way of interacting with everything around him. He can't remember a time when he didn't paint or draw. But this need clashes with his ultra–Orthodox Jewish faith and upbringing. It's narishkeit (foolishness), time stolen from studying and serving God. And Asher's subject matter goes against his religious teachings — surely driven, he's told, by the Sitra Achra, the forces of evil.

more at the Pitch

Dana Joel Nicholson "Book of Mormon" interview by Bob Evans

You know the story of old Broadway, “Listen kid, you’re going out there as a kid, but your gonna come back a star,” or something like that from the hit musical 42nd Street, And, it really can happen just like that. For a local actor, it just may come to fruition sooner than later because he leaves this week to join the national Broadway tour of the hit, The Book of Mormon.

more at

William Whitener, KC Ballet interview by Justin Kendall

Interesting brush with the law? I had a couple of skirmishes in my youth and danced my way out of them.

more at the Pitch

KC Repertory "Christmas Story" Tony nominations by Bob Evans

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City and that’s evidenced with the theater world as well and the myriad of offerings throughout the city, but the most noteworthy and successful recent triumphs, A Christmas Story, a world premier musical at the Rep now stands as a Tony Award nominated Best Musical.

more at

Jerry Genochio "American Buffalo" interview with the KC Repertory

Playing April 19 - May 19 at our Copaken Stage in downtown Kansas City. A plot to steal a rare buffalo nickel pits three ambitious petty criminals against each other with powerful and tragic results. Featuring what would soon become known as 'Mamet-Speak', con men Don, Teach, and Bob unleash a 'poetic profanity' designed to cajole, intimidate and manipulate each other in this modern masterpiece.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Singer Anna Louise Hoard interview by Hunter Long

I came to this project by a combination of happy coincidence and what a dear friend once named "a personal culture of 'yes'". More specifically, I ran into /Fair Looks and True Obedience/ librettist Jennifer Coates at an Artist Inc event years after we had subbed in a church choir together. A few weeks later, her project needed a singer and I made myself available. Those people who say that half of life is showing up are on to something.

more at the Black House Collective

Chestnut Fine Arts 2013-2014 Season preview by Bob Evans

The Chestnut Fine Arts Center, in Olathe, KS, again features a top line up of shows guaranteed to please its devoted fan base and snag a few more season ticket holders along the way because of their line-up of Memory Lane favorites and performers who know how to please audiences.

more at

KC Chorale "Spring Song" concert photos by Jana Marie

The first annual Spring Song concert was held on March 30th in Rozzelle Court at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Charles Bruffy and The Kansas City Chorale performed a program which featured selection’s from the Chorale’s Grammy-winning album, Life and Breath. The concert was repeated on April 6th at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis.

more at the Independent

Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre 2013-2014 Season preview by Bob Evans

One of Kansas City’s popular, yet small, theater venues, the Metropolitan Ensemble Theater, known for producing the classics and building loyal audiences each year as the theater continues to develop a loyal following, just recently announced their 2014 season with a list of plays guaranteed to please Kansas City patrons.

more at

Dewayne Keith Whitelaw family interview with KC Nova

Dewayne Keith Whitelaw

Four Freshmen, KC Jazz Orchestra preview by Joe Klopus

The Four Freshmen have been getting it right for 65 years. Not with the same four guys — the last original member departed 21 years ago — but with a deeply dedicated lineup of four who are passionate about keeping it right. They’ll appear with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra on Friday, and the combination of great harmonizers with the big band’s power will bring back some powerful moments from Freshmen history, a history that spans jazz and pop success.

more at the KC Star

Read more here:

KC Repertory "Christmas Story" Tony nomination by Robert Trussell

For the first time in its 49-year history, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre is up for a Tony Award, the annual prize that recognizes the best plays and musicals on Broadway each season.

more at the KC Star

Read more here:

Margo Sappington "Common People" interview with the KC Ballet

Margo Sappington tells the story of how she came up with the idea to create her piece, 'Common People,' which is set to the spicy vocals of William Shatner & music by Ben Folds.

JCCC Journalism and Media Communications promo

See how students in a converged media program produce content for a campus radio station, TV & video programming, and student newspaper at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.

UMKC "Spring Dance Concert" review by Joey Hill

The UMKC School of Dance last Thursday presented the Spring Dance Concert, a collection of performances choreographed by the Conservatory’s DeeAnna Hiett, Bernard Gaddis, Paula Webber, Sabrina Madison-Cannon, Ronn Tice, Ming Xia, and Gary Abbott.

more at the University News

Standees preview by Jack Poessiger

Which brings us to three of AMC’s previous old guard – former C.E.O. Peter Brown, Frank Rash and Doug Stone – who’ve founded a new company called DinePlex International. And yes, it involves the moviegoing experience, but no, not the way you’re used to it.

more at KC Confidential

Thank you to ArtsKC

ArtsKC Thank You

KC Repertory "American Buffalo" review by Frank Siraguso

The Rep’s production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo features a gorgeously dingy set where three actors combine fast-paced dialog with intensely crowded, frenetic action.

more at Infozine

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Metropolitan Arts Council loves Salesforce

Send us to DreamForce 2013!

Shawnee Mission East "Little Mermaid" preview by PVPoster

Those talented thespians at SM East have drawn plenty of attention for their big production this year. But their young peers at Indian Hills Middle School have impressive talent of their own.

more at the Prairie Village Post

Truman High School "House of Bernarda Alba" preview by Kelly Evenson

There is only one way to describe Bailey Werner’s character of Martirio in Truman High School’s production of “The House of Bernarda Alba” – sneaky and malicious.

more at the Examiner

UMKC Conservatory "Night in a Museum" review by Joey Hill

The UMKC Conservatory last Friday at Union Station’s City Stage presented “Night in a Museum,” an expertly crafted selection of scenes from various operas chosen by the performers. It was directed by Marciem Bazell, with light piano accompaniment by students Richard Jeric and Jonathan Young.

more at the University News

Middle of the Map Film Fest preview by Timothy Finn

Ink’s Middle of the Map Film Fest, which opens tonight, will feature more than 25 films and documentaries, all at the Alamo Drafthouse, 1400 Main St.

more at Ink

Read more here:

Fabulous Jules Verne Film Festival preview by Bill Blankenship

The Fabulous Jules Verne Film Festival will celebrate the novelist whose 19th century fiction became 20th century fact. The festival, organized as a successor event to the Godzilla & Friends Film Festival, will open Friday and continue Saturday in Room 112 of the Henderson Learning Resources Center on the campus of Washburn University at the northeast corner of S.W. 10th and Jewell Avenue. Admission is free.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Philharmonia of Greater KC preview by Kellie Houx

The Philharmonia of Greater Kansas City, which is celebrating its 25th season, will hold its season finale concert, “Victory and Triumph,” on Sunday, May 5. The concert, which will be held in the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel on Park University’s Parkville Campus, begins at 3 p.m.

more at KC Studio

KC Repertory "American Buffalo" review by Alexia Lang

When life gives you lemons, just make lemonade and curse about it. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre is closing its amazing season with “American Buffalo,” a tale that touches on that old catch phrase that tells us to make the best of what we’ve got.

more at the Vignette

"Sordid Lives" playwright Del Shores to visit JCCC and Barn Players

A noted playwright, Del Shores, comes to Kansas City with a dual intent: to make a personal appearance at Johnson County Community College and then to attend the local premier of his play Sordid Lives at The Barn Players Theater May 31.

more at

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Graham Dechter Quartet review by Check Berg

In a season of not-to-be forgotten performances, the high voltage Graham Dechter Quartet lit up the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, 420 S.E. 6th, with a luminescence surely observable from galaxies far, far away.

more at the Topeka Capital Journal

Adam Roberts, Armour Theatre interview by Alexandra Bush

In nearly a century of existence, the theater at 408 Armour rd. in North Kansas City has seen its share of name-changes, hand-changes and conversions. Its doors have opened and closed and opened again, and were threatened once more this year.

more at the Northland Lifestyle

Magician Tom Stein interview by Katherine Bontrager

Tom Stein is adept at magic—both the slight-of-hand and illusion variety. One he uses to wow customers at The Drop in Martini Corner; the other he uses to transform wood to creatively “hide utility in elegance.”

more at the Northland Lifestyle