Central Standard
1:36 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Decades Of Bah Humbug: Kansas City Actor Reflects On Years Of Playing Scrooge

Actor Gary Neal Johnson is playing Scrooge for the 14th time in this year's Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol.
Credit Don Ipock / Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Gary Neal Johnson has been performing in the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol since 1982. And he’s played Ebeneezer Scrooge for more than a decade. Hear what Johnson has learned from his deep immersion in this story of moral and spiritual redemption.


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8:17 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Director's Cuts: David Cromer On 'Our Town'

Director David Cromer (at left), with the Rep's artistic director Eric Rosen, in a public conversation about 'Our Town.'
Credit Andi Enns / Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Our Town, the Thornton Wilder play about small town life in Grover's Corners, has been a staple of high school theater for so long, one would think its commercial prospects would be slim. 

But director David Cromer's 2009 production Off-Broadway was a smash hit, chalking up the longest run in its 76-year history. Cromer directs the current production at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. 

David Cromer answered these questions as part of our monthly series, Director's Cuts

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Central Standard
2:06 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Kyle Hatley Looks Back On Eight Years In Kansas City's Theater Scene

Kyle Hatley has become a familiar face in Kansas City; after eight years, he's preparing to move back to Chicago.
Credit Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Kyle Hatley arrived in Kansas City to serve as Assistant Artistic Director for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in April 2008. He drove into town in the midst of a tornado, and he hasn't stopped moving since.

After eight years of tireless immersion in both the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and the grassroots theater scene, Hatley has decided it's time to return to Chicago. There, he will join his fiance, actress Emily Peterson. 

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Arts & Culture
2:59 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

WATCH: In This Scene ... Three Kansas City Highlights At The Fringe

Mary Sue (Kenna Hall) and her mother (Ellen Kirk) rehearse a scene from '(Virgin.)'
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

It can be daunting to wade through the schedule for the KC Fringe Festival.

Founded in 2004, Fringe presents about 130 events this year, including theater, dance, comedy, film, poetry, as well as visual art exhibitions.

There are artists from around the world — St. Louis, Minneapolis, New York, Oakland, the U.K. — and the Kansas City area.

Here are a few homegrown highlights:

Poor Lear

Warning: This content may be unsuitable for children. It contains brief sexual references.

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Arts & Culture
11:13 am
Fri July 18, 2014

KC Fringe Encourages Writers To Present New Work

In '(Virgin.),' Ellen Kirk plays an overprotective mother. Here, she holds a chastity belt as Matt Leonard, who plays the father, and Kenna Hall, as Mary Sue, look on.
Laura Spencer KCUR

The KC Fringe Festival, an annual event featuring actors, dancers, poets, storytellers, filmmakers, and visual artists, turns 10 this year. The festival offers about 50 theater performances, from R-rated to puppet shows for kids. And, KC Fringe often provides an opportunity for performers to try out new material.

It seems appropriate that Jesse Ray Metcalf, the writer of a new production called (Virgin.), would say: "This is my first time doing Fringe."

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Arts & Culture
2:57 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Where To Fringe - From Traditional To Unexpected Kansas City Venues

The Fishtank, 1715 Wyandotte, Kansas City, Mo.
Cara McClain KCUR

For its 10th season, the KC Fringe Festival will take over spaces in Kansas City, Mo., for theater, music, comedy, spoken word, burlesque and more.

KC Fringe is an 11-day festival that provides a platform for often lesser-known performing and visual artists. 

This year's Fringe will have 19 different venues. Most are scattered around the Crossroads Arts District, but some spread out into Westport and the Country Club Plaza.

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Arts & Culture
8:30 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Parting Questions For The Rep's Kyle Hatley

The Rep's associate artistic director, Kyle Hatley, is moving to Chicago in August.
Credit courtesy: Kansas City Repertory Theatre

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre announced this month that Kyle Hatley, associate artistic director, plans to relocate to Chicago in August.

Hatley, a 33-year-old native of Memphis, started working at the Rep in 2008. During his time in Kansas City, Mo., he's earned a reputation as an energizing force in the theater community — as an actor and director, as well as the creator of innovative new works at the KC Fringe Festival and The Living Room.

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Up to Date
1:08 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Weekend To-Do List: July 4-6

Thousands enjoy the KC Riverfest fireworks show at Berkley Riverfront Park.
Credit KC Riverfest

Have a star-spangled weekend with this sizzling list of area entertainment from Brian McTavish!

Big Bang: Jackson County’s Fourth of July Celebration
5:30 p.m. (gates open) Friday; free admission
Longview Lake, Shelter #13

KC Riverfest: Music and Fireworks
4 p.m. (gates open) Friday; $5 admission after 5 p.m.
Berkley Riverfront Park

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Arts & Culture
9:51 am
Fri June 27, 2014

From Page To Park: Focus And Anticipation At A Tech Rehearsal

Walking through a scene during a tech rehearsal for “The Winter’s Tale” Jan Rogge (Paulina) listens for instructions from director Sidonie Garrett on stage in Southmoreland Park.
Julie Denesha KCUR

The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Winter’s Tale is well underway. But it takes a lot of time and effort – and people — to put the show together. For our series, From Page to Park, we’re taking a behind-the-scenes look at the process.

About two weeks ago in Southmoreland Park in Kansas City, Mo., actors, musicians, designers and directors were working through perhaps the most intricate part of staging a play, a rehearsal called tech.

Breaking it down and putting it back together

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Arts & Culture
10:06 am
Fri June 20, 2014

WATCH: In This Scene ... 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'

Jerry Jay Cranford plays Baron Bomburst and Julie Shaw plays his wife Baroness Bomburst in The Coterie production of 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.'
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

In this scene from The Coterie's production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," Baron Bomburst (Jerry Jay Cranford) and Baroness Bomburst (Julie Shaw) express their love for each other through song and a series of gags and tricks.

"We are the Baron and Baroness of Vulgaria. I am about to have my birthday party, and I am very excited about it and completely forget that she’s alive," explains Cranford, a Broadway veteran, with a laugh.

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Arts & Culture
3:18 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Heartland Men’s Chorus Brings Vegas Strip To Folly Stage

Todd Jordan Green sings 'Don't Be Cruel' during rehearsal for the closing show of the 28th season of the Heartland Men's Chorus. The tribute to Las Vegas features magicians, showgirls and aerial acrobatics.
Julie Denesha KCUR

Kicking off the summer with a trip to the Vegas strip, Heartland Men’s Chorus is bringing “Vegas Baby” to the Folly Theater in Kansas City, Mo., in what's envisioned as a lavish spectacle. The chorus, with 150 singers, will be joined by magicians, showgirls and aerial acrobatics.

Guest conductor Anthony T. Edwards says one of the highlights for him will be seeing Quixotic perform onstage as the chorus sings Cirque du Soleil’s Let Me Fall.

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Arts & Culture
8:00 am
Fri June 13, 2014

From Page To Park: Controlling The Chaos And Finding A Rhythm

Actor Bruce Roach (at left) and choreographer and movement coach Tracy Terstriep take a closer look at a three-dimensional model of the set on the first day of rehearsal.
Julie Denesha KCUR

For more than two decades, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has turned Southmoreland Park into a place where Hamlet posed questions, Macbeth’s witches toiled and troubled, and Romeo and Juliet professed their love. This year’s production of The Winter’s Tale, one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, will come to life thanks to like-minded artists whose collective goal is to make the play leap effortlessly From Page To Park.

Getting started

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Arts & Culture
5:00 am
Thu June 12, 2014

5 Things To Know About 'The Winter's Tale'

Sidonie Garrett, executive artistic director of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, holds a model of the set for "The Winter's Tale."
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

This summer, Heart of America Shakespeare Festival presents the tragicomedy, The Winter's Tale, in Southmoreland Park in Kansas City, Mo.

It marks the first time the 22-year-old festival has staged the play, which explores the nature of jealousy.

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Arts & Culture
7:58 am
Thu June 5, 2014

KC Rep Receives Lead Gift For Renovation Project

In this conceptual sketch, the renovated lobby is envisioned as a "central living room" for theater patrons, as well as UMKC students.
Credit Helix Architecture + Design

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre on Wednesday announced $3 million from the Hall Family Foundation, the largest gift in the company's history. The funds will support the renovations of the Spencer Theatre and its lobby in James C. Olson Performing Arts Center on the UMKC campus.

The center was completed in 1979. The Rep's artistic director, Eric Rosen, said the stage is ready for an upgrade as the company marks its 50th year.

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1:54 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Kansas City Theater Scene Celebrates 50 Years

Dr. Patricia McIlrath founded the KC Rep in 1964. She died in 1999.

The 1960s marked “the second golden age” in Kansas City’s theater history, according to historian Felicia Hardison Londré. It was a time of transition from touring companies providing entertainment to the city creating its own.

For Kansas City, this meant the creation of the first resident professional theater company since the 1930s: the Missouri Repertory Theatre, now known as the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. The “solid foundation” of the Rep, said Londré, led to the thriving theater scene across the Kansas City metro today.

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Up to Date
9:00 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Kansas City Repertory Theatre Turns 50

Credit The Kansas City Repertory Theatre

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre was founded in 1964 by Patricia McIlrath. The company has moved, the name has changed, and this non-profit theater group has expanded in the 50 years since.

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5:30 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Frida Kahlo Comes Alive In The Living Room's 'Frida...A Self Portrait'

The iconic artist Frida Kahlo as played by Vanessa Severo in 'Frida...A Self Portrait' at The Living Room May 8-18.
Credit Brian Paulette / The Living Room

Much like Vincent Van Gogh, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo wasn’t famous in her own lifetime. A new play at The Living Room examines the artist's trials and tribulations, especially a series of tragic events that would have daunted many people but actually motivated her to paint in the first place.

Kahlo had a look as distinctive as her art. In a series of self-portraits, she emits a piercing stare from beneath an arched unibrow and a crown of braids. And her work has found the acclaim that eluded her in life.

Picture perfect

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7:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Puerto Rican Characters Lend 'Water By The Spoonful' A Splash Of Diversity

Keenan Ramos and Dawnnie Mercado play part of a Puerto Rican family in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play 'Water by the Spoonful.'
Credit Cynthia Levin / Unicorn Theatre

The Unicorn Theatre's production of Water by the Spoonful marks the local premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. But the play may be more noteworthy for its meaty, multi-layered characters of Puerto Rican heritage, and the fact that the actors playing them represent ethnic diversity that's rare to see on a Kansas City stage.

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Central Standard
12:40 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Kansas City Actor Emerges On A Bigger Stage

Darrow plays Kevin Spacey's bodyguard and driver in the Netflix original series.
Credit Matteo Bittanti / Flickr / Creative Commons

Nathan Darrow, an actor from Overland Park, Kan., has rocketed to stardom in his role as Edward Meechum on the Netflix show House of Cards. Darrow got his big break when he completed a world tour with a Sam Mendes production of Richard III, also starring Kevin Spacey. (A one-time screening of a documentary about that world tour will take place at the Tivoli April 29 at 7:30 p.m.

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Arts & Culture
5:30 am
Thu April 17, 2014

New Musical At KC Rep Examines A Family And Its Secrets

Nick Blaemire at Lincoln Center, 2010.
Credit courtesy of Nick Blaemire

It seems every new musical is based on a familiar movie, such as the current Broadway productions of Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway, and Aladdin. There are notable exceptions, though - original stories crafted from pure imagination.

Opening its world premiere production at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre is a show taking up that challenge called A Little More Alive.

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Up to Date
2:03 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List, March 21-23, 2014

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike plays this weekend at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Get that spring into your step with Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for March 21-23, 2014.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City: “La Boheme” (Classic opera by Giacomo Puccini), 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $90 to $160 

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Arts & Culture
7:51 am
Wed March 19, 2014

'War Horse' Salutes World War I's Equine Brigade

Joey the War Horse, in the play by the same name, surrounded by villagers.

The National World War I Museum, housed at the base of the Liberty Memorial, is this year marking the 100th anniversary of the start of that war. By pure coincidence, the national tour of the Tony Award-winning play War Horse arrives at the Music Hall next month, creating a rare convergence of history and theatricality in Kansas City.

Confounding the skeptics

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5:00 am
Thu March 13, 2014

UMKC Theater Design Students Draw Inspiration From Visiting Artists

Beehives and tiaras comprise a design student's "image board" for the 2014 charette.
Steve Walker KCUR

For the past 16 years, University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate students in theater design have participated in an intensive professional training exercise called a charette. Visiting artists from the profession visit the university to both encourage and critique the students, who are given five days to design the set, costumes or lighting for a production that will never really open.

Drawing inspiration

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Up to Date
3:08 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

The Weekend To-Do List, March 7-9, 2014

The Monster Drawing Rally features artists drawing for an hour before selling their creations to benefit a scholarship fund.
Credit waltarrrrr / Flickr-CC

Want to get rid of the post-Mardi Gras blahs? Check out Brian McTavish's Weekend To-Do List for March 7-9, 2014.

Golden! Girls Gone Wild!!! (Late Night Theatre returns with cross-dressing satire of TV’s “The Golden Girls”), opens at 8 p.m. Friday with performances through March 31 at Missie B’s, 805 W. 39th, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets: $18 (816-235-6222)

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10:12 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Inmate Makes The Most Of Borrowed Time In 'When I Come To Die'

Will Cobbs (as Damon Robinson) reads a letter sent to a family member that was returned to him unopened.
Don Ipock Kansas City Repertory Theatre

A prisoner on death row, for a decade, prepares to die. But, then something goes wrong on the morning that's supposed to be his last - the lethal injection is not lethal. That's the premise of the production, When I Come to Die, at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

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4:00 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

[VIDEO] In This Scene...'Journey’s End'

Charles Fugate, as Lieutenant Osborne, and Matt Leonard, as Captain Stanhope rehearse in the J.C. Nichols Auditorium, National World War I Museum.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

Set in 1918, in the British trenches of Saint-Quentin, Aisne, R.C. Sherriff's Journey’s End tells the story of commanding officers Captain Stanhope and Lieutenant Osborne, as they discuss the impending battle in the officers' dugout.

The production, directed by Mark Robbins, is a collaboration between Kansas City Actors Theatre, UMKC Theatre, and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

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1:04 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Starlight Names Rich Baker As New President And CEO

In March, Richard (Rich) Baker starts as the new president and CEO of Starlight.

After nearly 30 years with Fox Associates, in St. Louis, Mo., Richard (Rich) Baker will take on a new role as president and CEO of Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Mo. in March.

Fox Associates owns and operates the 4,500-seat Fox Theatre, as well as MetroTix, an online ticket broker, and Fox Theatricals, which runs Briar Street Theatre in Chicago, Ill.

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8:29 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Meet The Mean Girls From Salem, Massachusetts, Circa 1692

Alisha Espinosa (as Tituba), Emily Phillips (Mercy Lewis), Nicole Greenberg (as Abigail Williams), Emily Shackelford (as Ann Putnam), Jessica Jensen (as Mary Warren) & Hannah Thompson (as Betty Parris) in 'Afflicted.'
Credit J. Robert Schraeder / Courtesy the Coterie Theatre

For more than three centuries, Salem, Mass., has been linked to the infamous witch trials. In 1692, at least 20 men and women died after being convicted of witchcraft; it was then considered a crime punishable by death. Hundreds more faced accusations.

A new production at the Coterie Theatre, Afflicted: Daughters of Salem, provides the story behind the girls — the accusers, who started it all.

Afflicted is written by Laurie Brooks, a longtime Coterie collaborator. She says the play is "not easy. It’s subtle, it’s complex. It's about relationships."

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5:00 am
Fri January 24, 2014

[VIDEO] In This Scene...'Grounded'

Actor Carla Noack plays a fighter pilot caught between war and suburbia.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR

The one-woman play, Grounded, by George Brant, explores the destructive power of modern warfare through the eyes of a female combat pilot. After an unexpected pregnancy, she's reassigned to a windowless trailer in the Nevada desert as the desk pilot of a military drone.

The Unicorn Theatre's production marks the third in a series of "rolling world premieres" presented by members of the National New Play Network, dedicated to the development of new work.

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9:00 am
Thu December 5, 2013

The Kid Actor's Perspective Of 'A Christmas Carol'

During a dinner break, actors Andrew Stout and Cam Burns talk, joke around, and play games.
Laura Spencer KCUR

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s annual production of A Christmas Carol has a large cast, including about three dozen children and young adults. Rehearsals start in early November, and the hours can be long and demanding. There are song lyrics, and sometimes lots of lines to learn. It’s a challenging job for the young actors - and for the staff charged with keeping track of them.

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