Steve Walker

Arts Reporter

Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens. 

In addition, Walker has taught creative writing and film criticism classes at the Kansas City Art Institute and currently teaches at the University of Kansas. His writing has appeared nationally in The Sondheim Review, The Advocate and Theater Week, and locally in The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Business Journal, Ingram's, The Pitch and Review.

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri February 17, 2012

'The Great Immensity' Unites Theater And Investigative Journalism

Only this week has Kansas City seen any real sign of winter, while other parts of the world are experiencing record cold.

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Film
1:27 pm
Fri February 10, 2012

Film Review: Pina

Water, water everywhere in "Pina"

Think of all the great dance sequences put on film - from the Kit Kat Club in "Cabaret" to the New York streets where Sharks fought Jets in "West Side Story" to anything with Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire.

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Film Review
3:19 pm
Mon February 6, 2012

2012 Oscar Shorts Showcases

A newly-formed family in "Raju"

Odds are favorable that strewn among the fifteen different short films - animation, live action, and documentary -  nominated for this year's Academy Awards, there are going to be gems, and this year's Short Films Showcase at the Tivoli in Westport is no exception.

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Performing Arts
3:41 pm
Tue January 31, 2012

Starlight And Kauffman Center Make Music Together

Jerry Jay Cranford sings the blues in "Aladdin."

The idea that a Starlight Theatre production can only be seen in the summer is about to become obsolete.

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Film Review
8:25 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Film Review: "A Dangerous Method"

Leave it to director David Cronenberg to make a period piece for intelligent people familiar with Freud, Jung and the subconscious origins of kinky sex. It's like a Merchant-Ivory movie set in a red light district.

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Film Review
8:15 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Film Review: "Albert Nobbs"

Much has been written about the evaporation of rich and complicated movie roles for actresses of a certain age. This year, though, performances like those of Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady"  and Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs" are doing their best to blow that theory to smithereens.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
8:40 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Film Review: "Shame"

If anyone doubted sex and intimacy were mutually exclusive, "Shame" is proof-positive they can be light years apart.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
1:37 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Film Review: "The Iron Lady"

Meryl Street as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Meryl Streep has certainly played British before - "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and the underrated "Plenty," for starters - but is now figuratively playing Britain itself.

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Performance
5:00 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Broadway Luminaries Bring New York Show to Kansas City

When the musical "Evita" swept the 1980 Tony Awards, it triumphantly announced the arrival of two young actors - Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone - who would spend the next 30-plus years making remarkable choices in their theater, film, and television roles. 

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Performance
5:43 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

Web Extra: An Interview with Mandy Patinkin

"An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin" reunites two Tony Award®-winning performers for the first time since they performed together in the original Broadway cast of "Evita."

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Performance
5:00 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Bullying And Disability Inform New Play For Young Audiences

Actor Lorie Sparks and director Valerie Mackey
photo: Steve Walker/KCUR

Schools across the country are grappling with how to address bullying, a problem that's provoked some teenagers to suicide.

Two area theaters for young audiences are staging plays about bullying this month, and in the case of a new play at Theatre for Young America, specifically tackling bullying against the disabled with a disabled actor in its cast.

Fresh Way of Addressing Bullying

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Film
11:12 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Kansas City Film Critics Circle Announces 2012 Awards

On January 8th, 2012, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle announced its choices for the 45th Annual Loutzenhiser Awards, named for late local critic James Loutzenhiser.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
8:32 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Film Review: "Le Havre"

In the true spirit of global cinema comes a charming and sweet French movie by a Finnish director (Aki Kaurismäki) about a young African refugee.

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Performance
3:19 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Teenage Playwright Wins National Competition

Zachary Weaver, 19, of Overland Park, Kan. He's one of the winning playwrights of the 2011 National Playwriting Competition.
courtesy of Zachary Weaver

Thirty years ago, legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim might have sensed that the pool of up-and-coming playwrights was a bit lacking and founded Young Playwrights Inc. Based in New York,  the program’s mission is to foster and mentor promising writers 18 and under. For the second year in a row, an Overland Park, Kan. teenager has made the cut.

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Film
8:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Film Review: "The Artist"

To write off Michel Hazanavicius's black-and-white silent film as a gimmick is to miss a creative, touching, and beautiful movie about movies at the end of the silent film era.  Jean Dujardin stars as Georges Valentin, a dashing silent hero - he looks like Gene Kelly crossed with Errol Flynn-  whose career is about to be made obsolete by the talkies.

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Art, Independent, Foreign, and Documentary Film
9:58 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Film Review: "Young Adult"

In Charlize Theron's Oscar-winning role in "Monster,"  she played a serial killer whose unbridled rage was targeted on others. In her new film, "Young Adult," she's also very convincing - and perhaps more unlikable -  as a woman whose hurt is mainly turned inward.

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Artists in Their Own Words
12:00 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

How Scrooge Actor Keeps "A Christmas Carol" Fresh

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

In A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens depicted his iconic Ebenezer Scrooge as the original grumpy old man - someone whose mean streak is matched only by his unyielding pockets. That he becomes a gentler man by the close of the story is no surprise to anyone who's seen the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's production of the play over the past 31 years.

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Film
12:23 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

Walker's Three to See: Melancholia

KCUR's Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week

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Film
11:45 am
Wed November 23, 2011

Walker's Three to See: My Week With Marilyn

KCUR's Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week

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Performance
3:24 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

Golden Anniversary for Kansas City Young Audiences

When Kansas City Young Audiences was founded in 1961, its mission was to provide children in local schools the chance to see and hear classical music performances they might otherwise never experience. The definition of arts education has expanded through the years.

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Performance
3:03 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

WEB EXTRA: Interview with Idina Menzel

Tony Award winning performer Idina Menzel has had a career on stage, in films and television, and in music. This weekend, she joins the Kansas City Symphony to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kansas City Young Audiences.

Kansas City, Mo. – Performer Idina Menzel appeared in the original casts of "Rent" and "Wicked" (she won a Tony for Best Actress as Elphaba). Currently, she has a recurring role on the musical television program, "Glee."

Arts Education at a Young Age

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Performance
8:57 am
Fri November 4, 2011

"Bump" Brings Faux Celebrity Back to The Fishtank

When President Obama announced two weeks ago that the United States would be withdrawing troops from Iraq by the end of the year, the other top news trending that week was that Lindsay Lohan would be posing for Playboy. The fact that the latter story garnered as much attention as the former didn't escape a trio of local theater artists who are returning to The Fishtank with a new play featuring the fictional troubled celebrity whose Kansas City debut last winter left her desperate for more attention.

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Theater/Performance
1:50 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Married Couple in Life and on Stage in "God of Carnage"

Brian Paulette (as Michael Novak) and Cinnamon Schultz (as Veronica Novak) in Unicorn Theatre and Kansas City Actors Theatre?s co-production, "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton.
Photo: Cynthia Levin and courtesy of Unicorn Theatre

It's rare that a two-career couple finds itself at the same work site at the exact same time. But such is the case for the next several weeks for actors Cinnamon Schultz and Brian Paulette - married in life and on stage in the Kansas City premiere of "God of Carnage."

Kansas City, Mo. –
KCUR's Steve Walker reports on what happens when a happily married couple plays one whose union isn't so blissful.

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Performance
2:42 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

"August: Osage County" Explores Family Dynamics with Flair

The age-old advice most frequently given to writers is to write what you know - and the one thing writers all have in common is that they all came from a family. Many classic plays have explored various family dynamics but few have dissected the relationship between mothers and daughters with quite as much flair and precision as "August: Osage County."

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Performance
10:55 am
Wed September 7, 2011

Two Plays Explore Themes of 9/11

Chris Roady (as Ben) and Crystal Gould (as Abby) in "The Mercy Seat."
photo: courtesy of MD Photography, LLC

Along with journalists and historians, playwrights can serve an important role in helping people make sense of national tragedies. And the results can weave narratives other sources might miss.

Kansas City, Mo. – This week, two Kansas City theater companies are staging plays coinciding with the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, yet they utilize that historic day in very different ways.

Sound: (ringing phone: "Brring...")

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Performance
9:45 am
Thu August 18, 2011

KCAT Tackles Four Works by Harold Pinter

Kansas City Actors Theatre, or KCAT, has built a reputation for designing its seasons around a specific theme or playwright. In past years, the company studied marriage by mounting four different plays about it, and spotlighted Missouri-native Lanford Wilson by staging his three "Talley" plays.

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Performance
3:42 pm
Tue August 16, 2011

'Xanadu' Rolls into Starlight

Though movies made from Broadway musicals have seen a resurgence since the success of "Chicago," the current trend is to go in the opposite direction. There are presently 7 musicals on Broadway based on popular movies, with several more on the way. Playing Starlight Theatre this week is the musical "Xanadu," whose success in New York made it an exception to all the rules - and that's because its source is considered one of the worst movies ever made.

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Performance
2:09 pm
Wed July 20, 2011

Two Transgendered Performers Find Haven in the Fringe

With a dizzying array of theater, dance, and visual arts - and sometimes in a combination of all of those - the Kansas City Fringe Festival kicks off its seventh year this weekend.

Kansas City, Mo. – With a dizzying array of theater, dance, and visual arts - and sometimes in a combination of all of those - the Kansas City Fringe Festival kicks off its seventh year this weekend.

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Performance
12:18 pm
Wed June 29, 2011

Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performing Artists

After 10 years of bestowing cash awards on visual artists, the Charlotte Street Foundation began in 2008 to recognize performing artists who'd put their stamp on Kansas City's arts community.

Kansas City, Mo. – This year's field of 29 nominees was narrowed to two winners: Jim Mobberley, a veteran composer and UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance professor, and theater director and playwright Kyle Hatley. KCUR's Steve Walker discovered how both men reconfigure traditional ideas of music and theater.

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Performance
10:38 am
Thu June 23, 2011

Summer, Season of Experimentation for Coterie

For the Coterie Theatre, summer is the season to experiment with musical formulas and actors' chemistry in what they call the Lab for New Family Musicals. In essence, musical composers entrust the Coterie with condensing their familiar two-act shows into shorter one-act versions more suitable to theaters for young audiences - like its version of "The Wiz."

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