Broadway

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Long-haired peace-loving hippies promoting ideas of free love are the foundation of the ground-breaking 1967 musical "Hair".

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with two of the Broadway cast members about their experiences on stage, what the show means to them and why they're taking part in a new retrospective production at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Michael Lutch / audramcdonald.net

She’s won Tony awards and dazzled Hollywood, and now Audra McDonald is blending her voice with the Kansas City Symphony. 

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk with the versatile songstress about her career and how she’s using her fame to support causes like marriage equality and pet adoption.

Guest:

She's won Tony Awards. She's won Drama Desk Awards. She's starred on TV, on CD, in concert and in the movies with Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood and Steve Martin.

Joan Marcus

On December 4, 1956, a twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together.

Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” who was responsible for launching the careers of each icon, brought the four legendary musicians together at the Sun Records storefront studio in Memphis for the first and only time. The resulting evening became known as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.  It’s the story of the Broadway musical, "Million Dollar Quartet", on stage at the Kauffman Center through Sunday.

Kansas City actor Gary Holcombe, known for his dramatic, comic, and musical performances on many professional stages, died on Monday at the age of 66. A veteran of Broadway musicals, like "Big River," "South Pacific," and "42nd Street," Holcombe also starred as Oliver Warbucks in the national tour of "Annie."

Kansas City, Mo. – Gary Holcombe was raised in Kentucky. A move to New York to pursue a career as an opera singer turned into one in musical theatre, with roles in several Broadway musicals.

Hours before the opening gala for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Broadway stars Patti LuPone and Tommy Tune discussed some of their signature roles and what it's like to open a new hall.

Kansas City, Mo. – Patti LuPone on Muriel Kauffman Theatre: "It's probably one of the best new houses I've ever sung in...the acoustics are key. And this is a fantastic space."

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.

photo: courtesy of Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Many Kansas City theater fans visit New York every year to catch shows before they tour or are produced by local companies. Those heading there this month have the opportunity to see the revival of Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music," starring two of the theater's most revered performers, Elaine Stritch and Bernadette Peters, as mother and daughter. And four times a week, playing the youngest member of that clan, is Lee's Summit native Katherine McNamara.