Performance

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Shakespeare's classic story of two star-crossed lovers has inspired musical, film and theatrical adaptations. It's also one of the most popular ballets.

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

A daily digest of headlines from KCUR:

  • Missouri Supreme Court Hears Redistricting Lawsuits
  • Brownback’s Budget Proposal Restores Some Arts Funding
  • New Play Tackles Bullying and Disability

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

If you hear the word opera and think of a stuffy art form - with horned helmets and a large singing lady - think again. A new opera, co-commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, is based on Lois Lowry’s The Giver - a popular but controversial novel about a dystopian society.

Turning a Novel into an Opera

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.

Christmas Carol #31

Dec 13, 2011

Kansas City loves their winter dose of A Christmas Carol, and the KC Rep is always coming up with new ways to present the classic tale.

This year marks the Kansas City Ballet’s 39th annual production of The Nutcracker. It’s a holiday tradition, with a cast of more than 200, mostly children.

Click here to start/stop the audio version of this story.

Rebecca Smith, the stage manager, is the one charged with the herculean task of coordinating all of the students, dancers, costumes and props. Not surprisingly, she's hard to keep up with this time of year.

The KC Council's new redistricting map, KU's new football coach, inside "The Nutcracker," & more: A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.

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.

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.

photo: courtesy of Spinning Tree Theatre

Writer Joan Didion has built her career by turning her gaze outward. Whether exploring political turmoil in El Salvador or the back lots and bedrooms of Hollywood, Didion writes in a style referred to as literary journalism.

Kansas City, Mo. – Writer Joan Didion has built her career by turning her gaze outward. Whether exploring political turmoil in El Salvador or the back lots and bedrooms of Hollywood, Didion writes in a style referred to as literary journalism.

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.

This summer's heat didn't affect the staff building scenery for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, probably the first time in three decades. In June, the Lyric moved tools, lumber, and other items from an un-air conditioned space in the East Bottoms to a new production facility in the East Crossroads.

Kansas City, Mo. – KCUR's Laura Spencer visited on a hot day in July (the expected high was 101), and filed this report.

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."

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.

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: Laura Spencer/KCUR

The Kansas City Ballet's first season in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opens in October with "Tom Sawyer: A Ballet in 3 Acts" (choreography: William Whitener, music: Maury Yeston).

Kansas City, Mo. – The sets for "Tom Sawyer," built by the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, were recently loaded into the Kauffman Center's Muriel Kauffman Theatre. KCUR's Laura Spencer stopped by to take a look.

After a quarter century with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Evan Luskin, the Lyric's general director, and previously, managing director, plans to retire in 2012.

Kansas City, Mo. – After a quarter century with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Evan Luskin, the Lyric's general director, and previously, managing director, plans to retire in 2012.

This weekend, the Kansas City Ballet presents "Giselle," an evening-length ballet about a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman in disguise.

KCUR's Laura Spencer talked to Artistic Director William Whitener, and dancers Kimberly Cowen and Geoffrey Kropp about the story of love, betrayal, death and forgiveness.

The Kansas City Ballet presents "Giselle"
March 10 - 13, 2011
Lyric Theatre
1029 Central (11th and Central)
Kansas City, Mo.

photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

Maury Yeston, the Tony-award winning composer for Broadway hits like "Nine" and "Titanic," is writing the music for the first production the Kansas City Ballet is staging at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It's a ballet called "Tom Sawyer" and was inspired, as you might guess, by Mark Twain's coming-of age story.

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, one of the three resident companies at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, has announced its 2011-2012 season, its first in the new venue. As KCUR's Laura Spencer reports, the announcement began with a twist.

photo: Steve Walker/KCUR

In a world where multitasking and over-stimulation are seen as strengths, it's ironic but not surprising that 5 million American children suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Lisa Loomer's play "Distracted" at the Unicorn Theatre follows a couple's search to get help for their troubled 8-year-old son.

courtesy of the Kansas City Ballet

The Kansas City Ballet is the first of the resident companies to announce its inaugural season at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Kansas City, MO – When the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opens in 2011, its three resident companies will include the Kansas City Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Ballet.

There are many theatre roles - say, Romeo and Juliet - that should probably be retired from an actor's repertoire by the time they're 30. But what happens when actors return to roles they played much earlier in their careers?

Kansas City, MO – KCUR's Steve Walker visited with two Kansas City actors who are re-teaming this month in a Sam Shepard play they first appeared in 26 years ago.

 

Update March 2012: The Coterie brought the show to New York for a run at the New Victory Theater. Reviews: Kansas City Star, New York Post, and  New York Times.

photo: courtesy of Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre

If your travel budget is tight this season, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre invites you to vicariously experience the glory and grandeur of Florence, Italy in its new show, "The Light in the Piazza."

Kansas City, MO – "The Light in the Piazza" won a 2005 Tony Award for its composer Adam Guettel. The grandson of the Rodgers half of musical legends Rodgers and Hammerstein, Guettel demonstrates that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. KCUR's Steve Walker reports.

photo: Cynthia Levin, courtesy of Unicorn Theatre

Though the Unicorn Theater has always been quick to pounce on the most buzzed about plays in New York, it has actually launched many new plays. In fact, a quarter of the shows over the years have had their world premieres in Kansas City. The latest is called "Green Whales," and while it tackles tough subjects in comedic ways, it is giving everyone involved a voice in bringing this new play to fruition.

'Broke-ology' at the Rep

Feb 4, 2010

An upcoming play at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre studies the art of being broke and staying alive.

When Eric Rosen, the artistic director of Kansas City Repertory Theatre, asked noted playwright and director Moises Kaufman to pick a musical he'd like to direct here, at the top of the list was Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods."

Kansas City, MO – Moises Kaufman sat down with KCUR's Steve Walker to talk about how a director puts his own stamp on a musical, and his own venture into the woods.

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