At one point or another, most theater troupes buck tradition by employing the concept of non-traditional casting - that is, hiring actors to play roles written for a different age, gender or race. One example coming to Broadway in April is a version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" with an African-American cast. Playing with gender can be tricky, but American Heartland Theatre's current production of an Oscar Wilde classic features as the female lead the male actor Jim Korinke.
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.
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.
In A Christmas Carol, Charles 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.
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."
By Steve Walker
Kansas City, Mo. – KCUR's Steve Walker reports on what happens when a happily married couple plays one whose union isn't so blissful.
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.
By Steve Walker
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."
By Laura Spencer
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.
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.
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.
The Kansas City Ballet is the first of the resident companies to announce its inaugural season at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
By Laura Spencer
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?
By Steve Walker
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.
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.
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.
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."
By Steve Walker
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.
From a glance at the cast of characters who populate the Stephen Sondheim musical "Into the Woods" - among them, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack in the Beanstalk - one could assume that the show is a romp for audiences of all ages. But a deeper look reveals that its inspirations include Bruno Bettleheim and Carl Jung, both of whom defined classic fables and fairy tales with a much darker palette.