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theater

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The dew was still on the grass in a parking area next to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival grounds in Bonner Springs, Kan., early Saturday morning.

Performers started to gather, on this opening day, putting finishing touches on elaborate Tudor-era costumes and practicing 16th century speech and accents. They huddled in groups, catching up on the latest news, before checking in at the gate. 

In The Studio With Actress Morgan Fairchild

Aug 15, 2014
Beth Lipoff / KCUR

From Falcon Crest to Friends, Morgan Fairchild is a familiar face on the silver screen and in your living room. But what’s the secret to being a successful working actor?

On Friday's Up to Date, we talk about her life in front of the cameras as she joins us in the studio. We also take a look at how she spends her time away from Hollywood, being an activist and performing live on stage at places like the New Theatre Restaurant.

Guest:

  • Morgan Fairchild, actress

Julie Denesha / KCUR

When the musical South Pacific debuted in 1949, it was considered radical for its treatment of issues of race and interracial romance. Opening this weekend is a production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic by Musical Theater Heritage, who've carved out a niche in Kansas City for the unique manner in which they stage their shows.

Here’s the cast on the night of a recent rehearsal:

Courtesy of Vi Tran

When Vi Tran was a young boy growing up in Garden City, Kan., his mother made the most of what the refugee family had. She would take rice and roll it into a ball, adding a little bit of soy sauce. 

“Honey, look,” she’d say. “It’s an egg, it’s a treat.”

Tracy Terstriep Herber

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Tracy Terstriep Herber had a career on Broadway in New York City as a Radio City “Rockette” and performed in Will Rogers Follies and A Christmas Carol. She was also the understudy to the Tony Award winning lead “Ulla” in the Broadway hit The Producers. 

But once she had her first kid, and realized she wanted a second, she wasn't feeling the right balance of career and family life.

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. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

A circus and theater director, Philip William McKinley's name has been linked to high-profile Broadway productions over the last decade, such as the Tony award-winning The Boy From Oz and Julie Taymor's controversial Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. (He stepped in to direct in 2011 after producers fired Taymor due to delays and artistic differences).

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.

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."

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.

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.

Weekend To-Do List: July 4-6

Jul 3, 2014
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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

KCUR
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.

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.

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.

kcrep.org

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 

@broadway.com

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

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

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)

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.

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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