Performance | KCUR


Do you hear the sound of coconuts? Or is that the hooves of a horse? It's actually the cast of Spamalot coming into town to perform the musical version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail at Starlight Theater. Starlight decided to add the musical to its summer schedule after frequent requests from members and theater goers at Starlight.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

New theater companies and performance spaces are increasingly popping up in Kansas City. So when the American Heartland Theatre announced it was closing its doors in August, it was a startling development, especially to an actor like Debra Bluford, who has spent a good deal of her acting life there.

Peter Mueller

After an extensive search process, the Kansas City Ballet has a new artistic director. Dancer, choreographer and teacher Devon Carney begins his new post in July. Carney succeeds outgoing artistic director William Whitener.

Peter Mueller

The Kansas City Ballet has named Devon Carney as the company's new artistic director. For the last decade, Carney has worked with Cincinnati Ballet; since 2008, he's served as associate artistic director.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

This marks Artistic Director William Whitener's final season with the Kansas City Ballet. After 17 years with the company, he's preparing to return to New York. Whitener answered a few questions before the final performances.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

This Sunday, the lawn of The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art will be transformed into the main stage for the larger-than-life puppets of StoneLion's puppet pageant "Mother’s Day for Mother Earth." 

Julie Denesha / KCUR

William Whitener became Artistic Director of the Kansas City Ballet in 1996.  After having staged, taught, acquired, commissioned or created 85 works for the organization and seeing it move into its new rehearsal and performance spaces, Whitener now prepares to leave the Ballet and embark on yet another chapter in his remarkable career.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Ballet tops off its 55th season with a playful mix of dance.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Choreographer Karole Armitage, a native of Lawrence, Kan. says artist Jackson Pollock can be viewed as "a metaphor for the creative process"; his lines of dripped and poured paint are like a dance. Kansas City Ballet concludes its season with a world premiere by Armitage, exploring the intersection between art, jazz, and dance.

Don Ipock / Kansas City Repertory Theatre

"A Christmas Story, the Musical" received three Tony nominations, including one for Best Musical. The work had its world premiere at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2009.

Richard Thompson @ The Folly

Apr 28, 2013

On June 6 Cypress Avenue will feature Richard Thompson at the Folly Theater in Cypress Avenue Live. This week on program, we look at Thompson's storied recording career.

'Kansas City Swing'

Apr 23, 2013

Kansas City's role in the integration of baseball is a popular subject these days. The recent release of 42, the movie about Jackie Robinson's integration into Major League Baseball premiered in Kansas City, home of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, this month. UMKC Theatre is also tackling the subject with the debut of its play Kansas City Swing.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Love conquers all in "The Mikado," a comic opera by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert introduced in London in 1885. The Lyric Opera of Kansas City presents the satirical comedy in five performances through April 28.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The play Kansas City Swing is set in Kansas City in 1947 when the nation was on the cusp of great change.

J. Robert Schraeder / courtesy of Coterie Theatre

Traditional ideas about theater for young audiences can get stuck in a library full of mischievous animals and recycled fairy tales. But the Coterie Theatre -  named by Time magazine as one of the top five theaters for young audiences in the United States - strives to be more adventurous, as in its new show for elementary school students that discusses jazz, the Depression, and racism.

It was an unexpected announcement on April 4 that the American Heartland Theatre on the 3rd level of Crown Center would close after 26 years.

courtesy American Heartland Theatre

The American Heartland Theatre announced Thursday it would close in August at the end of its 26th season.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Musical Theater Heritage opens their 11th season with the Kansas City premiere of Stephen Sondheim's "Sunday in the Park With George." The musical explores the intense single-mindedness of artist Georges Seurat during the creation of "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."

An Art & Theater Fusion

Mar 28, 2013

Take a stroll through an art gallery, and you just might find yourself humming a Sondheim tune.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts is a woman who’s been a formidable presence in Kansas City’s art scene since the early 90s. 

Pat Jordan is best known for leading the revival of the 1912 Gem Theatre on 18th and Vine.   She’s also opened galleries and organized arts programs for youth. The Missouri Arts Council recently recognized Jordan’s contributions by awarding her the “Leadership in the Arts” award.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

In the 1920's and into the early 1930's, there was a thriving gay culture in Europe, especially in Berlin. But, with the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party, that all changed.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

St. Patrick's Day is a cultural and religious holiday that takes place every March 17 – and it’s been embraced widely in America by descendants of Irish immigrants. Kansas City's celebration began early this year with the annual St. Pat’s Senior Ball.

The Weekend To-Do List: March 14-17, 2013

Mar 14, 2013
BigStock Images

Looking for some fun (and the luck of the Irish) the weekend of March 14-17, 2013? Brian McTavish returns with the Weekend To-Do List.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The Kansas City Ballet’s "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is a Shakespeare comedy performed in dance. The process of developing a character through movement and pantomime is one that often takes a close collaboration between dancer and choreographer.

Don Ipock / Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel is revered by many for its artfully woven tapestry of story, song and dance  -  including Time magazine, which in 1999 named it the best musical of the 20th century. Currently at Kansas City Repertory Theatre is a re-creation of a production that premiered nearly two years ago at a downtown performance space, where Carousel was viscerally staged in a way that both respected the material and deconstructed it to pieces.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

"The Flying Dutchman" is an early opera by Richard Wagner. And, like many of Wagner's later works, it's rooted in myth. The Lyric Opera of Kansas City presents this tale of a ghost captain, cursed to roam the high seas. Every seven years, the captain goes ashore – and if he finds true love, he’ll be released from the curse.

Eat This!

Mar 4, 2013

Food can be fun, but the issues surrounding food can be perplexing and polarizing.  The new play, Eat This! from UMKC professor Stephanie Roberts explores these contentious issues using 12 actors playing 50 different roles.

Courtesy UMKC Theatre

With the growth of the local food movement and a rise in urban farming, Kansas City diners are increasingly discriminating about what goes on their plates. Yet a good number of people don't delve any more deeply into their meal other than what's tasty and convenient.

Good People

Feb 26, 2013

Economic struggles, loyalty to friends and endless hopes of coming out on top in America. Those are the central themes of the play Good People, a 2011 Tony Award nominee for best play.  It recently was presented in St Louis, and now has a debut in Kansas City at the Unicorn Theater

Steve Walker / KCUR

It's not often that two different theater companies with roots on both coasts converge in Kansas City. Yet that's the case this month at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. The TEAM from Brooklyn and Sojourn Theatre Company with connections to Portland, Oregon are mounting what's called a developmental production of a new play based on interviews over several months with many Kansas City residents.