Twenty-five years. That’s how long Paul Mesner and his puppets have been a part of the Kansas City arts scene. In fact, old favorites like Anansi the Spider, Rapunzel, and Wiley & The Hairy Man are now playing to a whole new generation of metro youngsters. But Paul’s act also spends a lot of time on the road and on some projects that might surprise you as Randy Mason discovers in this installment of our performARTS series, in conjunction with KC Studio Magazine.
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Our performARTS series, in conjunction with Studio Magazine, is an effort to spotlight some of the groups and troupes around town doing outstanding work in music, theatre and the arts. This week, Randy Mason takes you downtown to learn more about the Quality Hill Playhouse.
“My Romance: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart” begins its run this week at the Quality Hill Playhouse, and continues through Feb. 24.
Quality Hill Playhouse is dedicated to excellence in the live performance of works from musical theatre and the American Songbook, employing the finest local talent, and contributing to Kansas City’s cultural and economic landscape.
Quality Hill Playhouse produces six musicals and cabaret revues each year in a charming 153-seat theatre. J. Kent Barnhart serves as pianist and emcee for the cabaret revues, offering interesting tidbits about the music as well as his unique, humorous anecdotes. Professional singers and the relaxed yet elegant atmosphere make for entertainment you won’t find anywhere else. Discover why The Kansas City Star said it is ”like being invited into someone’s home.”
In recent years, you may have dropped by the Folly Theater downtown for a performance by the Heartland Men’s Chorus or City in Motion Dance Theater, or perhaps to hear a concert in the Harriman Jewel series.
Joyce DiDonato and Rosanne Cash will grace the stage there, this weekend. But decades ago, Kansas City came perilously close to losing the Folly to the wrecking ball, a fate that befell all of its contemporaries.
But as your about to see, in this edition of our performARTS series, in conjunction with KC Studio Magazine, against all the odds, this 112-year-old theater at 12th & Central is very much alive and well.
As part of our performARTS series in conjunction with KC Studio Magazine, Randy Mason provides viewers with a look at the renowned Kansas City Ballet, which has been leaping and pirouetting across the stage and captivating audiences for over 55 years.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director William Whitener, who will retire at the end of this season after 17 years with the company, the troupe has performed an abundance of works by an array of choreographers–from classic to modern, including the beloved annual Kansas City holiday tradition of The Nutcracker. The Ballet’s next performance Hey-Hay, Going to Kansas City will take place May 3-12 at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
What do beloved children’s books The Polar Express, Where the Wild Things Are, Madeline and The Invention of Hugo Cabret have in common? They have all been honored by the Caldecott Committee, which annually selects the winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal. The Caldecott Award honors the nation’s best children’s picture books. Believe it or not, only 15 judges help select the Caldecott prize winner and one of them is from Kansas City. Her name is April Roy and she can normally be found in the children’s section of the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Library. Randy Mason was recently able to pull her away to join us for a conversation on The Local Show.
The head of PBS was in town last week. Paula Kerger met with top civic leaders and made a keynote address at Union Station inside the boardroom of the Greater Kansas Chamber of Commerce. It’s not everyday we get a visit from the top leader of public television. She stopped by The Local Show with KCPT CEO Kliff Kuehl for a visit with Randy Mason.
Welcome to our first Local Show of the spring. It is always fun to find a story close to home that you’d somehow managed to miss completely. Like this next one about a local attorney and theatre buff named John “Topper” Johntz. Topper and his wife, Linda, have been quietly amassing a world-class art collection which they open up to various visitors from time to time, including us. Randy and Don the Camera Guy Mayberger headed out to Prairie Village to see the amazing art-filled home the couple has occupied since the 1960s.
The opening weekend at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts was a star studded affair featuring performances that showcased the new stages inside, but Quixotic Fusion and Baruch Gayton Entertainment Group turned the exterior of the venue into an attraction as well. For those of you who missed this amazing marriage of technology and music, The Local Show presents another look:
Twenty years ago the charter school movement began with the passage of legislation in the state of Minnesota. City Academy High School in St. Paul was opened in an effort to provide choice and competition, starting what would become a national movement. In 1998, Missouri joined the charter ranks. Today, nearly 20,000 Missouri students are enrolled in 51 charters. Kansas City alone has over 20 charter schools with nearly 9,000 enrolled students. In fact, Kansas City ranks fourth in the nation behind only New Orleans, the District of Columbia, and Detroit with a 32 percent market share. That means almost 1 in 3 Kansas City Missouri school district kids go to a charter school. Despite these large numbers, few people are aware of the true significance of charters and many questions remain unanswered. Although national documentaries such as The Lottery and Waiting for Superman have brought additional light to the presence of charter schools, and even the Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” education reform plan prominently features them, many questions remain unanswered. What, exactly, are charters? How do they function in Kansas City? And, most importantly, what are they doing to help improve education for Kansas City’s students?
On September 1 at 7 pm, KCPT will air a special on charter schools that will answer these questions and provide a balanced look into the nation’s hottest education topic. Featuring interviews and a panel composed of lawmakers, school board members, a union representative, journalists, non-profit leaders and educators, KCPT will lead the way in an essential and engaging discussion about what we need to do to finally fix our city’s biggest problem: education.
With all the confusion about charter schools, The Local Show tries to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions. Are charter schools free? Can a charter school charge tuition? Can anyone attend a charter school? Can a charter school restrict admission for any reason? Do charter school teachers have to be certified?
Can anyone open a charter school? Do charter schools get the same amount of money to educate a child as a traditional public school? We tackle these questions and more on this special edition of The Local Show.
Joining the conversation…
Andrea Flinders, President of Kansas City Federation of Teachers
Douglas Thaman, Executive Director – Missouri Charter Public School Association
Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star
Arthur Benson, Sub-District 1 – KCMO School Board
Airick L. West, President – KCMO School Board
Kansas City Mayor Sly James got some backlash recently when he suggested spending city money on installing closed circuit surveillance cameras in high crime areas.
The ACLU were among groups complaining of invasion of privacy. “Big Brother Watching You” was one blog headline. How much we are being watched as a society is the subject of an intriguing new exhibit going on at the H&R Block Artspace.
“On Watch” explores the culture of surveillance through the lens of six international artists and runs through March 31st at the H&R Block Artspace, one block east of Main on 43rd Street. Admission is free.