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:
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.
In a week in which we mark the Martin Luther King Day holiday, we are reminded that, despite great strides in racial equality, there are still Kansas Citians who remember vividly a shameful chapter in American history including a time when lynchings were a commonplace occurrence in America.
Before the generation of people who remember such atrocities dies off, a Kansas City scholar is trying to record eye-witness accounts and what she’s finding is not just graphic photos and consuming hate, but the ability of some of those most affected to forgive.
The PBS series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly recently came to Kansas City to report on that work. Bob Faw filed that report for the PBS series Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, which runs Sunday afternoons at 1:30 on KCPT.
WARNING: This report contains some disturbing images. Viewer discretion is advised.