On Stage

KMUW commentator Sanda Moore Coleman looks behind the curtain to give listeners (and play goers) a bit of history and perspective.

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wichitagrandopera.org

As we round into autumn and those crisp evenings of wood smoke and candlelight, the heat can be found on stage at Century II, where the Wichita Grand Opera is opening their season with an evening that features the talents of Compañia Flamenca Eduardo Guerrero in a production titled Flamenco Pasión

Andrew Lloyd Webber is turning 70, and the whole world is joining the party. You can be a part of that global celebration if you attend the Wichita Grand Opera's fund-raising gala, featuring a concert production of the great composer's music on November 16 and 17 at the Crown Uptown Theatre. The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber! includes 20 of Webber's most beloved works, such as “Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera and “Memory,” from Cats.

One of the most prolific American playwrights of our time, Neil Simon, died August 26th of complications from pneumonia. He left behind more than 30 plays and an indelible impression on popular culture. Mr. Simon's work was nominated for numerous Tony awards and won many of them. He personally won four: Best Play for The Odd Couple, for Biloxi Blues, and for Lost in Yonkers, and a special Tony Award recognizing his sum of work for the American theatre. Lost in Yonkers also won Neil Simon a Pulitzer Prize.

In this edition of “Everything Old is New Again,” or “Haven't I Seen You Somewhere Before,” the entertainment business continues to invest in making-over every property they already own. 

Gary Heyde

Thornton Wilder is the only U.S. writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for fiction as well as drama. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for his 1927 novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey. His play Our Town was named the Pulitzer Prize-winner for drama in 1938, and in 1942, Wilder won again in drama for The Skin of Our Teeth. However, not every effort was a home run, at least not a first.

Manuel Harlan

Women in theatre continue to command the stage, with three new shows in the works that are already grabbing the spotlight. Glenda Jackson, fresh from her fifth Tony nomination and first-time win for her leading role in Three Tall Women, is preparing to return to the Broadway stage next spring as the title character of Shakespeare's King Lear

If it's summer, there must be farce, and if there's farce, the chances are good that it's at The Kechi Playhouse. See How They Run is a three-act comedy by Philip King, set in an English village just after the end of World War II. Laugh the night away at this fast-paced, door-slamming delight, on stage through July 29th.

variety.com

If you're a fan of jukebox musicals, it may interest you to know that a musical featuring the songs of Michael Jackson is currently in development, and is expected to hit the Broadway stage in 2020. Matching the talent in the music are two heavy hitters: Tony Award-winner Christopher Wheeldon, as director and choreographer, and the twice-winning Pulitzer Prize playwright Lynn Nottage, who is writing the book for the production. The musical, which is yet to be titled, is inspired by the life of Jackson, with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson Estate.

At the 72nd annual Tony Awards ceremony on June 10th, the toast of Broadway was The Band's Visit, which took home 10 of the 11 awards it was nominated for, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book, Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Actress and Featured Actor. Based on an Israeli art-house film by the same name, the story transpires over a single night in a restaurant in a small town in the Israeli desert. The eight-man Egyptian Police Orchestra arrive at the town by mistake, having been booked elsewhere.

mtwichita.org

Damon Runyon was born into a family of newspapermen in 1880, in Manhattan, Kansas. He was a journalist and a fiction writer who met Pancho Villa in a bar while covering spring training in Texas, and whose best friend was an accountant for the Mob.

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