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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The musical Evita, with lyrics and book by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, began life as a rock opera concept album released in 1976. 

Our city has long nurtured a vibrant creative community, and if original work is the fire that lights your lantern, you don't have far to look to find it in nearly every artistic form and expression. The Wichita Fringe Festival is in its second year as a showcase of original works for the stage by area high school students.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is considered Shakespeare's best work. It's impossible to confirm a single bona fide text, as there are three surviving early editions of the work: the First Quarto, the Second Quarto, and the First Folio. Editors have tried to combine them to create a conclusive text, but its sprawling themes make it Shakespeare's longest play. It is rarely performed without substantial condensing—uncut, the play runs more than four hours.

The jukebox musical has been around for decades, and is popular with audiences, if not always with critics. The concept uses a catalog of well known songs to either punctuate the story of the artist who made them, or to create a new narrative by stitching the songs together. One of the most popular jukebox musicals that also received high marks from the critics is Jersey Boys.


Swan Lake bears the distinction of being Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's first ballet, composed in 1875. 


Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein collaborated to create some of our most memorable musicals, including The Sound of Music, Oklahoma, The King and I, and South Pacific. The pair wrote only one musical for television, Cinderella, in 1957, which came to be known as Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. They chose to base the book on the Charles Perrault version of the story, Cendrillon. That production featured Julie Andrews in the title role, and was watched by more than 100 million people.

Although the name Hieronymus Bosch generally conjures up visions more fitting to Halloween than Christmas, it was his work The Adoration of the Magi that inspired the composer Gian Carlo Menotti to create the beloved one-act opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Menotti had been commissioned by NBC to make the first-ever opera for television, and it was performed live at Rockefeller Center in New York City on Christmas Eve, 1951.

How would we recognize the holiday season without a production of The Nutcracker

The story of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, is by now a familiar tale to audiences. J.M. Barrie created the original Peter Pan character for a novel called The Little White Bird, and in 1906, the chapters that were devoted to Peter Pan were published apart as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

The Wichita Grand Opera is featuring Wichita native Chris Mann, in collaboration with world-famous conductor Steven Mercurio, in a re-visitation of last year's successful gala production of Chris Mann: Home for Christmas.