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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Riverfest is upon us: nine straight days of fun in our river city, from May 31 to June 8, with events designed to appeal to a variety of tastes. 

©NYPL for the Performing Arts


The Sound of Music is the last musical written by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. Nine months after it premiered on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in 1959, Oscar Hammerstein died from stomach cancer. The show was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and received five, including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Lady for Mary Martin as Maria.


If you were alive and cognizant in 1971 and 1972, you probably owned the album “Tapestry,” by Carole King, or you knew someone who did.

Although Avenue Q was inspired by shows beloved by children such as Sesame Street and The Muppets, and although more than twice as many puppets than humans are featured characters, Avenue Q is definitely not a show for youngsters.

While most one-act operas have a shorter running time than operas with two or more acts, there are exceptions, notably Wagner's Das Rheingold, which runs more than two-and-a-half hours, and Salome, by Strauss, which plays for almost two hours. 

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.