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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Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the score for Cats in 1977, setting to music the poems from T.S. Eliot's “Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats,” published in 1939. Cats began life in 1980 as Practical Cats, a song cycle, which is a set of individual songs that are meant to be performed in a particular order as part of a whole, each one contributing to the central theme.

WSU hits the ground running with Second Stage Theatre's production of Love Me or Leave Me, the 2019 winner of the Wichita State University Playwriting Contest. The competition was founded by Dr. Bela Kiralyfalvi in 1974, when he was a professor of theatre at the university. Dr. Kiralyfalvi taught acting, playwriting, and script analysis, and developed a class on improvisation, as well. He also served as the Director of the School of Performing Arts until 2003. 

The Kechi Playhouse is putting Living on Love onstage Fridays through Sundays from September 6 to the 29th. This two-act farce from Joe DiPietro is actually a re-working of the play Peccadillo, by Garson Kanin. 

Music Theatre Wichita, courtesy Moonlight Theatricals

Music Theatre Wichita is closing out its season with the much-anticipated production of In the Heights, the award-winning musical with lyrics and score by Lin-Manuel Miranda and book by Quiara Alegria Hudes.


Over time, the jukebox musical has gathered strength in its ability to entertain through nostalgia and solid scores of pop hits. 

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, who won for Ruined in 2007 and Sweat in 2017, is the 2020 honoree for the Distinguished Achievement in American Theater Award, presented annually by the William Inge Theater Festival in Independence, Kansas.

courtesy Music Theatre Wichita

In July of 1975, a musical unlike any Broadway had seen before made its debut at the Shubert Theatre: A Chorus Line, directed by Michael Bennett, who also was co-choreographer for the show with Bob Avian. The musical is based on interviews with actual Broadway dancers, and uses their personal stories to introduce each character during an audition process.

Just in time for Riverfest is Mosley Street Melodrama's production of Gone with the Windwagon, an original script by local writer Carol Hughes that follows the tides of changing fortune for one Miss Annie Bellum. 

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.