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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TheeErin / Flickr / Creative Commons

Like jazz, stand-up comedy is an American invention.

"It’s just a jump to the left!"

For the uninitiated, those words might sound like the directions to Wile E. Coyote’s weaponry from Acme. But for those in the know, they are an invitation to dance… To dance The Time Warp.

Yes! And...

Sep 15, 2014
Andrew Currie / Flickr / Creative Commons

Improvisational comedy is a bit like watching a flying trapeze act: the excitement comes not simply from the skilled moves of the performers, but from the danger inherent to the act. Except in the case of improv, there is never a net.

Cassell's History of England (Public Domain) / Wikimedia Commons

Although King John reigned for 17 years, until his death in 1216, England officially broke up with him in 1215, when the barons declared civil war and forced the king to sign the Magna Carta.

Frequently, the word “farce” is used to describe a ridiculous situation that did not end well, such as a political campaign or a sports finals match, but in the theatre world, farce means fast, funny and fun.

Wikimedia Commons

Let’s talk melodrama—cue suspenseful organ music, please.

Almost everyone thinks they know what melodrama is, but the art form has taken many shapes over the years, influencing (and being influenced by) everything from the morality and mystery plays of the Middle Ages to Italy’s commedia dell’arte.

“A Tale of Mystery,” by Thomas Holcroft, was the first English play to be known as a melodrama. It was Gothic, in keeping with what was popular in 1802.

If you’re in the mood for A Little Night Music, you can catch it at Guild Hall Theatre, at St. James Episcopal Church.

Wikimedia Commons

As you may have noticed, we’ve reached the time of year when musicals are most plentiful. This week, for instance, Music Theatre Wichita is staging a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”