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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DZ Productions brings the coming-of-age song cycle Edges to the Crown Uptown Theatre from July 21st to the 23rd. A song cycle is a unit of songs meant to be presented together, and in a particular sequence, in order to advance a story line, a theme, a mood—a unifying coherence from the combination of musical pieces.

If it's farce that you want—and come on, who doesn't?—then consider a trip to the Kechi Playhouse, where long-time audience favorite Charley's Aunt is playing throughout the month of July. The show, written by Brandon Thomas, had an original run in London of a record-breaking 1,466 performances, beginning onstage at the Royalty Theatre in December of 1892, then moving to the larger Globe Theatre in January of 1893 to accommodate the show's popularity.

You know it is well and truly summer when lighthearted musicals fill stages across the country. In this season of theatrical plenty, you have enough choices to fill your plate and more.

I like a Gershwin tune—how about you? Gershwin standards are the order of the evening in Music Theatre Wichita's production of Nice Work If You Can Get It. In addition to a musical score by George and Ira Gershwin, the book was written by Tony award-winning writer Joe DiPietro, built on work by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse. The story follows the exploits of wealthy, much-married Jimmy Winter, who is about to embark upon yet another marriage when his plans are interrupted by female bootlegger Billie Bendix and her gang.

The hippest, hottest ticket on Broadway, in case you hadn't noticed, is the hip-hop musical Hamilton, based on a biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the book, the music, and the lyrics for this juggernaut, and in the process, broke the record for the most Tony Award nominations, held previously by The Producers and Billy Elliot, surpassing the 15 nominations for those shows with a total of 17 nominations, including one for Miranda for Best Actor in a Musical.

“Rollicking” is probably not the first word that springs to mind when you think about opera, but The Pirates of Penzance is just such a light-hearted affair, with happy pirates, a love-struck couple, and a leap-year birthday that set the story in motion.

If the unpredictable spring weather has given you the blues, one solution is to go even bluer. An evening of entertainment by those cobalt-blue-bald-headed guys—yes, the Blue Man Group—can only be described as an experience.

On the list of influential choreographers of the 20th century, one name stands in bold relief: Bob Fosse. Born in Chicago in 1927, Fosse showed exceptional talent for dance at an early age, and was tap-dancing on vaudeville and burlesque stages before he was old enough to attend high school. As the only male at dance school, Fosse initially endured teasing and whistling, but the joking didn't last long. “I beat up a couple of the whistlers,” he said, “and the rest sort of tapered off after a while.”

The opéra-ballet, which combines dance with instrumental and vocal music, flourished during the French Baroque era. The emphasis was on spectacle, and common to the genre were exotic locales and ruminations on the nature of love.

Simon Annand

If money is no object, or you have passed your apparating test, the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is scheduled to open in London this July.