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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Hal Prince is the producer-director behind such musicals as Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and Cabaret

If you're a fan of comedy...and musicals...and romance...and murder, the Theatre League of Wichita is serving it up in the form of the award-winning A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.

Le Nozze di Figaro, or The Marriage of Figaro, is an opera buffa, or comic opera, in four acts, adapted from the stage comedy “The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro” by Pierre Beaumarchais. It was the first of three operas that joined the talents of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte; the other two collaborations were Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte.

Giuseppe Verdi created the opera La Traviata, or The Fallen Woman, set to the work of Italian librettist Francesco Piave. Originally titled Violetta, after the main character, the opera is based on the play “The Lady of the Camellias,” which was, in turn, adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas fils. The story concerns a dying courtesan who falls in love with a young man, and is persuaded to sacrifice her brief happiness to protect the young man's future. It made its onstage debut at La Fenice opera house in Venice on March 6th, 1853.

The Fringe Festival began in Scotland as a reaction to commercial theatre; small outlying theatre groups that were not accepted for a festival decided to perform anyway, at the edges of the festival, thus earning the name “fringe.” While the concept has come to describe increasingly various types of performance art, two characteristics remain: affordability and originality. The Wichita Fringe Festival is a day-long event that features short original scripts written and performed by high school students from schools around the city.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is a well-loved Civil War-era novel that has been adapted for stage and screen again and again. 

I Love You Because is a musical in two acts, reportedly inspired by Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, with music by Joshua Salzman and book and lyrics by Ryan Cunningham. The pair met while attending NYU as graduate students in musical theater writing, and began writing the songs for this show while they were still students.

Before the chasm between fact and delusion became a defining feature of our shared experience of life, illusion—otherwise known as the art of magic—was performed on stage and on the street for the amazement and enjoyment of audiences around the globe.

As we kick our way through the holiday season, you may find yourself looking for something a bit different from the rest—a palate cleanser, perhaps, something that will dilute the ultra sugar while yet remaining sweet. The Theatre League in Wichita just might have what you are looking for—Kinky Boots, the story of Charlie Price, a shoe factory owner, and Lola, the drag queen who helps save his business. Ultimately, these two people from completely different worlds find that they do have something in common, after all.

People who believe the arts are not fundamental to a good education are perhaps defining too narrowly the purpose of art, and the skills that come with practicing creative expression.

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