An archetype familiar to us all is “mother." If you aren't a mother yourself, you've most certainly had one.
May is the month that we honor mothers, according to greeting card companies across the country, and mothers everywhere are waiting expectantly for the brunch and bouquet that have become our traditional go-to gifts for Mother's Day. If you think your mom deserves more for her efforts than a champagne cocktail and a corsage, you might try something different—a night at the theatre, celebrating your mother and hers.
Fairy tales speak to us on a primitive level, according to Carl Jung, who interpreted the stories as symbols in the collective unconscious. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine took a deliberately Jungian approach when they created their award-winning musical Into the Woods.
She has been known as Katie Woodencloak, Aschenputtel, Cendrillon, and of course, Cinderella. Her rags-to-riches story has been told in books, stage, film, television, opera and ballet. There are versions of it from all over the world. The popular French version of the tale, written by Charles Perrault, is best known for supplementing the narrative with such details as the pumpkin-turned-coach, the slippers made of glass and the fairy godmother.
Theatre loves an old chestnut. Revivals of audience favorites are a never-ending source of stage entertainment. Playwrights from William Shakespeare to Noel Coward to Tennessee Williams to Neil Simon reliably draw audiences who enter comfortably into the production like putting on a well worn slipper.
Christopher Durang is an actor and playwright known mainly for his satires, parodies and dark comedies. His first professional production, co-written with fellow student Albert Innaurato, was a parody titled The Idiots Karamazov for the Yale Repertory Theatre. It starred another student, Meryl Streep, in the role of Constance Garnett.
Satire has long been a tool of social and political commentary. Many contemporary critics point to the Greek playwright Aristophanes as the most famous of the early satirists. He used his considerable skills to attack powerful figures in fifth-century BC Greek society, including Cleon, a statesman and general during the Peloponnesian War, who was depicted by Aristophanes as a war-mongering demagogue.
Tracy Letts was born in Oklahoma in 1965, and his experiences growing up there inspired his Tony-and-Pulitzer-Prize-winning play, August: Osage County.
It is the story of a damaged family, led by an abusive, drug-addicted matriarch, who was based on Letts’ own maternal grandmother. Letts told the New York Times that after he gave the script to his mother to read, she remarked, “You have been very kind to my mother.”
If your familiarity with cabaret is restricted to a sad Liza Minnelli in a bowler hat, you should be pleased to discover that this type of entertainment is almost certain to be a happier experience.
The cabaret is European in origin, although every country produces its own particular version. It may include song, dance, instrumental, comedy, political satire, juggling and even drama, but the venue is usually a restaurant or nightclub, the content is almost always for mature audiences, and the entertainment is led by an emcee.
William Inge was born in the small town of Independence, Kan. in 1913, and is almost certainly our best-known playwright from the Sunflower State.
He first attracted notice with “Come Back, Little Sheba,” which won him the title of Most Promising Playwright of Broadway’s 1950 season. It was later adapted for film, starring Shirley Booth and Burt Lancaster.
Inge won a Pulitzer Prize for “Picnic,” which opened in New York City in 1953. It was later adapted for film starring William Holden, Kim Novak and Rosalind Russell.
We are lucky to live in a city that supports a number and a variety of theatres—whether you’re looking for burlesque or stand-up comedy, children’s shows or improv, musical or opera, tragedy or comedy, melodrama or revue, professional or student or community, the chances are good you can find it on stage in Wichita.
And of the literally hundreds of crew members, cast members, administration and staff who are hard at work at producing entertainment for us, a very few are paid to do this work. And it is hard work, done mostly out of love for the art.