On Stage

Commentary
5:30 am
Mon January 19, 2015

The Beating Heart Of Cabaret

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.

Read more
Commentary
5:30 am
Mon January 5, 2015

Looking Ahead To Warmer Days With William Inge

William Inge
Credit huntingtontheatreco (image cropped) / Flickr / Creative Commons

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.

Read more
Commentary
5:30 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Theatre Etiquette

Credit Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

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.

Read more
Commentary
5:30 am
Mon December 8, 2014

From The Page To The Screen To The Stage

    

Disney is well known for taking the fairytales of our childhood, sweetening them, and turning them into animated musical extravaganzas for children. Beauty and the Beast was originally a French tale, written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, but it has been translated and retold almost from the moment it first appeared in print in 1756.

Read more
Commentary
5:30 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Simple Pleasures And Deeper Meanings... On Ice

Credit Google Images / Creative Commons

  Looking for an antidote to the typical holiday entertainment fare? Consider a musical comedy that celebrates the simple pleasures of beer and sports while contemplating life’s deeper meanings. Guys on Ice takes place in an ice-fishing shack in Wisconsin. The book and lyrics are by Fred Alley, with music by James Kaplan.

Read more
Commentary
5:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

A Man Who Is Perfect In All Ways But One

Jose Ferrer (far right) in his Oscar-winning role as Cyrano de Bergerac
Credit Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The story of Cyrano de Bergerac, a man who is perfect in all ways but one, is based only loosely on the life of an actual man. The real Cyrano was a playwright and an expert swordsman, he did have a cousin, and she did marry a baron. His nose was largish.

Read more
Commentary
8:09 am
Mon October 27, 2014

The Libertine Punished

Original playbill for the Vienna premiere of 'Don Giovanni' in 1788
Credit Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The word “opera” comes from the Latin word for “work,” but it wasn’t until 1639 that the word was used to describe a theatrical piece that includes poetry, vocal music, orchestral music and dance.

Opera first appeared on the world stage in 1598, with the production of La Dafne in Florence, Italy. Ottavio Rinuccini wrote the book, known as the libretto, and Jacopo Peri composed the musical score. The music has long been lost to us, but the libretto survives mostly intact.

Read more
Commentary
5:00 am
Mon October 13, 2014

A Brief History of a Decidedly American Art

Credit TheeErin / Flickr / Creative Commons

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

Read more
Commentary
12:26 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Comedy and Camp In High Style

Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the film, 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'

"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.

Read more
Commentary
10:28 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Yes! And...

An improv performance from Toronto Second City
Credit 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.

Read more

Pages