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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Are you wondering what to do with all those relatives visiting for the holidays? Or maybe you're tired of fighting the crowds to see the latest blockbuster and you just want to relax, have fun, a laugh, and maybe even a drink or two. It's even possible that you need a break from all this sweetness and light to enjoy a tart, refreshing dip into absurdity. Well, never fear, gentle listener; Roxy's Downtown and Mosley Street Melodrama have some options for you.


There is no man who figures more prominently in the modern celebration of the Christmas season than Charles Dickens, who popularized the notion of a family-celebrated day full of kindness and joy. Dickens had experienced firsthand the ravages of Victorian poverty, and he wrote the story “A Christmas Carol” as a response to those conditions. Writing it, he reported, was a profoundly moving experience.

The Forum Theatre

As the holiday season approaches, stages across the city light up with all the traditions we love so well. If you like your festivities with a Celtic flavor, the Orpheum Theatre is playing host to “An Irish Christmas,” a collection of music, song, dance, and story-telling, led by the Kerry Dance Troupe. It's a high-energy family show, and a one-night only performance, on Wednesday, December 9th.

Visitor 7 / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Diminishing audiences have been an increasing problem for theatre, for Broadway and regional stages alike.

In large part, the issue can be traced to cost. For a Broadway production, tickets to the hottest show can reach such stratospheric proportions, one has to wonder who, exactly, is attending at all, and what happened to theatre for the people. Even Shakespeare, after all, had a place for the Groundlings.

Wichita State University

I believe in the revitalization of straight theatre in Wichita, theatre that is not backed by a musical score. I believe, as well, that it is a mistake to underestimate the intelligence of the present, and potential, theatre-going audience. And I believe that the most exciting productions occur when the director has ideas—or at least a point of view.

Jerry Fritchman / Wichita Center For the Arts

The loss of Center Theatre at the Wichita Center for the Arts is not simply a loss for the theatre community, nor is it not merely a personal loss—I met my husband there—it also represents a larger problem for straight theatre in the city.

Recently, I read that a musical featuring a television cartoon character was headed to Broadway in 2016. Contributing original music are performers like Cindy Lauper, David Bowie and The Flaming Lips.

That sounds great—but at the risk of offending lovers of SpongeBob SquarePants, I consider this an excellent example of the umbrella problem hanging over theatrical entertainment. When money makes creative decisions, this is what we get: remakes, retreads, reboots, redundancy.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

“The course of true love never did run smooth,” as Shakespeare had the character Lysander observe in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and never has this been more true than in the love triangle at the center of the Verdi opera, Don Carlo.

ssierszyn / Flickr / Creative Commons

Ira Levin was a writer whose creative output crossed genres and expectations.

Born in 1929 to a New York toymaker, Levin was supposed to join his father in the business. But in his senior year of college, young Levin entered a competition for television screenwriting. He did not win, but he was a runner-up, and he later sold the script to the NBC program that had sponsored the contest.

Michael Taggart, flickr Creative Commons

It has been more than half a century since my mother entered me in a Beautiful Baby contest. I did not win, but as I have no memory of the event, I have been able to carry on quite nicely in spite of it.