The Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company members, all students between the ages of 10 and 19, have an opportunity to perform limited roles throughout the year in the Grand Rapids Ballet professional shows; however, once a year they present their own performance. It is, in essence, a very sophisticated and demanding recital for developing dancers to push themselves as performers, perhaps before they’re fully fledged artists in their own right.
Danny Gurwin’s tribute to Tony Bennett, Rags to Riches, currently at Farmers Alley Theatre in Kalamazoo, is a sweet love fest. Love for Tony Bennett, love for the music, especially those for which he’s known, and love for friendships that withstand the test of time.
When the lights come up on The New Vic Theatre's new folk musical revue, “Trios," eleven actor singers play stringed instruments and sing "Walk Right in, Sit Right Down," the easily familiar song for those who remember the Rooftop Singers' making it a hit in 1963 as well as those who don't. So much of American folk music is simply part of our collective consciousness because of the ways it has permeated popular culture and music and been handed down through the years from artist to artist.
To close out its “Outsider”-themed season, Kalamazoo College has picked the Pulitzer-nominated, Tony-winning musical In the Heights, conceived by future Hamilton star/creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, with a book by Quiara Alegria Hudes and a score by Miranda.
“Largo al factotum” is perhaps one of the most recognizable arias in opera. The boastful tongue twister (try saying “-issimo” ten times fast) is the quintessential display of operatic bravura as Figaro explains why he’s the most popular guy in Seville.
Of the seemingly infinite binaries into which the world can be divided, a telling one for theater-going audiences is those who are drawn to musicals that feature singing nuns and those who must be dragged kicking and screaming to such shows. This critic falls squarely in the latter camp.
Not long after the 1955 play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” earned renowned 20th Century American playwright Tennessee Williams his second Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critics Circle Award, he published an essay in Playbill magazine about the playwright’s relationship to the director of his plays.
The songs outshine the script — how could it be otherwise? — in “Motown the Musical,” written by none other than Motown founder Berry Gordy (adapting his autobiography, “To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories of Motown”) and scored with more than 50 of the immortal tunes his record label issued between 1958 and 1983.
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality,” the Cheshire Cat purrs in “Alice in Wonderland.” In today’s post postmodern cultural landscape of the information age, in which “alternative facts” litter our news and going “down the rabbit hole” is a central and daily metaphor in our individual and collective lives, there is perhaps no more appropriate story.
Peter Perez has been a magnet for uncommon musical experiences his entire life. From conducting his youth festival orchestra as a youngster to requesting that his upstairs neighbor, Placido Domingo, “please rehearse louder,” such experiences have led him to his new role as the Grand Rapids Symphony CEO.
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