For many theater fans in west Michigan, the summer doesn’t really begin until the Barn Theatre opens its doors. The area’s equity summer-stock house on Saturday offered a preview of its 71st season with “A Lot of Song & A Little Dance,” a benefit concert showcasing many of the Barn’s returning stars and 21 of its young apprentices, the Actors’ Equity Membership Candidates who will appear on the mainstage and in the ever-popular Bar Shows.

Q&A: Randy Wyatt Professor and Director of Theatre, Aquinas College

Written by Kayla Tucker | Thursday, 01 June 2017 09:00 |

Randy Wyatt is a local playwright and professor at Aquinas College, where he directs the theater program. A native of Marshfield, Mass., Wyatt went to college in Grand Rapids and grad school in Texas and Minneapolis. After getting his master’s of fine arts in directing, he worked in Chicago for six months before Aquinas contacted him about a position. It’s been 10 years since.

Kitty Knows Best: Lauren Chapin explains the highs and lows of childhood fame

Written by Kayla Tucker | Thursday, 01 June 2017 09:00 |

In the 1950s, Father Knows Best was one of the most popular shows in America. The classic family sitcom starred Robert Young and Jane Wyatt, among others, including the youngest actress on set, Lauren Chapin, who played Kitty, Father’s youngest child.

Memories of Memphis

Written by Marla R. Miller | Thursday, 01 June 2017 09:00 |

For those who couldn’t catch it on Broadway: Memphis isn’t just another jukebox show.

Years ago, conductors were aloof, intimidating figures on their onstage platforms. But when Raymond Harvey became the music director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra 18 years ago, he knew his role required more and embraced the position as a community resource.

Cellos and violins have become instrumental in the creation of a safe harbor for the children of refugees who have relocated here from countries like Syria, Egypt and Lebanon.

American Artistry: Kay WalkingStick's art at the KIA

Written by Jane Simons | Thursday, 01 June 2017 09:00 |

Kay WalkingStick honors her Native American roots each time she strokes paint across a canvas.

Many artists experience a turning point — a personal crisis or epiphany, learning a new technique or taking a class, or reflecting on a negative critique or rejection — that propels them in a new direction.

Tying the Knot (Or Not?): The merry matrimony of 'It Shoulda Been You'

Written by Jane Simons | Thursday, 01 June 2017 09:00 |

Weddings are a production fraught with unpredictability. And as wedding season ramps up, Farmer’s Alley Theatre is giving audiences a uniquely funny, unpredictable insight into one couple’s impending nuptials as it debuts It Shoulda Been You on June 9 at the Little Theatre on Western Michigan University’s campus.

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.

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