2019's Best of Theater

Written by Marin Heinritz | Monday, 25 November 2019 11:27 |

In any given year, West Michigan has more arts and entertainment offerings than any one person could take in. From national tours to local professional theater, dance and community theater, excellent performances abound all year long. A look back on 2019 reminds us how truly fortunate we are to have access to such world-class artistry right here. We were absolutely wowed by the Best of 2019 that includes locally produced, life-affirming theater and dance.

As Christmas traditions go, watching Frank Capra’s classic 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a pretty beautiful one. The story of George Bailey, the small-town kid who longed to escape his humble beginnings only to remain in Bedford Falls and face the near-loss of everything, including his life — until a desperate prayer is dramatically answered by a modest angel, is a pleasing one to the religious and non-religious alike, and tugs at the heartstrings in a most universal way.

Cori Terry, Founder and Artistic Director of Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers, described her philosophy on choreographic intent by quoting celebrated modern dance innovator Mark Morris: “I make it up and you watch it.”

Review: ‘eLLe’ is a night of high-quality, totally original theater

Written by Marin Heinritz | Friday, 15 November 2019 10:18 |

Detroit-based, Western Michigan University educated playwright Shawntai Brown has been providing installments of “eLLe”, her episodic stage series loosely based on Showtime’s “The L Word”, for 10 years, and Kalamazoo audiences have been privy to the unfolding dramas and comedy of this localized cast of queer women through productions from different theaters.

Review: ‘Les Misérables’ at Wharton Center is the best of the best

Written by Dana Casadei | Wednesday, 13 November 2019 15:32 |

In 2019, basically 2020 at this point, can a musical about 19th century Frenchmen (and women) keep the attention of audiences for nearly three hours?

If Nick Cartell could let audiences know anything about the upcoming production of Les Misérables, it’s this: Fully read the details in your program.

Opera Overhaul: Bringing ‘The Mikado’ into the 21st century

Written by John Kissane | Monday, 28 October 2019 10:25 |

The Mikado debuted in March of 1885 and never really left the stage. Popular at the time, it remains popular now, as beloved for its smart humor as its beautiful music.

With “Firebird,” Grand Rapids Ballet’s exquisite season opener, the company shows its extraordinary range, relevance, and reach under James Sofranko’s artistic direction, and that they never been stronger, better, or more beautiful as a company.

For the first time, The Barn Theatre in Augusta has emerged from its Summer Stock mainstay to offer their truly delightful rendition of The Rocky Horror Show at the most appropriately ghoulish and freaky time of the year, though it’s actually the 12th time they've performed this campy cult classic rock musical for adoring fans both old and new.

The actors in Farmers Alley Theatre’s current production of “Camelot” don mesh shirts over tank tops with tight black trousers and ornate period vests and peplum jackets in gorgeous fabrics that come off and on as needed.

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