Nifty Fifty: Miller Auditorium celebrates its semicentennial anniversary

Written by Jane Simons | Thursday, 04 January 2018 11:20 |

“Miller.” For many residents of Southwest Michigan, that one word conjures up visions of an auditorium that has spent 50 years as a backdrop for performers, making them laugh, cry, ponder and cheer.

Recurring Dream: Opera GR remembers MLK’s legacy

Written by Samara Napolitan | Thursday, 04 January 2018 11:16 |

One spring morning in 1968, a young preacher prepares to travel from Atlanta to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers.

Harlem is Here: Dawoud Bey brings the New York neighborhood to Kalamazoo

Written by Jane Simons | Thursday, 04 January 2018 11:13 |

This winter, a visual tour of Harlem will transport Kalamazoo Institute of Arts visitors to one of the most iconic communities in the world.

An array of unique art and site-specific installations that explore themes of identity, both personal and political, make up the UICA’s winter exhibition.

Ava Ordman has been playing trombone for more than half a century. For 24 years, she performed as principal trombonist with the Grand Rapids Symphony, and during her tenure there she recorded Donald Erb’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra.

Review: ‘Finding Neverland’ fills the stage with magic

Written by Dana Casadei | Wednesday, 13 December 2017 17:17 |

There is a scene early on in Finding Neverland where playwright J.M. Barrie (Billy Harrigan Tighe) is talking about the play he’s working on with theater producer Charles Frohman (Matthew Quinn). Charles tells him that the play can’t be too short or too long. It also can’t be too funny or too serious. It needs to make people think but not think too hard. Finding that perfect balance isn’t always easy in a play, but Finding Neverland makes it look as effortless as lifting a feather.

Review: Christmas Cabaret is a holiday party well worth your time

Written by Marin Heinritz | Monday, 11 December 2017 13:53 |

When Andrea Arvanigian soulfully sings “Love is who we are and no season can contain it,” from Sara Bareilles’ sweet 2011 song “Love is Christmas” in the second act of The Barn Theatre School’s Christmas Cabaret, it’s impossible not to feel the truth of those lyrics straight from the heart of all the performers most regularly seen here during the summer months.

In the mid-century American classic play “The Miracle Worker,” by William Gibson, the child Helen Keller punches, kicks, flings food, throws whatever’s in her clutches, pulls hair, screams, wails, and otherwise throws physical tantrums like a feral animal. She’s a brilliant yet obstinate, wildly spoiled child in her upper-class, post Civil War Alabama home in which all her kin are cousin to General Robert E. Lee. From a baby with enormous vitality to a deaf-mute child, she is pitied for her disabilities caused by illness, and since none of the finest quacks money could buy helped, her family nearly ruins her for any kind of productive life.

The Nutcracker, like so many holiday traditions, is an experience rich with nostalgia. For many, the classical ballet is the only ballet they’ve ever seen; for others, it’s an annual tradition that began in childhood; for others, the music, characters and movement summon memories of the times when they’ve played or danced it themselves.

Review: ‘Honky Tonk Angels’ is a sweet, delightful escape

Written by Marin Heinritz | Tuesday, 05 December 2017 14:48 |

Farmers Alley Theatre couldn’t possibly have known when they selected their season that December 2017 would offer the perfect cultural moment for a light-hearted jukebox musical in which three iconic female archetypes beaten down by the misbehaving men in their lives risk everything to strike out on their own — only to find beautiful harmonies and support in each other.

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