Tag Archives: Mark Edelman

Edelman: STARLIGHT GETS IT SMART & FINAL WITH XANADU

I never could figure out why they called that store "Smart & FInal…"

I mean, it’s got all the same crap as a low rent Target. What’s so Smart and Final about that?

Then I checked out XANADU at Starlight this week– now THAT’s Smart and Final. The final show of Swope Park’s 2011 season is about as clever as outdoor musical theater gets. Like I said, Smart and Final.

Douglas Carter Beane writes terrific plays (THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED at the Unicorn several seasons back is more than proof of that). And his book for the musical of XANADU is a hoot. Instead of slogging through the sentimentality of your usual boy meets girl songfest, XANADU offers up "a children’s musical, but for 40 year-old gay men" (per Beane).

Its whipsmart send up of the horrible big budget film that set back movie musicals at least a decade (and killed off Gene Kelly)  is chock full of those kinds of zingers— including a few none too blunt barbs at the whole juke box musical genre of which XANADU is an audacious member.

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Edelman: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘The King and I’ Shines at Starlight!

There’s a masters class going on at Starlight every night this week.

The subject: How to Write a Great Musical. The instructors: Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers. Enroll if you can.

Now, before you respond, "What are two dead white guys gonna teach me about writing a musical in 2011," remember that those irreverent South Parkers, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have borrowed liberally from Oscy and Dick for years. Their current Broadway blockbuster, THE BOOK OF MORMON, reads like the final term paper in R&H’s course on this subject. And why not?

Nobody does it like Rodgers & Hammerstein, and these guys were at their best doing THE KING & I (now through Sunday at Starlight).

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GREASE Takes GLEE Back to the 50s

Before Glee, Grease was the word.

Though Fox may have television’s biggest sitcom hit on its hands, Matthew Morrison, Lea Michele and company by no means invented testosterone-laden high school angst rendered musically in cool threads. That distinction belonged to Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, who decades ago hit upon the winning formula that made GREASE (now through Sunday at the Music Hall) one of the longest-running hits on Broadway.

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JAZZ TIME: Ever heard of a BAR with a hangover? Jardine’s Trots Out the Jazz Hookups Tuesday

They can dish em out– but can they take em?

Taverns, I mean. Bars, clubs, boites, watering holes. Since when is that domain of day-after dread a hangover haven?

Tomorrow night from 7 to 11, that’s when, as Jardine’s (4536 Main) offers the unrequited amongst us a  "Love Hangover."  And they say "love means never having to say you’re sorry" (I’m guessing they’re open for you lovebirds, too).

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JAZZ TIME: Papa Marsalis is coming to town

 

You can bet Ellis Marsalis knows his jazz.

 All you have to do is check out his progeny: Wynton, Branford and Delfeayo. So it’s a special night when the senior Marsalis vacates his usual New Orleans haunts and plays a gig up here in Cold Town. He’ll be warming the 88s Friday night at the Folly Theatre, 12th and Central downtown. Show starts at 8; they talk about it at 7.

 

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Edelman: KC Rep Asks and Tells the Right Stuff

 

Behind the headlines and beyond the soundbites, gays in the military have had a hell of a time getting any respect.

Marc Wolf’s compelling new play, ANOTHER AMERICAN: ASKING AND TELLING (now through next Sunday, Feb 6 at KC Rep on the UMKC campus), sheds the harsh flood light of reality on the predicaments of these patriots. Armchair generals be forewarned: this is not a story that’s going to make you proud to be an American. 

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JAZZ TIME: Leawood’s Got It Going On

 I know what you’re thinking: Jazz in Leawood– you mean Kenny G playing "White Christmas" over the muzak at  Chico’s in Town Center? Well, drop by West Chase Grill at 119th and Roe most any night this month. There’s music out there, man.

Chef/owner John Westerhaus has always put out a tasty spread. His lobster spring rolls are serious appetizer heaven; and he knows his way around scallops and sea bass. But it’s not a fish place by any means– steaks and chops reign supreme at West Chase, along with the tastiest (and most wallet friendly) Kobe Beef burger around (add the bleu cheese for a paltry three quarters of a buck– it’s worth it). Great wines– and at least 20 by the glass– and a mixologist who knows his stuff, and you’ve got one of JoCo’s happiest eateries.

And now you can add jazz to that receipe for some warm fun on a sub-zero night.

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Review: Music Hall Gets Make Ogre with SHREK

 


With all the talk on Broadway about SPIDERMAN’s mega-budget problems, it’s refreshing (and fun) to see what the second biggest payout in Broadway history hath wrought.

That would be Dreamworks’terrific new musical SHREK

. You’re in luck, Kansas City– the big green one is Music Hall bound. And whereas the Spidey show sounds like it’s full of angst, U2-ie important messages and actors breaking bones, SHREK is a musical comedy gas— and actors breaking wind.

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL RETURNS TO THE REP– HATLEY MAKES IT HAPPEN

‘Tis the season, and KC Rep gets it rolling with a pleasant new production of their holiday chestnut A CHRISTMAS CAROL (now through Dec 26 at the Spencer Theater on the UMKC campus). Break out the eggnog and holly—it’s tradition time.

 With Artistic Director Eric Rosen off to Seattle supervising round two of his A CHRISTMAS STORY, staging chores for this year’s winter fete fell to Rep Associate A.D. Kyle Hatley. I thought Hatley did a wonderful job with last season’s BROKEOLOGY at the Copaken Stage downtown; but that was an intimate new play. I missed his big cast DEATH OF CUPID at the KC Fringe Festival this summer. Could Hatley lead sixty plus actors, designers and stagehands into the breach and out the other side, happy patrons and their money in hand? (The Rep counts on A CHRISTMAS CAROL for a big chunk of their annual box office).

I’m happy to report that Hatley brings it off. Introducing a new John Ezell design, replete with LES MIZ-style turntable, Hatley finds a lot more heart in his retelling of the Dickens classic. Gary Neal Johnson’s emotional arc feels more real, more satisfying in the playing. From his chilly reunion with dead partner Jacob Marley (a scary looking Mark Robbins) through the three ghostly visits and his ah ha moment at the story’s end, this Scrooge comes off less cartoon and more flesh, blood and feelings than I remember from past productions. Credit Hatley for making a difference

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NOTHING DISTRACTING ABOUT UNICORN’S LATEST HIT

 

Tired of endless holiday muzak congealing in every corner of your life? Need a distraction, maybe? Cynthia Levin and her Unicorn cohorts have just the thing– Lisa Loomer’s very au courant new comedy DISTRACTED, now through next Sunday, December 12, on the U’s mainstage, 3828 Main in midtown. Talk about your pick me up…

 

Loomer has a sharp eye for the foibles of modern life and Director Levin and her company get all of the twists and turns in this often laugh-out-loud piece about a family’s coming to terms with their ADHD child. Wait.. did he say ADHD? Laugh out loud? Comedy?

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Edelman: Broadway 2010, a Bloody, Bloody Good Time

If  a gun-toting, emo-rock screeching Andrew Jackson moves your mojo, the just-getting-started Broadway theater season may be right up your alley.

Think high school history, but the high school’s the one in Glee.

*** BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON (Jacobs Theater on 45 th Street between Broadway and 8th Ave) features a score by Michael Friedmann, the composer behind KC Rep’s season opener SAVED. Too bad Friedmann left his rocking shoes in New York. Where SAVED played it white bread safe, BLOODY BLOODY kicks out the jams in a wild take on our 7th president and founder of the now down-in-the-dumps Democratic Party.

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Jazz Time: New Clubs Bring the Music Closer Than Ever

Much as we love our favorite jazz haunts—Jardine’s, the Blue Room, the Phoenix, Majestic, Chazz, etc— it’s nice to see some fresh paint behind the bandstand.

So check out these new (or newer) additions to the Jazz Time geography.
 
Quality Hill Playhouse (10th and Main downtown): Usually reserved for Kent Barnhart’s slick cabaret shows—an entertainment mainstay of the 65+ crowd—QHP plays host to chanteuse par excellence Marilyn Maye all week long. You could pay $60, buy two over-priced drinks and have to tip the doorman at the Metropolitan Room or Michael Feinstein’s place in NYC—or you can catch Marilyn in the comfy, nicely-appointed confines of the QHP, a great place to see her jazz eminence. And parking’s next door.

Accurso’s  (50th and Main): If you’ve had Italian deli in Midtown, you know this is a name synonymous with a nice pastrami and hip potato chips. Glad to see the operation presenting that estimable keyboard man (and City Light alum) Tim Whitmer Tuesday at 6pm. I can think of few better sounds to accompany a Dr Brown’s cream soda or  Boulevard wheat.

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Edelman: Unicorn’s [title of show] a Winner

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Edelman: What a Fool Believes He Sees… at Starlight

What a beautiful world it will be.. what a glorious time to be free.

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Edelman: World Premier of DUTY Brings Tragic Headlines Home

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Edelman: RAIN Comes to Starlight & the Audience Loved it

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Jazz Time: Celebrate the Bird; Hang Out at a Jazz Joint

Charlie Parker would have been been 90 years old this week; same as Walt Bodine.

The Kansas City alto saxophonist set a standard for playing here that haunts Cowtown reedmen to this day. Paraphrasing Bobby Watson, a guest of mine on Saturday night’s 12th STREET JUMP public radio show: ” When you say you’re from KC and you play the sax, people just expect more from you” Continue reading

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Edelman: Starlight Nails it with The Producers

Give Starlight honcho Denton Yockey two thumbs up.

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Edelman: Starlight Hits a Home Run with DREAMGIRLS

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Jazz Time: Crawl it yourself Wednesday on the Plaza

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