Quality Hill Playhouse parts its curtains through October 23 for Noël and Gertie, devised by Sheridan Morley and featuring the words and music of Noël Coward. One of six musicals and cabaret revues the theater puts on annually, Noël and Gertie is based on Coward's own diaries and musical compositions and delves into the friendship of two former stage personalities, Noël Coward (Robert Gibby Brand) and Gertrude Lawrence (Melinda MacDonald). The witty and occasionally heartfelt performance celebrates the fun and sophistication of the roaring '20s without the drawback of state-mandated lessons to learn the Charleston. Quality Hill Playhouse's intimate 153-seat theater ensures patrons don't miss a single sight or sound, and the newly renovated lobby bristles with casual elegance. Multiple performances take to the stage each week in order to accommodate busy schedules and revisit important plot points for forgetful goldfish.
American Jazz Museum’s annual Rhythm & Ribs Jazz and Blues Festival is a one-day music extravaganza that colludes the talents of soulful singers, strummers, horn blowers, and string twangers across three performance stages. Headlining the event, the seven-member band War (10 p.m.–11:30 p.m.) blasts its funk melodies into the air. Before War takes the stage, Bobby “Blue” Bland (7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.) serenades the audience with sultry favorites, such as his rendition of Bill Withers' “Ain’t No Sunshine,” after Christian McBride with Inside Straight (5 p.m.–6:30 p.m.) cues the miniature musician living inside his standup bass to play a euphony of soul. Throughout the day, patrons can indulge in fare from local food vendors (not included with this Groupon) such as City Bar-B-Q, snacking until their fingers are covered with enough sauce to ensure easy snapping.
Bodies turn and twirl in the air, suspended from the rafters with colorful silks. Whether during a performance or class, the staff and students of Voler–Thieves of Flight Aerial Academy inspire awe with aerial dance and acrobatics. The academy’s professional ensemble includes ballet and modern dancers, along with circus artists, all of whom add their skills to lofty choreography on swings, silks, and hoops. The Voler ensemble has also performed at more than 30 notable locations including the Kansas city and Chicago fringe festivals and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.
The academy’s primary purpose is teaching, of course, and three levels of classes instruct participants on the finer points of contorting on silks and practicing spirals, suspension, and falls.
Operating out of the historic Westport Flea Market, the cast of ComedyCity squares off in an improv grudge match refereed by a roaring audience. Comedians keep the quips family friendly during Friday and Saturday evening showtimes and switch gears to adults-only content at 10 p.m. The sports-themed show pits the Sharks against the Jets as the audience chants suggestions and cheers its favorite team to victory by heaving tubs of gatorade at the stage. Those who wish to make their own mark upon the dais can opt to sign up for a series of improvisational-comedy workshops. While working with like-minded jokesters, budding comics study the art of short-form improv and spontaneous creativity with a five-week crash course taught by trained staff. Workshops take place once a week on Monday nights.
Innovative director Kyle Hatley builds on the same revamped set and stage introduced in last year's 30th iteration of Kansas City Repertory Theatre's annual production of A Christmas Carol. Updated stage wizardry and elaborate costumes underscore the classic tale of Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge with a revolving stage, vivid projections, and a larger-than-life apparition originally hired to fix stuck rigging. Music adds poignant touches to the lessons of family values, hope, and redemption that unfold in the story of a bitter old man recapturing the Yuletide love he's missed.
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