the wiz + arts in prison

KCMetropolis.orgIn this week’s issue of I have a review and an interview:

First, I interviewed Leigh Lynch, executive director of Arts in Prison last week in anticipation of its East Hill Singers’ upcoming concerts and documentary. The East Hill Singers is Lansing Correctional Facility’s inmate choir, which is allowed to perform outside prison walls. Music is so powerful, and I was moved learning about this program’s positive effects on the inmates and their sense of teamwork, personal accomplishment, and community. Reading about their kids coming to hear them sing had me tearing up. I actually played with the East Hill Singers once—I was hired to accompany the choir with several other instrumentalists in a performance at Yardley Hall a few years ago, and it was a great experience. I look forward to watching the documentary when it airs around here.

On Sunday I saw The Wiz at the Coterie Theatre. Coterie is a children’s theatre, but The Wiz was still fun for anyone who loves the classic Wizard of Oz story, of course. When I was a little girl I was OBSESSED. I carried around a basket with a tiny stuffed “Toto” dog in it. I wore those horrid plastic jellies (you know what I’m talking about) and called them my ruby slippers. I asked my parents if we were in Kansas yet. (So of course when I ended up deciding on Kansas City for college I was teased… even though I live on the Missouri side!) But anyway, seeing this version of The Wiz brought back a lot of fun, happy memories.

Read my full reviews at

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