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

aaron neville + carrie: the musical

KCMetropolis.orgLast weekend I covered two great shows in Kansas City for the latest issue of!

On Friday night I heard R&B legend Aaron Neville on the Cyprus Avenue Live series at the Folly Theater downtown. He was incredible! I couldn’t believe the modest turnout—I was completely expecting this concert to be sold out. Also I think I was just about the youngest person there… 🙂 thanks for exposing me to great music as a kid, Mom & Dad!

Egads! Theatre Company’s presentation of Carrie: The Musical opened this weekend too, and I saw it on Saturday night. While Egads! unsurprisingly had excellent actors who gave strong performances, unfortunately the songs in this show left something to be desired. Driving home from it I couldn’t have even hummed a chorus from anything I had just heard. Not the fault of Egads! of course—I just think maybe this particular novel is tough to translate into a musical.

Read my full reviews at

my top ten 2012–13

KCMetropolis.orgIt’s that time of year again! Every summer the editors and writers of pick their favorite shows from the recent season. This past year I saw some incredible stuff, from famous big-name acts to local hidden gems. Here’s what made my top ten:

• Bassist Esperanza Spalding on her Radio Music Society tour at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in October 2012.

Jasper String Quartet performing Ligeti on the Music Alliance series in October 2012, co-presented by the Friends of Chamber Music and the UMKC Conservatory.

• The James Carter Organ Trio on the Folly Jazz Series, January 2013.

• The Harlem Quartet performing selections from Wynton Marsalis’s At the Octaroon Balls at Yardley Hall on the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College, February 2013.

• The cast of Life Could Be a Dream, one of American Heartland Theatre‘s last productions, April 2013.

Bobby McFerrin, inimitable vocal master, performing in Helzberg Hall on the Harriman-Jewell Series, May 2013.

• Violinist Gil Shaham performing Berg’s Violin Concerto with the Kansas City Symphony, June 2013.

Egads! Theatre Company‘s presentation of cult classic The Rocky Horror Show at Off Center Theatre, June 2013.

Opera Ooh-La-La! on the Kansas City Fringe Festival, July 2013.

• Local alternative strings duo The Wires on the Kansas City Museum‘s Summer Concert Series, August 2013.

Read my full list and thoughts at Editor’s Picks 2012–13 season: Kristin

kcmetropolis april 4 issue

This past week I saw three great, varied concerts and my reviews are in the April 4 issue of KC Jazz Orchestra at Unity Temple on the Plaza on Friday night, Austrian ensemble Mnozil Brass at the Lied Center Saturday night, and Musical Theater Heritage’s latest Musical Monday cabaret show. They were all so different… hard to pick a favorite!

Read my reviews in full at
Case of the “Musical” Mondays
Musicality and brassy mischief
Standards with sauce on the side