“Dead Man Walking” – “A drama that will reach out and grab you”
Since “Dead Man Walking” premiered at the San Francisco Opera in 2000, there have been more than 40 stage productions worldwide. There are two commercial recordings, one featuring Kansas City native Joyce DiDonato as Sister Helen. For an opera that is only 16 years old, this is remarkable. “Dead Man Walking” is one of the most successful American operas in recent memory.
“Elegant,” “stunning,” “fluid” and “magnificent” are just some of the words critics have used to describe Kansas City Ballet dancer Angelina Sansone in performance. Last year, KC Metropolis reviewer Lee Hartman lauded her “magnetic stage presence” as Queen Anne in the Ballet’s production of The Three Musketeers.
Vi Nhan Tran was smuggled out of Vietnam and captured by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia before finding refuge in a Red Cross camp in Thailand. It’s a story of a lifetime — and all before he was three years old. Tran’s only memory from that part of his life is busting his head open falling off his refugee-camp cot; the resulting scar on his forehead is the only physical marker of his early adversity.
Mezzo-soprano Samantha Gossard’s first big role came during second grade in a musical called Steamboatin’. “I was ‘Mississippi Meg’ and I had a big monologue and a big solo, all requiring a thick southern accent — definitely a comedic role. I remember everyone laughing so much and thinking I was ‘adorable,’ and I remember my second-grade self being perplexed by that, because in my mind, I was just doing what I was supposed to do; I was committing to the role!”
In 1623, a couple of guys got together and self-published some work by a dead friend of theirs named William Shakespeare. Four hundred years later, this piece of “vanity publishing” is considered to be the crown jewel of our Western canon. Shakespeare’s First Folio, as it is now known, is one of the most influential and treasured books in history.
In 2014, when Scuola Nuova Vita Charter School raised enough money to move into its own building down the street, Northeast Community Center Executive Director Laura Shulz had a problem. “What am I going to do with all this space now?” she recalls thinking. Then she discovered Harmony Project.
Swan Lake was a flop when it premiered in 1877. Tchaikovsky’s score was considered too Wagnerian; too noisy. A critic named Tyler Grant referred to it as “utter hogwash” and thought the choreography was “unimaginative and altogether unmemorable.” After Tchaikovsky died in 1893, composer Riccardo Drigo revised the score.