Al Portner is a retired career journalist and media executive. He has written for publication over more than 40 years. He has published daily newspapers in venues as far east as Washington DC, as far west as Honolulu HI, and a number of communities in between. His new book on the literary partnership of Ulysses Grant and Mark Twain will be available in 2018.
They filled the stage at Unity Village Auditorium with singers and the air with holiday music in the best barbershop style. The event was the 2018 Holiday Harmony Spectacular staged on December 1 for a packed house of over 1500. Combined choruses of the Kansas City Chorus of Sweet Adelines International and the Heart of America Barbershop Chorus harmonized in full holiday costume.BWW Review: SHEAR MADNESS at New Theatre Restaurant December 14, 2018
Musical Theatre Heritage's annual Christmas Spectacular opened the weekend of December 7th for a run through December 23rd at the MTH Theater on the third floor of Crown Center in downtown Kansas City. An eight-person cast along with a four-piece orchestra combines traditional popular Holiday music with some less familiar selections chosen to display the unusual skillsets of this cast.BWW Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Kansas City Repertory Theatre November 25, 2018
Now in its 38th season, Kansas City Repertory Theatre's "A Christmas Carol" is as much an iconic Kansas City holiday tradition as is the annual Plaza lighting ceremony every Thanksgiving evening. Charles Dickens (Mark Robbins) once again spins his immortal 1843 ghost story of redemption as he himself performed it (solo) on stage for the last twenty-seven years of his life.BWW Review: THE NAKED MAGICIANS at Starlight Theatre November 17, 2018
Audiences at 'School Of Rock, The Musical' (now playing at the Kansas City Music Hall) are in for an evening of fun. This production is pure entertainment highlighted by a dozen songs from the reigning King of musical theater, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. 'School Of Rock' onstage offers a lot to admire and much to enjoy including a ridiculously talented cast of mostly pre-teenagers.BWW Review: CAMELOT at White Theatre November 5, 2018
Now playing at the White Theatre inside the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park is their community theater production of Lerner and Loewe's 1960 classic 'Camelot.' Featuring a hidden away orchestra of twenty-three and a cast of seventeen 'Camelot,' is always a challenging project.BWW Review: MADAMA BUTTERFLY at Lyric Opera Of Kansas City November 4, 2018
Lyric Opera's 'Madama Butterfly' as performed on the stage of the Muriel Kauffman Theater is extraordinary. Puccini's music remains transcendent even after one hundred fourteen years.BWW Review: SHOW BOAT at Musical Theater Heritage November 3, 2018
Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II touched off an earthquake in Musical Theater with their 1927 musicalized version of Edna Ferber's 'Show Boat.' A new iteration of 'Show Boat' has shoved off from the dock inside the MTH Theater on the third level of Crown Center for what will be pleased audiences.BWW Review: THE ORPHANS' HOME CYCLE at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre November 3, 2018
Horton Foote's 'Orphans' Home Cycle' is a monumental project for any theatre company. Kansas City's Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre should be recognized for taking it on. It is the first time any company has attempted Foote's Opus since its short Broadway run ending in early 2010.BWW Previews: THE ORPHANS' HOME CYCLE at Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre November 2, 2018
'Of Mice and Men' transports us to Steinbeck's world on the Monterey Peninsula of California during the Great Depression prior to World War II. It was (and still is) mainly an agricultural breadbasket area.
As the play opens, two of these men approach a ranch in Soledad California. They are George Milton (Jake Walker) and Lennie Small (Rusty Sneary). George is a bright if uneducated man. Lennie is a giant, but agonizingly slow.BWW Interview: Jason Chanos of 'OF MICE AND MEN' at Kansas City Repertory Theatre October 26, 2018
Now directing his first major show for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre is Interim Artistic Director Jason Chanos. Chanos has been the Associate Artistic Director at the Rep since 2015 in addition to teaching acting at UMKC. He holds a BA from the University of Northern Colorado and an MFA from UMKC.
Opening on Friday, October 26 (after a week in previews) is the UMKC/KCRep co-production of Steinbeck's 1937 "Of Mice And Men" at the Copaken Theatre inside the H&R Block Building in downtown Kansas City.BWW Review: SWEAT at Unicorn Theatre October 22, 2018
Powerful story, top notch stagecraft, and excellent acting make the Unicorn production of 'Sweat' by Lynn Nottage a must see before you cast your ballot on November 6. 'Sweat' begins to explain divisions in the 2018 electorate and how they developed. The Pulitzer committee agreed and awarded this work the prize for drama in 2017.BWW Review: IN THE HEIGHTS at Theatre In The Park October 7, 2018
"In The Heights" is Lin-Manuel Miranda's premiere effort at an entirely new way of telling a story through musical theater. "Theater In The Park's" fine indoor production of Miranda's "Heights" is a fine Kansas City area community interpretation of this 2008 four Tony award winner.BWW Review: ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE at New Theatre Restaurant October 5, 2018
'Always Patsy Cline' at New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park is a delightful, two-hour sojourn into mid-twentieth century 'Country and Western' music. Patsy Cline was an early country singer who achieved crossover success and a very loyal listener following.BWW Review: WEST SIDE STORY at Lyric Opera of Kansas City September 23, 2018
Lyric Opera of Kansas City steps off its 2018-2019 season with a bravura interpretation of 1957's "West Side Story." It is difficult to say enough good things about this Lyric Opera of Kansas City presentation.BWW Review: RADIO GOLF at KC Melting Pot Theatre September 22, 2018
The characters in Eugene O'Neil's "Moon For The Misbegotten," now being performed by the Kansas City Actors' Theatre at Union Station, are tours de force for serious actors and serious audiences. The story, while not autobiographical, follows the life path of O'Neil's brother James. They are, in some ways, similar to the tragic heroes of William Shakespeare and the tortured souls of Tennessee Williams.