Alan Portner

Alan Portner 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.


MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: MAMMA MIA at New Theatre RestaurantBWW Review: MAMMA MIA at New Theatre Restaurant
Posted: Jul. 20, 2018


BWW Review: THE PRODUCERS at Musical Theater HeritageBWW Review: THE PRODUCERS at Musical Theater Heritage
Posted: Aug. 12, 2018


BWW Review: LOVE NEVER DIES at Starlight TheatreBWW Review: LOVE NEVER DIES at Starlight Theatre
Posted: Aug. 15, 2018


BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Providence Hospital AmphitheaterBWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Providence Hospital Amphitheater
Posted: Aug. 2, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: BETWEEN THE LINES at Kansas City Repertory TheatreBWW Review: BETWEEN THE LINES at Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Posted: Sep. 16, 2017


BWW Review: GREASE at Starlight TheatreBWW Review: GREASE at Starlight Theatre
Posted: Sep. 9, 2017


BWW Review: SWEENEY TODD at Kansas City Repertory TheatreBWW Review: SWEENEY TODD at Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Posted: Mar. 31, 2018


BWW Review: SOUTH PACIFIC at Theatre In The ParkBWW Review: SOUTH PACIFIC at Theatre In The Park
Posted: Jun. 24, 2018


BWW Review: CATS at Musical Theater HeritageBWW Review: CATS at Musical Theater Heritage
Posted: Jun. 11, 2018


BWW Review: SISTER ACT at New Theatre RestaurantBWW Review: SISTER ACT at New Theatre Restaurant
Posted: May. 4, 2018


BWW Review: NEWSIES at White TheatreBWW Review: NEWSIES at White Theatre
Posted: Jul. 9, 2018


BWW Review: LOVE NEVER DIES at Starlight TheatreBWW Review: LOVE NEVER DIES at Starlight Theatre
August 15, 2018

"Love Never Dies" is absolutely worth seeing. It is lush. The voices are beyond exceptional. Sets, costumes, and effects are haunting. The direction by Australians Simon Phillips and choreography by Graeme Murphy AO completely envelop the space allowed. The traveling pit orchestra conducted by Dale Rieling is as good as it gets. There are several, new, show stopping songs and lots of achingly beautiful echoes of the original Phantom score.

BWW Review: THE PRODUCERS at Musical Theater HeritageBWW Review: THE PRODUCERS at Musical Theater Heritage
August 12, 2018

Great theater requires a willing suspension of disbelief. 'The Producers' by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan requires a willing embrace of 1940's Catskill schlock and shtick. That said, MTH's 'The Producers' is so much inspired silliness, so well performed, and so meticulously put together, it is tough to stop giggling and smirking and groaning at the awful, hysterical, politically in-correct, funny, one-liners. The Saturday night, Crown Center audience for 'The Producers' thoroughly embarrassed itself and was delighted to do so.

BWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Providence Hospital AmphitheaterBWW Review: THE WIZARD OF OZ at Providence Hospital Amphitheater
August 2, 2018

'The Wizard Of Oz' as produced by Kansas City's 'Theater League' in the cavernous outdoor concert venue now called Providence Hospital Amphitheater

BWW Review: MAMMA MIA at New Theatre RestaurantBWW Review: MAMMA MIA at New Theatre Restaurant
July 20, 2018

Donna Sheridan (Shanna Jones) was the lead singer in one of the early female power trios, 'Donna and the Dynamos,' back in the summers of love period in the late 1960s. She found the love of her life, Sam Carmichael (John Franklin), and lost him to a previous personal commitment while Donna and her crew performed among the Greek Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. That summer Donna had two rebound relationships with other men. All three relationships were documented in her diary. Donna became pregnant by whom Donna is not sure.

BWW Review: INTO THE WOODS at Theatre In The ParkBWW Review: INTO THE WOODS at Theatre In The Park
July 9, 2018

Johnson County's Community Theatre in the Park performs a top quality and charming version of Steven Sondheim's 1987 musical mashup of every fairy tale you have ever had told to you as a child. We've got Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella and her dysfunctional clan, Rapunzel in her tower, Little Red Riding Hood, her wolfy friend, a couple of princes, an odd looking guy never named but definitely related to Rumpelstiltskin, and even a mention of Snow White snoozing in her crystal casket surrounded by suspicious looking short guys.

BWW Review: NEWSIES at White TheatreBWW Review: NEWSIES at White Theatre
July 9, 2018

Two sold out audiences leaped to their feet in group appreciation of 'Disney's Newsies,' a co-production of the Jewish Community Center's White Theatre (in Overland Park) and The Coterie Theatre (normally operating out of Crown Center).

BWW Review: SOUTH PACIFIC at Theatre In The ParkBWW Review: SOUTH PACIFIC at Theatre In The Park
June 24, 2018

'South Pacific' at the huge 'Theatre In The Park' outdoor amphitheater is a super community theater rendition of the Rogers and Hammerstein 1949 ground-breaking classic. The scene is a tiny island on the stepping stone chain of Polynesian Islands being retaken by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps following the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.

BWW Review: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Heart Of America Shakespeare FestivalBWW Review: MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival
June 21, 2018

The 2018 edition of the 'Heart of America Shakespeare Festival' offers a very nice production of Shakespeare's 1599 comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing.' 'Much Ado' is a comedy/farce in many ways similar to other Shakespearian comedies 'Taming of the Shrew,' and 'The Merchant of Venice.' All three plays depend on misdirection and romances somehow gone way awry.

BWW Previews: NEWSIES at White TheatreBWW Previews: NEWSIES at White Theatre
June 14, 2018

Next up at the White Theatre is a joint production with Crown Center's Coterie Theatre of Disney's Newsies; a live stage musical version of the 1992 musical film. Newsies recalls the real-life newsboys' strike of 1899.

BWW Review: SINATRA'S SONGWRITER at Quality Hill PlayhouseBWW Review: SINATRA'S SONGWRITER at Quality Hill Playhouse
June 12, 2018

J. Kent Barnhart's Quality Hill Playhouse trots out another of his patented cabaret style revues, "Sinatra's Songwriter." This revue celebrates Sammy Cahn, the longtime lyricist and songwriter for legendary crooner Frank Sinatra. If the well loved music of the long Sammy Cahn-Frank Sinatra collaboration pings at your heartstrings, then this cabaret show is for you.

BWW Review: CATS at Musical Theater HeritageBWW Review: CATS at Musical Theater Heritage
June 11, 2018

Musical Theater Heritage presents a super re-imagination of Andrew Lloyd Weber's 1982 'Cats.' This show is a two magical hours that will be savored by its audiences. Director Tim Scott has built a team of designers, actors, dancers, and musicians who would be tough to match on any stage. 'Cats' is total ensemble producing.

BWW Review: DIRTY DANCING at Starlight TheatreBWW Review: DIRTY DANCING at Starlight Theatre
June 6, 2018

This week at Starlight Theatre; 'Dirty Dancing.' If you are a die-hard fan of the 1987 film "Dirty Dancing," the live-on-stage version of the film might be the "Time of Your Life." For others, not so much.

BWW Review: HIR at Unicorn TheatreBWW Review: HIR at Unicorn Theatre
June 4, 2018

Unicorn Theatre bills itself as a venue for "Bold New Plays." Its current production, 2014s "Hir" (pronounced "Here") by the playwright Taylor Mac certainly fits in with that expressed goal. Hir" bills itself as a dark family comedy performed as absurd reality. It is funny in places and tragic in others. It blows up traditional values in favor of being on the leading edge of change.

BWW Review: A CHORUS LINE at Kauffman Center For The Performing ArtsBWW Review: A CHORUS LINE at Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts
May 30, 2018

The original Broadway production of 1975s 'A Chorus Line' ran 6,137 performances because it caught something true and sometimes sad about all those people who labor in the background of musical theater. This new iteration produced by 'Big League Productions,' a non-equity tour company, captures something of the original.

BWW Review: SKYLIGHT at Kansas City Actors TheatreBWW Review: SKYLIGHT at Kansas City Actors Theatre
May 29, 2018

Kansas City Actors Theatre "Skylight" by British playwright David Hare features excellent performances in a top-caliber production running now through June 10th at the H&R Block City Stage inside Union Station. "Skylight" relates a single evening in the life of three people as they relive and reexamine a complicated relationship history.

BWW Review: ON YOUR FEET! at Starlight TheatreBWW Review: ON YOUR FEET! at Starlight Theatre
May 24, 2018

Fans of Gloria and Emilio Estefan and their Miami Sound Machine are in for a treat with the touring version of their musical 'On Your Feet!' now playing through Sunday as Starlight Theatre in Swope Park. 'On Your Feet' kicks off Starlight's 2018 summer Broadway season.

BWW Review: SISTER ACT at New Theatre RestaurantBWW Review: SISTER ACT at New Theatre Restaurant
May 4, 2018

For a really, enjoyable evening, don't miss New Theatre Restaurant's musicalized version of the 1992 film comedy 'Sister Act' with a great score by Alan Menken and Glen Slater. Here is a show with a cast that features absolutely NO WEAK SISTERS. Seldom does an audience get to sit back and simply smile. You know what is coming and it is still fun.

BWW Review: THE BARBER OF SEVILLE at Lyric Opera Of Kansas CityBWW Review: THE BARBER OF SEVILLE at Lyric Opera Of Kansas City
April 29, 2018

Lyric Opera's production of 'The Barber of Seville' or 'The Useless Precaution' by Rossini opened Saturday evening at the Kauffman Center in the first of four performances. As is usual for the Lyric, this 'Barber' is slyly updated from the original 1816 version first performed in Rome.

BWW Review: BELFAST GIRLS at Fishtank TheatreBWW Review: BELFAST GIRLS at Fishtank Theatre
April 26, 2018

Running through April 29, is a handsomely mounted production of Irish playwright Jacki McCarrick's "Belfast Girls" presented by Fishtank Theatre at the tiny La Esquina Theater. A cast of eight young women recalls the Earl Grey "Orphan Immigrant Scheme" which facilitated the resettlement of around 4100 young women from famine torn Ireland to the new colony of Australia between 1848 and 1851.

BWW Review: ONCE ON THIS ISLAND at Spinning Tree TheatreBWW Review: ONCE ON THIS ISLAND at Spinning Tree Theatre
April 22, 2018

The Spinning Tree Theatre production of 'Once On This Island' at the Off Broadway Theatre is ninety minutes of your life worth devoting to some excellent vocal performances and some great dance. The plotline is a little involved, but the experience is so much fun you don't care.



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