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The White Theatre at Jewish Community Center Highlights November with SUNSET BOULEVARD

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A tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Sunset Boulevard will take the stage of The White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City (The J) for a three-week November run.

This Tony award-winning musical features an all-local cast under the direction of Tim Bair and is part of The J's Arts + Culture programming. Sunset Boulevard opens Saturday evening, Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. with additional evening shows Nov. 10, 12, 17, 19 as well as 2 p.m. matinee performances on Sundays Nov. 6, 13 and 20.

As part of The J's "Explore More" series, there will be a special bonus presentation following the Nov. 6 matinee. Author Neal Gabler will discuss his book, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood. The book chronicles the golden age of the movie moguls, many of whom were Jewish immigrants who were the moving forces behind the creation of America's motion picture industry. Gabler's book will be available for purchase and signing. There is an additional $10 ticket to attend the Gabler event, which includes a light reception. Pre-registration is requested at thejkc.org/sunset.

"This is a story of a woman caught in the past, stuck in what was; a woman that enjoyed fame and fortune. Unfortunately, times changed...the movie business changed," Bair said. "Everything changed but her, and the memories of what had been."

Although not one of Lloyd Webber better-known musicals, Sunset Boulevard does cast the spotlight on the composer's talents.

"While there is spoken dialogue, much of the storytelling is done through song," Bair said. "It's absolutely beautifully scored, and will leave people searching out the songs to listen to later."

The J's production combines a variety of technical elements, creative scenery and beautiful costumes that harken back to the golden days of film as the story follows the reclusive silent film star Normand Desmond and her encounter with a young screenwriter. Tickets for Sunset Boulevard can be ordered online at thejkc.org/boxoffice, by phone (913) 327-8054 or in person at The White Theatre Box Office.

The J's 2016-2017 Arts + Culture season includes musicals, concerts, visual arts and literature presentations. Four of its productions are locally produced; there is also a choreography showcase and a new Artist-in-Residence offering with the Kinnor Philharmonic*.

The J's 2016-17 season includes:

  • Feb. 11-19, 2017: Lost in Yonkers (local production) Set in the 1940's, two brothers find their lives turned upside down after moving in with their grandmother and absent-minded aunt in Neil Simon's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning semi-autobiographical play.

  • March 5, 2017: Open Stage at The J is an inaugural choreography festival for Kansas City's best dancers and dance companies. This professional showcase includes the original work from Kansas City Ballet II, Kacico Dance, City in Motion and much more.

  • March 25-April 2: Fahrenheit 451 (local production) Is an adaptation of the Ray Bradbury novel about a future society that has banned all reading material and the job of the firemen is to keep the fires at 451 degrees: the temperature that paper burns. A fireman begins to re-think his job when he meets a book-loving girl

  • April 9: Grammy award-winning, Kansas City Chorale concert, "Shirim Yehudim-Music of the Jewish Tradition".

  • May 6-7: Broadway actor, producer and Kansas City native, Jana Robbins, brings her critically acclaimed Cabaret show "I'm Still Here". Telling tales of growing up as Marsha Eisenberg in a Jewish family from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, she tells of the challenges of pursuing her dream of a career on Broadway.

  • July 8-23: Disney's musical Beauty & the Beast (*a co-production with Theatre in the Park), brings the most beautiful love story ever told to life in this lush, romantic Broadway musical for all generations.

(*The Kinnor Philharmonic concerts are not included in the season ticket package.)

Additional Arts + Culture events include the Jewish Film Festival running Jan. 8-22, 2017, literary salons, and the Midwest Jewish Artists Lab.

(Full descriptions for each event are available at thejkc.org/arts+culture.)

About "The J"

Established more than 100 years ago, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City-The J, provides a warm welcome to families of all backgrounds. The J's all-in-one hub for health, learning, and well-being elevates the lives of the community and its members with programs of excellence in fitness, sports, theatre, arts + culture, senior adult programming and youth services including summer camps and child development. Everyone can "live up" at The J, located in Overland Park, Kansas, and at thejkc.org.

Sunset Boulevard Cast

(Role, Performer & City of Residence)

Norma Desmond- Wendy Musick: Raymore, MO

Joe Gillis- Dalton Homolka: Leawood

Betty Schafer- Meagan Edmonds: Merriam

Max Von Mayerling- John Edmonds: Overland Park

Policeman/Ensemble- Dashawn Young: n/a

Reporter/Ensemble- Wendy Buchheit: Kansas City, MO

Artie/Ensemble- Matthew McDowell: Kansas City, MO

Sheldrake/Jones/Ensemble- Ray Zarr: Overland Park

Finance Man/Ensemble- Jake Swaney: Kansas City, MO

Manfred/Ensemble- Delano Mendoza: Kansas City, MO

Hog-Eye- Scott Slabotsky: Leawood

Cecil B. DeMille/Ensemble- Don Leonard: Olathe

Ensemble:

Whitney Armstrong: Overland Park

Renée Blinn: Leawood

Natalie Crane: n/a

Lindsay Day: Overland Park

Sarah Montoya: Blue Springs, MO


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