HIGHLIGHTS from 2011

The old adage holds true: Never work with children or animals. Or try to compete with them….

Nothing Kansas City offered this past year – not the opening of the Kauffman Center, not the great programming at the Nelson-Atkins, not the most intimate show nor the biggest extravaganza of a production – could compare to the experience of giving birth and becoming a mother. Caring for him has been a terrifying and joyous adventure, experiencing life as he grows, watching his eyes as he learns – these past six months has been more exciting and stimulating than any performance; his smile and laugh are more rousing than any ovation in the universe.

That being said, here are my runner-ups in no particular order:

Krystle Warren on Birdies’ Bee Stage.

Musical Theatre Heritage’s GYPSY: Starring Deb Bluford and Vanessa Severo, this was one of the most searing and heartwrenching performances I’ve ever seen, deepened by MTH’s intimate, concert-style production.

Unicorn Theatre’s RED: This Tony Award-winning play, performed in Kansas City by Jim Birdsall and Sam Cordes, was an introspective journey regarding an artist’s inspiration, process, dedication and motivation.

Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck and Zakir Hussain for the Johnson County Community College Performing Arts Series. I remember this one for the performance being awesome and the audience being extraordinarily horrible from misguided enthusiasm and lack of decorum.

Bach Aria Soloist’s “Night of Tango” at the Unitarian Universalist Church: Absolutely sold-out, standing room only performance that showcased both Kansas City’s exceptional talent and the amazing skill of the visiting artists.

DJ Spooky at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: An eclectic mash-up of style, form, skill and graphic in association with the Romare Bearden exhibit.

WE! at Town Pavilion: Well conceived and produced event from the minds of Jane Gotch and Mark Southerland.

“A Tree that is a Tree is Not a Tree”:  Owen/Cox Dance Group, commision by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art as part of the “Ferment” foment.

Buck at Tivoli Cinemas: An excellent documentary that examines the ordinary story of an extraordinary person.

Flamenco: Watching the flamenco scene begin to florish through the efforts of Flamenco Mio and Al-Andaluz.

18th Street Fashion Show: This was the first time I’d seen this event and the production was just incredible. Lavish sets, excellent music, dedicated concept and great weather.

Preview of “visible”: I worked on a profile for The Kansas City Star  of this developing show by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar & Nora Chipaumireo and then watched their preview performance at the Kansas City leg of “America: Now & Here.” Moving, engaging, and very loud with the addition of two drummers from the Marching Cobras!

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