Mid-Life Players presents ‘Cats’ in concert April 25- 26, May 1-2 at Alcott

The Mid-Life Players, a local nonprofit musical theater group, will present a concertized performance of the Andrew Lloyd Webber favorite, “Cats,” this Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, and next weekend, May 2 and 3, at the Alcott Arts Center, 180 S. 18th St., in Kansas City, Kan.

Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. for each performance. Tickets are $10 each and may be purchased through brownpapertickets.com

Mid-Life Players was created by is a group of four friends, Ruth Baum Bigus, Catherine Boone, Curt Knupp and Dan Prather, all singers and actors who love to perform. This quartet enjoys the sheer joy of singing and entertaining an audience, so they decided it would be fun for others in “their age” group, too.

The group provides an outlet for singers and actors age 35 and older. Mid-Life Players produces “concert style” musicals and musical reviews incorporating blind casting when appropriate or needed. Auditions are help prior to productions and a limited rehearsal schedule is held for each show. Productions use minimal costuming, make-up and sets – just enough to enhance the audience experience. Mid-Life Players is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization.

“As Mid-Life Players, we relish the opportunity to perform works that are not often done in the community and take on roles that we would not likely be selected for at this ‘stage’ of our lives,” Boone said.

Mid-Life performers come from all walks of life. The current production of “Cats” is directed by Dan Prather and Curt Knupp with Julie Fox as assistant director and Becky Clark as music director.
Past productions include “Into the Woods,” “Rent,” “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Company.” Mid-Life Players is guided by a board of directors and an advisory board that are dedicated to the mission of the group.

For more information about Mid-Life Players visit https://www.facebook.com/midlifeplayers.

Mid-Life Players “Cats” cast (some roles are double-cast):
Bill Bergman – as Skimbleshanks; Grandview, Mo.
Chad Burris – as Mungojerrie; Independence, Mo.
Curt Knupp – as Munkustrap; Kansas City, Mo.
Dan Prather – as Rum Tum Tugger; Kansas City, Mo.
Debra Skodack Burnes – as Cassandra; Westwood, Kan.
Dee Green – as Grizabella; Kansas City, Mo.
Diana Leonard – as Jellylorum; Raytown, Mo.
Dottie Bartlett – as Demeter; Overland Park, Kan.
Ed Leonard – as Gus; Raytown, Mo.
Gary Barber – as Skimbleshanks; Edwardsville, Kan.
Georgia Schmittling – as Jemima; Raymore, Mo.
Janet Shelman – as Jemima; Blue Springs, Mo.
Joe Bartlett – as Bustopher Jones, Mistoffolees; Independence, Mo.
John Vandevort – as Deuteronomy; Shawnee, Kan.
Joy Richardson –aas Bombalurina; Kansas City, Kan.
Julie Fox – as Bombalurina; Olathe, Kan.
Julie McDaniel – as Grizabella; Oak Grove, Mo.
Kate Elcock – as Ecetera; Olathe, Kan.
Ken Kasten – as Gus; Overland Park, Kan.
Kristine Norvaishas – as Tantomile; Cleveland, Mo.
Linda Wetzel – as Jennyanydots; Olathe, Kan.
Patty Moore Armstrong – as Jennyanydots; Lenexa, Kan.
Rebecca Shaw Stabno – as Rumpleteazer; Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Richie  Johnson – as Rum Tum Tugger; Kansas City, Mo.
Robert Ritter – as Bustopher Jones, Mistoffolees; Liberty, Mo.
Scott Powell – as Deuteronomy; Kansas City, Mo.
Thomas Anderson – as Munkustrap.

KCKCC’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble performs in New York City

“The Standard” Vocal Jazz Ensemble from Kansas City Kansas Community College recently returned from a trip to New York where they performed in the New York City Jazz Festival. (KCKCC photo)

by Kelly Rogge

“The Standard” Vocal Jazz Ensemble from Kansas City Kansas Community College recently returned from a trip to New York where they performed in the New York City Jazz Festival.

The group was selected by audition to perform in the festival, sponsored by Manhattan Concert Productions, April 11 to 13. The ensemble had two performances:

·         “The Standard” performed in a concert session with other high school and college vocal jazz ensembles from six states (Colorado, New York, North Carolina, Kansas, California and Indiana). The performance was in The Appel Room at Jazz At The Lincoln Center, and the KCKCC group was the only ensemble to receive a standing ovation at the first concert session.

·         The second performance was also at Lincoln Center in the Rose Theater (where Wynton Marilis plays). All of the vocal jazz ensembles combined to make a 100 person mass jazz choir that performed for more than 1,000 patrons. Student Laquita English, an Audio Engineering major, auditioned and performed a solo with the mass choir on an arrangement of Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

During the weekend, KCKCC students were in rehearsals for more than eight hours, visited venues such as the Rockefeller Center and the Juilliard School of Music and attended clinics by nationally known vocal jazz educators including Steve Zegree (Indiana University), Ly Wilder (Indiana University) and Duane Davis (Western Michigan University).
Students on the KCKCC “The Standard” Vocal Jazz Ensemble Roster are Lauren Irving, soprano 1, Wyandotte High School; Allison Her, soprano 1, Washington High School; Stormy Rhone, soprano 2, Sumner Academy; Shelby Stephenson, alto 1, Turner High School; Andrea Rodriguez, alto 1, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; Morgan Tinsley, alto 2, Bonner Springs High School; Natalie Bennett, alto 2/tenor, Maranatha Academy; Laquita English, tenor, Wyandotte High School; Deandre Clark, tenor, Washington High School and Andrew Roberson, bass, Schlagle High School.

Rhythm Section members include Joyce Steeby, piano and KCKCC adjunct music faculty; Jamie Anderson, guitar, Shawnee Mission North High School; Trey Green, bass, Shawnee Mission North High School; Rex Hancock, drums, Tonganoxie High School and John Stafford II, director and KCKCC assistant professor of choral music.

For more information on the vocal jazz program at KCKCC, contact John Stafford at jstafford@kckcc.edu or call 913-288-7137.

Three area students at UMKC named to Phi Kappa Phi

Three Wyandotte County students recently were initiated into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

The students are LuDina Marney, Bonner Springs; Govinda Koirala, Kansas City, Kan.; and Bradley Hook, Kansas City, Kan.

Membership to the collegiate honor society is by invitation. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent also are eligible, along with faculty who have achieved scholarly distinction.