College Town. City Life.

Jacob Aaron Cullum (as Giraffe), Olivia Howell (as Annemarie Johansen), Catie Wolff (as Kirsti), and Rachel Brennan Leyh (Ellen Rosen) in the Coterie Theatre and UMKO co-production of Number the Stars. Photo credit: Robert Schraeder.

UMKC’s weekly arts and culture roundup

Every week, the University of Missouri-Kansas City offers an array of on-campus activities. It’s nothing new. UMKC has a long legacy of hosting countless culturally enriching events. These activities are part of what has made UMKC an arts and culture powerhouse. The influence of UMKC-based and UMKC-trained artists extends well beyond the campus’ edge, so their activities are listed here as well.

Featured Event: “Number the Stars”

The Coterie Theatre and UMKC Theatre have come together to dramatize one of history’s most inspiring stories of human decency. Based on the Newbery Medal award-winning book by Lois Lowry, Number the Stars is set in World War II as citizens of Denmark smuggled out as many of its Jewish population as possible, often right under the noses of German soldiers and their trained dogs.

In the play, the Johansen family faces Nazi interrogations, fierce dogs and the loss of loved ones to help their neighbors, the Rosens, escape across the sea to Sweden.

The Coterie’s education partner on this production is the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education. MCHE teaches the history of the Holocaust, applying its lessons to counter indifference, intolerance, and genocide.

Cynthia Levin, producing artistic director of the Unicorn Theatre, comes to the Coterie Theatre to direct Number the Stars.

“I’m thrilled to be back at the Coterie to direct Number the Stars,” Levin said. “This is such a powerful story and it’s an honor being able to tell it.”

Levin oversees a legion of designers, all from UMKC Theatre’s acclaimed MFA design and stage management program. The production team will draw audiences into the unique World War II atmosphere of occupied Denmark using charcoal drawings inspired from those of war prisoners, and then both projected and animated in large scale.

The professional cast of Number the Stars is comprised of several of Kansas City’s most prominent actors including Martin Buchanan, Heidi Van, Manon Halliburton and Coleman Crenshaw. The cast also includes Noel Collins, Jacob Cullum, Olivia Howell, Rachel Leyh, Keaton Schmidt and Catie Wolff.

What: The Coterie Theatre and UMKC Theatre co-present “Number the Stars,” based on Lois Lowry’s book on the rescue of the Danish Jewish population during World War II.
Where: 2450 Grand Blvd., Suite 144, Kansas City, Mo.
When: Now through February 21.
UMKC Connection: Two UMKC graduate theatre students founded the Coterie.
Get more details.

Friday, February 1 – Thursday, February 7

What: Conservatory Connections: Petrella Ensemble. This new series expands the partnership between the Nelson Atkins Museum and the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance’s Academy and features the talents of the Consevatory’s award-winning faculty. Set in the dramatic, light-filled space of Lens 2, these intimate performances include music inspired by works in the museum’s collections. The museum welcomes the esteemed Petrella Ensemble (Diane Helfers Petrella, piano, and Nick Petrella, percussion) to perform pieces for piano and mallet instruments, featuring works by Chen Yi, Aleksandra Vrebelov, William Cahn and James Romig.
Where: Lens 2 Event Room, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art,4525 Oak Street
Kansas City, Mo.
When: Friday, February 1, 6:30 p.m.
It’s free. Get more details.

What: Master’s recital with Brandon Cornett, cello, and Jonathan Young, piano.
Where: Diastole, 2501 Holmes Street, Kansas City, Mo.
When: Saturday, February 2, 5 p.m.
Free. Get more details.

What: The Kansas City Rep and UMKC Theatre co-present “Death of a Salesman.”
Where: Spencer Theatre, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.
When: Runs through February 10.
Get more details.

What: Jessica Cary, oboe Master’s Recital
with Victoria Fatu, piano; Virginia Q. Backman, flute; and the Midwest Chamber Ensemble with Steve Lewis, conductor
Where: Prairie Baptist Church, 7416 Roe Avenue, Prairie Village, Ks.
When: Sunday, February 3, 7:30 p.m.
It’s free. Get more details.

What: The UMKC Gallery of Art’s new exhibit is Robert Howsare’s “Rational Aesthetics.” Howsare’s kinetic multimedia installations deal with the limitations of human optical perception. Utilizing found tools such as turntables and film projectors, he creates abstract imagery that emphasizes rhythm and color.
Where: UMKC Gallery of Art, Room 203, 5015 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo.
When: The exhibit will run through February 15.
Get more details.

What: Stern Conducts Schumann, plus “Picture Studies.” The program concludes with the world premiere of a new composition by Adam Schoenberg, co-commissioned by the KCS and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, inspired by works from the Nelson’s own collection. Narek Hakhnazaryan, gold medal winner of the prestigious 2011 International Tchaikovsky competition, makes his KCS debut with Schumann’s brilliant Cello Concerto.
When: February 1-3.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.
UMKC Connection:
The Kansas City Symphony was founded by faculty member Karl Krueger in 1933.
Get more details.

What: “On Golden Pond” is a poignant comedy about the seasons of life and the bond that can develop between the very young and the very old.
Where: The New Theatre Restaurant, 9299 Foster, Overland Park, Ks.
When: Through March 31, 2013.
UMKC Connection: Co-owners Dennis Hennessy and Richard Carrothers are both UMKC graduates and both were presented this year with honorary doctorates by the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences.
Get more details.

  • Recent UMKC News

    A Special Calling

    Q&A with Angelique Long, whose disabilities have inspired a life … Read more

    Seven Things to do this Weekend

    Don’t miss these top events We are Kansas City’s university, … Read more

    Investing in the Future

    School of Education donors and scholars break bread, pursue dreams … Read more