Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Kalamazoo Prepares For The Global Climate Strike

More than a dozen Michigan communities have scheduled events for Friday’s worldwide push for action on climate change. In Kalamazoo, organizers have been planning their program for months.

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Kalamazoo Civic

'Matilda The Musical' Brings High-Energy Rebellion To Kalamazoo Civic

The 91st season of the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre opens with Matilda The Musical , an adaptation of the classic children's book by Roald Dahl. Cara Lieurance talks to guest director Mychelle Hopkins (Old Town Playhouse, Traverse City, MI) about her history with Roald Dahl stage productions. Joining them are resident choreographer Lesa Dencklau, marketing director Janet Gover, and actor James Ilsley, who will take on the role of the outrageous and wicked headmistress Miss Trunchbull.

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Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

More than a dozen Michigan communities have scheduled events for Friday’s worldwide push for action on climate change. In Kalamazoo, organizers have been planning their program for months.


Kalamazoo Civic

The 91st season of the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre opens with Matilda The Musical, an adaptation of the classic children's book by Roald Dahl. Cara Lieurance talks to guest director Mychelle Hopkins (Old Town Playhouse, Traverse City, MI) about her history with Roald Dahl stage productions. Joining them are resident choreographer Lesa Dencklau, marketing director Janet Gover, and actor James Ilsley, who will take on the role of the outrageous and wicked headmistress Miss Trunchbull. 


Joan Herrington, chair of the Department of Theater at WMU, and professor of music theatre performance, Jay Berkow, share their insight and behind-the-scenes details on the new season of WMU Theatre. Musicals include the satirical Urinetown and Sondheim's classic Sunday In The Park With George. In December, the Tony Award-winning performer Cady Huffman, who originated the role of Ulla in The Producers, appears in Next Stop, Broadway.

Several productions encourage audiences to contend with issues from diverse viewponts, as in Tribes, in which a deaf person grows up in a hearing family. Gem of the Ocean, by playwright August Wilson, examines black life at the turn of the last century;  Dominique Morriseau's Blood At The Root is a ripped-from-the-headlines play about the Jena Six. On the lighter side, there's the farce Restoration Comedy and Peter Schaffer's classic about classical composers, Amadeus.


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The Gilmore Keyboard Festival will present five solo recitals this Sep - Jan, representing an array of talent  making waves in the classical world. Executive director Pierre Van Der Westhuizen joins Cara Lieurance to talk about how he and the festival  discover, support, and showcase the next generation of great artists.

Tiffany Poon is the first to perform, on Sep 22. A "vlogger," she makes popular videos of her practice sessions on YouTube, reaching over 130,000 subscribers. On Oct 6, two Lang Lang Scholars, Alia Alsafa and Jeffrey Chin, offer a joint recital. The Russian-Lithuanian Lukas Geniušus, from a family of venerated classical musicians, appears on Oct 20. Charles Richard-Hamelin, a Canadian who won the silver medal in the 2015 International Chopin Piano Competition, will perform on Nov 10; and Wei Luo, a 2018 Gilmore Young Artist, closes the series on Jan 19.

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Teams from Chicago, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Toledo and Kalamazoo will converge this weekend for the 11th annual Kalamazoo Improv Festival, hosted by Crawlspace Theatre. Dann Sytsma talks with Cara Lieurance about the packed schedule of performances and workshops. 

On Friday and Saturday, shows will be held at 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9:30 pm at Farmers Alley Theatre. Workshops will be held Saturday at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm at the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo.

A blue sign with white lettering that says "Kalamazoo," at the train station downtown.
Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Raven Britt was at a dinner party a couple of years ago, when of the other guests made a prediction. As we hear in this "Why's That?" story that first aired in February, Raven was telling him that she’d just moved to Kalamazoo.


Sy Ellens

It’s easy to recognize a painting by Sy Ellens. He paints with a unique aerial perspective, as if the viewer looks down upon the earth from the heavens. The land is dotted with trees, a patchwork quilt of farmland, broken up by winding rivers and sparkling lakes. His colors are bright: warm and fiery reds, oranges and yellows, calming blues, greens, and purples.


Earlene McMichael | WMUK

It'll be a historic moment Saturday at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Nearly all the museum’s permanent collection has been deinstalled for a major 12-week touring exhibit of African-American art. Kalamazoo is one of six stops in the U.S. for the Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum of Harlem installation, and the only city in the Midwest. Click on the icon below to learn more from our interview today with KIA Executive Director Belinda Tate.


Studio Museum in Harlem

On Sep 14, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts will open its doors to the public for a touring exhibition titled Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem. It's the only midwest stop for this collection of 91 works representing a diverse array of works created by artists of African descent from the 1920s to the present.

Chief curator Rehema Barber, who joined the KIA in April 2019, says it's an experience filled with strong images, surprising textures, materials, and viewpoints that rewards multiple viewings. She and the KIA's executive director, Belinda Tate, were inspired to showcase pieces from the KIA's own collection in a complementary exhibit, Resilience: African American Artists as Agents of Change. They also decided to celebrate the work of regional artists, in a third exhibit titled Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan.

The KIA will host an evening talk with former Studio Museum curator Laurel Haynes, who helped develop the exhibit, on Thurs, Sep 12 at 6:30 pm. Marketing director Katie Houston says in addition to the opening day on Sep 14, which will be free to the whole community, the KIA has collaborated on related events with the Black Arts and Cultural Center, Kalamazoo College's Arcus Center, Western Michigan University, the Kalamazoo Public Library, and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. 

Black Refractions, Resilience, and Where We Stand will be on display until Dec 8. 


Anti-abortion advocates gather outside the Planned Parenthood in St. Louis in June of 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson / The Associated Press

The race would decide which party controlled the Michigan Senate. Right to Life — the state’s leading anti-abortion group — backed the Democrat. It was a 1985 special election. The Democratic candidate’s name was Stephen Monsma, a former lawmaker and Calvin College political science professor.


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