Cara Lieurance

Announcer & Producer

Cara Lieurance covers local music with live morning interviews, and produces WMUK's Let's Hear It weekday evenings Tues-Fri, showcasing local interviews and performances. She also produces The Pure Drop, an hour of Celtic music, with musician Dave Marlatt.

Email: cara.lieurance (at)

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.

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.

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.

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.