Monday, October 13, 2014

“Babes in Arms” to Take the KCKCC Stage

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- The Kansas City Kansas Community College Theatre Department is preparing to take the stage for the first time this semester in Rodgers and Hart’s “Babes in Arms.”

Based on the original book by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, the musical is set at a summer stock theatre and focuses on a group of young apprentices who are determined to produce the original revue they have created.

At the same time, they continue to dodge the underhanded attempts of the theatre owner to squash their efforts at every turn. Further problems arise with the overbearing stage mother of an ex-child star and the inflated ego of a hack southern playwright. But of course, the show must go on.

“Babes in Arms” features some of the most well-known songs ever written including “My Funny Valentine,” “Where or When,” “The Lady is a Tramp” and “Johnny One-Note.” Screen legends Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland starred in a 1939 film version of the musical. However, other than keeping the title song as well as one other song from the musical, the film songs and plot are totally different. The book was rewritten in the 1950s and the songs were reordered. It is this later version of the musical that has been performed ever since.

Music is by Richard Rodgers, lyrics are by Lorenz Hart. The KCKCC production is directed by Charles Leader.

“Babes in Arms” is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16, 17 and 18 at the KCKCC Performing Arts Center, 7250 State Ave. There is also a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19. Tickets are $5 for students, KCKCC staff and faculty and senior citizens. Admission is $10 for adults. Group rates are available.

“I chose this musical for two reasons - first, because it features a cast of young people (college age) and that is what I have here primarily, young people. For many of this cast, it is their first experience doing a musical. This show serves as a great introduction,” Leader said. “Secondly, I chose it because of the great music. We did ‘In the Heights’ last year with its hip hop/rap score, very current musically with what is going on today. With Babes, I felt it was time to reach way back and introduce them to some truly definitive American classics they need to know and experience first-hand.”

The cast includes – Charles Humphrey, the Press Agent; Savannah Ferris, Terry Thompson; Tyler Rowe, Gus Field; Christopher Miller, Peter; Leah Walker, Betty; Lauren Kuebelbeck, Libby; Peral Fuller, Ann; Pat Boorman, Don and Steve Edwards; Jaziel Sandoval, Valentine White; Ethel Rodriquez, Susie Ward; Adam Lillich, Seymour Fleming; Leo d’Entremont, Bunny Bryon; David Ruis, Lee Calhoun; Scintila Capalla, Jennifer Owen and Paige Darby, Phyllis Owen.

Specially featured in the production are KCKCC alumni David Ruis and Adam Lillich as well as faculty member Paige Darby. Ruis was a member of the company when the college first produced the show in 2000.

“Rehearsals are going along great. The majority of the cast are new to the KCKCC stage, and the bonding that is taking place is terrific. They are talented both individually and collectively. I think our audiences are in for a pleasant surprise,” Leader said. “An added bonus will be hearing the songs performed with a full orchestra. You don’t get to have that kind of experience in most colleges. You have to go to New York for that.”

For more information or to make reservations, call 913-288-7106.