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A preview of Performing Arts at Johnson County Community College

February 2012

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater

The Color Purple Locomotion

Stuffed and Unstrung – Henson Alternative The Pine Leaf Boys

Ensemble Español

Dancers sweep audiences into ‘transcendent experience’

A Spanish dance ensemble that has been described as sensual and breathtaking will appear at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, in the Carlsen Center’s Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College. The Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, established in 1976, was the first Spanish dance center in the United States to gain in-residence status at a university. In 2011, it celebrated 35 years of residency at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago under the auspices of the department of music and dance. A member of the dance company will speak to the audience after the performance. Twelve dancers and three singers from the 40-person theater will grace the stage with guest artists Christian Lozano and Paloma Gomez. The dancers will present various kinds of Spanish dance, including classic, folkloric and flamenco. The flamenco is a passionate form known for its sweeping arm rhythms, hand clapping and foot stomping. Dame Libby Komaiko, the founder and artistic director of Ensemble Español, choreographed half of the company’s extensive repertoire of more than 125 works and produced major international flamenco ballets and folkloric suites with guest artists from Spain. Irma Suarez Ruis serves as associate artistic director.

A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune described one performance as “exciting, sensual and breathtaking.” And a reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the “meticulously structured concert moved at a scintillating and seductive pace” and “into the realm of genuine human emotion … a transcendent experience.” Tickets, $40, $30 913-469-4445

Stage version of The Color Purple on tap at Yardley Hall

In The Color Purple, Celie is a poor, uneducated 14-year-old girl growing up in rural Georgia. Her father, Alphonso, abuses her and warns her to tell no one. Celie feels trapped and alone. Then she begins writing letters to God. Alice Walker’s inspiring family saga comes to life on stage at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, in the Carlsen Center’s Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College.

The Color Purple, which is on a national tour, is based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the moving film by Steven Spielberg. It is the unforgettable story of Celie, who gains the strength to overcome adversity and find her voice in the world. With a joyous, Grammy-nominated score featuring gospel, jazz, pop and the blues, The Color Purple also is about hope and the healing power of love. The production, which is directed by Gary Griffin, was adapted for stage by Pulitzer Prize and Tony award winner Marsha Norman. The music and lyrics are by Grammy Award-winning composers/lyricists Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, and Donald Bryd handled the choreography. When producer Scott Sanders first came up with the idea of turning The Color Purple into a Broadway show, skeptics wondered how musical theatre would treat a story that spans four decades and deals with infanticide, domestic violence, racial oppression and spiritual crisis. Others thought that Spielberg’s 1985 cinematic adaptation with Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey would overshadow any other attempts at dramatization.

What kept Sanders going during the eight years that it took him to secure permissions, backing and a creative crew was a belief that music can transcend words. Critics seem to agree, as the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. Tickets $50, $40 913-469-4445

Locomotion author inspires youth audience with stories Lonnie Collins Motion is a fifth-grader who began living in a foster family after his parents died in a fire. He misses his little sister, Lili, who lives with a different foster family, and is trying to adjust to a new school. Lonnie, whose nickname is Locomotion, and Lili are characters in two award-winning books for children written by Jacqueline Woodson. The Brooklyn, N.Y., author will present Locomotion, A Teen’s Journey and the Power of Poetry at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 16, in Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College. The school/community show is open to the public. The two books about Lonnie are recommended for children grades 3 and up. Woodson’s appearance is sponsored by the Arts Education program, which is part of the college’s Performing Arts Series. In Woodson’s first book about Lonnie, entitled Locomotion, Lonnie's class learns to write poetry. With encouragement from his teacher, Lonnie begins to express his feelings through a series of poems. Suddenly, he finds the words to tell the world about his family, the fire that took his parents away, his little sister and his new world. In the sequel, Peace, Locomotion, Lonnie pours out his feelings in letters to his sister. He plans to give all of the letters to her some day so that she will know everything about him even though they were separated.

Locomotion was a National Book Award finalist and a story told entirely in poems. Even if you don’t read Locomotion before you read the sequel, Lonnie is such a good writer that he tells you everything you need to know in his letters to Lili.

Woodson grew up in Greenville, S.C., and Brooklyn. After graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in English, she became a drama therapist for homeless children and runaways in New York City until she decided to begin writing full-time. Woodson is a Coretta Scott King Honor Book winner and many of her novels have been named American Library Association Notable Children’s Books and American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. She likes to write about characters from a variety of races, backgrounds and classes, and introduce readers to the kinds of people they might not otherwise meet. Tickets $5 913-469-4445

Henson puppet show promises loads of laughs for adults Stuffed and Unstrung evolved from Henson’s previous production called Puppet Up! – Uncensored, which made its debut at the 2006 HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen, Colo., and then toured festivals in Scotland; Las Vegas, Nev.; and Australia. Henson is chairman of the Jim Henson Company and the Henson Alternative is the company’s label for content created specifically and exclusively for adult audiences. Henson served as executive director on the television projects Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars (which he also directed) and Jim Henson’s Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story (which he co-wrote and directed). Brian Henson’s film directing credits include The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island. Most recently, Henson has served as an executive producer of the Emmy-nominated science-readiness pre-school series Sid the Science Kid, airing daily on PBS KIDS.

If you like to laugh, check out Stuffed and Unstrung – Henson Alternative. The live uncensored show unleashes the perilous and provocative elements of comedic improvisation on stage with a bunch of puppets. The one-of-a-kind show, for adults only, will be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Carlsen Center’s Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College. The show, which officially opened in New York in April 2010, was put together by the Henson Alternative Puppet Theatre. Entertainment Weekly gave it a grade of “A” saying, “It’s nearly impossible to do anything but laugh.” Award-winning director and producer Brian Henson created the show with improvisational guru Patrick Bristow, who directs and hosts it. The show features a cast of six puppeteers who engage in improv games with input from the audience. The puppet action is projected on large screens flanking the stage while the puppeteers display their talents below, all in full view of the audience. The show, which is accompanied with music, is unpredictable, irreverent and rebellious. It’s never the same show twice because it’s built from story lines that start with prompts from the audience.

Bristow is best known for his numerous television appearances, most notably as Peter on the ABC Series Ellen. Other television credits include Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Friends and Mad About You. Bristow’s film credits include The Longest Yard, the first Austin Powers, So I Married an Ax Murderer and Twilight of the Golds. Tickets $80, $45, $35 913-469-4445

The Pine Leaf Boys give traditional Cajun sound a kick Wilson Savoy began playing boogie-woogie piano at the age of 10, already a fan of the rockabilly style of pianist Jerry Lee Lewis. When Savoy reached his teens, his father gave him a homemade accordion built from the wood of a sassafras tree that his grandfather had planted. Savoy took to the instrument, studying the styles of Amede Ardoin, Iry Lejeune and his father, Marc Savoy, considered a master himself. Those early influences live on in The Pine Leaf Boys, a band from southwestern Louisiana. Savoy and his four fellow musicians will bring their swinging, down-home Cajun music to Johnson County Community College at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Carlsen Center’s Polsky Theatre. The Pine Leaf Boys, nominated four times for Grammys, consist of Savoy, Cajun accordion and vocals; Courtney Granger, fiddle and vocals; Jon Bertrand, guitars; Drew Simon, drums and vocals; and Thomas David, bass. The five play the old-fashioned dance hall favorites and also inject their youthful exuberance into some of the more obscure songs from the past masters of Cajun, Creole and zydeco music. Since Hurricane Katrina, the group has toured the world at the invitation of the U.S. State Department to illustrate that real Cajun music is still thriving and full of life. Savoy, born near Eunice, La., has played in many groups over the years, including the White Mule Boys and the Red Stick Ramblers. When not on the bandstand, he is a frequent visitor at jam sessions at his father’s music store in Eunice or the Blue Moon Saloon in Lafayette, La., or is teaching at

music camps all over the world. In 2006, he debuted in the film All the King’s Men as a piano player alongside actor Sean Penn. In 2010, Savoy had a speaking role in the HBO series Treme, playing himself. Granger was born in Eunice, La., where he lives today. He produced his own solo CD in the mid 1990s, which landed him several awards. His endless repertoire of Cajun and classic country tunes, as well as his impeccable thoughtful fiddling and soulful singing, has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers in the world. Bertrand was raised in Jeff Davis Parish in Louisiana. Once he began playing guitar, he quickly became a rhythm machine with Dexter Ardoin, Cory McCauley and the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Bertrand is a rocker who is influenced by many groups, not just Cajun. Simon was born and raised in Lafayette. At 18, he started playing drums and singing in a local group called Acadien. Soon after, he learned to play the accordion, guitar and bass and developed a passion for singing some of the forgotten Cajun classics from the likes of Belton Richard, Lawrence Walker and others. David was born and raised in Lafayette. By 8 he was playing drums alongside his father, Ken David, a bassist with Jambalaya Cajun Band. At 16, his father bought an upright bass and Thomas David fell in love with it. He quickly became a solid bass player in both Cajun and zydeco music. Tickets $30 913-469-4445

Performing Arts Events J o h n s o n

C o u n t y

C o m m u n i t y

C o l l e g e

February 2012 Sunday



Wednesday 1




Saturday 4


Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater 8 p.m. Yardley Hall $40, $30












20 Ruel Joyce Series



The Color Purple 8 p.m. Yardley Hall $50, $40



Locomotion 9:45 a.m. Yardley Hall $5


David Sullivan, horn; Festival of One Acts Boris Allakhverdan, clarinet; 2 p.m. Dan Velicer, piano. Bodker Black Box Theatre * noon Recital Hall*


18 Festival of One Acts 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Festival of One Acts 7:30 p.m. Bodker Black Box Theatre *


Bodker Black Box Theatre*

Stuffed and Unstrung – Henson Alternative Puppet Theatre 8 p.m. Yardley Hall $80, $45, $35


Festival of One Acts 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Festival of One Acts 7:30 p.m.

Bodker Black Box Theatre*

Bodker Black Box Theatre *

The Pine Leaf Boys 8 p.m. Polsky Theatre $30

▲ 26

Festival of One Acts 2 p.m. Bodker Black Box Theatre *

27 Ruel Joyce Series Tami Lee Hughes, violin; Ellen Botorff, piano. noon Recital Hall*

For best seats, order early.

Call 913-469-4445 for tickets and information or buy tickets online at Online fee applicable.


28 JCCC Faculty Jazz Combo noon Polsky Theatre*

Box Office: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday • Call 913-469-4445 Tickets are required for most events in Polsky Theatre and Yardley Hall. Programs, dates and times are subject to change. Discounts are available for students. PAS Administrative Office: Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday • Call 913-469-4450 A request for interpretative services must be made 72 hours before a performance. Call the box office at 913-469-4445 or TDD/TTY 913-469-4485. Persons with disabilities who desire additional support services may contact services for patrons with disabilities, 913-469-8500, ext. 3521, or TDD/TTY 913-469-3885.




NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID Johnson County Community College

JCCC Arts Education program seeks community support Before the Ensemble Español dancers from Chicago perform for the public on the evening of Friday, Feb. 3, they will put on a special show earlier in the day for children from across Kansas City. That kind of outreach to young people occurs routinely at Johnson County Community College as part of the Performing Arts Series Arts Education program. Most of the two dozen or so nationally known artists who perform each year at the college spend extra time connecting with children through workshops and performances. These events are held at schools, community centers, other off-campus sites or the college. Now that the state of Kansas has cut funding for the Kansas Arts Commission, the college may have to cut back on arts education, said Emily Behrmann, general manager for the Performing Arts Series. To keep that from happening, she is asking ticket subscribers, regular donors and the community at large to donate enough money to make up for the shortfall. During recent years, the PAS Arts Education program has been receiving grants from the Mid-America Arts Alliance. The dollars covered up to 10 percent of the arts education budget in some years.

through this season, but we will need more private assistance for next year,” she said. Behrmann recently sent a letter to regular donors and ticket-holders asking for support for the program. Anyone who would like to direct contributions to PAS Arts Education programs may do so by visiting and clicking on Arts Education.

In early 2011, state funding for the Kansas Arts Commission was eliminated and arts organizations in the state were encouraged to find additional private dollars, not tax dollars, to support themselves. Without the state appropriation to the Kansas Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts said that Kansas was no longer eligible for matching federal funds through Mid-America.

The Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater will put on an hour-long performance that links students with the school districts’ curriculum standards at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 3, in the Carlsen Center’s Yardley Hall. It’s one of five such programs in Yardley Hall this season.

By the time the Performing Arts Series received word that it would not be receiving a Mid-America grant for the 2011-12 season, artists had been contracted for the arts education events, Behrmann said. “We can make it

Tickets for the Yardley Hall arts education events are $5 each and include online study guides. The public is welcome; reservations are available through the box office at 913-469-4445.

Places Magazine  

A preview of the Performing Arts Series at Johnson County Community College

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