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University of Missouri

Live from CoMo

Check out spring 2014 live performance in Columbia.

Greenhouse Theatre Project

GreenHouse Theatre Project performed their take on Macbeth at a yoga studio with a climbing wall. Photo by Will Palmer.

Since at least the 1920s, Mizzou students have been learning the ropes of theatrical performance as part of their academics. This midwinter, student actors are performing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. But they stage new work, too. During the Great Depression, theater professor Donovan Rhynsburger spotted a more local bard, Tennessee Williams, then an MU journalism student whose scripts stood out in one-act playwriting competitions in 1930 and 1932. In 1945, Williams’ The Glass Menagerie appeared on Broadway, and in 1947, MU students performed it locally. In the early days, students performed at the Hall Theatre at 102 S. Ninth St., an abandoned cafeteria in Lathrop Hall and occasionally in Jesse Hall. Finally in 1960, the Fine Arts Building opened, and students could perform on their own campus stage. Since then, the department has grown to include more students, faculty and programs, such as The Summer Repertory Theatre and The Black Theatre Workshop. In 2011, MU leased the Missouri Theatre on 203 S. Ninth St., where audiences take in performances of all sorts.

ticket_webCheck out spring 2014 live performances in Columbia.

March 7–8
Missouri Contemporary Ballet: Music in Motion
Missouri Theatre
203 S. Ninth St.

March 20
Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60
Missouri Theatre
203 S. Ninth St.

April 3
Tab Benoit (blues)
The Blue Note
17 N. Ninth St.

April 6
West Side Story
Jesse Auditorium

April 13
Catherine Russell (jazz vocalist)
Murry’s
3107 Green Meadows Way

April 29
Moscow Festival Ballet:
Don Quixote

Jesse Auditorium

May 9
Jennifer Koh (violinist):
Bach and Beyond
Missouri Theatre
203 S. Ninth St.

May 21–25
GreenHouse Theatre Project
Tartuffe (comedy)
Yoga Sol
210 St. James St.

June 20–22, 27–29
Talking Horse Productions
Good People (comedy)
Berlin Theatre
220 N. 10th St.

Missouri Contemporary Ballet

If ballet is a hothouse flower among the arts, the Missouri Contemporary Ballet has found friendly environs in Columbia. The not-for-profit professional ballet company, now in its eighth season, has cultivated an innovative repertoire. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, “The dancers have traveled the world — artistically and physically. They’ve collaborated with local musicians. They’ve interpreted literary works. They’ve donned fishnets and dabbled in burlesque. They’ve embodied Alice et al. and ventured down the rabbit hole. They’ve even put on tutus and danced en pointe to classical music.” MCB also offers classes for students age 3 and up.

Talking Horse Theatre

Talking Horse Productions is located in downtown Columbia’s bourgeoning North Village Arts District, which supports several arts and arts-related businesses, including galleries, an interior-design business, dance studios and The Bridge, which offers music lessons during the day and live music at night. Meanwhile, back at the Talking Horse, David Crespy, professor of theater at MU, will direct the world premier of The Sudden Glide, his comedy about a veteran actress who has been nominated for a best actress Oscar once again but is up against Meryl Streep. The show runs April 17–19, 25–27.

GreenHouse Theatre Project

Although actresses Emily Adams of Great Britain and Elizabeth Braaten Palmieri of Minnesota moved to Columbia because of their spouses’ jobs, the thespians’ professional lives have moved along quickly as co-founders and artistic directors of GreenHouse Theatre Project. Their company has no permanent venue, instead billing itself as innovative theater (e.g., a psychedelic Nutcracker set in the 1960s) in unexpected places (e.g., Macbeth performed in a yoga studio and incorporating a climbing wall). Upcoming performances include a “fresh take” on Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters April 2–6 at PS Gallery, 1025 E. Walnut St. and Tartuffe May 21–25 at Yoga Sol, 210 St. James St.

Maplewood Barn Community Theatre

Located in Nifong Park in southern Columbia, the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre offers family-friendly outdoor performances on what was once a pioneer-era estate. Since 1973, the city of Columbia set its theater in motion in the estate’s century-old barn, which burned in 2010. A new “barn” at the site opened in 2012 with a run of Fiddler on the Roof. Audiences come with blankets and lawn chairs to get comfy for the show. Elsewhere on the grounds sits a collection of historic buildings from in and around Columbia.

TRYPS

Theater Reaching Young People and Schools, or TRYPS, has been a gateway to performing arts in Columbia since 2000. Artistic Director Jill Womack, BA ’84, and her background in theater, advertising and fundraising have built a busy and varied schedule where local K–12sters, dabblers and dedicated performers alike, can participate in programs and shows matching their ability and commitment. The creative staff teaches singing, dancing and acting, and the organization sometimes stages original work. TRYPS is located in the Columbia Mall.

The Blue Note

If anything that started as recently as 1980 qualifies as a Columbia icon, it’s The Blue Note. The music venue started by Richard King and Phil Costello opened at 912 Business Loop 70 E. and moved to 17 N. Ninth St. in 1990. King still runs the business, which has brought numerous big-name acts to town over the decades. These include Phish, REM, Chuck Berry, Black Flag, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. The Note annually hosts Ninth Street Summerfest, a series of free outdoor concerts.

University Concert Series

Since its founding in 1907, Mizzou’s University Concert Series has been presenting fine entertainment to campus and Columbia. Performers have included Itzhak Perlman, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Bill Cosby, Smoky Robinson and Bob Dylan. Performances currently are mounted at Jesse Auditorium and the Missouri Theatre. However, due to renovations scheduled for Jesse Hall, the season starting in fall 2014 will take place exclusively at the Missouri Theatre. MU leases the Missouri Theatre and has the option to purchase it in summer 2014. The Missouri Theatre’s stage is a little smaller than Jesse’s but will accommodate all but the national touring productions of Broadway musicals.

“We Always Swing” Jazz Series

Jon Poses, MA ’80, launched the jazz series in 1995 and has since brought to Columbia not only greats such as Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck and Pat Matheny but also young performers such as Eldar Djangirov, Gerald Clayton and Grace Kelly. Concert venues range from Murry’s restaurant with its 125-seat capacity to larger halls including The Blue Note, Missouri Theatre and Jesse Auditorium, which seats more than 1,700. The organization’s educational component puts musicians face to face with local elementary and middle school students through its master classes and Jazz in the Schools program. The series also offers a free jazz library at its 21 N. 10th St. offices. Since 2009, the jazz series has been affiliated with MU’s College of Arts and Science, which helps sponsor and promote performances and provides benefits to full-time staff.