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The Arts

March 2024
March 7–17
Farmers Alley Theatre

Dwandra Nickole Lampkin will have a starring role in this production about the relationships of a tight-knit group of workers at a small automotive factory on the brink of closure.

Lampkin, an associate professor of theatre at Western Michigan University, has performed in a number of theater productions and in such television shows as Law and Order, Third Watch and Wonderland. The production, directed by Dee Dee Batteast, will also include Jessica Krolik, Dan Johnson and Delanti Hall.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. March 7–9 and 14–16 and 2 p.m. March 10 and 17. Tickets are $25–$44 and available by calling the Farmers Alley box office, 343-2727, or visiting farmersalleytheatre.com.

March 8-17
Kalamazoo Civic Theatre

Just try to keep up with the 150 characters played by a small cast in this fast-paced whodunit at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre.

A mix of comedy and mystery, this parody play is an adaptation of the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock of the same name. The local production features Drew Dixon, Katherine Harte-DeCoux, David Noyes, Trevor Stefanick, Traci Glasscock, Jake Burrell and Nora Hauk.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. March 8, 9, 15 and 16 and 2 p.m. March 10 and 17. Tickets are $17–$30 and available at Kazoocivic.com.

March 15–30
New Vic Theatre

Sarah Lynn Roddis, who has been in numerous local theater productions, has the sole role in this one-woman show examining American society, art, humanity and the feminist movement.

In a role originated by Lily Tomlin, Roddis first becomes Trudy, a clever observer of the society around her and who becomes the play’s guiding conscience as Roddis transforms into other characters. Roddis has a long list of credits for performances at the New Vic Theatre and Kalamazoo Civic, including as Annie Sullivan in the Civic’s 2014 production of The Miracle Worker.

Show times are 8 p.m. March 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30. Tickets are $32 and available at thenewvictheatre.org.

March 15–24
WMU Theatre

Mary Zimmerman’s retelling of the classic Greek myth about the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts will be staged in the Williams Theatre at Western Michigan University.

In the play, Jason and his crew not only deal with an array of daunting challenges in their “first voyage of the world,” but encounter fantastical characters such as Medea and Hercules.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. March 15 and 22 and 2 p.m. March 17 and 24. Tickets are $7–$21 and available by calling 387-6222 or visiting wmich.edu/theatre.

March 23
All Ears Theatre

This comedy about truck drivers will be performed at 6 p.m. March 23 at the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition, 315 W. Michigan Ave.

The free, live all-audio production features a script written by Kalamazoo-based writer and longtime Encore contributor Robert M. Weir. He has written nine scripts for All Ears Theatre, with the first one produced in 2008.

Performances are recorded and broadcast at a later date, primarily on SoundCloud. For more information, visit allearstheatre.org.

Dutchman, Feb. 29–March 3, Kalamazoo College’s Festival Playhouse

March 16
Ballet Arts Ensemble

A world premiere by guest choreographer Jeff Wolfe will be one of the highlights when this youth dance ensemble performs its spring concert at 4:30 p.m. March 16 at the Gull Lake Center for the Fine Arts, at 7753 N. 34th St., in Richland.

The concert, which will celebrate dance works from 1869–2024, will feature Wolfe’s piece Fallen. Other performances will include a reinterpretation of Don Quixote, Act III, featuring guest dancer Alexandra Meister-Upleger of Grand Rapids Ballet.

Tickets are $22 and can be purchased in advance at baetickets.org. For more information, visit balletartsensemble.org.

Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RAD Fest) — Feb. 29–March 3, Epic Center

Throughout the month
Crawlspace Comedy Theatre

There will be a lot to laugh about this month when improv groups take the stage at the comedy space in the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition building, at 315 W. Michigan Ave.

Scheduled performances are Canned Champagne, a group of graduates of Crawlspace, March 1; Slaptail Nation Presents: Slap Your Tail Comedy, featuring comedians from Kalamazoo, Detroit, Grand Rapids, and South Bend, Indiana, March 9; Crawlspace Eviction, March 15–16; Pop Scholars, returning to Crawlspace on March 22 after being favorites of the Kalamazoo Improv Festival; Riddled with English, March 23; Blunder Bus, also previous Improv Festival performers, March 29; and Joyce II Men (pictured above), a Kalamazoo-based group, March 30.

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $2–$15. For more information, visit crawlspacecomedy.com.

Throughout the month
Various venues

Rebecca F. Kuang’s 2023 acclaimed novel, Yellowface, will be the focus of activities and discussions this month as the selection for the 2024 Reading Together program.

Coordinated by the Kalamazoo Public Library, Reading Together is a community reading program that encourages the community to read and discuss the same book and culminates in a public presentation by the book’s author.

Yellowface is a novel about a writer and the world of literary publishing and tackles themes including the fine line between cultural appreciation and appropriation.

Kuang will discuss her book at 3 p.m. March 23 at Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. The presentation is free.

Prior to Kuang’s visit, a number of events related to the book will occur:

  • Publishing from the Inside, virtual presentation by publishing agents, 6:30 p.m. March 6.
  • The Chinese American Experience, talk by Dr. Ying Zeng, 6:30 p.m. March 13 at Portage Zhang Senior Center, 203 E. Centre Ave.
  • The Subtlety of Satire, talk with author Andy Mozina, 6:30 p.m. March 19, Central Library.
  • Yellowface through an Ethics Lens, panel discussion, 6:30 p.m. March 21, Fetzer Center, WMU.

For a complete list of Reading Together activities, visit kpl.gov/reading-together.

Throughout the month
Various venues

Local authors and an acclaimed national journalist are among those presenting author talks in person or online this month:

  • Nina Totenberg (pictured to left), legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio, will discuss her book Dinners with Ruth, about her long friendship with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in an online presentation at 4 p.m. March 6. Registration is required; visit kpl.gov.
  • Christopher Paolini will discuss his young-adult fantasy series World of Eragon in an online talk at 4 p.m. March 14. Registration is required; visit kpl.gov.
  • Brian Wilson, Western Michigan University professor and author of several books, including his latest, The California Days of Ralph Waldo Emerson, will give an in-person talk at 6 p.m. March 19 at Richland Community Library, 8951 Park St., Richland. For more information, visit richlandlibrary.org.
  • Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles and Circe, will talk about turning Greek classics into modern fiction in an online presentation at 7 p.m. March 21. Registration is required; visit kpl.gov.
March 19
Portage Zhang Senior Center

This award-winning historical fiction author will be on hand starting at 6:30 p.m. to discuss her work, including her 2016 novel, Salt to the Sea, which is the Portage District Library’s 2024 Communiteen Reading selection.

Sepetys is acclaimed for giving voice to underrepresented history and those who experienced it. Her books have won or been shortlisted for more than 40 book prizes, are included on more than 30 state reading lists, and are currently in development for film and television.

Sepetys’ presentation is free, but reservations are requested and can be made online at communiteenreadportage.com/2024.

March 22
Portage District Library

A chance to meet local authors and explore the variety of their work will be available from 5–8 p.m. at the library.

More than 30 local authors of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and youth literature are expected to participate, and authors will have copies of their works for sale.

For a list of participating authors, visit events.portagelibrary.info/event/9541235.

March 1–2
Kalamazoo Valley Museum

This annual festival celebrating Kalamazoo’s stringed-instrument heritage with performances, workshops and vendors returns this month to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Anna Whitten Hall, in downtown Kalamazoo.

The free festival will feature 10 performances by artists and groups that include folk musician Joel Mabus, children’s group El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil Mariachi, the hot-club jazz of Djangophonique, Americana/blues group Grace Thiesen Band, folk singer/songwriter Mattijane Brooks, and country/folk/gospel band Luke Lenhart and the Green Valley Boys.

Workshops will include techniques for the ukulele, dobro, upright bass and bass guitar, and banjo.
The festival runs from 5:30–9 p.m. March 1 and 9:30 a.m.–7 p.m. March 2. For a complete schedule, visit kalamazoomuseum.org/events/fretboard-festival

Throughout the month
Various venues

Two festivals, guest artists and faculty recitals are on tap in March at Western Michigan University’s School of Music Unless noted, performances will be in the university’s Dalton Center Recital Hall and are free. Scheduled this month are:

  • Western Invitational Jazz Festival, featuring the University Jazz Orchestra and trombonist Elliot Mason, 7:30 p.m. March 2, $5–$15.
  • Between Feathers, a new-music ensemble, 7:30 p.m. March 12.
  • NOW Ensemble, a chamber-music quintet, 7:30 p.m. March 13, with a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., $5–$15.
  • Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival, featuring the Festival Chorus, Honors Choir, University Chorale and the WMU treble chorus Anima, 7 p.m. March 14, Miller Auditorium.
  • Ben Hahn, trombone, 1 p.m. March 17.
  • David Mercedes, tuba, 7:30 p.m. March 18.
  • GC 46, a performance by the WMU student vocal jazz groups Gold Company and Gold Company II, 7:30 p.m. March 22 and 23, $10–$20.
  • Jazz Combo Showcase, 5 p.m. March 25.
  • Martha Councell-Vargas & Ann DuHamel, flute and piano, 7:30 p.m. March 27, with a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m., $5–$15.
  • Robert White & Yu-Lien The, trumpet and piano, 7:30 p.m. March 28.

To purchase tickets, go to wmich.edu/music/events.

Throughout the month
Various venues

Magic-themed music, female composers and the world premiere of a piece written by Branford Marsalis promise to make for interesting performances by the KSO this month.

The Magical Melodies concert, at 7 p.m. March 5 in Miller Auditorium, will include pieces from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and John Williams’ scores for the Harry Potter movies. Tickets are $5–$18.

KSO’s string orchestra will perform Music, She Wrote, a program celebrating female composers, at 3 p.m. March 19 in Western Michigan University’s Dalton Center Recital Hall, Tickets are $5–$35.

Yekwon Sunwoo
Branford Marsalis

A work written for the KSO by saxophonist and composer Branford Marsalis will take center stage when the symphony presents Journeys: Shostakovich, Ravel & Marsalis at 7:30 p.m. March 23 in Miller Auditorium. The program will feature South Korean pianist Yekwon Sunwoo and include Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand and Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony.

Tickets are $5–$68. To purchase tickets, visit kalamazoosymphony.com.

March 5
Kalamazoo Choral Arts

The Kalamazoo College Singers will join the Kalamazoo Choral Arts Chorus for this annual vocal concert celebrating love in its many forms.

The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. in Kalamazoo College’s Dalton Theatre, in the Lights Fine Arts Building. The show will also be available to view online.

Tickets are $5–$19. For more information, visit kalamazoochoralarts.org.

March 9
Kalamazoo Philharmonia

Three examples of compositional mastery will be featured by this orchestra of amateur and professional musicians.

The program will include Miloslav Kabelác’s The Mystery of Time, Johannes Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn, and Samuel Barber’s Symphony in One Movement.

The Philharmonia performs at 7:30 p.m. in Kalamazoo College’s Dalton Theatre. Tickets are $3–$7 and available at the door. For more information, visit philharmonia.kzoo.edu.

March 15
Fontana Chamber Arts

Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Cyrille Aimée will showcase her improvisational style on WMU’s Dalton Center Recital Hall stage at 7:30 p.m.

Fontana Chamber Arts is presenting this acclaimed vocalist whose career spans from singing on street corners in Europe to performing at prestigious jazz festivals and on Broadway. She has been called a “rising star in the galaxy of jazz singers” by the New York Times.

Aimée’s program will be announced from the stage. Tickets are $15–$30 and available at fontanamusic.org or by calling 250-9684.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Work by young artists from across Southwest Michigan will be featured in these two annual exhibitions at the KIA.

Young Artists of Kalamazoo County 2024, which opened in February and runs through March 17, features artwork by youth from Kalamazoo County elementary and middle schools.

Works by Southwest Michigan high school students will be highlighted in the High School Area Show 2024, a juried exhibition that offers students the opportunity to win scholarships and prizes. The show opens from 6–8 p.m. March 30, with free admission that evening, and runs through April 28. The awards ceremony will be held 6-8 p.m. March 29.

For more information, visit kiarts.org.

March 1
Downtown Kalamazoo

In conjunction with the Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (RAD Fest), the March Art Hop will have a theme celebrating movement and dance.

This free event, organized by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, runs from 5–8 p.m. and features a variety of artists’ works as well as live music and the chance to visit downtown businesses.

The Arts Council has an online guide and map of Art Hop sites and information about participating artists at KalamazooArtHop.org.

March 19–April 2
Richmond Center for Visual Arts

Works by students in Western Michigan University’s Gwen Frostic School of Art will be featured in this jurored exhibition in the Monroe-Brown Gallery, with an opening reception from 5–8 p.m. March 22.

The exhibition’s juror is Kim Shaw, programs director at the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo.

Gallery hours are noon–6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, noon–8 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit wmich.edu/art/galleries.

March 23
Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

This culinary celebration of the book arts, as delicious as it is creative, will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the KBAC, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A.

Entrants create food items inspired by their favorite books, with separate categories for edible books made by children and edible books made by adults.

The setup and optimum time to view the books for this popular annual competition will be from 4:30–5:30 p.m., with voting until 6 p.m. Winners will be announced at 6 p.m., followed by an opportunity for attendees to eat the entries.

For more information, visit kalbookarts.org.

The Illustrated Accordion, through March 15, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

American Realism: Visions of America, 1900-1950, through April 14, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Kyungmi Shin: A Story to Finding Us, through May 12, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

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Encore Magazine is Southwest Michigan’s Magazine, bringing readers intriguing images and stories of the good things, good works and great people of our corner of the mitten. Published 12 times a year, Encore in its fifth decade of serving Southwest Michigan, carrying on a historic tradition of being the premier lifestyle publication of the greater Kalamazoo area.

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