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The Arts

May 2024
May 3–19
The Civic Theatre

A musical drama about a con man who posed as a lawyer, doctor and pilot will land on the Civic stage this month.

Ian Cummisford has the lead role of Frank Abagnale Jr., a teenager who runs away from home and finds adventure assuming a multitude of identities, while Mitch Voss plays FBI agent Carl Hanratty, who is determined to bring Abagnale in.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 and 2 p.m. May 5, 12 and 19 at the Civic Auditorium, 329 S. Park St. Tickets are $17–$30 and can be purchased by calling the Civic box office at
343-1313 or online at kazoocivic.com.

May 16–19
Festival Playhouse

This play explores the adventures and pitfalls that occur when a teenage social outcast enlists a tiny supercomputer called “The Squip” to make him popular and cool.

The Kalamazoo College Festival Playhouse production is directed by Quincy Thomas. It is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Ned Vizzini and features music and lyrics by Joe Iconis.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 16–18 and 2 p.m. May 19 at Kalamazoo College’s Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St. Tickets are $5–$25 and available by calling the box office at 337-7333 or online at festivalplayhouse.kzoo.edu.

May 17–26
WMU Theatre

Western Michigan University student actors will bring Shakespeare’s political thriller about the Roman dictator Julius Caesar to the stage this month.

The play tells the story of the conspiracy against Caesar, his assassination and the defeat of his conspirators. It will be performed in the York Arena Theatre, on WMU’s campus.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 17 and 24 and 2 p.m. May 19 and 26. Tickets are $7–$21 and available by calling the box office at 387-6222 or online at wmich.edu/theatre.

May 10–19
Queer Theatre Kalamazoo

This musical, which combines botany with family drama while exploring the duality of nature versus nurture, will be performed at Crawlspace Comedy Theatre, 315 W. Michigan Ave.

It weaves plant-based themes into its story of how two business-owning families, each rooted in prejudice, change their views when their queer kids start rooting for one another.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 and 2 p.m. May 11 and 19. Tickets are on a name-your-price basis and available at queertk.org.

May 16
All Ears Theatre

See what audio theater magic can be created in just 72 hours at this new play festival.

Four 10-minute plays will be performed in this free production. Writers are given guidelines, genres and a must-use line on May 16, directors get scripts and a cast on May 17, and the final productions will be presented at 6 p.m. May 18 at the Kalamazoo Nonprofit Advocacy Coalition, 315 W. Michigan Ave. For more information, visit allearstheatre.org.

John & Abigail: An American Love Story, May 3–11, New Vic Theatre
Sondheim on Sondheim, May 2–12, Farmers Alley Theatre

May 17–19
Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers

The spring performance of Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers will feature of collaboration of choreographers, dancers and musicians.

The program, to be performed in the Wellspring Theater, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 204, will include pieces by Wellspring choreographers Cori Terry, Marisa Bianan and Angel Sutton and composers and musicians Carolyn Koebel, Cori Somers and Laurie Jarski.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. May 17 and 18, and 2 p.m. May 19. Tickets can be purchased at wellspringdance.org or by calling 342-4354.

Throughout the month
Various venues

Several youth dance ensembles will perform during May:

  • Wild Things will be performed by Tye Chua Dance at 2 and 5 p.m. May 4 and 4 p.m. May 5 in the KNAC Theater, 315 W. Michigan Ave. Tickets are $5–$15 and available at tyechuadance.com.
  • A Youth Dance Showcase, featuring youth dancers from Wellspring Dance Academy’s Youth Performing Ensemble, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Chinese Academy, and El Concilio’s Danza Folklorica, will be presented at 1p.m. May 11 in the Wellspring Theater, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. Tickets are donation-based. For more information, visit wellspringdance.org.
  • Cinderella, performed by the dancers of Ballet Kalamazoo and guest artist Joseph VanHarn, will be presented at 6 p.m. May 18 and 2 p.m. May 19 at Comstock Community Auditorium, 2107 N. 26th St. For ticket prices, visit balletkalamazoo.com.
Throughout the month
Various venues

Several authors will give in-person presentations this month:

From Left: Mark Nepo, Ghassan Zeineddine and Janie Paul
  • Mark Nepo, local poet, philosopher and author of 25 books, will speak at 2 p.m. May 6 at the Kalamazoo Public Library. He will discuss his 2019 work Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression and how the lifelong process of listening, reflecting and bearing witness to the truth of living reveals the mysteries of life.
  • Ghassan Zeineddine, Arab-American author of the story collection Dearborn, will be on hand for two programs on May 11 at the Kalamazoo Public Library’s Oshtemo Branch. Zeineddine will give a creative writing workshop from 10:30 a.m.–noon, with registration at kpl.gov required to attend. At 2 p.m., the program Stories & Songs of Dearborn will pair music by the The Bahar Ensemble of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra with Zeineddine giving readings from his stories.
  • Janie Paul, author of Making Art in Prison: Survival & Resistance, will talk at 6 p.m. May 28 at Richland Community Library, 8951 Park St. She will talk about the culture of prison art communities and share stories from her 27 years curating the annual Exhibition of Artists in Michigan Prisons. For more information, visit richlandlibrary.org.

Through May 12
Various venues

The festival, which began on April 24, continues this month with performances by such Internationally renowned artists as Nduduzo Makhathini, Gabriela Montero, Paul Lewis, Pink Martini, Patti LuPone, Yuja Wang & Kirill Gerstein. Ticket prices vary for performances. Visit thegilmore.org for the full schedule and ticket information.

In addition, the festival will screen a piano-themed film series at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Silenced: Composers in Revolutionary Russia will be shown at noon May 2, Through the Eyes of Yuga: A Road Movie at noon May 3, and Warsaw Is My Name at 2 p.m. May 7. For more information, visit kalamazoomuseum.org.

Various venues
Throughout the month

May is a busy month for local choral groups

  • Dreams, a concert by the all-female Kalamazoo Community Chorale, is set for 3 p.m. May 5 at First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St. The performance is free.
  • A Vigil Against Violence, in which Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vespers will be performed by Kalamazoo Choral Arts and Kalamazoo Central High School’s Hawthorn Singers, is set for 7:30 p.m. May 21 at First United Methodist Church. Tickets are $5–$19 and available online at kalamazoochoralarts.org.
  • Broadway with Blendings, featuring songs from a variety of Broadway shows performed by the Blendings Vocal Ensemble and a live jazz trio, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. May 29 at the Kalamazoo Civic Theater, 329 S. Park St. Tickets are $15 and available from ensemble members or at the door.
May 15
Fontana Chamber Arts

The winners of Fontana’s annual competition for local music students will present a free recital at 7 p.m. in the Epic Center’s Jolliffe Theatre, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall.

Similar in format to NPR’s From the Top, program, Bravo! celebrates the talents of area student musicians who audition in front of a panel of professional musicians.

For more information, visit fontanamusic.org.

May 17–18
Various venues

There will be several opportunities to be part of the action when some of the globe’s most talented youth string musicians come to town for this competition.

The public can be part of the audience at these events:

  • Master classes, 3–6 p.m. May 17 at Western Michigan University’s Dalton Center; admission is free.
  • Bach Prize Award Night, when the 12 Stulberg finalists play solo Bach pieces for prizes, 7:30–10 p.m. May 17 at WMU’s Dalton Center Recital Hall; tickets are $15, or $5 for students.
  • Competition Semifinals & Finals, when the 12 semifinalists compete for the top prizes. The semifinals are 9 a.m.–noon & 1–4 p.m. May 18, and the finals are 7:30 p.m. May 18 at Dalton Center Recital Hall. Admission to the semifinals is free, and tickets for the finals are $25, or $5 for students and $35 for a combo ticket to the finals and the Bach Prize.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit stulberg.org.

May 18
Kalamazoo Ringers

The 17-member bell choir will perform on seven octaves of handbells and six octaves of choir chimes in this concert featuring musical selections that revolve around the idea of peace throughout the world.

The show begins at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St. The performance is free, but a free-will offering will be taken at intermission. For more information, visit kalamazooringers.org.information.

May 18
Brass Band of Battle Creek

Boston-based singer Lydia Harrell will be a guest performer when the Brass Band performs selections of flight-based music in honor of Battle Creek Executive Airport’s 100th anniversary.

The show will be at 7:30 p.m. in Kellogg Auditorium, 50 W. Van Buren St., Battle Creek, and tickets are $25–$65. For more information, visit bbbc.net.

May 19
Kalamazoo Philharmonia

For this opera production, the Kalamazoo College-based community symphony will be joined by members of the West Michigan Opera Project, an organization promoting opera workshops and performance opportunities.

Composer Georges Bizet’s Carmen tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy Carmen.

Carmen will be performed at 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park St. Tickets are $3–$7 and will be available at the door. For more information, visit philharmonia.kzoo.edu.

May 22
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

A selection of influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century will be performed by KSO musicians at 7 p.m. at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.

The performance is part of the symphony’s Craft Music series, which pairs craft beer with music performed by an ensemble of KSO artists in residence. Tickets are $5–$30 and available online kalamazoosymphony.org.

Opening this month
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Three new exhibitions will open this month at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts:

The West Michigan Area Show, with more than 300 works by artists from 14 counties of Western Michigan, May 3–Aug. 25. A reception where award winners will be announced will be held at 6 p.m May 2.

Clearly Indigenous: Native Visions Reimagined in Glass, featuring 120 pieces of glass art created by contemporary Native American and Indigenous Pacific-Rim artists, May 18–Aug.18. In addition to the regular admission fee, there will be an additional cost of $8 for adults and $5 for youths, students, and senior citizens to view this exhibit.

The Anniversary Gift: Promised Gifts from the Collection of Joy & Timothy Light, a selection of Chinese and Japanese artworks on paper that are promised gifts to the KIA from the local collectors Joy and Timothy Light, May 25–Sept. 1.

For information, visit the kiarts.org.

May 3
Various venues

With spring bringing urges to be outdoors, May’s Art Hop will focus on the area’s vibrant public art and the nature that surrounds it.

Art Hop stops and a tour led by Lynn Houghton will offer opportunities to view outdoor murals, sculptures, and installations.

This free event, organized by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, runs from 5–8 p.m. More information can be found at kalamazooarthop.org.

  • Kyungmi Shin: A Story to Finding Us, through May 12, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
  • The Art of Playing with Knowledge: Works by Angela Lorenz, through May 24, Kalamazoo Book Arts Center
  • Westminster Art Festival: Grounded, through June 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church

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