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The Arts – January 2023


A Raisin in the Sun and Clybourne Park 

Civic Theatre 

The Civic will stage a sequence of two plays this month that explore racial prejudice, gentrification and the concept of home. 

The first of these plays, A Raisin in the Sun, will be staged Jan. 13–22 at the Civic Theatre. The play, set on the South Side of Chicago, follows the events that happen when Lena Younger’s deceased husband’s insurance money comes through and her family embraces new hope and inspiration for their lives. Lena hopes for a new home in a better neighborhood; her son, Walter Lee, aspires to start a new liquor business; and her daughter, Beneatha, dreams of going to medical school. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Jan. 13, 14, 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. Jan. 15 and 22.

This second production is the two-act play Clybourne Park, to be performed Jan. 27–Feb. 4. at the Civic Theatre. In this sequel to Raisin in the Sun, it is 50 years later and the neighborhood of the house that the Youngers owned is now in a neighborhood that has changed from predominantly white to Black and become a target of gentrification by developers. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27, 28, Feb. 3 and 4 and 2 p.m. Jan. 29 and Feb. 5.

Tickets for each show are $17–$30 and can be purchased at or by calling 343-1313.

Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea

Jan. 27–Feb. 5
WMU Theatre & Face Off Theatre

Western Michigan University Theatre and Face Off Theatre are teaming up to present Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea.

This play follows Dontrell Jones III, an 18-year-old who decides to venture out to sea in order to find an ancestor who was lost during the Middle Passage, the voyage of enslaved Africans to the New World. However, his family is not ready to abandon their prized son to the depths of the sea and a mysterious and haunting past. 

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27–28, Feb. 2–4 and 2 p.m. Feb. 5 at WMU’s Williams Theatre. Tickets are $5–21 and available at 387-6222 or

The Great Leap

Jan. 27–Feb. 12
Farmers Alley Theatre

This play explores how a Chinese-American community is developing its relationships with both China and the United States.

It centers on a college basketball team that travels to China for a “friendship” game in the 1980s, after the Cultural Revolution. As both teams tease out the politics behind this game, cultures clash, tricks are stolen, and spies run amuck. 

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27–28, Feb. 2–4 and 9–11 and 2 p.m. Jan. 29 and Feb. 4 and 12. Tickets are $25 and available at


Mark Nepo

Jan. 18
Kalamazoo Public Library

Spiritual teacher and poet Mark Nepo will explore the art of finding the strength to meet adversity in this “Meet the Author” event set for 5:30–7:30 p.m. in the Van Deusen Room of the downtown library.

Nepo is the best-selling and award-winning author of 22 books and has recorded 15 audio projects on the journey of inner transformation. His talk will be based on his latest book, Surviving Storms. He will discuss inner explorations people must map for themselves so they can help each other endure a tumultuous world.

For more information, visit

Visual Arts

Art, Music and Feminism in the 1950s

Jan. 21–May 7
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Perle Fine, The Sea’s Throat, 1954, oil on canvas.

Art and music created by women during the 1950s, an era of social change for American women, is the focus of this exhibition at the KIA.

It features works by women artists such as Marion Greenwood, Mary Abbott, Perle Fine, Olga Albizu, Georgia O’Keeffe, Lois Mailou Jones, Ruth Asawa and Helen Frankenthaler and shows how their personal passions inspired new prospects for women artists in subsequent decades.

Some of the works are from the KIA permanent collection, and others are on loan from other museums and from private collectors.

The KIA is open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday–Saturday and noon–4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5, or $2 for students and free for members. For more information, visit

Expressions in Paper and Clay

Jan. 28–May 14
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Kenzo Okada, Vase with Stream Pattern, 1987, stoneware.

Vibrant and innovative traditions of Japanese printmaking and ceramics spanning the last 50 years will be highlighted in this new exhibition.

It features prints on loan from Joy and Timothy Light and from the Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection. The artists featured will include potters Yoshitaka Tsurara, Ken Matsuzaki and Takuo Nakamura and printmakers Toko Shinod, Reika Iwami and Mayumi Oda.

Annual Group Exhibition

Through Jan. 27
Ninth Wave Studio

What 15 Southwest Michigan artists believe is their best work makes up this exhibition.

It features works in a variety of media by Melody Allen, Michael Dunn, Karen French, Maryellen Hains, Mary Hatch, Tamara Hirzel, Anna Z Ill, Alexa Karabin, John Kollig, Honore Lee, Dave Middleton, Nancy Payne, Linda Rzoska, Vicki VanAmeyden and Donald VanAuken.

To schedule a visit, call or text 271-3161. For more information, visit


An Intimate Evening with Sunny Bleau

Jan. 14
Dormouse Theatre

Sunny Bleau and The Moons, based in Rochester, Michigan, are ranked as one of the hottest roots and blues-rock bands by the Roots Music Report. The band will perform acoustic roots, blues, blues-rock and jazz in this local show.

Show time is 7–9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and available at

Modern Marvels

Jan. 29
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

Some of the new music in today’s classical music catalog will be offered in this performance at 3 p.m. in Western Michigan University’s Dalton Center Recital Hall, as part of the KSO’s Chamber Music Series.
The series features a smaller group of musicians performing in a chamber orchestra setting. Tickets are $5–$35 and available at

Carl Ratner
Lori Sims

Dalton Center Recital Hall
Carl Ratner

Western Michigan University’s Bullock Series this month will feature concerts by baritone Carl Ratner and pianist Lori Sims.

Ratner, a professor of voice and director of opera for the WMU School of Music, will sing operatic selections and other works at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18. He will give a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m.

An internationally known baritone soloist, stage director and opera consultant, Ratner has performed in concert and recital in 10 states and six European countries and has sung in 14 languages.
Sims, who is one of the most respected pianists of today, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25. She will give a pre-concert talk at 7 p.m.

Lori Sims

Sims has performed throughout North and South America, Europe and China and made seven appearances at the prestigious Gilmore International Piano Festival as a featured recitalist, chamber artist and master class instructor. She was named Distinguished Professor in the WMU College of Fine Arts in 2020.

Tickets for each event are $5–$15 and available at

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