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The Arts — September 2022

Spotlighting greater Kalamazoo’s arts community


Disney’s Newsies

Sept. 16–Oct. 2

Kalamazoo Civic 

A musical inspired by the real-life newsboy strike of 1899 will kick off the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre’s 94th Season. 

Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, Newsies is the tale of Jack Kelly (played by Logan Awe), leader of a ragged band of teenage newsboys who fight back when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense.

Show times  are 7:30 p.m.  Sept. 16–17,  23–24  and  30–Oct. 1 and 2 p.m. Sept. 18, 25 and Oct. 2, and tickets are $17–$30. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 343–1313 or visit

The Tempest

Sept. 3–Oct. 9 

WMU Theatre 

There will be magic and mayhem in the air when Western Michigan University’s theater students stage William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. 

The show focuses on the forces that bring the crew of a shipwrecked boat to a magical island where they are tormented by a man, his slaves and the island’s spirits. 

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 and 6–8 and 2 p.m. Oct. 2 and 9 in the Williams Theatre, on WMU’s campus. Tickets are $6–$21. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 387–6222 or visit

The Lightning Thief:
The Percy Jackson Musical

Sept 23.–Oct. 8 

WMU Theatre

Fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson book series will find a new take on their favorite half-blood son of a Greek god in this rock ‘n’ roll musical presented by Western Michigan University Theatre. 

The story follows Jackson’s attempts to prove his innocence and prevent a war between the gods after Zeus’ master lightning bolt is stolen.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 24, 29 and 30 and Oct. 1, 7 and 8 and 2 p.m. Sept. 25 and Oct. 2 in the York Arena Theatre on the WMU campus. Tickets are $6–$21. To purchase tickets or for more information, call 387–6222 or visit


Sept. 8–11

Escanaba in Da Moonlight

Sept. 15–18


Sept. 22–25

Barn Theatre 

The Barn Theatre finishes its 76th season this month by getting serious, then silly, and then serious again.

The theater’s first September production will be Misery, a psychological suspense thriller based on Stephen King’s novel about a romance novelist rescued from a car crash by his “number one fan,” who nurses him back to health until he tries to leave. Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 8–10 and 5 p.m. Sept. 10 and 11. 

Levity is on tap next, when the theater stages Escanaba in Da Moonlight, Michigan native Jeff Daniels’ classic about Reuben Soady’s quest to shed the title “the buckless Yooper” during an annual gathering at the family deer camp. Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 15–17 and 5 p.m. Sept. 17 and 18.

The theater ends its season with Doubt, the 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Catholic school principal Sister Aloysius’ suspicions about what might be going on between a priest, Father Flynn, and a student. Show times are 8 p.m. Sept. 22–24 and 5 p.m. Sept. 24 and 25. 

The Barn Theatre is located at 13351 West M-96 in Augusta. Tickets for each performance are $41–$49. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 731–4121 or visit


Summertime Live Concerts

Various times

Various venues

Summer doesn’t officially end until Sept. 22, so the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and its partners are managing to squeeze in a few more outdoor concerts before the leaves fly.

The concerts are free. Grab a lawn chair or blanket and head out for these free concerts. The groups performing in September and the concert locations are:, 11:30 a.m. Sept. 12, Bronson Park. 

First Call, 7 p.m. Sept. 8, Overlander Bandshell, 7810 Shaver Road, Portage.

DJ Mel V, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23, outside of the State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St.

The Psychoacoustics, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Sept. 23, Celery Flats Pavilion, 7328 Garden Lane, Portage.

For more information, visit

Autumn Rising

Sept. 8 & 10


The New York City-based baroque chamber orchestra Relic, composed of Juilliard-trained musicians, will present two free performances in Kalamazoo this month. 

The eight-member ensemble, which includes Kalamazoo native Cullen O’Neil on cello, will perform early chamber music, including works by Handel, Scarlatti and Corelli. 

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Western Michigan University’s Dalton Center Recital Hall and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10 at First Congregational Church, 345 W. Michigan Ave.  For more information, visit

Catalyst Quartet

Sept. 20

Dalton Center Recital Hall

Fontana Chamber Arts kicks off its season this month with a performance by the Grammy Award-winning Catalyst Quartet. 

The group has been hailed by the New York Times as “invariably energetic and finely burnished … playing with earthy vigor.” It consists of Karla Donehew Perez and Abi Fayette on violin, Paul Laraia on viola and Karlos Rodriguez on cello. The program will include works by Joseph Haydn, Florence B. Price, Anton Webern and S. Coleridge-Taylor.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are $30 and can be purchased online at or by calling 250-6984.

Masterworks Opening Night

Sept. 24

Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

The KSO opens its season with the musical equivalent of an emotional rollercoaster. 

The concert, conducted by Julian Kuerti and presented at 7:30 p.m. in Miller Auditorium, will begin with Michigan-born composer James Lee III’s Emotive Transformations, a piece exploring the stages of grief. That will be followed by the Maurice Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Tchaikovsky’s emotionally charged Fourth Symphony

Tickets are $26–$68 and available at  

Migratory Music,

Tuvergen Band,

Yamma Ensemble,

Van-Anh Vanessa Vo,

& Puuluup

Various dates & venues

Connecting Chords Music Festival

From local musicians to Jewish, Mongolian and Vietnamese music, the Connecting Chords Music Festival is offering a full slate of performances this month. The performances scheduled are: 

Migratory Music, featuring local artists such as Hazeltree, Birdseed Salesmen and Samuel Nalangira, 1–3 p.m. Sept. 10, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave.  

Tuvergen Band, a high-energy Mongolian folk-fusion trio combining traditional instruments and lush vocals, 4 p.m. Sept. 18, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 247 W. Lovell St. 

Yamma Ensemble, performing traditional music and songs of the Jewish communities from Yemen, Babylon and Sepharad, and Hasidic music, 7 p.m. Sept. 19, Congregation of Moses, 2501 Stadium Drive.   

Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, award-winning performer and Emmy Award-winning composer, blending Vietnamese music with other genres, 4 p.m. Sept.  25, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1747 W. Milham Ave. 

Puuluup, Estonian duo playing talharpas, traditional bowed lyres popular in Northern Europe since the early Middle Ages, 7 p.m. Sept. 27, Dormouse Theatre, 1030 Portage St.

Tickets for each concert are $5–$20, except for Migratory Music, which has free admission. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit


Art Hop

Sept. 2

Downtown Kalamazoo

A look at how digital technology has affected art and artistic practices is the theme for this month’s Art Hop, running from 5–8 p.m. in downtown Kalamazoo.

 This free event organized by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo features a variety of artists’ works as well as live music and the chance to visit downtown businesses.

The Arts Council has an app that provides a guide and map of Art Hop sites. For more information or to access the app, visit

Unmasking Masculinity for the 21st Century

Opens Sept. 24

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

The concept of masculinity and how artists have depicted the complex and contradictory notions of manhood in our society is the focus of this exhibition, which will run through Dec. 29. 

The show, co-curated by KIA Chief Curator Rehema Barber and Larry Ossei-Mensah, will feature works from the KIA’s collection as well as borrowed works from around the U.S. by artists including Nate Lewis, jc lenochan, James Luna, Catherine Opie, Kahlil Joseph, Juliana Huxtable, Jaishri Abichandani and Arthur Jafa. 

Admission is $5, or $2 for students and free for members. For more information, visit

What Is Going on in This Picture?

Opens Sept. 10

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

If you’ve ever wondered how to analyze art, this KIA exhibition will give you tools to do just that. 

The exhibition explores Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a method that helps you analyze artworks, stories, billboards, magazines and more by asking three basic questions: What is going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? And what more can you find?

The artworks on display come from the KIA’s collection and will change throughout the exhibition’s run, which continues through April 1.

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

Book Arts in Italy

Sept. 2–23

Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

This exhibition will showcase the prints and books that were created by two groups of students who worked with KBAC Director Jeff Abshear in Italy over the summer. 

The students learned about the book arts at print studios in Italy, including in Venice and Cornuda.

There will be an opening reception from 5–8 p.m. Sept. 2 during Art Hop. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday. For more information, visit


Photo Exhibition

Through Sept. 9

Portage City Hall Atrium

West Michigan Area Show

Through Sept. 4

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Surrealish: The Absurd and Unexpected 

Through Sept. 11

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Balancing the Cosmos: Works by Li Hongwei 

Through Oct. 2

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Unveiling American Genius 

Through December

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts


Nancy Eimers & Jennifer Metsker

Sept. 24

Kalamazoo Book Arts Center 

Poets Nancy Eimers and Jennifer Metsker will present readings of their work at 7 p.m. as part of the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center’s Poet in Print series.

Eimers is the author of four poetry collections: Oz (2011), A Grammar to Waking (2006), No Moon (1997) and Destroying Angel (1991). Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including Field, Gettysburg Review, Seattle Review, The Nation, Antioch Review, North American Review, Triquarterly and Poetry Northwest and in the anthology 2011 Pushcart Prize XXXV: Best of Small Presses Poets of the New Century. She has been the recipient of a Nation “Discovery” Award, a Whiting Writers Award and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships.  

Metsker is the author of the poetry collection Hypergraphia and Other Failed Attempts at Paradise, which won the Editor’s Prize from New Issues Press. She studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Michigan. Her poetry has appeared in The Southern Review, Beloit, Rhino, Birdfeast, Gulf Coast, The Cream City Review and other journals. Her audio poetry has been featured on BBC Radio’s “Short Cuts.” She lives in Ann Arbor, where she is the writing coordinator at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design. 

For more information, visit

Author Talks

Various dates


The Kalamazoo Public Library is offering a series of online talks by authors whose works range from geology to fiction. The authors scheduled to speak and the times and dates of their talks are:  

Michele Borba, educational psychologist and author or 24 books, including Thrivers: Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Thrive, 2–3 p.m. Sept. 8.

Simon Winchester, British-American author of 16 books, including Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World and The Professor and the Madman, 2–3 p.m. Sept. 20.

Hernan Diaz, author of the novels Distance and Trust, 4–5 p.m. Sept. 27.

All talks are at, and registration is required to attend. To register, visit

Trinity Lemm

Sept. 17 

Portage District Library

Trinity Lemm

The process of writing and self-publishing will be discussed by Lemm, author of the Forever Series of young-adult romance novels. 

Lemm, whose first book, Forever Burn, garnered her the 2021 Youth Author award from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, is a student at Western Michigan University. She has published two additional books, Forever Frozen and Forever & Ever.

 She will speak at 2 p.m. Sept. 17, and light refreshments will be served.

For more information, visit

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