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The Arts

Spotlighting greater Kalamazoo’s arts community


2022 Gilmore International Piano Festival

Through May 15
Various Locations

It began April 24, but the bulk of the Gilmore Festival’s performances take place in the first two weeks of this month.

Before the festival concludes May 15 with a finale featuring three Gilmore Young Artists — Wei Luo (2018), Misha Galant (2020) and Maxim Lando (2020) — performing with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, there will be plenty of opportunities to see established and rising stars of the piano world.

Among those still to perform are 2018 Gilmore Artist Igor Levit (May 2 at Stetson Chapel, Kalamazoo College), Daniil Trifonov (May 8 at Chenery Auditorium) and past festival favorites Pink Martini (May 10 at Miller Auditorium) and Diana Krall (May 14 at Miller Auditorium).

See the complete schedule and ticket prices.

Of Stage and Screen

May 8
Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra

The Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra will feature songs from stage and screen in this performance at Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave.

Among the selections to be performed include the suite from Zoltán Kodály’s Hungarian folk opera Háry János and songs from the movies The Sea Hawk, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Batman Begins and E.T. the Extraterrestrial. The concert begins at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5–$15 and available now.

Stulberg International String Competition

May 20 & 21
K-College and WMU

Audiences will have two chances to see talented young string musicians competing at the Stulberg International String Competition.

On May 20, all 12 Stulberg semifinalists will perform their solo Bach selections in a competition for the festival’s Bach Prize Award, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Kalamazoo College’s Stetson Chapel. The award is given by the Kalamazoo Bach Festival to the best performance of a solo Bach work and comes with a cash prize of $1,000.

The following evening, at 7:30 p.m. at Western Michigan University’s Dalton Center Recital Hall, the six finalists will perform for a panel of judges to determine this year’s three medalists.

Tickets are $5-$15 for the Bach Prize Award event and $5–$25 for the competition finals, or $35 to attend both events. More information or to purchase tickets.


Carnival of the Animals

May 21
Tye Chua Dance Company

A perfect piece to introduce young ones to the world of ballet but also fun for adults, Carnival of the Animals will be performed at 2:30 and 5 p.m. May 21 in the KNAC/First Baptist Church building, at 315 W. Michigan Ave.

This ballet is set to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns, who composed it in 1886, and it includes depictions of kicking kangaroos, clucking chickens, flipping fish and more.

Tickets are $10, or $5 for children 10 and younger, and are available online and at the door.

Photo credit: Gabriel Giron

Unbound: Spring Concert of Dance

May 20–22
Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers

Kalamazoo’s modern dance company will feature a variety of their previous works in their spring concert at the Epic Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall.

Audiences will have another chance to see the sold-out performance Wellspring is doing in collaboration with the Gilmore International Piano Festival, but without the live music by the duet ZOFO.

In addition, the dance concert will feature revivals of Infolding, a duet to be danced by Alexis Harris and Carolyn Pampalone Rabbers that Terry originally choreographed in 1992, and Only in Passing, which has been described as “a pivotal piece in the Wellspring repertory” and an audience favorite.

Show times are 8 p.m. May 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. May 22. Tickets are $10–$25 and are available at the Epic Center box office or online.


Bound for the Promised Land

April 29–May 21
The New Vic Theatre

This New Vic musical, subtitled Women on the Westward Journey, explores the trials, tribulations, expectations and joys experienced by women on the Oregon
and California trails.

It was conceived by Jennifer Furney, the New Vic’s managing director and resident actor, and focuses on the stories of six women who kept a written account of their time on the westward journey.

The theater is at 134 E. Vine St. Show times are 8 p.m. April 29, 30, May 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. Tickets are $29 and available online.


May 6–22
Civic Theatre

Roller disco and actors on roller skates are just part of the fun planned in The Civic Theatre’s production of Xanadu.

The musical includes songs made famous by Olivia Newton-John, who starred in the 1980 movie that the play is based on. It follows the journey of Greek muse Kira (played by Amanda Lapekas), who descends from the heavens of Mount Olympus to Venice Beach, California, in 1980 to inspire struggling artist Sonny (August Gallagher) to create the first roller disco. Audiences can find themselves singing along with a score that boasts pop hits like “Magic,” “Have You Never Been Mellow?” and “Suddenly.”

Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 6, 7, 13,14, 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. May 8, 15 and 22 at the Civic Theatre, 329 S. Park St. Tickets are $17–$28 and available online.

Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet

May 12–15
K-College Festival Playhouse

A coming-of-age story about a young gay man in Louisiana is at the heart of this production, directed by Anthony Hamilton.

The play tells the story of Marcus, who is 16 and “sweet.” Days before Hurricane Katrina strikes the projects of Louisiana, the currents of his life converge, launching his search for sexual and personal identity in a cultural landscape infused with mysterious family creeds. Marcus is the conclusion of The Brother/Sister Plays, a triptych of dramas written by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

The show will be staged in Kalamazoo College’s Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, 129 Thompson St. Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 12–14 and 2 p.m. May 15. Tickets are $5–$15 and available online at or by calling 337-7333.

Dirt, Ash, Dead Tree

May 13–15
Face Off Theatre & Queer Theatre Kalamazoo

Two local theater companies are teaming up to present this new work of magical realism by award-winning playwright Jarrett McCreary at the Dormouse Theatre, 1030 Portage St.

Dirt, Ash, Dead Tree tells the story of a young Black boy who, after losing everything, drifts into a fantasy world of memories and monsters. He wonders and wanders in search of his home, his will to live, and the answers to his many questions surrounding what it truly looks like when one considers taking their own life.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 13 and 14 and 2 p.m. May 14 and15. Tickets are being sold on a name-your-price basis and are available at or by calling the box office at 359-0908.


May 20–29
WMU Theatre

A little mischief and maybe some magic are on tap in the Western Michigan University Theatre production of Witch.

The Jen Silverman play is a modern take on the classic Jacobean drama of the same name that follows what happens when the emotionally conflicted son of a local lord and an ambitious newcomer come into conflict and make a deal with the Devil to accomplish their own questionable ends. The Devil, however, finds that local outcast Elizabeth, who is labeled a witch, isn’t so willing to bargain for her soul.

Show times are 7:30 p.m. May 20–21 and May 27–28 and 2 p.m. May 29 at the Williams Theatre in WMU’s Gilmore Theatre Complex. Tickets are $6–$20 and available at or by calling the box office at 387-6222.

Other Theater Performances

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Through May 15
Farmers Alley Theatre

Disney’s Descendants

Through May 8
Parish Theatre


Art Hop

May 6
Downtown Kalamazoo

This free event, organized by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, will feature a variety of artists’ works in various locations in downtown Kalamazoo as well as live music and the chance to visit downtown businesses. This month’s theme celebrates the Gilmore International Piano Festival.

Art Hop runs from 5–8 p.m., and the Arts Council has an app that provides a guide and map of Art Hop sites, information about participating artists, and walking directions. For more information or to access the app, visit

West Michigan Area Show

May 20–Sept. 4
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

The talents of the region’s visual artists will be showcased in this annual juried exhibition and competition.

Since the 1960s, the Area Show has featured artists 18 years or older from a 14-county region of southwestern and western Michigan. Each year the competition draws hundreds of entries in media from paintings, prints and photography to mosaics, ceramics, jewelry and sculpture to compete for cash awards and prizes. Ed Fraga, a Detroit-area artist, is the 2022 juror who will choose the entries for this year’s show.

The opening reception and awards ceremony are scheduled for 6–8 p.m. May 20 at the KIA.

KIA hours are 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and noon–4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5, or $2 for students and free for members, children through age 12, school groups and active military personnel. For more information, call 349-7775 or visit

Portrait of an Alcoholic Family, 2018, oil on linen.

Mary Proenza: Memoir

Through May 27
Kalamazoo Book Arts Center

Works from two book art projects by painter, printmaker, writer and book artist Mary Proenza are featured in this exhibition.

The first project features four linoleum-cut prints Proenza created to illustrate “Truth Comes Slowly,” a short story by Jervey Tervalon, and printed as a letterpress edition at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center. The second project is Proenza’s memoir in progress, told through a combination of literary and visual art, including paintings and works on paper related to the memoir as well as excerpts from the written story.

The KBAC is located at 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday. For more information, visit


Linling Lu: Musical Meditations

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Through June 5

Colors! Shapes! Patterns!

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Through June 12

A Certain Slant of Light

Westminster Art Festival
Through June 15

Unveiling American Genius

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Through Dec. 31


John Wemlinger

May 10
Parchment Community Library

John Wemlinger is the author of five novels, including The Cut, which was chosen as a 2022 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. His May 10 talk is scheduled for 6–7:30 p.m.

The other four books by Wemlinger, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, are classified as military romances. Those novels are The Widow and the Warrior, Before the Snow Flies, Winter’s Bloom and Operation Light Switch. Wemlinger, branched out into Michigan history for The Cut, which features a young couple’s relationship struggles amid feuding farmers and the powerful lumber industry in the 1870s in Manistee.

Parchment Community Library is at 401 S. Riverview Drive. For more information, call the library at 343-7747 or visit

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