Singer/actress Shannon Durig, who grew up in the KC suburb of Overland Park, Kan., appeared in the Broadway musical Hairspray for the thousandth time on March 13, 2008.
Durig was Tracy Turnblatt, the show’s lead, for more than three years. She first joined the show in 2003 as that role’s understudy, then took it over in July 2005.
The 1,000-performance milestone happened near the end of her run, as she left the show in mid-April 2008. Since leaving the show, she has acted and done voice work on several Disney Channel shows.
It’s one of those ironies of life that the writers of the song Kansas City were based in New York, while the composer of New York, New York, grew up in Kansas City.
The native in question is Broadway composer John Kander. The song is showcased in the film of the same name, directed by Martin Scorsese and released on June 21, 1977.
Although it’s mostly forgotten today, the debut of Flora the Red Menace on May 11, 1965, marked the debut of one of Broadway’s most enduring composing teams.
This show was the first musical between composer Kansas Citian John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb, who subsequently wrote such shows as Cabaret, Chicago, Woman of the Year and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
John Kander (at piano) and lyricist Fred Ebb.
From a local perspective, there were two big winners at last night’s Grammy ceremony.
Kansas City Symphony
The Kansas City Symphony’s recording of Britten’s Orchestra won for Best Surround Sound Album, an award the symphony shared with Keith O. Johnson, the mix and mastering engineer, and David Frost, the album’s producer.
Although the symphony was not the direct winner, Frost also was named Classical Producer of the Year, for his work on Britten’s Orchestra and six other recordings.
In honor of the Grammy Awards on Sunday, Another Verse presents a breakdown on Grammy winners with a Kansas City-area connection.
As you might expect, KC Grammy winners are heavily weighted toward jazz. But there are winners in other categories, including rock, Broadway and folk.
Posted in Broadway, Country, February Milestones, Grammy Awards, Jazz, Pop, Rock
Tagged Burt Bacharach, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Grammy Awards, John Kander, Melissa Etheridge, New Christy Minstrels, Pat Metheny, The Mavericks
Stuff I’ve been reading and can recommend:
KCK Native Janelle Monáe was nominated for two R&B Grammies.
- The Kansas City Star ran a short article Sunday noting that the Kansas City Symphony and Janelle Monáe, who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., were nominated for Grammy Awards. I would add that KC-born Burt Bacharach was nominated for Best Musical Show Album for the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises.
- In other Broadway news, Scottsboro Boys will close Sunday after 78 performances and an estimated loss of $5 million. KC native John Kander composed the score. There is talk of a film adaptation, according to Playbill.
- Last Sunday’s Kansas City Star Magazine had a nice feature on Walter Bryant, who plays with some great people around town and is a major composer for advertising.
- I love stories about sidemen and people who work behind the scenes. KCjazzlark has a good one about Buster Smith, a sax player who tutored Charlie Parker and played in some important KC bands in the 1930s.
- Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. The York Times has an interesting story on the Dakota, the NYC co-op where Lennon lived the last years of his life.
- One of the themes at the jazz blog Happy in a Bag is that jazz musicians need to find new ways to promote and market themselves. It’s great advice for all musicians, not just jazzers. A report on a “jazz hang” that occurred Sunday is full of great insights, per usual.
- I’m not a gearhead, so this hasn’t been on my radar. JHS Pedals modifies existing pedals and builds their own. Over at the Pitch, the Wayward Blog has an item on JHS Music, their retail store that will open Friday in Grandview.
Posted in Broadway, Classical, Clicklist, Gear, Jazz, R&B, Rock
Tagged Burt Bacharach, Buster Smith, Happy in a Bag, Janelle Monáe, JHS Music, JHS Pedals, John Kander, John Lennon, Kansas City Star, Kansas City Symphony, KCjazzlark, Scottsboro Boys, ThePitch
Cabaret, the Tony Award-winning musical, debuted on Broadway on Nov. 20, 1966. John Kander, Cabaret’s composer, was born and grew up in Kansas City, Mo.
Kander seems to have been overlooked in Kansas City’s music history, which is a shame. He’s a top Broadway composer and has had a significant career in film and television. And, irony of ironies, he wrote the city of New York’s de facto theme song.