Randy Stewart | KBIA

Randy Stewart

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning "Arts News." Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's "Ozzie Award" in 2006.

Drury University Theatre presents the satirical musical "Urinetown" by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann November 13-16 in Wilhoit Theatre in Drury’s Breech building. The show satirizes, among other things, the legal system, capitalism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and even musical theater itself. Director Josh Inman confirmed that “it is a satire, though it does touch on a serious subject: what happens when power takes over and society loses control.  But it’s all told through really fun song and dance, and it’s everything you want in a musical! It’s great.

Springfield Catholic High School, 2340 S. Eastgate, does a big musical theatre production every fall and spring. This year’s autumn production is "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," a musical comedy based on the Victor Hugo novel using Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken’s songs from the 1996 Disney animated film adaptation. Father Lewis Hejna, director of Springfield Catholic High's theater program, and Pastor at St.

For their 25th anniversary, Springfield Contemporary Theatre reunites with longtime collaborator Sandra Asher to present the world premiere of her newest play, "Death Valley: A Love Story." This production is directed by Jefferson Award nominated guest director Alan Souza from New York, and stars Andie Bottrell, Rachel Jamieson and Sarah J. Wiggin. It runs October 25-November 10 at SCT Center Stage in Wilhoit Plaza, corner of Pershing and Robberson downtown.

Missouri State University Theatre and Dance presents "CATS," Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular Tony-winning musical based on "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" by T.S. Eliot, Oct.25-28 in Coger Theatre. The production is directed and choreographed by Sarah Wilcoxon; joining us on “Arts News” was the show’s student Assistant Director Steven Horn.                                                                           

For KSMU’s November “Spotlight On Joplin”, we once again visit with Emily Frankoski, Community Arts Director for Joplin’s regional arts agency Connect2Culture, who selected just a few of her favorite events and exhibits from the agency’s huge “Arts, Culture & Entertainment in Joplin” list for the month—all 17 pages of it! It’s available in its entirety at https://connect2culture.org. Or call (417) 625-6683 for information.

The Southwest Missouri Art and Craft Guild celebrates the 25th anniversary of their “Art in the Park” fine art and contemporary craft show this weekend.  It’s Saturday and Sunday October 12 and 13 from 10:00am to 4:30pm at Sequiota Park, 3500 S. Lone Pine.  Marian Stahl Chamberlain from the Guild visited “Arts News” to tell us about this year’s show, which features 30 of the region’s best artists and crafters.                                                                                   

Springfield Little Theatre will host the world premiere of the play "Sticks" by local playwright Sandy Leigh Johnson, at our education facility, The Judith Enyeart Reynolds School of the Performing Arts for Springfield Little Theatre, 237 S. Florence, October 10-13.  Johnson told us on “Arts News” that “several years ago when I wrote the play, one of the driving forces of writing (it) was the fact that I didn’t feel there were enough plays starring older women.”  Her husband, John Johnson, directed this production, and the author herself plays the lead role of Gypsy.         

Emily Frankoski, Community Arts Director for Joplin’s arts agency Connect2Culture, joins us again for her “Spotlight on Joplin. 

For their first production of the 2019-2020 academic year, Drury University Theatre presents "Arlington", subtitled "A Love Story," by Irish playwright Enda Walsh. Haddy Kreie, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Drury, directs this production, running Wed-Sat Oct. 2-5 in Sunderland Studio Theatre in Drury's O'Bannon Hall; evening performances are at 7:30pm, with a 2:00pm matinee on Saturday Oct. 5. Kreie came on KSMU’s “Arts News” to talk about the play with two of her student actors, Keandra Jennings and Katie Powell.

Today we visit Valley Water Mill Park, operated on land leased by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board from the owner, City Utilities of Springfield. Most Springfield-area residents have heard of “Valley Water Mill,” or the county road of the same name, also known as Farm Road 102.

But not everyone seems to know that, since 2010, this nearly 100-acre site just northeast of Springfield, once home to a 19th-century grain mill, has been a public park with hiking and strolling paths and a 13-acre lake. 

Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park is a 112-acre property located on South Scenic Avenue in Springfield, across the street from Horton Smith Golf Course. 

Missouri State University Theatre & Dance opens its 2019-2020 season with the “Southern Gothic” comedy "Crimes of the Heart" by Beth Henley.  Directed by Dr. Carol Maples, the production runs through Oct.1st in the Craig Hall Balcony Theatre: weeknights at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:30pm.  Cast member Cary Wahlborg joined us on “Arts News.”

Support Ozarks Food Harvest at the annual Tea Bar & Bites Apron Fashion Show and Silent Auction, Thursday Sept.19 from 7-9pm at Tea Bar & Bites Bakery and Cafe, 621 S. Pickwick at Cherry. Colleen Smith from Tea Bar & Bites, and Sara Roelke from Ozarks Food Harvest, joined us on “Arts News” to talk about it.

The Branson Regional Arts Council launches their 7th theatrical production of the year with "Steel Magnolias," opening August 29th at the Historic Owen Theatre, 205 S. Commercial Street in downtown Branson.  According to BRAC Executive Director Jim Barber, “We are so thrilled with the response that we are getting already—tickets are selling quite well.  And we really love the fact that Springfield is getting behind what we’re doing down in Branson.  We had several Springfield actors involved in many of our productions recently.”

Veronica Palit says the question she most often gets from friends and people she meets is, “’Where is Moldova?’ That is the biggest question—‘where is that country?’”

I’ll answer that. Moldova is a small country in eastern Europe, one-fourth the size of Missouri, says Veronica, situated between Romania and Ukraine.  It was under Russian—and later Soviet—domination for many decades. Moldova regained its independent status after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Springfield Regional Opera is about to celebrate its 40th season—the company’s official debut was a production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Gillioz Theatre in the summer of 1980. The year before that, there was a sort of “calling card” production of Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the Landers, that was officially produced by Springfield Little Theatre. Its success proved to the late Dawin Emanuel, then Lecturer in Opera at Missouri State University, that Springfield was ready for a local opera company.

Springfield Contemporary Theatre's 25th season opens with the winner of the 1986 Tony Award for Best Musical, "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," at SCT Center Stage in Wilhoit Plaza. Performances are June 14-30.  We talked on “Arts News” with the show’s director Rick Dines and actor Heath Hillhouse.

Springfield Sister Cities Association invites you to the C-Street City Market, 321 E. Commercial Street at Jefferson, on Saturday June 8 at 10:00am (weather permitting) for a free concert by Grupo Musical Canela, a four-piece band from Springfield’s sister city of Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico. Canela will be joined by special guest Enrique Ortiz. It's free and open to the public. You can get a taste both of Mexican culture and locally grown food.  

Emily Frankoski, Community Arts Director for Joplin’s arts agency Connect2Culture, joined me once again for a “Spotlight on Joplin” segment focusing on arts events as well as arts camps and classes for kids in June 2019.  Here are the events Emily brought up—first, performances.

There is a time to weep. There is a time to mourn. And there is a time to dance! “Footloose – The Musical,” based on the hit 1984 movie that launched the careers of Kevin Bacon and Sarah Jessica Parker among others, explodes onto the Landers Theatre stage in Springfield Little Theatre's new production June 7-23 to conclude LT's 2018-19 season.  I talked with the actors playing Ren and (no, NOT Stimpy!) Ariel—Patrick Sturm and Austen McGranahan—on KSMU’s “Arts News.”

“We’ve been going at it for 15 years, and each year grows a little bigger and gets a little better and more organized. So yeah, we’re ready to do it.”

Artsfest on Historic Walnut Street is 39 years old this year, believe it or not, and it’s scheduled for Saturday and Sunday May 4th and 5th from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, with a fully-programmed footprint along the Walnut Street Historic District, from National Avenue to Gilardi's Restaurant just west of Hammons Parkway.

For the second installment of our new monthly “Arts News” feature spotlighting arts events in Joplin, I was again joined on the phone by Emily Frankoski, Community Arts Director for Joplin’s arts agency Connect2Culture.  She provided a rundown of some of her favorite events for next month out of the huge list of performances, events, and exhibits. And as Emily pointed out, we never even got to the numerous classes taking place!

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