Concert Review: Gladys Knight

  • Gladys Knight     
  • Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – Kansas City, Missouri   
  • November 19, 2023

 

 

Multi-Grammy Award winning Gladys Knight’s performance in front of a sold-out audience at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center was an entertaining 90 minutes of original hits as well as crowd pleasing covers including a raucous version of the Jackson 5’s  “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)” or the poignant “The Way We Were,” a hit for both Barbra Streisand and Ms. Knight.   Backed by a trio of ladies (but no PIPS ☹ )  and an impressive band, the Empress of Soul proved she still has what it takes to deliver her style of music.

 

While I wasn’t familiar with every song, the hits were certainly a treat to behold. “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”,” Love Overboard”, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” (recorded after Marvin Gaye but released first) Grammy winners “Neither One of Us *Wants to be the First”) and my all-time favorite “Midnight Train to Geogia”.  I really missed the classic choreography of the Pips for that one……

 

It is always nostalgic and does my heart good to see the musical stars from my childhood, even in their waning years.  The style and talent such as Gladys Knights is no longer a part of the music industry of today…IMHO.

Ms. Knight’s tour continues both in the sates and in Europe through July 2024.  For tickets and more information, please click HERE.  

 

While I was unable to get a set list for this show, here is a set list from a recent show to give you an idea of what to expect when she comes to your town!

 

Taste of Bitter Love, Love Overboard, Every Beat of My Heart, Daddy Could Swear – I Declare, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, Oh! What a Love I Have Found, On and On, I’ve Got to Use My Imagination, Shake Your Body (On to the Ground), Save the Overtime (For Me), I Heard it Through the Grapevine, The Way We Were, Midnight Train to Georgia, Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye), If I Were Your Woman.

Theater Review: “To Kill a Mockingbird”

 

I must confess that as soon as I heard that the Broadway National Touring presentation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” was coming to Kansas City I knew I would be in attendance.

 

I first became aware of the story as a young man through the 1962 film version of Harper Lee’s novel, where I was moved by the Academy Award winning performance Gregory Peck, who plays attorney Atticus Finch.  I immediately went to the local library, read the novel, then read it again.  I’ve read it several times since. The Pulitzer Prize winner is my all-time favorite novel. The film is on my Top Ten Best Film List.  So, I was excited to see a live performance, with the role of Atticus Finch played by none other than Richard Thomas, forever remembered as John Boy Walton to my generation.

 

Even though I was anxious to see the show, I must admit that from the first moment Scout (played by Melanie Moore) took the stage, I suddenly felt uneasy.  Uneasy about how anything could top the film, or how could a new vision (by Aaron Sorkin) in any way convey the feelings generated by the novel.  I needn’t had worried. 

 

Richard Thomas was exceptional.   No one, for me, will ever be Atticus Finch more than Peck, and it’s obvious that Thomas understand that.  He brings his own experience to the stage, and it was spot on for this version.

 

 

Scout, Jem (Justin Mark) and Dill (Steven Lee Johnson) were very good as the three young children (and adults) who lead the audience on the show’s journey.  The entire ensemble cast played well, especially Ted Koch as Bob Ewell and Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia.   The bonus highlight of the cast is that Mary Badham – who earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Scout in the film version – plays the role of Mrs. Henry Dubose.    

 

The presentation is set as a series of flashbacks, taking the audience inside the trial of a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of raping a young white girl, and the subsequent horrific end to his life at the hands of a racists mob.  The story flows in and around the courtroom scenes, the children, and their efforts to get a look of the reclusive neighbor Boo Radley and of course, the climactic ending with an attempted murder of the Finch children, the death of Bob Ewell, and the end of the summer that changed their lives forever. 

 

In the end, I greatly enjoyed  this telling of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  I would encourage everyone to read the novel, watch the movie, and if given the chance…. see this play.

 

On a scale of zero to five, I give “To Kill a Mockingbird” 4.5 stars.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” runs in Kansas City through October 29th.  For tickets to these and future performances, please click HERE.