Win Passes to Kansas City’s Planet Comicon

Has it really been 20 years since Planet Comicon first appeared in Kansas City? Yes it has. I know because I’ve been to every one! And now we want to let some of our readers attend what has been described as “the best Convention in the Midwest!”

We are giving away (5) pair of passes to attend the convention on Sunday, March 31st. AND, we are giving away a pair of passes to attend all three days of the Con.

All you have to do is let us know below what celebrity guest you’d most like to meet at an upcoming Convention. Six random winners will be chosen and, from those six, one will be randomly chosen to wen the weekend passes. The others chosen will receive a pair of passes to attend on Sunday.

This giveaway ends at 8:00 pm on Wednesday, March 27. Winners will be chosen and will be emailed their passes. Good Luck!!

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “The Hummingbird Project”

Meida Mikes has teamed up their friends at The Orchard to give (30) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “The Hummingbird Project.”

The film, which stars Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgard, will be screened on Wednesday, March 27th at the AMC Studio 28 Theatre in Olathe, Kansas. The screening will begin at 7:00 pm

All you have to do is let us know in the comments below what film you are most looking forward to this summer. (30) random comments will be selected and they will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. The contest ends at 8:00 pm Monday, March 25th. Winners will be notified by email. Good luck!

Kansas City Theater Review: “Anastasia”

REVIEW by DAN LYBARGER

ANASTASIA Music Hall, Kansas City, MO March 12, 2019

If The Lion King and Aladdin work as stage plays because they remind audiences the joy they experienced watching the original animated movies, the makers of Anastasia succeed because the original 1997 cartoon, while enjoyable, isn’t a classic.

Don Bluth and Gary Goldman’s animated film has some gorgeous 2D animation, but their reworking of the legend of Anna Anderson, who falsely claimed to be Russian Tsar Nicholas II’s youngest daughter had a problematic story.

For example, the chief villain was an undead version of Rasputin (voiced by Christopher Lloyd), who had difficulty keeping his rotting body in one piece. Despite the G-rating the film had, it disturbed some of the children and even adults who watched it.

For those with stronger memories, the cartoon also incorporated some ideas from Anatole Litvak’s 1956 movie, with served as a powerful comeback for Ingrid Bergman, after her affair with Roberto Rossellini almost ended her career.


The new musical adaptation, which debuted on March 12 at the Music Hall in Kansas City, keeps some of the characters from the original tale but reworks the plot extensively. Thanks to playwright Terrence McNally (Love! Valor! Compassion!Master Class), Rasputin is gone, and a more credible antagonist has taken his place. This time around, the Bolsheviks are eager to stamp out rumors that the Grand Duchess Anastasia survived the chaotic mass execution that took place in 1918.

Nearly a decade later, a Party operative named Gleb (Jason Michael Evans) is trying to remove all traces of the royal family, but a pair of con artists named Dmitry (Stephen Brower) and Vlad (Edward Staudenmayer) are hoping to capitalize on whatever is left of the dynasty.

With the Soviet economy unable to deliver the prosperity the Revolution promised, the two hope that if they can find a suitable impostor to pose as Anastasia, they can collect a finder’s fee that will set them up for life in Paris. While streetwalkers of Leningrad can’t pass themselves as royalty the way Vlad can, a street sweeper named Anya (Lila Coogan) might.

She’s in Leningrad after having been discharged from a hospital in Odessa. She’s got no memory of her life before the Revolution, so it’s easier for Dmitry and Vlad to teach her how mingle at what’s left of the Russian court in Paris, and the amnesia conveniently explains why she hasn’t bothered to claim what’s left of the Romanov fortune.

Now, all the three of them must do is escape the draconian Leningrad authorities and convince the bereaved and highly skeptical Dowager Empress (Joy Franz) that Anya is the Grand Duchess.

Neither is a simple task.

The chief selling point of Bluth and Goldman’s cartoon was its gorgeous visuals, and the current production features several delicious bits of eye candy.

Thanks to sliding panels and rear projection, Anastasia leaps from the Tsar’s palace to an intimidating Bolshevik office to a moving train to the elegant streets of 1920s Paris. While Anastasia might have been enjoyable with the cast simply wailing and hoofing, the lightning fast scene changes and bits of action, keep the play moving briskly.

The play gains momentum in the second act as Vlad uses his old contact Countess Lily (Tari Kelly) to help him set up a meeting with the Dowager Empress. Now that the long exposition is over, the story becomes more engaging. It doesn’t hurt that Coogan can play both a princess and a waif with equal finesse and belts out Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Aherns’ songs effortlessly.

She may be small, but she can easily dominate the stage.

The cast handle Flaherty’s demanding score well, although it’s hard to imagine any of the tunes catching on outside of the play, although “Once Upon a December” is certainly haunting, especially with images of ghosts projected behind the actors.

As a lifelong obsessive over the fall of the Romanovs, I often have to remind myself to let movies and plays about them play on their own terms. Anna Anderson, who was the best-known impostor to pretend to be the ill-fated Grand Duchess, had some believers, but DNA tests in the 1990s proved she had no claim on the lost throne. Her dark and twisted odyssey would make a great movie or play, but it wouldn’t make much of a family musical.

That said, the story of an amnesiac princess is inherently engrossing because we all wonder if there is something more to our lives than our memories let on.

There is no mystery to whether any royalty emerged from the massacre alive, but there is a deep well of stories about the end of the dynasty. It’s seemingly inexhaustible.

Kansas City – Win Passes to Attend An Evening With Richard Dreyfuss

Long time readers know how much the Mikes love the movie JAWS. Well now we want to share that love with our Kansas City area fans by giving them the opportunity to an amazing evening “Jawing” with Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss.

“Jaws”
Richard Dreyfuss with his Oscar – named Best Actor of 1977 for “The Goodbye Girl”

The event, which will be moderated by Media Mike’s own Mike Smith, will be held on Thursday, April 4th at the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College. After the event, stay and enjoy a screening of the greatest film ever made (ok, I’m biased), JAWS.

Our friends at J & S Promotions has given us passes for (5) lucky readers and a guest to attend the event. All you have to do is let us know below your favorite Richard Dreyfuss film. Five random comments will be chosen and will receive a pass for (2) to attend the event. This giveaway will end on Sunday, March 31st at 6:00 p.m. Winners will be notified by email.

To purchase tickets to the event – including a Platinum VIP Package which puts you in the green room with Mr. Dreyfuss, click HERE. Good Luck!

“American Graffiti”

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “US”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Universal to give (5) lucky readers and a guest the opportunity to be one of the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the year, “Us.”

The screening will be held on Tuesday, March 19th at the Cinemark 20 & XD Theatre in Merriam, Kansas and will start at 7:00 p.m.

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A PASS FOR YOU AND A GUEST TO THE ADVANCE SCREENING IN KANSAS CITY ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS COMMENT BELOW WITH THE TITLE OF YOUR FAVORITE HORROR FILM. (5) RANDOM ENTRIES WILL BE SELECTED. THE GIVEAWAY RUNS UNTIL 6:00 p.m. ON SUNDAY, MARCH 17th. WINNERS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL WITH INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO CLAIM THEIR PASSES.

NO PURCHASE REQUIRED. 

US has been rated R (Restricted – Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian) for violence/terror, and language.  

Stage Review: “The Book of Mormon” – Kansas City

Review by Phillip Smith

“The Book of Mormon”  Music Hall – Kansas City, Missouri – December 27, 2018

Making it’s third trip through Kansas City, the question has to be “Does ‘The Book of Mormon’ hold up?  Thank you, Heavenly Father, because the answer is a resounding “yes!”

Winner of nine Tony Awards in 2011, including Best Musical, “Book of Mormon” is the brain-child of “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who conceived the production with “Avenue Q” composer Robert Lopez.

The show tells the story of two young missionaries, Elder’s Price (Kevin Clay) and Cunningham (Jacob Ben-Shmuel) , who are sent to Uganda to introduce Jesus Christ to the natives.  Of course, things don’t go the way they should, with results that can only be expected from the team that gave us “South Park” and “Team America.”

The production was well staged and the cast enthusiastic.  As was the audience, who erupted into applause when it was noted that “the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri,” which is also where Kansas City is located.  

Almost a decade after it premiered, “The Book of Mormon” continues to be one of the best musicals running, and easily one of the best musicals of this century.  

Win Passes to the Kansas City Screening of “Second Act”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at STX Entertainment to give (35) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “Second Act” before it opens in Kansas City.

The film will be shown on Tuesday, December 18th at the B&B Overland Park Theatre in Overland Park, Kansas and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (35) to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all (35) passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.

Good luck!

Kansas City Concert Review – Brian Wilson

REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY DAN LYBARGER

 Brian Wilson

Muriel Kauffman Theater – Kansas City, MO

November 13, 2018

Brian Wilson

At 76, Brian Wilson could still make a crowded auditorium happy, even if he didn’t appear to be doing anything at all.

Having co-written and arranged dozens of hits for The Beach Boys and on his own, Wilson can get away with outsourcing songs he originated to other vocalists. He sat behind a baby grand piano as if he were an audience member instead of the star of the show.

Criticizing Wilson for being odd is like chastising the Beatles for being English. It’s essential to his greatness, even if it can be disconcerting to watch. The distinctive harmonies in the songs he recorded with the Beach Boys are the result of defying convention. The fact that Wilson is deaf in one ear only makes his accomplishments seem even more formidable.

It’s also worth noting that many Beach Boy songs like “California Girls” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” sound better in live performances now than they would have when the band and the session players from the Wrecking Crew recorded them over 50 years ago. The amplification to do those songs justice wasn’t around back then, and Wilson’s current band consistently performed them with both fidelity and spirit.

The 11-piece ensemble behind Wilson juggled instruments and skillfully mimicked the harmonies Wilson originally created with his late brothers Dennis and Carl and cousin Mike Love. Fellow Beach Boy founder Al Jardine wound up taking most of the vocal chores that evening and seemed happier with ingratiating himself and the band with the crowd than Wilson did. Then again, Wilson seemed to have had the crowd’s attention by simply uttering “Hello, Kansas City” at the start of the show.

Unlike musicians from the past who might have needed too much chemical help to get on stage, Wilson can at least still read a map.

Rob Bonfiglio

He and the band found a great venue. The Muriel Kauffman Theatre normally hosts classical performances, but Leonard Bernstein praised Wilson’s distinctive compositions as being worthy of the old masters, so they certainly belonged on that stage.

If Wilson seemed only fitfully engaged, the rest of the band were eager to give the songs he had popularized justice. Jardine can still plaintively beg Rhonda to help him forget his ex and can fill in for passages that Carl or Wilson’s cousin and lyricist Mike Love used to sing.

Ben Jones

Wilson’s son-in-law Rob Bonfiglio ably delivers the falsetto portions of the songs that his father-in-law used to sing, and the other instrumentalists in the ensemble change instruments more frequently than most of us change our clothes.

For “Good Vibrations,” the band even incorporated a delightfully eerie Theremin and played acoustic marimbas instead of keyboard samples. Darian Sahanaja, who helped Wilson resurrect long lost Beach Boys album Smile, played keyboards and figured out how to make studio trickery work live.

The set also received a shot of adrenaline when South African singer-guitarist Blondie Chaplin hit the stage halfway through the set. A member of the 1970s incarnation of The Beach Boys, Chaplin tore through “Free Flows,” “Wild Honey” and “Sail On, Sailor,” stopping only to deliver some scorching guitar solos. Chaplin would return to harmonize on later songs, but he left the crowd craving more.

Wilson and Al Jardine

Wilson seemed content to simply let Chaplin, Jardine and Bonfiglio do the heavy lifting. He still managed to deliver moving renditions of “God Only Knows” and his solo tune “Love & Mercy.” If you had written those haunting melodies, maybe you could afford to take it easy during the rest of the set.

Opening band Beat Root Revival offered self-deprecating quips about opening for a titan like Wilson, but delivered a brief energetic set that featured solid covers and some touching originals. Englishman Ben Jones is a remarkably nimble guitarist, while Irish vocalist Andrea Magee provided most of the percussion and found new uses for a pennywhistle in her reinterpretation of Stevie Nicks’ “Dreams.” Her original tune “Forever” may have originated with her parents arguing about a piece of cheese, but it’s catchy and delightful even if you don’t know its origin.

Andrea Magee

Set List (Courtesy of Setlist.fm)

California Girls

Dance, Dance, Dance

I Get Around

Shut Down

Little Deuce Coupe

Little Honda

Surfer Girl

Salt Lake City

Wake the World

Add Some Music to Your Day

California Saga: California

Don’t Worry Baby

Darlin’

Feel Flows

Wild Honey

Sail On, Sailor

Do It Again

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Sloop John B

God Only Knows

Good Vibrations

Encore

All Summer Long

Help Me, Rhonda

Barbara Ann

Surfin’ U.S.A.

Fun, Fun, Fun

Love and Mercy

Win Passes to the Kansas City Advance Screening of “CREED II”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at MGM to give (50) lucky readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the year, “CREED II.”

The film will be shown on Monday, November 19 at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (50) passes have been claimed the giveaway is over.  Good luck!

CREED II

Monday, November 19, 2018 – 7:00 pm

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri

Win Passes to the Kansas City Sneak Preview of “Robin Hood”

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Summit Entertainment to give (3) lucky readers and a guest the chance to attend the special sneak preview of the upcoming film, “Robin Hood,” starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.

The film will be shown on Monday, November 19th at the AMC Barrywoods Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri.  The show begins at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do to enter for a chance to win these passes is let us know below who your favorite big-screen Robin Hood is.  Errol Flynn?  Kevin Costner?  How about Disney’s animated hero?

Three entries will be randomly chosen and the winners notified by email.  

This giveaway ends at 6:00 p.m. Sunday night, November 18th.  Good luck!

Win Tickets to the Kansas City Screening of “Boy Erased”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Focus Features to give (50) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of the upcoming season, “Boy Erased.”

The film, written and directed by Joel Edgerton, will be screened on Wednesday, November 7 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kansas City.  The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m.

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once the (50) passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.  Good luck!

BOY ERASED

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 – 7:30 p.m.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – Kansas City, Missouri

Win Tickets to the Kansas City Screening of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

 

Media Mikes has teamed up with their friends at Fox Searchlight to give (100) readers and a guest the chance to be among the first in Kansas City to see the new film, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

The film, starring Melissa McCarthy, will be shown on Monday, October 29 at the Cinemark Palace at the Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.  The screening will begin at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is click HERE  The first (100) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  Once all (100) passes have been claimed the giveaway has ended.  Good Luck!

CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME

Monday, October 29, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, Missouri

Win Passes to the Kansas City premiere of “Hunter Killer”

Media Mikes has teamed with their friends at Lionsgate Films to give (50) lucky readers and a guest the chance to be among the first to see the new film “Hunter Killer,” starring Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman.

The screening will be held on Wednesday, October 24 at the Screenland Armor Theatre in North Kansas City and will start at 7:00 p.m.

To win all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (50) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first come/first serve giveaway.  When the allotted (50) passes have been claimed, the giveaway is ended.  GOOD LUCK!

HUNTER KILLER

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

Screenland Armor Theatre, North Kansas City, Missouri

Win Passes to the Kansas City premiere of “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Media Mikes has teamed with their friends at 20th Century Fox to give (25) lucky readers and their guest the chance to be among the first to see one of the most anticipated films of 2018:  “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

The film will be screened on Tuesday, October 23 at the AMC Studio 28 Theatre in Olathe, Kansas.  The screening begins at 700 p.m.

 

 

To attend, all you have to do is click HERE.  The first (25) readers to do so will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening.  This is a first-come/first-serve giveaway.  When the (25) pair of passes have been claimed, the giveaway has ended.  GOOD LUCK!

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY opens nationwide on Friday, November 2.

 

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.

AMC Studio 28 Theatre, Olathe, Kansas

Concert Review: FOO FIGHTERS in Kansas City

 

 Foo Fighters
 Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
 October 12, 2018
 
During an introduction a few years ago on CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman,” the now-retired host said this about the Foo Fighters, “We can all sleep easy at night knowing that somewhere at any given time, the Foo Fighters are out there fighting Foo.” With founder Dave Grohl at the helm, Foo Fighters did plenty of that and then some in front of a packed audience for three wild hours on Friday night (Oct. 12) at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
 
After hitting the multi-generational crowd with three songs – “Run,” “The Sky Is a Neighborhood” and “La Dee Da” – from their ninth studio album “Concrete and Gold,” Grohl, who somehow manages to not blow out his vocal chords, took a break from wailing to let drummer Taylor Hawkins perform an epic solo, which was upon a miniature stage that rose a couple stories above the main stage. This led into “Something From Nothing,” also from their current album, before Grohl and company – bassist Nate Mendel, guitarist Pat Smear, Hawkins, guitarist Chris Shiflett, and keyboardist Rami Jaffee – took the Sprint Center on a rock journey across their 23-year music career.
 
Using just the right amount of laser lights and other visuals to complement their music, the Foo Fighters often went on extended, improvised versions of such classic hits as “The Pretender” and “Learn to Fly.” Without missing a beat, the audience was impressively able to sing every song word for word when called upon by Grohl, who once again proved he is a master showman. Some singers can bore you to tears when they decide to stop and talk in between songs. Grohl is a brilliant exception. Even with plenty of f-bombs to spare, Grohl, much like he did while sitting in a guitar throne three years ago during their last Sprint Center appearance, kept his spectators engaged and entertained.
 
The Foo Fighters took a break from their hit parade to allow each band member to have their own feature solo. No one in the house was disappointed as they demonstrated masterful musicianship, highlighted by a fantastic rendition of “Blitzkrieg Bop” with Smear taking the lead and “Under Pressure” with Grohl on drums and Hawkins on lead vocals. However, perhaps no more fun was to be had than when Grohl explained how important music can be to healing differences with Jaffee playing “Imagine” in the background. With everyone expecting to sing along with the John Lennon classic, Grohl surprised everyone by doing Van Halen’s “Jump” lyrics to the music of “Imagine,” again showing their versatility and playful side.
 
The Foo Fighters wound up the raucous evening of pure American rock with classics “My Hero,” “Monkey Wrench” and “Best of You” before diving into a slightly surprising encore. It featured Grohl inviting an 11-year-old kid onstage to play “Enter Sandman” on guitar, which was to the gleeful delight of the crowd, before the group ultimately ended with mainstay “Everlong.”

SET LIST:  Run, The Sky is a Neighborhood, La Dee Da, Sunday Rain, Something From Nothing, Walk, These Days, Arlandria, The Pretender, Times Like These, All My Life, Learn to Fly, Breakout, Another One Bites the Dust, Imagine/Jump, Blitzkrier Bop, Under Pressure, My Hero, Monkey Wrench, Best of You.  ENCORE:  Enter Sandman, Dirty Water, This is a Call, Everlon.,