Courtesy of the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center.

WSW: Keeping The Memory Of The S.S. Eastland Alive 103 Years Later

Actor Terry Lynch says his one man production tells the story of some of the people who died when the S.S. Eastland capsized 103 years ago, but he also wanted to tell the stories of survivors.

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Katherine Mumma

Farmers Alley Celebrates 10th Season With Mel Brooks Satire "The Producers"

The disreputable bust-and-boom Broadway adventures of Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in the record-breaking, 12 Tony award-winning musical The Producers are coming to the Farmers Alley Theatre July 20-Aug 5. Stars Stephen Wallem and WMU alum Tony Humrichouser , the real-life couple playing Max and Leo, and director/choreographer Bill Burns join Cara Lieurance to preview the production, which will be the biggest production yet in Farmers Alley Theatre's ten-year history. Wallem and Humrichouser talk about the experience they bring to their roles and praise director/choreographer Bill Burns, who worked directly with the team that launched the original stage adaptation of The Producers, including Mel Brooks, Susan Stroman, and Thomas Meehan.

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Music on Sunday

Handcrafted for your listening pleasure

The Kane Sisters

Liz Kane and her sister Yvonne grew up in the Connemara region of County Galway. Renowned for their exquisite mirror-image playing, the sisters learned to play fiddle from their grandfather and several East Galway musicians steeped in the special flowing style of the region. During the school year they teach and perform throughout the west of Ireland, and in summers travel to North America to tour and give workshops. 

Painter Bette Dickinson’s work is all about layers. When I came in to her studio at her home in Kalamazoo, she added a few more layers to a familiar Michigan scene. Underneath the oil paint there are waxy layers that give Dickinson’s art this spacey, other-worldly look. Most of her art is more abstract, with colorful splashes and splattered paint. 

The Ladies Library Association in Kalamazoo has recently broken ground on a $2.1 million project to make their historic 130-year-old building more accessible and useful for the community. The Ladies Library Association building in downtown Kalamazoo, finished in 1879 is on the National Register of Historic Places.

On Saturday, Battle Creek will host the second annual music festival Leilapalooza at Leila Arboretum. WMUK's Rebecca Thiele spoke with executive director for the Leila Arboretum Society, Brett Myers, to find out how the festival is working to revitalize the Battle Creek music scene.


Kelly Zajac at Tudor House Tea & Spice in Kalamazoo
Nancy Camden

Even on hot days like these, many of us still drink our morning coffee to get a daily dose of caffeine. But more people are starting to wake themselves up with a cup of tea. Nancy Camden went to Tudor House Tea in Spice in Kalamazoo to learn everything she could about coffee’s old nemesis.

'La Boheme': 19th-Century 'Reality Opera'

Nov 8, 2011

Giacomo Puccini once said that the secret to his success was putting "great sorrow in little souls" — and he did it with a formula that has fueled a spate of modern network television hits.

When William Bolcom's opera A View from the Bridge premiered in Chicago in 1999, one critic described it as "Brooklyn verismo," invoking the emotive style popularized by Italian composers such as Puccini. And that pretty much hits the nail on the head.

It's a story that would seem excessive for even the most lurid of "real life" dramas, or blood-soaked slasher movies. But it's always been right at home in the opera house — Richard Strauss' intense, one-act opera, Elektra.

It's easy to wonder whether actual events in the lives of great composers are directly reflected in their music. Sometimes people even argue about it. But in the case of personal tragedies early in Giuseppe Verdi's life, the case seems like a slam dunk.

When we think of opera's biggest stars and greatest hits, we tend to think of solo arias. But that overlooks another operatic goldmine: duets.

Over the years, there have been plenty of classic duet collaborations, resulting in legendary recordings and performances. Mirella Freni and Luciano Pavarotti come to mind, singing the "Cherry Duet" from Mascagni's L'Amico Fritz. Going back a little further, there's Jussi Bjorling and Robert Merrill with "Au fond du temple saint," the famous duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers.

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