The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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December 28, 2012

2012’s epic wins: Joplin's entertainment scene offered plenty of highlights

JOPLIN, Mo. — This is more like it.

2011 featured some great moments, but many of them were directly related to the tornado. It gave us a lot of satisfaction to see Joplin’s entertainment scene get back to normal in 2012, with a solid lineup of great music, theater and events.

Here are some of the events and happenings this year that went above and beyond.

Encore

Theater has a surprisingly strong presence in the Joplin area, from the high-school departments in Joplin, Webb City, Pittsburg and other area schools, to the professional groups such as Joplin Little Theatre and Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre.

This was a good year for the stage around the region:

  • Joplin Little Theatre presented a wonderfully acted play about art called “Art.” Acting veterans Kevin Babbitt, Greg Swartz and Jim Lile delivered the play’s dialogue effortlessly and sublimely.
  • Also at Joplin Little Theatre was “The Robber Bridegroom,” a brilliant fusion of Broadway and bluegrass. The stark set gave room for the chorus to color the stage with beautiful music and a clever story.
  • Political interest drove a particularly relevant production of “1984,” a stage adaptation of George Orwell’s sci-fi classic shown at Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre. Director Ray Goepfert made sure to schedule the show a few weeks before the presidential election -- its criticisms leveled at both sides of the political aisle called for it.
  • Stone’s Throw also put on an ambitious production of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic “The Mikado.” Director Shanti Navarre had the chance to tweak the script of the Victorian play, but she left it alone, and the results on stage were compelling.
  • Stained Glass Theatre began a capital campaign to build a new theater on land donated by Mercy Hospital. Despite not having a home, they produced a great run of shows on many stages around the region -- the biggest of which was a production of “A Christmas Carol,” presented earlier this month at Taylor Performing Arts Center.

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