Press Release

For Immediate Release 

 

Event Date: August 29 and 30, 2014

 

Rag Swing Bop! Premieres on Charlie Parker's Birthday, August 29th at Kansas City’s Historic Gem Theater

 

 

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Kansas City, Missouri, July 31, 2014 (McKenzieNewsService.com) - Paul Mesner Puppets celebrates Kansas City jazz in its newest production Rag Swing Bop! (previously Ragtime to Bebop: The KC Jazz Story) August 29 and 30. Set on the birth date of the central character, iconic saxophonist Charlie Parker, the premiere will be at the Gem Theater in the historic jazz district of Kansas City, 1616 East 18th Street. This family-friendly (ages 9+) show is sponsored by Hallmark, Inc. and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Missouri Arts Council, and Sprint. It’s also part of the KC Jazz Alive “A Charlie Parker Celebration.”
 
The musical play starts out with "12th Street Rag" and continues with many classic jazz recordings including "Night Hawk Blues," "St. James Infirmary," "The Moten Swing" and "Cherokee." Rag Swing Bop! tells the story of KC jazz through the life of Charlie Parker.  Born just after the ragtime craze he becomes fascinated with many types of music, learns different instruments and settles on the saxophone. He breaks into the rollicking and often risqué world of KC’s 1930s jazz clubs, and marries for the first time at age 15. Once a master of the popular swing jazz, Parker goes out on the road, facing the challenges of racism and the often ruthless music business. He eventually creates his own unique style known as bebop.
 
In addition to a sound track tailored by venerable jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson, the production will feature a visual feast of scenic projections, and puppets of all sizes and types. Matthew Mott is scenic designer, Kris Kirkwood lighting designer, Joseph Concha sound designer, and Brad Cox music coordinator. Rag Swing Bop! is co-written by Paul Mesner and Associate Artistic Director Mike Horner with noted jazz historian Chuck Haddix as story consultant. The play is performed in one act running approximately one hour.
 
Paul Mesner Puppets is the only professional puppet theatre company in mid-America to be a three-time winner of the prestigious Union Internationale de la Marionette-USA (UNIMA-USA) award for excellence. The company is in its twenty-seventh season based in Kansas City. 
 
Performances will be Friday, August 29 at 10:30 a.m. and a 7:00 p.m. official premiere followed by a VIP reception. Last performances on Saturday, August 30 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $9 for children, $15 for adults, with discounts for members. School group tickets are $6.50. Tickets are now available to the public and for school groups through the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222 or online at www.MesnerPuppets.org.

 

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About Mesner Puppets:

Mesner Puppets is a globally known professional puppet theatre company based in Kansas City, Missouri with a satellite location in Overland Park, Kansas. In addition to its local season of plays which draws about 20,000 annually, the company tours nationally and performs regionally to an additional 38,000 children and adults at performing arts centers, schools and libraries. The company operates in a rehabilitated 7,000 square feet hardware store in KC's Hyde Park neighborhood south of Crown Center. Here the company performs in studio space seating 200, and builds all of the puppets and scenery for every show. A display room of Mr. Mesner's extensive puppet collection doubles as a childrens workshop for making paper puppets after every show.

 

 

About Paul Mesner  

Paul Mesner, Founder and Artistic Director Paul Mesner, puppeteer, author and performer became interested in puppetry at an early age. As a teenager he studied with Lee Ridge in Lincoln, Nebraska before starting his own puppet theater in Omaha. He toured his shows throughout Minnesota before studying at the prestigious International Institute of Puppetry in Charleville-Mezier, France. He moved to Kansas City where in 1987 he founded the Paul Mesner Puppets. His lively performances present classic stories recast in contemporary terms. Audiences across the United States have delighted in the precise craftsmanship, dynamic presentation and joyful blending of humor and education in all his productions. Paul Mesner believes wholeheartedly in entertaining his audiences and doesn’t mind including deeper meanings and life-lessons when no one is looking.

 

 

 

 

 Media Contact    

 

Media Contact: Bill Prenevost

Email: bill@paulmesnerpuppets.org

Phone: 816-756-3500

Media Visits: Complimentary media visits for journalists on assignment or with approved credentials. If you are unable to accept a courtesy visit, a press rate can be negotiated.

 

Paul Mesner Puppets

1616 East 18th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64108

Web: www.MesnerPuppets.org

 

 Condensed Version  

 

Missouri, Kansas City, Event Date: August 29 and 30, 2014

Rag Swing Bop! Premieres on Charlie Parker's Birthday, August 29th at Kansas City’s Historic Gem Theater

Paul Mesner Puppets celebrates Kansas City jazz in its newest production Rag Swing Bop! (previously Ragtime to Bebop: The KC Jazz Story) August 29 and 30. Set on the birth date of the central character, iconic saxophonist Charlie Parker, the premiere will be at the Gem Theater in the historic jazz district of Kansas City, 1616 East 18th Street. The musical play starts out with "12th Street Rag" and continues with many classic jazz recordings including "Night Hawk Blues," "St. James Infirmary," "The Moten Swing" and "Cherokee." Rag Swing Bop! tells the story of KC jazz through the life of Charlie Parker.  Born just after the ragtime craze he becomes fascinated with many types of music, learns different instruments and settles on the saxophone. He breaks into the rollicking and often risqué world of KC’s 1930s jazz clubs, and marries for the first time at age 15. Once a master of the popular swing jazz, Parker goes out on the road, facing the challenges of racism and the often ruthless music business. He eventually creates his own unique style known as bebop. Performances will be Friday, August 29 at 10:30 a.m. and a 7:00 p.m. official premiere followed by a VIP reception. Last performances on Saturday, August 30 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are $9 for children, $15 for adults, with discounts for members. School group tickets are $6.50. Tickets are now available to the public and for school groups through the Central Ticket Office at 816-235-6222 or online at www.MesnerPuppets.org.

 

 

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