Tom Sawyer: KC Rep’s version of the classic gets a sleek, fun, physical treatment.

The Kansas City Star
Ready for some more Mark Twain?

Just as the Kansas City Ballet’s premiere of “Tom Sawyer: A Ballet in Three Acts” in October has begun to recede from memory, here comes Kansas City Repertory Theatre with its own take on the classic novel about boyhood adventures on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River.

Always room for one more 'Tom Sawyer'

But that’s where the similarities should end. The ballet, buoyed by a lush, Coplandesque symphonic score by Maury Yeston, employed all members of the dance company and included busy crowd scenes. The Rep’s production, which began previews this weekend, involves only eight actors, most of them playing multiple roles. And the music, credited to Daniel Baker and Aaron Meicht, is a bit more spare and eclectic, according to director Jeremy Cohen.

The Rep’s production of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is not a musical, but the music is as important an element as the scenic design, the lighting or the costumes, Cohen said.

“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” which premiered in 2010 at Hartford Stage in Hartford, Conn., was written by Laura Eason, artistic director of the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, and developed by Cohen.

Anyone who recalls the Rep’s fine production of “Around the World in 80 Days” in the 2009-10 season should have an inkling of what to expect. That show, written and directed by Eason, employed music creatively and found a way to portray an epic tale with a relatively small cast and a fluid, impressionistic scenic design. Read the rest at


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