Pink Floyd's The Wall. The Who's Tommy. Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city. These are some of the greatest concept albums of all time. They draw us in with music and keep us rapt in attention. They tell a story so painfully human we cannot help but be moved.
Any music lover has fond memories of falling under a concept album's spell, but what if a concept album came to life? What if, instead of just listening to the music, you could see and hear the singers and players right in front of your eyes? What if a concert became more like a theater production, and actors became more like rock gods?
If that were to happen to you, you'd probably be sitting in the Adrienne Arsht Center's intimate Carnival Studio Theater watching Todd Almond and Courtney Love perform their new genre-bending hit, Kansas City Choir Boy. It's part concept album, part musical theater performance, part rock concert.
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There's no traditional book of lines, no traditional story line. It's a tale told mostly through flashbacks mixed with fantasies, the story of a man remembering an old flame who ran away to find better things. Courtney Love brings her world-weary attitude to play the part of the idealistic artist and muse who longs for something more. Her dark, raspy voice bolsters the show with real grit. Almond wrote the show and plays the music man who loves her but isn't so in love with leaving Kansas City.
Previous engagements have seen additional seating constructed on either side of the floor-level stage to increase the captivating atmosphere and raise tensions. The only other cast members are a six-woman chorus of “sirens” and a string quartet.
Kansas City Choir Boy looks rough around the edges but exciting in its newness. And, hey, you get to be up close and personal with Courtney Love. That's not something you get to see every day.
Kansas City Choir Boy
November 30, December 4, and December 7 through 11 at the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Showtimes vary. Tickets available September 2 via arshtcenter.org. Call 305-949-6722 or visit arshtcenter.org.