Top 5 live: Columbia’s best performances, from theater to concerts

This year saw a wide array of live performances that got people dancing, talking and laughing.


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This past school year has been one to remember for wonderful performances on campus and around CoMo. Concerts and shows grabbed audiences’ attention whether it be the second act of “The Green Duck Lounge,” which allowed the audience to participate in a conversation, or Sylvan Esso’s high-tempo beats that got everyone dancing.

MOVE has the year’s top five live performances:

“The Green Duck Lounge” - Feb. 21-25, 2018

Penned by Michelle Tyrene Johnson, the world premiere of “The Green Duck Lounge” opened at the Rhynsburger Theater in February. Set in a Kansas City bar of the same name, the show offers a provocative and almost haunting look at how history repeats itself. The show opens in present day, but halfway through, it switches back to the 1960s to get a different perspective on issues still prevalent today. The show focuses on the exclusion of black communities and the different responses to racism over time. “The Green Duck Lounge” brought a thought-provoking experience that was exactly what MU needed.

“The Drowning Girls” - March 14-18, 2018

“The Drowning Girls” was the first full-length play to be performed in the new Studio 4 Black Box Theater. Out of three bathtubs, three dripping-wet brides rise from the grave to tell their tales of woe. Artful, overlapping lines made the show come across as almost poetry. The use of water in the tubs on stage was bold but paid off. Soaking-wet, 20th-century bridal costumes and dripping hair gave the show a spooky feel. Based on the true crime story of the Brides in the Bath Murders, “The Drowning Girls” was an unforgettable dark comedy.

Festival of South African Dance - Nov. 2, 2017

Two South African dance companies came together in Jesse Auditorium to perform rhythmic and syncopated stepping dances to showcase their unique cultures. They depicted different groups, miners and friends seeking work through their performance, as they wanted to take the audience on a journey through South Africa. The audience was clapping and whistling throughout the whole show. The Festival of South African Dance used different styles of music, dancing and depictions to share life experiences in Jesse Auditorium.

Sylvan Esso - Sept. 25, 2017

Sylvan Esso brought a unique show to Columbia. The band’s indie pop created the perfect environment for plenty of dancing and singing along. Singer Amelia Meath stunned the audience at The Blue Note with her dance moves and her unwavering voice, while producer Nick Sanborn brought beats and bass. The show was high energy from the moment the duo stepped onstage to the moment they left.

Snail Mail - Oct. 20, 2017

Snail Mail’s show in Columbia was one for the books. Fresh out of high school, Lindsey Jordan took the stage and had everyone’s full attention. Cafe Berlin was packed all the way to the doors with people who came to see Jordan sing about the discomfort that comes with growing up. Jordan also showed her prowess as a classically trained guitarist, and her band displayed its technical music skills as well. The show had a great lineup, featuring Columbia-based bands Shady Bug and It’s Me: Ross, making for the perfect night of indie rock.

Edited by Brooke Collier |

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