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The Orphans Feast opens on November 30 at The Arts Asylum in KCMO.

Between now and then, a total of 20 professional actors, directors, instrumentalists, technicians, and crew will be spending many late nights preparing the show for you. We want to pay them for their time and effort.

The Monocle is holding an online fundraising campaign and we need your support. We have all sorts of great perks waiting for you - backstage passes, dinner with The Monocle, plus tickets to the show, posters, and more.

Please join us in supporting these people. Thank you!

The Monocle

A new vision for the performing arts.

Welcome to the home of The Monocle, a new vision for the performing arts.

The Monocle is music, comedy, and drama. The Monocle is original performing arts. The Monocle is the works of the future built on the traditions of the past, and the works of the past reinvented as artifacts of the future.

Keep your eyes on us. We've got our eye on you.

What is The Monocle?

The Monocle creates original productions. The Monocle is a full-fledged production company, staging original works in drama, comedy, and musical theatre. The founding members include an accomplished director, three experienced producers, and several scriptwriters, composers and arrangers. We seek to work with the best artists in the region to create moving, memorable, and always artful entertainment.

The Monocle creates entertainment for private functions. There are many types of entertainment you could hire for your event. The Monocle goes beyond the routine to offer your guests something truly fresh and memorable. Whether it's a private party or a corporate event, The Monocle can work with you to script your own message. Or we can provide a unique take on your theme. Either way, The Monocle communicates effectively and indelibly through the power of theatre.

The Monocle supports the arts. Whether providing stage experience opportunities to student actors and crew or offering fair wages to local performing arts professionals, The Monocle supports the arts by supporting the artists. To achieve this, The Monocle operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Fractured Atlas and the advantages of a 510(c)(3). The Monocle will also support its original productions by providing tailored entertainment for private functions.

The Players

Nathan Granner

Nathan Granner

Operatic tenor, Nathan Granner is recognized throughout the world as a generative, solo and collaborative artist and as one of The American Tenors, from the Odyssey/Sony Masterworks imprint.

Nathan sings, composes, writes prose and poetry, acts, and paints. He also produces shows and art events, including a sold-out tribute to American composer Virgil Thomson at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO.

Christian Hankel

Christian Hankel

Christian Hankel is a composer, producer, and performer. He's a founding member of - and songwriter for - several bands, including the modern cabaret troupe, Alacartoona. He also writes, produces, and acts in stage plays and film.

Christian sees art as an immersive experience. He creates playful environments that replace the real world, providing his audience with a safe place to try on new ways of thinking.

Katie Gilchrist

Katie Gilchrist

Whether it's acting, singing, directing, or producing, Katie Gilchrist thoroughly enjoys the vibrant and flourishing Kansas City artistic community. Opportunites with Actors Theatre, Kansas City, The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, The Unicorn, The Living Room, Studio 116 at UMKC, Crosstown Station, Off-Center Theatre and others keep Katie busy and fulfilled here in her home town.

Shay Estes

Shay Estes

Known for her limber vocal performances and her strongly emotional expression, Shay Estes is a queen of the Kansas City jazz scene. She's at ease on stage in both musical and theatrical settings, with a strong background in dramatic and musical theatre. Shay is a talented vocal arranger and has keen eye for theatrical direction.

Shay believes that art requires risk and that risk is most successfully mitigated with craft. She seeks out collaboration, and thrives on honesty for the sake of art.

The Show

As a collaborative ensemble of generative and performing artists, The Monocle produces shows that span a wide range of artforms and genres. Like the television variety shows of the 1960's and 70's, or the vaudeville and cabaret acts of the early 1900's, The Monocle incorporates music, comedy, and drama into their productions.

The players hail from a variety of backgrounds - jazz, opera, theatre, and pop - and count amongst themselves singers, composers, arrangers, instrumentalists, playwrights, actors, directors, and producers. They bring their talents and experience to bear on their projects, creating unique and entertaining performing arts.

The Monocle has a deep respect for the art of the past, in particular for its spirit of experimentation and discovery. The Monocle lets this spirit guide them as they reinterpret past works for today's audiences. The Monocle also has a deep respect for the art of the future, and so creates original pieces of music and theatre for their shows.

Whether performing original material or reinventing works from the past, The Monocle delivers artful, impeccably performed entertainment.

A Romantic Affäre - Schwanengesang

A Romantic Affäre - Schwanengesang
March 21, 2013

The Monocle is proud to provide production and management support for A Romantic Affäre - Schwanengesang (Swan's Song) by Gulley/Granner. James Beard Award winning Chef Martin Heuser and Affäre German Restaurant host Gulley/Granner and Steinway Artist Karen Kushner as they perform the historic last compositions of Franz Schubert.

For classical music lovers, the form of the classical art-song performed by world class artists is life-changing. For lovers of fine cuisine, an inspired multiple-course dinner and sommelier paired wine is a rare delight. For art lovers, the immersion of visual art and multi-media is a feast for the eyes, yet it is when all the senses and arts work together in one collaborative production that a bigger transformation occurs. Greater than the sum of its parts, this fully sensory experience warps your perception between the real and imagined past and present.

HomeGuard Festival 2013

HomeGuard Festival
March 14 - 16, 2013

In the most prevalent days of the Hobo culture, as men would hop trains bound for other destinations, there were a few brave souls — known as the home guard — who volunteered to stay behind to protect the camp. Taking inspiration from these men who swore to protect their ground, Money Wolf Music and The Monocle are proud to present the HomeGuard Festival on March 14 and 15.

HomeGuard Festival

While a large number of the city's esteemed musical family make their way down to Austin, TX to represent our beloved city at South by Southwest, the HomeGuard Festival has been established to ensure the rich legacy of live music in Kansas City is preserved for the fans who stay behind.

Money Wolf Music and The Monocle, in association with Folk Alliance International, are proud to present HomeGuard Festival 2013.

March 14: HomeGuard Kickoff
Purchase tickets: $65

  • Sam Baker

March 15: HomeGuard Festival
Purchase tickets: $10

  • Nuthatch 47
  • M. Incroyable
  • Rumblejetts
  • Molly Picture Club
  • Dream Wolf
  • Be/Non

March 16: HomeGuard VIP Party

  • TBA

March 16: HomeGuard Wrap Party

  • TBA

The HomeGuard Festival is the musical love child of Kansas City artists Tommy Donoho (Money Wolf Music) and Christian Hankel (The Monocle). At its core, the festival is our way to "keep the homefires burning" for the KC musicians that are traveling to Austin, TX to perform for the Midcoast Takeover at the South by Southwest Music Festival. However, this Money Wolf Music / The Monocle joint venture is more than just an homage to our traveling brothers and sisters. It is also our testament to the quality and diversity of the Kansas City musical and cultural experience, a celebration of our great city and its community of artists.

The Orphans Feast

The Orphans Feast
Nov 30 - Dec 2, 2012

"This holiday season, keep a song on your lips, your friends by your side, and a baseball bat in your backpack."

Review by

It's December 24, 1940 in London, England. A young couple listens to the broadcast from the local dance hall while they discuss the family they're just starting. The announcer interrupts the music - Hitler's bombers are on the way. And so, with the wailing of sirens, begins The Monocle's debut original production, "The Orphans Feast."

Inspired by the holiday meals shared by friends separated from their families by circumstances or choice, "The Orphans Feast" follows a cast of characters as they pursue the meaning of family through the past, future, and present. Love, loss, psychotic breaks, songs, laughter, time travel, and zombies promise to make this a holiday production you won't soon forget. Featuring original tunes and new takes on holiday classics, performed live on stage at The Arts Asylum, in downtown Kansas City, MO.

"The Orphans Feast" was written by Christian Hankel with Nathan Granner. Directed by Katie Gilchrist. Assistant directing by Tara Varney, with stage management by Ryan Puffer. Original music by Christian Hankel, with Nathan Granner, Johnny Hamil, and Shay Estes, and performed live by Wayne Hawkins, Patrick Alonzo Conway, and Johnny Hamil.


December 5, 2012 Wayward Wassailers

November 28, 2012

KCUR 89.3 FM: The Monocle Launches A Living Gallery Of Performing Artists

November 28, 2012

Kansas City Star: Monocle, a new KC production company, serves its first 'Feast'

November 27, 2012 The Monocle helps revitalize Kansas City arts and presents 'The Orphans Feast'

November 10, 2012

KCTV 5: The Monocle Performs


The Orphans Feast - by David Berry

The Monocle Presents "The Orphans Feast" - by Christian Hankel

The Monocle Kickoff Party - by Nathan Granner