December 10th, 2023

across the spider verse spotlightSpider-Man (Shameik Moore) battles The Spot (Jason Schwartzman) in an early scene from “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Back in January 2019, one of the first reviews I wrote for this page was for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which I absolutely loved. I look on that movie and review rather fondly because when I decided to go see it in theaters, my original expectations were along the lines of ‘I’ll probably like it but won’t go crazy over it’ and BOY was I (very happily!) proven wrong, because it became one of my favorite animated movies ever. 

So when I officially heard there was going to be a sequel, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” and watched the initial teaser on Twitter and subsequent trailers on YouTube, my reaction was one of EXTREME happiness and I knew I would have to see it when it was released. And that’s just what I did earlier this week. “Across the Spider-Verse” takes place 16 months after the events after the first film and follows Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore) as he goes on an adventure with Gwen Stacy/Spider-Woman (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) across the multiverse, where he meets a new team known as the Spider-Society, led by Miguel O' Hara/Spider-Man 2099, (voiced by Oscar Isaac) but comes into conflict with them over handling a new threat, the Spot (voiced by Jason Schwartzman), whose origins have a surprising tie to Miles. In terms of overall tone, think along the lines of “The Empire Strikes Back” from the original “Star Wars” trilogy. 

hamilton national tourThe end of the Battle of Yorktown is celebrated in this scene from “Hamilton.” The show’s national tour will be stopping at Century II in Wichita from June 6 through 18. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Local theatre fans will definitely want to be in the room where it happens with an upcoming national tour production making its way to Wichita. 

The Tony Award-winning musical 'Hamilton' will be making its way to Century II in Wichita and will be there June 6 through 18. The show follows U.S. Founding Father Alexander Hamilton from when he immigrated to the U.S. until his duel with Aaron Burr. Other founding fathers and historical figures are also featured in the show including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and King George III. Cast member Jen Sese said it is exciting for the show to be stopping in Wichita. 

“I'm really excited the show is going to be in Wichita because when I was in college, I actually worked for Music Theatre of Wichita during the 2004 or 2005 season, so I'm excited to be back there among my old stomping grounds, so to speak,” Sese said. “I know there's huge support for the theatre community there, so I think we'll have a really good run the two weeks we'll be there. I've been with the Philip Company of 'Hamilton' since it began, and we'd started rehearsals in 2017 and opened in 2018. I began in the ensemble and as a standby for all three Schuyler sisters characters. I went to be part of the Los Angeles company for a little while again as a standby for the three Schuyler sisters and since joining the Philip Company, I've been in the dual roles of Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds. I'm so lucky to have had a long journey with the show, I love it so much and I'm blessed to call 'Hamilton' my home for the past five years. It was also kind of fun while recovering from the pandemic because L.A. was laid off for a little while, so I went to other touring companies and filled in some of the holes in those shows and helped ensure there were enough people to do the show.”

my life is a symphony spotlight pageELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite things is discovering new music while I’m working on my assignments and recently, one of those discoveries happened while I was thinking of what I wanted to write about for this week’s page. 

Especially recently, I’ve been more into bossa nova jazz for background noise while I’m working and earlier this week, while I was listening to that, I inadvertently clicked on a video for a new song of Kate Ceberano, a jazz singer who’s been in the music business in Australia for several years. The song was from her new album “My Life Is A Symphony” in conjunction with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and after the song I accidentally clicked on, I knew I immediately had to listen to the rest of the album, which I later found out was actually released last week. The entire album is almost akin to a greatest hits album and has 10 songs ranging from her different albums throughout Ceberano’s career. 

The album begins with her song “Brave,” and I loved everything about this song – the opening instrumentals from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are fierce yet soothing at the same time and complements Ceberano’s vocals (which are powerful and absolutely ooze her passion) so, so well. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra provided the perfect accompaniment and admittedly made my band geek heart pretty happy. The album then continues with “Earth & Sky,” which is also full of feeling – the song is a less melodramatic breakup song and focuses on how couples just drift apart sometimes through no fault of anyone involved. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra again provides the perfect accompaniment, and the song is sad yet rather soaring at the same time, which is great.