Gig Seeker Pro


Kansas City, Missouri, United States | SELF

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Jazz




"Alacartoona channel is back on the air"

Alacartoona, our city’s best-known modern cabaret troupe, is back in business. The band will perform as a full ensemble for the first time in nearly a year at 9 p.m. Saturday on the deck at Californos, 4124 Pennsylvania Ave. in Westport.
Here’s the word from founding member Erin McGrane, who plays Ruby Falls in the band: “Alacartoona is rising from her slumber. We have a new drummer, Sergio Moreno, and we are having a show to introduce him. We’re also working on a couple of new tunes and are breathing air again.”

McGrane said Alacartoona’s previous incarnation as a full band was the finale for drummer Gregg Jackson in November 2010. It has since performed as a trio for a couple of private and out-of-town shows and for its annual Bastille Day celebration appearance at Le Fou Frog restaurant.

“We’re pretty excited, to be honest,” she said. “Alacartoona has nearly died several times over the years, but somehow — always — she lives. Sergio is the perfect foil for the three of us crusty elders. We’re excited about the project again and writing.”

The band’s sound is evolving, McGrane said, and is taking some of its shape from everyone’s other projects. During Alacartoona’s downtime, she, Christian Hankel and Kyle Dahlquist joined or started other bands with sounds that range from experimental rock/jazz to old-time pop.

“Thematically, our music will probably stay in the same vein, but we anticipate exploring and expanding our musical palette,” she said.

“Christian, Kyle and I have all explored other groups and styles of music: Kyle is now a full member of Mr. Marco’s V7; Christian has co-founded the Hillary Watts Riot and I have co-founded Victor & Penny with Jeff Freling. These disparate influences will surely find their way into the musings of Alacartoona.” - The Kansas City Star


Songs From the Show (Spoonbender Labs, 2005)
Live On the Air: KKFI Radio (Spoonbender Labs, 2006)
Night Is the Mirror (full length movie, 2009)



Founded in 2002 by Christian Hankel and Erin McGrane, Alacartoona has proven to be one of the most successful and longest-lived bands in the Kansas City area. With two CDs, a full-length movie, a popular stage production, and an arts grant from the Kansas City Metropolitan Arts Council, the band has consistently stretched the boundaries of musical performance.

Alacartoona performs "theatrical music," a style that creates an interactive environment in which the audience is immersed. The show is never confined to the stage, with band members frequently moving through the house to engage directly with fans.

While theatrical onstage, a listen to either of their full-length CDs will quickly show that this is a band, first and foremost. They practice both the art and craft of song writing, creating deceptively simple pieces whose emotional and musical complexity become more apparent with each listen. They are proud students of 20’s and 30’s German and French cabaret but they are unmistakably modern in their approach. Their musical influences span wide swaths of periods and styles to include Eric Satie, David Bowie, Phillip Glass, Irving Berlin, Queen and many others. The melodies and rhythms of American rock, Irish folk and Brazilian samba are just as apparent as the oompah-pah waltz of traditional cabaret.

The combined performance experience of the members includes extensive stage and screen time, in both theatrical and musical settings. Chanteuse Ruby Falls is played by Erin McGrane, who appeared with George Cloony in "Up In the Air" and with Brandon Routh in "Fling." She also shared in a Midwest EMMY for her part in "The Unreal Housewives of Kansas City."

Bassist Providence Forge is played by Christian Hankel, who has been performing in successful acts in the Kansas City area for a number of years. In October of 2011, he appeared on the stage of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with his vocal performance ensemble, The Monocle.

Accordionist Overton Wooldridge is played by Kyle Dahlquist, a seasoned Kansas City musician. In October of 2011, he performed a solo accordion piece at the Kauffman Center.

Drummer Billings Marland is played by Sergio Moreno, who has been performing since he was fourteen. His father founded La Tierra Prometida, one of the best known Christian rock bands in Mexico. Sergio toured with his father's band as a youth, then went on to study jazz bass in the US before turning to drums.