Star Brights: A look at some of the good people and deeds that surround us

Cynthia Levin of the Unicorn Theatre is one of Kansas City’s brightest creative lights.
Cynthia Levin of the Unicorn Theatre is one of Kansas City’s brightest creative lights. The Kansas City Star

Our new ‘Mr. Jayhawk’

Hey, Frank Mason. You need a truck to move all that hardware?

Mason, the Kansas Jayhawks’ brilliant point guard, on Tuesday won the 2017 Danny Manning “Mr. Jayhawk” Award for contributions on and off the court.

That’s in addition to the Wooden Award, the Associated Press player of the year award, the Naismith Trophy and the Oscar Robertson Trophy that Mason also picked up this year.

The 5-foot-11-inch phenom, once a second-tier recruit, now will leave Lawrence as the most decorated player in KU’s storied basketball history.

Congratulations, Frank.

We’ll look forward to seeing you when KU hangs your number from the rafters one day.

Cool heads at Truman

Truman State University could have had a public relations nightmare on its hands Thursday night when the student Republican group tested tolerance levels by inviting Robert Spencer to speak.

Spencer is considered anti-Muslim, as he promotes incidents that portray Islam as the radical face of terrorism while ignoring far greater numbers of Muslims who practice their faith in peace.

But the campus wisely arranged for Faizan Syed, the executive director of the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, to speak as well. The vast majority of students who attended wore white in solidarity with peaceful dialogue.

“It was a very civil night,” Syed, of St. Louis, said. “We need to do much more of this.”

Step in the right direction

It’s not so much that congratulations are in order. After all, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was only narrowly edged out in a recent poll, and is only the country’s second most unpopular governor.

Most unpopular in his state is New Jersey’s Chris Christie, whose two former aides are headed to jail over the “Bridgegate” lane closure scandal; Christie insists he had no idea that they’d risked public safety by intentionally tying up traffic on the George Washington Bridge to retaliate against a local official in Fort Lee, N.J., who hadn’t endorsed Christie’s re-election.

Brownback has a 27 percent approval rating among those surveyed in his state, compared to Christie’s 25 percent.

Another daring season

Cynthia Levin, producing artistic director at the Unicorn Theatre, has earned her reputation as one of Kansas City’s true artistic giants honestly.

She has transformed the Theatre Workshop that debuted with a single show in the River Market 43 years ago into one of the region’s most fearless playhouses.

This week, the Unicorn announced its 2017-18 season, and the lineup boasts the unpredictable mix that has become the theater’s hallmark — from a Pulitzer Prize winner to the world premiere of a new work, from a somber examination of scientific ethics to a twisted reimagining of a Chekhov classic.

Unicorn audiences are sure to be challenged by the converted storefront that has become a durable institution.