Michael Hibblen

When a nearly $70 million renovation of Little Rock’s historic Robinson Center Music Hall is complete late next year, the venue will be able to host any touring Broadway production. And officials announced Monday that for the first time, Andrew Lloyd Webber's renowned Phantom of the Opera will be coming to town in March 2017. 

It's one of the shows that in the past couldn't be staged at Robinson because of its layout and loading limitations. But the extensive renovations underway right now will change that.

This time on KUAR's look at the past week in news, politics and more, Michael Hibblen and Jacob Kauffman discuss:

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be in Little Rock for a fundraiser Monday night. The former Arkansas governor is also celebrating his 60th birthday.

The event is an invitation only affair at Next Level Events at the Little Rock train station. Huckabee’s wife Janet and their five grandchildren are expected to be there. His campaign says there will be BBQ and birthday cake.

The foundation that oversees the house where the Little Rock Nine coordinated efforts to integrate Central High School in the 1950s is launching a fundraising campaign. For $100 each, people can have their names and messages placed on 4x8 inch bricks that will make up a sidewalk leading to the home.

It will enable further renovations of the modest home at 1207 West 28th Street where L.C. and Daisy Bates lived during the time Mrs. Bates led efforts to allow the nine African-Americans to attend the formerly all-white school.

Many Arkansas cities are taking advantage of advances in technology to improve how they operate. On Tuesday, community leaders from around the state met in Little Rock to discuss what’s possible during a Smart Cities seminar.

The city of Mulberry, near Fort Smith, is an early adopter of such technologies. Mayor Gary Baxter says they recently bought smart water meters, which are more accurate than traditional water meters and send usage data through a wireless network.

KUAR / StoryCorps

In 1957, Robin Woods Loucks sat next to Terrence Roberts during an algebra class at Little Rock Central High School. She noticed he didn’t have a book, so she shared hers.

“I knew I’d stepped over the line and he knew I’d stepped over the line and I think I remember saying, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay,’” Loucks said.

Loucks was white and Roberts was black. He was one of the Little Rock Nine—nine African-American students who integrated Central High School under protection from the U.S. Army.

Michael Hibblen

Work is underway to restore the east Arkansas home of Johnny Cash.  The home is just about an hour away from Memphis near Blytheville.  Family and fans came together on Sunday to celebrate what would have been Cash’s 80th birthday.

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