The Unicorn Theatre is the lead producer on a new “rolling world premiere” under the National New Play Network banner.
“Women Playing Hamlet” is a comedy written by William Missouri Downs. The show is directed by Cynthia Levin, the Unicorn’s artistic director, and features Cathy Barnett, Katie Karel, Kathleen Warfel and Meredith Wolfe.
Karel plays Jessica, a young actress beset by anxiety after she is cast as the Melancholy Dane in an all-female production of William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy.
The National New Play Network is a consortium of small theater companies across the country dedicated to developing new work by established and beginning playwrights. The show runs through March 29. Call 816-531-7529 or go to UnicornTheatre.org.
The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre continues its season with “Jitney,” August Wilson’s drama set in 1970s in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. The backdrop is an unlicensed cab company, its owner facing many questions when his son returns home after serving a prison sentence.
This was one of Wilson’s earliest plays, which he rewrote extensively before it received its first New York production. It is part of his 10-play cycle depicting African-American life in each decade of the 20th century.
Karen Paisley, the MET’s artistic director, is staging the show, which has an ensemble cast: Granville O’Neal, Jerron O’Neal, Frank Oakley III, Desmond “337” Jones, Priest Hughes, Sam Salary, Damron Russel Armstrong, George Forbes and Shon Ruffin. Performances continue through March 22 at the MET, 3614 Main St. Call 816-569-3226 or go to METKC.org.
KC Fringe, usually held over two weekends in the summer, is branching out to present productions under the “KC Fringe Presents” banner. The first is “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit,” an experimental play by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour, who was reportedly denied a passport by the Iranian government after declaring himself a conscientious objector and refusing to serve in the military.
The show challenges a different actor each night to perform Soleimanpour’s script sight unseen. Each performer will know nothing about the play’s content until he or she pulls it from a sealed envelope onstage. The playwright may or may not be available to respond in real time to emails from the audience during each performance.
Performances begin Thursday and continue each weekend through March 30 at the H&R Block City Stage at Union Station.
Scheduled to perform the piece are Brother John Anderson (a Fringe regular); actor/playwright Forrest Attaway; Samuel Bennett; Harlan Brownlee, president and CEO of ArtsKC; playwright Michelle T. Johnson; Richie Johnson; Crosby Kemper III, director of the Kansas City Public Library; and actors Phil Kinen, Marilyn Lynch, Carla Noack, Alan Tilson, Heidi Van, Tara Varney and Bess Wallerstein.
Tickets are $10 in advance at KCFringe.org or $15 at the door.