No rest for the wicked, they say. And that seems particularly true for wicked theater critics.
The month of April brings a fresh crop of plays and musicals to local theaters, including a world premiere and a number of shows making their local debuts.
▪ The Coterie is presenting, for the first time, “Dr. Seussical’s Cat in the Hat,” not to be confused with “Seussical,” which the young-audiences theater has staged three times. In the cast are Jake Walker, Donovan Woods, Deanna Mazdra, Damian Blake, Tony Pulford and Pancha Brown. Heidi Van directs. Previews began this week. The show officially opens Friday and runs through May 17. The Coterie is on the lower level of Crown Center Shops. Call 816-474-6552 or go to TheCoterie.org.
▪ Theater League presents the national tour “Peter and the Starcatcher” in its first Kansas City engagement. The show began performances Tuesday and runs though Sunday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The play with music was adapted by Rick Elice from the young-readers novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy.” The 2012-13 Broadway production won five Tony Awards. Call 816-994-7222 or go to TheaterLeague.com.
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▪ The Chestnut Fine Arts Center, 234 N. Chestnut St., Olathe, is running its production of “Good Old Mountain Music” through May 3. The performers are Val Fagan, Jamey Logan, Jeff Martin, Sunnie Valentine and Brad Zimmerman. Call 913-764-2121 or go to ChestnutFineArts.com.
▪ A concert production of the classic Frank Loesser musical “Guys and Dolls” begins performances tonight at Musical Theater Heritage on the third level of Crown Center. Headlining the cast are Christopher Sanders as Sky Masterson and Lauren Braton as Sarah Brown. Also in the show are Daniel Boothe, Leah Swank-Miller and, as Gen. Cartwright, Marilyn Lynch. The production runs through April 19. Call 816-221-6987 or go to MTHKC.com.
▪ Director Darren Sextro is staging Yasmina Reza’s provocative comedy “God of Carnage” for the Olathe Community Theatre Association. The cast includes Barb Nichols, Trevor French, Greg Butell and Christina Schafer. The show runs April 10-26. The theater is 500 E. Loula, Olathe. Call 913-782-2990 or go to OlatheTheatre.org.
▪ John Steinbeck’s Depression-era tragedy “Of Mice and Men” will run April 11-19 at the Jewish Community Center’s White Theatre. Andy Penn and Robert J. Hingula play the drifting farm workers, George and Lennie. The director is Bill Christie. Call 913-327-8054 or go to TheJKC.org and click on “White Theatre.”
▪ Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, 3816 Main St., continues its season with Alfred Urhy’s “The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” a serious comedy that depicts Atlanta’s Jewish elite in 1939 — the year “Gone With the Wind” premiered in Atlanta and Hitler invaded Poland. Call 816-569-3226 or go to METKC.org.
▪ “Avenue Q,” a terrific musical that to date has not been staged by an Equity company in Kansas City, runs April 17 through May 3 at the Barn Players, 6219 Martway, Mission. Eric Magnus directs the adult-oriented satire, which could be thought of as an alternate-universe version of “Sesame Street.” Call 913-432-9100 or go to TheBarnPlayers.org.
▪ Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 W. 10th St., continues its season with “What They Did For Love: The Songs of Burt Bacharach and Marvin Hamlisch.” The ensemble includes Melinda MacDonald, Tim Noland, LeShea Wright and, of course, pianist/emcee J. Kent Barnhart. Also in the mix are bassist Brian Wilson and drummer Ken Remmert. Call 816-421-1700 or go to QualityHillPlayhouse.com.
▪ “Cock,” a highly praised comedy by British playwright Mike Bartlett, runs April 22-May 17th at the Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main St. The cast includes Jacob Aaron Cullum, Zachary Andrews, Molly Denninghoff and Matt Rapport. Jeff Church directs. Call 816-531-7529 or go to UnicornTheatre.org.
▪ “Fiddler on the Roof,” the final show on the Spinning Tree Theatre’s 2014-15 season, begins performances April 23 and runs through May 10 at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Pennsylvania in Penn Valley Park. Gary Neal Johnson stars as Tevye, the tradition-bound dairyman. Also in the cast are Julie Shaw, Nancy Nail, Megan Herrera and Kami Rodgers, among others. Call 816-569-5277 or visit SpinningTreeTheatre.com.
▪ KC Rep continues its bang-up season with “Sticky Traps,” a new play by the Rep’s resident playwright, Nathan Louis Jackson. Jackson’s previous works staged at the Rep, “Broke-ology” and “Here I Come to Die,” found receptive audiences with sharply drawn, nuanced characters. The cast includes Joshua Boone, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Mark Robbins and Blair Sams. Kyle Hatley is directing. Previews begin April 24 at Copaken Stage, 13th and Walnut, and the show continues through May 24. Call 816-235-2700 or go to KCRep.org.