Performing Arts

June 4, 2014

KC theater openings include musicals, comedies and an epic drama

Local theater companies are opening a flurry of new shows in the next week including old favorites “The King and I” and “The Wizard of Oz” and some premieres.

Theater openings coming up this weekend and next week:

The Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main St., wraps up its 2013-14 season with “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” a satirical comedy by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage.

The show, in previews now, opens Saturday and runs through June 29.

Nottage’s play takes a look at stereotypical images of African-Americans in 1930s Hollywood in its depiction of a 30-year relationship between a domestic maid who also happens to be an aspiring actress and the white star who employs her.

Missy Koonce, whose eye for the absurd is well established, directs. The cast includes Dianne Yvette in the title role, as well as Katie Karel, Tosin Morohunfola, Donnette Coleman, Emily Shackelford, Marc Liby and Justin Speer.

Call 816-531-7529 or go to

The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre ends its season with the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “The King and I,” which opens tonight at 3614 Main St.

The MET is a small company that doesn’t mind tackling enormous productions. In addition to the principal cast, the production has an ensemble of 27 young actors and dancers.

Headlining are Mykel Hill and Karen Paisley. Also on hand are Tony Beasley, Bob Paisley, Cael Kuhn, Andy Penn, Matthew King, Megan Herrera, Kami Rogers and Sean Yeung. Performances continue through June 22.

Call 816-531-569-3226 or go

“Rhapsody in Gershwin,” a revue celebrating the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin, opens Friday at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 W. 10th St.

Lateesha McDonald Jackson, Melinda McDonald, Tim Noland and, of course, J. Kent Barnhart at the piano and serving as emcee, make up the cast.

If you’ve never seen Barnhart perform the full-length piano arrangement of “Rhapsody in Blue,” this is your chance. It’s a show unto itself. Performances continue through July 6.

Call 816-421-1700 or go to

The collaboration between the Fishtank Performance Studio and Teater C of Sweden continues with “Klara Andersson (in concert),” a new musical by Per Wickstrom (music) and Dag Thelander (lyrics) and featuring Andrea Geurtsen.

Geurtsen, a 2006 UMKC master of fine arts graduate, has appeared in Kansas City at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the Coterie and KC Fringe. The show originated at the Regina Theatre in Uppsala, Sweden, in 2012. Performances begin Saturday and continue through June 13 at the Fishtank, 1715 Wyandotte St.

Call 816-809-7110 or go to

Starlight Theatre inaugurates its season with a touring production of “The Wizard Oz.” Starlight audiences have seen many versions of “Wizard,” but never this one.

This version originated in London with a new book and songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, in addition to the beloved tunes from the movie. The show opens Tuesday and runs through June 15.

Call 816-363-7827 or go to

The world premiere of Kyle Hatley’s “Master of the Universe” opens Wednesday at the Living Room, 1818 McGee St. Hatley had planned to write, direct and perform, but Rusty Sneary will step into the role Hatley intended to play.

The cast includes Vanessa Severo, Charles Fugate, Grey Williamson, Matthew James McAndrews, Jeff Smith, Laura Jacobs, Andrew Stout, Sean Hogge, Ben Byard and Linnaia McKenzie. The show runs through June 30.

Call 816-533-5857 or go to

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