Performing Arts

Dark comedy ‘Help Yourself’ planned for downtown KC gallery space

Mark Riggs in the title role of “Santa Conquers the Martians.”
Mark Riggs in the title role of “Santa Conquers the Martians.” Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Co.

Actor/playwright/director David Wayne Reed, an independent theater artist and an original member of Late Night Theatre, will unveil a play in January

“Help Yourself,” which Reed describes as a dark comedy, opens Jan. 16 at Charlotte Street’s Paragraph Gallery, 23 E. 12th St.

Charlotte Street is a nonprofit organization that offers support to visual and performing artists. “Help Yourself” was selected from the organization’s open call for arts projects earlier this year.

Reed’s play depicts a self-help seminar led by a guru over the course of a weekend. According to press materials, the play “explores the infinite economy of self-help, restless ambition and the aftermath of personal change.”

Reed is directing the show, which features Teri Adams, Kyle Dyck, Stefanie Stevens and Jeff Smith. Eleven performances are scheduled Jan. 16 through Feb. 2. Tickets are $20 at Brown Paper Tickets, To learn more about the show and Charlotte Street, go to

Call for writers

The Midwest Dramatists Center is seeking local playwrights for its 2015 class. The organization, formed earlier this year, is a collective founded to support Kansas City playwrights and develop work. As many as five writers will be selected for a five-year residency, which will include workshops and staged readings of new plays in the center’s theater space at the the Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania Ave.

The founding playwrights are Bryan Colley, David Hanson, Michelle T. Johnson and Vicki Vodrey. Work by the founders has been seen at KC Fringe, MeltingPot KC and out-of-town theaters and festivals. The center will begin accepting applications on Jan. 15. For more information, go to

Martin City update

The Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Co. has settled into its new home at the Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe, where founder Jeanne Beechwood reports that attendance has been healthy and that the theater is attracting more folks from Olathe and southern Johnson County.

The current show is “Santa Conquers the Martians, or Claus Encounters of the Third Kind,” a holiday romp with an accompanying vaudeville performance that includes the company’s famed water-glass symphony. The show runs through Jan. 4. Call 913-642-7576. Find out more at