Curses! Foiled Again!

We’re coy these days about our appreciation for melodrama. Today’s Snidely Whiplashes don’t twirl their mustaches or wear top hats. They slick their hair back and use Bluetooth headsets. The word dastardly has fallen into disfavor. But the stories we watch — whether they’re set in a 1960s advertising agency or in a battlestar fleeing from a race of sexy robots — have the same heightened emotional peaks and exaggerated characterizations as any old-timey stage production. Dirty Work at the Crossroad, a play subtitled Tempted, Tried and True, was written by Bill Johnson in 1942, but it’s a pastiche of classic 19th-century melodrama, sweetly and unironically reassembled for a 20th-century audience. In a new production by KU Theatre at Liberty Hall (644 Massachusetts in Lawrence, 785-749-1972), the play once again pits the despicable Munro Murgatroyd against the pure Nellie Lovelace in a story of poisoning, wrongful imprisonment and seduction. Directed by Kip Niven, the show features Shannon Buhler, Taylor Geiman and Garrett Lawson. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. The cost for tickets is $12; $10 for seniors, KU students and faculty; and $5 for students K-12. Call 785-864-3982 

Fri., July 8, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., July 9, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., July 10, 7:30 p.m., 2011