Stage Capsule Reviews
Annie For all its utility as a punch line, Annie is a rock-solid piece of musical theater. Its source is the comic strip about a feisty little redheaded orphan who’s adopted by rich mogul Daddy Warbucks. Though it’s a publicity stunt at first, Annie and Warbucks eventually build the foundation of an unconventional family. Directing is local theater veteran Donna Thomason, who met (and eventually married) this production’s Warbucks, Gary Holcombe, when they both performed in the show’s first national tour. The musical’s biggest draw, though, may be the actor playing cranky orphan director Miss Hannigan: Marcia Lewis Bryan, whose Broadway credits include the Chicago revival and the Grease revival, for which she won a Tony. Through July 11 at Starlight Theatre, 8601 Swope Parkway, 816-363-7827.
Curious George Now that actor Ry Kincaid has finished playing screen icon James Dean at the Westport Coffee House in Little Bastard, he’s making a monkey of himself during the day for Theatre for Young America. Playing the title role in Curious George , Kincaid reprises the simian role and mannerisms he created for TYA’s hit Curious George last season. This new version, directed by Val Mackey, compresses three Hans A. Rey books: Rides a Bicycle, Goes to the Hospital and Gets a Medal. June 8-27 at 5909 Johnson Dr. in Mission, 913-831-2131. July 1-17 at City Stage at Union Station,
30 W. Pershing Rd., 816-460-2020.
Forbidden Broadway The Theater League is resuscitating this sendup of Broadway with a mix of parodies old and new at Union’s Station’s City Stage. Lampooning stage icons from Ethel Merman to the dark, ambisexual revival of Cabaret are Forbidden Broadway veterans such as Cathy Barnett and Don Richard. They’ve all done the show for many years but are still expert at milking laughs from such things as the poverty chic of Les Miserables. With John Michael Zuerlein and Sarah Crawford. Through August 1 at Union Station, 30 West Pershing Rd., 816-460-2020.
Julius Ceasar Although the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s Julius Caesar is as complex as any of the poet’s history plays, this production doesn’t confound at all. For all of its bloody twists and turns, following it is a breeze. Credit for the show’s logical, legible unfolding has to go to director Sidonie Garrett, who doesn’t muck up the show with gratuitous or contemporary theatrics. There’s good acting throughout from a troupe of actors working with such honesty and immediacy – despite the play’s traditional setting of ancient Rome — that you’ll feel like a supporting player eavesdropping on real events. The marvelous design work includes James T. Lane Jr.’s majestic set and Mary Traylor’s perfect costumes. Through July 11 in Southmoreland Park, 47th and Oak, 816-531-7728.
Take Me Out With the Royals in the gutter, baseball fans might be more inspired taking in the New York Empires in the Unicorn Theatre’s excellent production of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out. Supposing what might happen among the teammates of a superstar player who nonchalantly announces that he’s gay, Greenberg’s play also intricately splices in issues of race and power and dissects America’s tendency to blindly follow role models. Among the large cast, Edouard Fontaine, Will Fowler and Dean Vivian stand out for the ease with which they inhabit their characters. Through July 25 at Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main, 816-531-7529.