Stage Capsule Reviews
Angels in America Tony Kushner’s epic has survived the transition from news to history to HBO miniseries, suffering no loss of urgency. A decade after the exemplary Unicorn productions that marked its regional premiere, and a full 15 years after Millennium Approaches first debuted, the full two-part Angels in America is back in the area, this time in Mark Swezey’s ambitious staging at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Throughout the run, the production switches between Millennium Approaches and the less familiar second part, Perestroika. Then, on Sunday, January 21, Swezey’s hardworking cast mounts both. Through Jan. 21 at the center, 5801 W. 115th St. in Overland Park, 913-327-8054.
Collisions and Death and the Publican Death and workmanship are key to local writer William Rogers’ rich and engaging one-acts. In Publican, a philosophical comedy about the afterlife, Death is a featured performer; in Collisions, a crisp examination of how today’s young and old blame each other for the world’s madness, death hangs in the back like canned laughter on a sitcom. Both plays are sturdily built and polished, and they hum with wit. Stiff performances weigh down Publican, but Collisions more than makes up for it. Through Jan. 21 at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Central, 816-235-6222. Reviewed in our Jan. 11 issue.
Music of the 1940s We’re not expecting much different from Quality Hill Play House’s first cabaret revue of 2007, which is part of why the show sounds so appealing: the big hits of the ’40s, performed by pianist and master of ceremonies J. Kent Barnhart and his rotating coterie of gifted singers. This time, they revel in the American songbook’s most rewarding decade, promising “It Had to Be You” and “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.” Through Feb. 19 at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 West 10th Street, 816-421-1700.
2 Much Duck and Monkeys With Hand Grenades Two of Kansas City’s best ongoing comedy shows have been cut to one night a month apiece and crammed into a single weekend. Duck, at 10 p.m. Friday, is an ever-changing improv blowout, whereas Comedy City’s most gifted performers take a single audience suggestion and then Rorschach the shit out of it for more than an hour. Monkeys, at 10 p.m. Saturday, knocks out 30 plays in 60 minutes or your pizza’s free (seriously). Comedy City, 300 Charlotte, 816-842-2744.