Stage Capsule Reviews

Whoop Dee Doo The troupe of artists behind Whoop Dee Doo is attempting to create a Kansas City incarnation of the Chicago-based public-access TV program Chic-a-go-go, a show with a cheesy set, loud music and lots of dancing. The Kansas City version is less cheesy but more absurd — and fun. This exhibition contains, among many other things, a large poster examining the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger, parabolas of aluminum hanging from the ceiling, three large porcelain busts doused in bright colors, a theatrical set containing a wooden shack, a Wheel of Fortune-type spinning wheel and a graveyard with headstones. All of these things, however, are props for the entertaining show that happened on opening night; viewers can relive it when a tape of that event screens on closing night (8 p.m. on October 7). Between now and then, without the music, dancing and cameras, this exhibition is as lonely as the Hollywood set of canceled sitcom. Through Oct. 7 at the Greenlease Gallery, 1100 Rockhurst Rd., 816-501-4407. (S.R.)

The American Songbook: Music of the 1920s and ’30s The good news about the new season at Quality Hill Playhouse is that there’s not much news at all. Everything’s as it should be, with director, pianist and master of ceremonies J. Kent Barnhart and three cabaret pros gliding through the best of George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and Jerome Kern. We expect that the first two shows of the season — this and the upcoming Christmas in Song — will be the best (because each subsequent entry in QHP’s schedule features the diminished pop of later years). Through Oct. 29 at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 W. 10th St., 816-421-1700.

. Ghost Train Set, as always, on a train passing through Kansas City’s rough-and-tumble past, this Halloween-themed puzzler is as much a party game as it is a play. Be ready to interact with improvising suspects or to be handed a script. Through Oct. 31 at Hereford House Restaurant, 2 East 20th Street, 816-813-9654.

Over the River and Through the Woods Of all the crowd pleasers mounted at the New Theatre over the years, this, according to the hype, is the pleasingest — a comedy about grandparents conspiring to keep an adult grandson from accepting a promotion that would force him to move far away. Cue laughs and lessons about the importance of family. Of course, much of the cast — including Marion “Mrs. C.” Ross — have abandoned their families to come to the Midwest for the show. Through Nov. 12 at New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster in Overland Park, 913-649-7469.

With Their Eyes Director Jeff Church and the Coterie Theatre have always been as adept at truth as they are at fancy, so this oral history of September 11, 2001, based on interviews with the students and teachers of a high school four blocks from Ground Zero, shows tremendous promise. The series of monologues, delivered from Church’s multiethnic cast, could be our best chance at recalling the moment before tragedy was pounded into a political tool. Here’s to talk without talking points. Through Oct. 22 at the Coterie Theatre at Crown Center, 2450 Grand, 816-474-6552.

Categories: A&E