Hedwig and the Angry Inch Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this punk-rock valentine pinches gender in a titty-twister and proves that the words rock musical have shit-all to do with Billy Joel. Hedwig is both a slice of life and a one-of-a-kind extravaganza, a long retrospective concert from an East German tranny who’s also a small-town Kansas girl who’s also a star collapsed to a near white dwarf. As Hedwig, Justin Van Pelt goes from great and powerful Oz — well, a Celine — to little man behind the curtain, all while delivering a musical triumph. The band around Van Pelt is a model U.N. of alterna-styles that accomplishes the impossible: a full-on, glam-trash, puke-in-a-bucket miracle of a rock show at Crown fucking Center. This Hedwig is an evolutionary leap for the Off Broadway drag musical. Through March 23 at the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center, 2450 Grand,816-842-9999. Reviewed in our March 6 issue. (Alan Scherstuhl)
Miss Nelson Has a Field Day It’s phys-ed terror in this Theatre For Young America musical — and not in the typical body-issues and tight-shorts ways. An adaptation of Harry Allard and James Marshall’s raucous book about what happens when the worst school in Texas meets the world’s meanest substitute teacher, this Miss Nelson promises comic gloom and energetic numbers as well as Valerie Mackey made up into a truly hideous swamp of a coach: black lipstick, a Cardinals cap and a black fright wig that looks like its made entirely of spider legs. Through April 18 at the H&R Block City Stage in Union Station, 30 West Pershing Rd, 816-460-2020. (Alan Scherstuhl)
Macbeth Ambition unchecked is the order of the day here, both in the mad Scot’s power lust and, perhaps, in the very fact of this often grand community theater’s daring to take on “the Scottish play.” The crazier strand of drama folk fake-believe that this witch-brew tragedy hexes any theater in which its name is said aloud, a superstition even more absurd than Midwesterners thinking gay couples somehow jeopardize marriage. What’s important: Barring high schools and in-the-park productions, it’s the only full-length Shakespeare production on the calendar anytime soon at any local theater. Here’s one of the bard’s nastiest plays, dripping with blood and cauldron gunk, packed to straining with murderous verse of the highest order, mounted in Mission by a reliable crew — can’t we shift the cursed-title thing to something that deserves it, such as Mitch Albom’s Duck Hunter Shoots Angel? Through April 6 at the Barn Players, 6219 Martway in Mission, 913-432-9100.
Pretty.Funny. So, over at Vanity Fair, charming lush Christopher Hitchens is making the poker-faced argument that women just aren’t funny, an argument that’s almost as silly as his pro-Bush happy talk before this endless war. Here’s a rebuttal: an all-women comic variety show conceived by Pearl MacDonald, Comedy City’s longtime secret weapon, featuring songs, sketches, dance and improv on the topics of girlhood, womanhood and all that is or isn’t in between. MacDonald is joined by a host of Comedy City stars, including Nikki DuPont, Marian Schafer and the fearless Megan Mercer. The cost of your $10 ticket will be donated to Catherine’s Place, a local safe house tending to mothers recovering from addiction. Thursday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. at Comedy City, 300 Charlotte, 816-842-2744.