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March 2, 2008    Publication:  The Kansas City Star

Every time I turn around, somebody's opening another theater. Playwright Ron Simonian called up not long ago to tell me about a new offbeat enterprise he's involved in. You might call it dinner theater with an edge. Simonian's new comedy, "Good Behavior," is being performed by a non-Equity cast four nights a week at MenagesKC, a West Bottoms venue that advertises itself as "a private club for sexy people." According to its Web site, the three-story nightspot targets "discriminating couples that want an upscale atmosphere." The location at 16 N. James St. in Kansas City, Kan., was previously occupied by Club 151, a hip-hop club, and Vital, a dance club. Simonian said he and Chad Waldrop, a co-owner of MenagesKC, met through mutual acquaintances. Waldrop initially wanted to do interactive theater, Simonian said, but the playwright and longtime Bazookas emcee talked Waldrop into letting him stage a new play. Simonian described "Good Behavior" as a comedy about "love, marriage and prison sex." The five-character show depicts complications involving a married couple, a friend who marries an ex-inmate and the inmate's former prison lover." It's not about gay or straight," he said. "It's about what pulls people together. It's not your normal dinner-theater show." The production is directed by Ernie Williams and features Pete Weber, Paul Burns, Curtis Smith, Jessica Dressler and Samantha Adler. The show opened on Valentine's Day and will run indefinitely. Simonian said he hoped to premiere as many as nine new shows at the club over the next 18 months. "I'm not too familiar with theater stuff, to be honest with you," Waldrop said. Attendance has been spotty, thanks to lingering winter weather, but Waldrop said the first Saturday attracted a crowd of 150 or so." The dinner's not new to us, but the dinner theater is new," he said. Waldrop emphasized that Menages  KC is not a singles club, although it does sometimes offer events for singles. "It's for mature adults," he said. "It's not for swingers. It's for couples. "Tickets for performances Wednesday and Thursday cost $20 and include appetizers. Friday and Saturday the price rises to $40 and includes a full meal, including salad, main course and dessert. For the show, tables are moved onto the main dance floor. The doors open at 6 p.m. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Several of Simonian's plays have received world premieres at the Unicorn Theatre. His work has occasionally been staged in New York and Chicago. His plays can be lighthearted or harsh, but they're always quirky and unpredictable. He also has a history of producing his own work." The space is perfect for what we're trying to do," he said. "It's just a matter now of getting people to know it's there. "For more information, call 913-281-9700 or visit menages Kansas City Star, The (MO) Date: March 2, 2008 Page: F8 Copyright (c) 2008 The Kansas City Star

Ron Simonian premieres a play at 'sexy' club in KCK: Press
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