UNICORN PLANS ANOTHER MIND EXPANDING SEASON - `SISTERS ROSENSWEIG' AND A NEW RON SIMONIAN PLAY AMONG THE OFFERINGS.
May 7, 1995 By ROBERT TRUSSELL Publication: The Kansas City Star
The Unicorn Theatre, currently in the midst of a season that seems to get more interesting with every show, has assembled another varied selection of dramas, comedies and musicals for its 1995-96 season. Things will get under way in August with a production of "The Sisters Rosensweig," Wendy Wasserstein's award-winning comic drama about three American sisters in London coming to terms with family ties, romantic relationships and ethnic identity. The show runs Aug. 30-Oct. 1.The rest of the season:"Arms and Legs," by Ron Simonian. A world premiere by the Kansas City playwright who also wrote "Thanatos" and "Bagheads. " In this satire, a serial killer becomes the focus of the media, Hollywood and the courts. The show runs Oct. 25-Oct. 12. "Ruthless! " by Joel Paley and Melvin Laird. In this hit off-Broadway musical, audiences are treated to an unforgiving send-up of films such as "The Bad Seed" and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? " The show depicts a stage-struck 8-year old who will stop at nothing to get a part in the school play. Laird, the composer, was born in Kansas City, Kan. The show runs Nov. 29-Dec. 1.The 1995 National Playwrights' Award Winner. The winning play of the Unicorn's annual competition will be produced Jan. 24-Feb. 4, 1996. "Suburbia," by Eric Bogosian. A convenience store parking lot is the chief hangout for teen-agers and young adults seeking meaning in their lives in this well-received play from the author of "Talk Radio. " The production runs Feb. 28-March 16, 1996. "Jar the Floor" by Cheryl L. West depicts with humor and pathos four generations of black women. The play runs April 17-May 12, 1996. The Unicorn's so-called Hot Spot, scheduled for June 5-June 30, 1996. No show has been selected, but titles under consideration are "Love! Valour! Compassion" by Terrence McNally and "Angels in America" by Tony Kushner. For ticket information, call 531-7529.Name changeThe upstart American Musical Theatre, which has offered theatergoers a range of original and risky work at Quality Hill Playhouse, will adopt a new name befitting its hip, cutting-edge image. Beginning with the 1995-96 season, the nonprofit company will be known as Pop Culture Productions. It will continue to produce a brand of theater that viewers would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the metropolitan area. American Musical Theatre was founded by Jay and Susan Kingwill in 1992. Its inaugural production, "Forbidden Broadway '93," was a success with critics and audiences. The Kingwills decided to move to New York in 1994 and resigned.Jim Story, who had been the group's publicist, assumed the title of executive producer. Working with associate producer Rusty Pullen, Story steered the programming in a new direction to include non-musical plays. The first season included the off-Broadway hit "Jeffrey," an original play with music called "Backstage With Dinah Washington" and Ron Simonian's strange comedy, "Bagheads," as well as a late-night series specializing in outrageous comedy. Story said the old name simply didn't reflect the adventurous programming and might suggest old-fashioned musicals. The next season is an eclectic lineup of new and unusual work: "Parallel Lives," a comedy by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy, authors of the off-Broadway hit "The Kathy and Mo Show," Oct. 13-Nov. 5. "Where Is Burt Bacharach When You Need Him?," an original musical revue, Dec. 1-Jan. 15, 1996. "No Bonnets, No Balls," a new play by Lisa Cordes based on the recent case of a female applicant's efforts to enroll in the Citadel, the all-male military school, Feb. 2-25, 1996. "A Clockwork Orange," the stage version of the futuristic Anthony Burgess novel, April 5-28, 1996. "Clues in the Old Birdbath," a spoof of Nancy Drew mysteries by Kate Kasten and Sandra deHelen, June 7-30, 1996. MDSDMDNM "On a Midnight Voyage With the Mamas and the Papas," a new musical revue, Aug. 2- Sept. 1, 1996. The theater also plans another late-night "Cult-O-Mania" series and two gay-oriented shows combining music and comedy, "Lipstick Lesbians" and "Drag O'Rama." For ticket information, call 221-6000.Play readingA staged reading of "A Perfect Light" by Iowa City playwright Kate Aspengren will be done at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Unicorn Theatre, 3820 Main St. The play depicts a right-wing religious group's belief that a baby represents the Second Coming, unaware that the child's parents are lesbians. The cast includes Rick Hammerly, Kathleen Kennedy and Phil Fiorini (all of the current Unicorn production of "Red Scare on Sunset"), Melinda McCrary, Terry O'Reagan (who directed "Red Scare"), Dean Vivian and Jan Rogge. A donation will be requested. Call 531-7529 for information. The Kansas City Star Date: May 7, 1995 Page: J4 Copyright 1995 The Kansas City Star Co.