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When it comes to drama, she craves what she calls "the antihero roles." (She played a wicked stepsister in Lucky Duck and the Southern gadfly Rutledge in 1776, who almost takes down the constitutional proceedings by pointing out the hypocrisy of the Northerners' anti-slavery stance.) Her dream role? "Fanny Brice," she answers. So she's a perfect fit for the role of the scheming, alluring, contradictory Evita.
Eva Peron probably didn't suffer in cornfields, like Karel did, as a teenager. Karel says that despite the "sun beatings, 12-hour days and exposure to dangerous chemicals," she still loves corn. She insists that the best way to eat it is "on the cob, marinated, wrapped in tinfoil, and thrown on the grill." She adds: "If you wanna get really crazy, throw some onions in the foil." Try it. And don't cry for Katie when you cut up those onions.
By Grace Suh
Friday–Sunday, June 10–26
The Barn Players
6219 Martway, in Mission
Two men in the 1970s, talk-show host David Frost and former President Richard Nixon, try to recover their reputations at the end of their careers by seeking redemption through a very public, televised confrontation. Peter Morgan's celebrated drama stars Bill Pelletier and Rick Williamson.
Starlight Theatre — Broadway Shows
June 6–August 21
4600 Starlight Road
This summer, Starlight Theatre is producing three of its shows: The King and I (June 6–12), starring Lou Diamond Phillips; Cinderella (July 25–31), starring Kara Lindsay (who played Sally Bowles in the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's Cabaret), with support from Melinda MacDonald and Seth Golay; and, most spectacularly, Xanadu (August 15–21), the Tony-nominated spoof-on-roller-skates staging of the legendarily bad 1980 cult movie that starred Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly (here, Kip Niven is in the Gene Kelly role). Starlight also hosts the touring companies of 9 to 5 (June 21–26), Guys and Dolls (July 12–17), and Mamma Mia! (August 2–7).
Theatre in the Park
June 10–July 31
Shawnee Mission Park
7710 Renner Road, in Shawnee
Way on the other side of town from the Starlight's Swope Park, the homegrown Theatre in the Park (one of the country's largest community theaters) is tucked into the 1,250 acres that make up Shawnee Mission Park, the metro area's other gigantic, half-wild municipal playground. With picnicking and blanket sitting, and Frisbee on the sidelines — plus low admission prices ($8 for adults, $6 for kids aged 4–10 and free for those under 3) — Theatre in the Park is a casual, democratic scene. Bring your own blanket or lawn chair, or reserve a chair for $20. The season is packed with crowd-pleasers, and all shows are suitable for the entire family: The Sound of Music (June 10–12 and June 16–19); Les Misérables — School Edition (June 24–26 and June 30–July 3); Elton John & Tim Rice's Aida (July 8–10 and July 14–17); and Seussical (July 22–24 and July 28–31).
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival: Macbeth
June 14–July 3 (except June 20 and 27)
Oak Street and Brush Creek Boulevard
It was touch-and-go there for a while, whether the festival was to be or not to be. But a successful last-minute fundraising drive means the show will go on. This year's production — Kansas City's 19th season of free summer Shakespeare — features John Rensenhouse as Macbeth and Kim Martin-Cotten as his bloodthirsty Lady. (She recently appeared with Al Pacino in Merchant of Venice on Broadway.) The cast also includes David Fritts, Mark Robbins and Cinnamon Schultz. Theatergoers can take their own blankets or chairs or rent chairs for $5 each. Reserved seating is available for $25.