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June 21–August 7
The Coterie Theatre
Crown Center, Level One
The Coterie's summer show is a new version of the award-winning Broadway musical The Wiz, the multicultural take on the land of Oz, which the Coterie has adapted for kids. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for kids under 18.
KC Fringe Festival
The KC Fringe is like one of those parties where people throw stuff into the pool to see what floats. Cheap costs and low stakes allow both amateurs and pros to cast off constraints and just make theater — and that includes film, dance, music and spoken word. The results can be messy, uncensored and fun. On its seventh outing, Fringe comes out stronger than ever, with 82 artists performing in 20 venues over 10 days. Highlights: a new adaptation of Woyzeck by the Kansas City Rep's associate artistic director, Kyle Hatley; The Rocky & Bullwinkle Horror Picture Show Parody by Egads Theatre's Steve Eubanks; and The Mask of the Broken Heart by Stephanie Roberts, the Charlotte Street Foundation generative arts fellow and the genius behind last year's amazing King Stag at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Find a full schedule, as well as ticketing info, at the festival website.
July 22–August 7
The Barn Players
6219 Martway, in Mission
The Barn Players take on Scott McPherson's acclaimed dark comedy about life, death and family.
Disney's The Aristocats
A Barn Junior production of the Barn Players
6219 Martway, in Mission
A musical staging of the beloved 1970 Disney animated feature, The Aristocats. An aristocratic but impoverished cat family struggles to return to Paris. What could be better?
Thursday–Sunday, August 11–28
Musical Theater Heritage
Off Center Theatre, Crown Center
MTH's staging of the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical gets rid of the scenery and blocking and turns Evita into a pure sing-through rock opera. It stars Katie Karel, Tim Scott and Christopher Sanders. Tickets cost $17–$29.
Harold Pinter Plays
August 16–September 11
Kansas City Actors Theatre
H&R Block City Stage
30 West Pershing Road
Pinter's piercing wit and coldblooded menace will chill down the late-summer heat mighty quick. Kansas City Actors Theatre produces two plays in repertory, alternating The Birthday Party with a night of three one-acts (The Lover, The Collection and Night).
The Kickballer's Guide to Summer
Breaking news! No longer do hideously striped Zubaz indicate to the world that you've given up any semblance of dignity and self-respect. In fact, the obnoxious, elastic-banded relics of fashion's darkest decade are a mark of Kansas Citians enjoying the hell out of summer.
Local kickball squad Team Awesome, of the Midwestern Unconventional Sports Association, dons the seizure-inducing shorts before taking the softball field each week during the summer at Penn Valley Park. But even though the red-and-white garments might attract eyeballs on the field, they're not attracting wins this season.
"Our defense, let's say, has never really shut anybody down," outfielder and third baseman Kevin Adams says. "There have been so many losses; they all run together."
Adams and Team Awesome's first baseman Craig Stanke say their team isn't really all about taking their sport seriously. Well, sure, why would you, when your opponents have named their teams Alcoballics, Kick in a Box, and Nice Snatch? Adams describes Team Awesome's philosophy this way: "The games don't start until 6:30, but our tailgate starts at 5:30."