Now, with the For Lease sign suddenly up in the tiny storefront at 1531 Grand, the partys over. Mounting debts and skyrocketing rent spelled the death of a theater that seemed well on its way to being a Kansas City institution.
Ron Megee, Late Nights founder and frequent writer, director and star, confirmed the closing. Asked for comment, he offered only: "Goodbye."
Late Night premiered at the Westport Coffee House in 1997 with a parody of The Birds. It soon set up in the Old Chelsea in the River Market. When that venerable space was slated for demolition, the show moved to the Grand location, opening Stepford Wives there with an all-male cast. Since then, Late Night has lovingly burlesqued films such as Dangerous Liaisons, Purple Rain and The Bad Seed. Megees group also took on entire genres, as in Mother Trucker, which riffed on ´70s car-chase flicks, and the slasher-movie takedown The Killings at Kamp Tittekaka. The last year featured revivals of earlier hits, including The Birds, 9 to 5 and Valley of the Dolls. (Patty Duke herself enjoyed an earlier Dolls and hit it off with Gary Campbell, who played her.) The companys final show, A Scarrie Carrie Christmas brought together Stephen King and A Christmas Carol in one bloody puree.
David Wayne Reed has been with Late Night since The Birds. He says, Late Night Theatre was the most exciting chapter of my life so far, and I'm so glad to have the memory. It's bittersweet, but I have no regrets.
Then, because hes David Wayne Reed, he adds: It's actually kind of ironic for a bunch of bottoms to go out on top.
Late Night's 10th season closed with a tribute to Stephen King's Carrie: