For baby boomers who grew up during the reign of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, the comedy show's cast members are more than TV footnotes. On the show, Jo Anne Worley delivered political humor amid transparent naughtiness. "It became a game to get things past the censors," says Worley, who was known for holding up a pair of casaba melons in front of her chest and yelling, "Melons!"
These days, having spent the past few decades performing in theaters, Worley is more inclined toward the nightclub material that Folly audiences will see in Friday's Divas Downtown concert. "There's a lot of comedy, singing and talking," she says. "And I try to tailor it for wherever the venue is." She knows, for example, that the Folly (300 West 12th Street) is a former vaudeville and burlesque house, and she's tempering Stephen Sondheim's "I'm Still Here" to be less about a fading star and more about an old theater. For more information or tickets to Divas Downtown -- costarring local performers Nancy Nail, Teri Wilder and Cathy Barnett -- call 816-474-4444. -- Steve Walker
A Place at the Table
This is the University of Missouri-Kansas City Theatre Department's year of living dangerously. The latest on a roster of aggressive shows is Lynn Nottage's Crumbs From the Table of Joy, opening Thursday at the Performing Arts Center's black box theater (known as Room 116). Set in the late 1950s, the play's heroine is a 17-year-old black girl whose widowed father moves the family from the South to Brooklyn and then marries a white woman. Directing is Shirley Jo Finney, a director and actor of national renown whose work with such companies as the Goodman in Chicago and Actor's Theater in Louisville, Kentucky, bodes well for UMKC's young cast. The play is "a coming of age story, but one that is a macrocosm of where America was in the '50s," she says. "It speaks across the board ... all emotions are universal." For tickets to the show, which runs through April 4, call 816-235-6222.-- Walker
Grease that pompadour back over the bald spot, because it's time to flash back to a time when a guitar-and-drum duo didn't automatically conjure comparisons to a certain pair from Detroit. Dexter Romweber, former frontman for the Flat Duo Jets, a band that blazed through the 1980s and 1990s with a slew of raw and raucous surf- and blues-tinged rockabilly recordings, plays Tuesday night at the Bottleneck (737 New Hampshire in Lawrence). Expect to see some tattooed and greasy old-timers (as in over thirty) coming out of the woodwork for this one. Tickets are $7. For details, call 785-841-5483.-- Michael Vennard