Two shows into a remarkable summer season, the Actors Theatre of Kansas City is more than living up to its mandate: mounting classics both traditional and modern with an emphasis on craft. Last month's Desdemona and Translations were engaging, challenging productions distinguished by well-developed dramatic ideas and top-flight acting. Tonight at Union Station's City Stage (18 West Pershing), the company premieres Ronald Harwood's Taking Sides, the third of four summer shows. Harwood — writer of the films The Pianist and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly — examines the compromises a good person must make to retain a position of power in a foul and dangerous time. Taking Sides is so finely pedigreed that it's hard to imagine it won't strike that challenging-engaging sweet spot, too. The play investigates the life and choices of Wilhelm Furtwängler, the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic throughout World War II. It stars local heavyweights Gary Holcombe and Mark Robbins; Tom Mardikes, chair of UMKC's theater department, directs. This promising night of theater with integrity starts at 7:30 p.m.; call 816-235-6222 for tickets.
Fri., Aug. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 17, 2 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 19, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 24, 2 p.m.; Wed., Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m., 2008