War gives David Gordon something to dance about.

Regarding Henry 

War gives David Gordon something to dance about.

2/23 & 2/24
William Shakespeare's Henry V opens with a plea "for a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention." Such a wish couldn't help but inspire award-winning dancer and choreographer David Gordon, whose Pick Up Performance Company brings its brisk interpretation of the play, Dancing Henry Five, to the Lied Center in Lawrence (1600 Stewart Drive) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Gordon, who was considered a pioneer in performance art before the term was coined, says the beauty of the dance troupe is its malleability. "For this piece, there are eight performers, [but] this company can be larger or smaller, completely dependent on each project."

He admits that the company chose the play -- known for exposing the perils of war and the arrogance of power -- because of its timeliness. But he also says it was the first of Shakespeare's works in which he could locate passages that could be turned into movement and action. He subsequently whittled a five-act, four-hour piece into a one-hour performance that incorporates music from William Walton's score for Laurence Olivier's 1943 film adaptation as well as key snippets of its dialogue. Call 785-864-2787. -- Steve Walker

Ms. MC
This ain't your girlfriend's rap.

FRI 2/18
With a few notable exceptions, a woman's place in rap is either as an obscenely objectified p-popper or as a willowy, Ashanti-like backup singer, repeatedly professing her love for the gangsta of the moment. But this Friday at the Jackpot (943 Massachusetts in Lawrence, 785-832-1085), fans of underground hip-hop have the chance to see the future of the female MC, which is all about brains and beats -- and has nothing to do with booty. Chicago's Psalm One, aka Cristalle Bowen, 24, quit her career as a chemical engineer to pursue rhyme alchemy. Sharp-edged and smart, Psalm is sure to gain wider attention when her second album, The Death of Frequent Flyer, comes out this year on Minneapolis label Rhymesayers. See her school the boys of SoundsGood and Deep Thinkers when she and fellow lady rapper Invincible take the stage at 9 p.m. -- Jason Harper

Rags to Riches
Tyler Perry's the master of his Cinderella story.

2/17-2/20
Tyler Perry, urban theater's "it" boy, can't seem to produce a flop. Since his first sold-out show in 1998, which took him off the Atlanta streets for good, he has capitalized on a successful combination of bawdy humor, memorable characters and gospel music in shows that often center on his alter ego, a 70-something grandma named Madea. But Madea is conspicuously absent from Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns, which finds family members fighting over how best to lay Pop Brown to rest after the patriarch dies at age 107. The show opens at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Music Hall (301 West 13th Street) and runs through Sunday; tickets are $32.50. Call 816-474-0838. -- Annie Fischer

Civic Pride

SAT 2/19
We love spending weekend afternoons at Recycled Sounds (3941 Main, 816-531-4890), but we'll be there at 3:30 p.m. Saturday just for Cheyenne's acoustic performance celebrating the release of its new CD. The band's label, the Record Machine, is a blessing to KC's record-producing scene, which Lawrence has long outshined. That's appropriate given that Beau Jennings' bourbon-sweet songs are perfectly made for a lazy day in midtown KC. -- Harper

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