Though the director, UMKC's left-leaning star Barry Kyle (who cast a Billy Graham look-alike as a warmonger in Henry V last April), never directly compares Hitler's Germany to Dubya's America, the similarities are apparent to anyone with an ounce of political awareness. Call 816-235-6222. -- Jason Harper
The Dead Man walks again.
Among the best performances ever put on film, we think, are those of Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon in Tim Robbins' 1995 film, Dead Man Walking, the story of Sister Helen Prejean's work with a killer on death row. The piece later inspired an opera and has now been adapted by Robbins into a stage drama he's offering to high schools, universities and Jesuit colleges like Rockhurst University. Robbins has said that he holds Jesuit institutions in high regard because of their emphasis on social justice. And though Robbins is clearly averse to capital punishment, the director of the Rockhurst production, David McTier, says the show isn't one-sided.
"That's Robbins' personal stance, but the script isn't too preachy or in your face," he says. "It's crafted to make you think." Performances are at the Mabee Theater (Sedgwick Hall, 1100 Rockhurst Road) at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Call 816-501-4828 for more information. -- Steve Walker
Ballet not on TBS?
The extent of our ballet knowledge is limited to second-rate actresses in embarrassing flicks like Center Stage and Save the Last Dance. Here's what we've gleaned: One must possess blond hair to earn respect as a dancer; love can be found in unexpected places -- like with (gasp!) black guys; and no matter how many girls a guy sleeps with, put him in a leotard and he's obviously gay. We hope to find a more enlightening experience this weekend when the Kansas City Ballet performs its fall selections, The Concert, Stepping Stones and Paquita, at the Lyric Theatre (1029 Central). Tickets start at $25; call 816-931-2232, ext. 375, to purchase. -- Annie Fischer
Under the Covers
It's one thing for a band to rattle off a cover song in concert, but it's quite another for a seasoned singer-songwriter to base an entire tour on them. That's what veteran performer Richard Thompson is doing, though, dipping into songs by Britney Spears, Abba, Gilbert and Sullivan, and several unknown Elizabethans on his 1,000 Years of Popular Music tour, which stops at 8 p.m. Monday at Liberty Hall (642 Massachusetts in Lawrence). Call 785-749-1972. -- Harper