Kansas Even if it is being staged on the Show Me side (for tax reasons, we assume), we're eager to see this one-night-only run-through of Frank Krainz's new play, a work-in-progress. This free show stars notable actors (Cheryl Weaver, Julie Taylor, Bob Kohler) and is the latest local service provided by Princess Squid Productions, Michael Smith and Kara Armstrong's independent theater company dedicated to intelligent productions and the old let's-put-on-a-show spirit. June 5 at the Writers Place, 3607 Pennsylvania, 816-753-1090.
Mitch Albom's Duck Hunter Shoots Angel Godawful but not uninteresting, Duck Hunter spends half its time reminding us that simple people see truths that book-learning types can't, all the while exploiting Southern stereotypes that wouldn't fly on Hee Haw. Sean Grennan is flat and irritable as a tabloid reporter dispatched to an Alabama swamp to investigate two idjit duck hunters' claim that they bagged an angel. Scott Cordes and Joseph Albright earn honest laughs as the hunters, but not enough to get this turkey aloft. Through June 11 at the American Heartland Theatre, 2450 Grand, 816-842-9999. (Reviewed in our May 25 issue.)
Proposals Late-period Neil Simon lets up on the laughs and instead makes salvos toward real feeling but nothing so raw it might spoil your New Theatre dinner. Proposals a nostalgia-steeped take on summer in the Poconos of the 1950s stands out from other wistful Simon plays in its inclusion of an honest-to-God black character, Clemma, who serves as maid for Simon's quipping neurotics and as narrator for the rest of us. Yes, we sometimes joke about the threadbare celebs the New Theatre ships in for its shows, but if they keep getting folks like Jeffersons star Marla Gibbs, who stars as Clemma, we'll happily shut the hell up. Through June 18 at New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster in Overland Park, 913-649-7469.
Side by Side by Sondheim For this cabaret-style tribute to the only living genius of musical theater, J. Kent Barnhart and his decked-out Quality Hill Playhouse singers double their night-music capacity by inviting second pianist Molly Jessup, who hosted QHP's fine Carole King tribute awhile back. Unlike many QHP shows, this revue is 30 years old meaning it's a proven winner, yes, but also that there's more Company (yuck) than Assassins (yay!). Feel all fancy through July 2 at Quality Hill Playhouse, 303 W. 10th St, 816-421-1700.
Vote (Twice) for Murder More murder-as-an-appetizer interactive theater from the Mystery Train, the inventive local company that spices its comic mysteries with Kansas City history. In this case, it's election time in the Prohibition era, with diners taking the part of passengers on a KC-bound train. As always, a corpse turns up, and everyone (including you, your date and your grandmother) is a suspect. The homegrown scripts tend to twist wittily, and audience contributions are often hilarious. And we've never guessed the killer. Thursdays through Saturdays through June 10 at the Hereford House Restaurant, 2 E. 20th St., 816-813-9654.