Fiddler on the Roof We've heard great things about Neal Benari's Tevye in this New Theatre import of the Broadway revival. The show that brought the shtetl to American pop, Fiddler deserves to be reclaimed from high schools and kitsch; it's the rare musical that means something to people who don't care about theater. I've heard "Sunrise, Sunset" reduce everyone to quivering lumps at more than one wedding. We won't even complain about having to shell out for dinner buffets were huge back in the homeland, right? Through Aug. 27 at New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster, Overland Park, 913-649-7469.
The Fifth of July and Talley's Folly We met the Talley family of Lebanon, Missouri, in the stirring Talley's Folly, the moondrunk romance that kicks off Lanford Wilson's great trilogy and is running all summer long, so get out there, people. Set 30 years later, Fifth of July gives us the Talleys in the '70s, coping with adulthood, Vietnam and what had become of American life. Good as Folly is, July is even more promising: a richer script, starring the bulk of the Kansas City Actors Theatre's best and directed by Mark Robbins, a man so skilled, he could direct the Royals to victory. Through Sept. 3 at Union Station's City Stage, 18 W. Pershing Rd., 816-235-6222.
On the Spot! These days, local improv is finally moving beyond punny, gag-a-minute bullshit in favor of daring long-form shows, from groups such as the Trip Fives, 2 Much Duck, and Counter Clockwise Comedy (at Westport Coffeehouse Friday). On the Spot reunites the all-grown-up alumni of Liberty High School's quick-thinking Exit 16 troupe, and we flat-out trust director Trish Berrong, who is to the make-it-up-as-we-go-along scene what Lou Pearlman was to boy bands. Except she's nicer, a devotee of the art form and doesn't have an O-Town in her. Aug 19 at Corbin Theater, 15 N. Water, Liberty, 816-678-8886.
Rent The title means different things. First, it's about how lives can be rent asunder by AIDS, corporations, love that doesn't work out, and the world's failure to celebrate said artsy boho fabulousness. Second, the years have made clear that this show already benefiting from '90s nostalgia is not about some specific time or place as much as it is about Jonathan Larson's romantic vision. This silly yet likable show's reality isn't anything that anyone can owns, particularly not the suburban Starlight crowd. You can rent it for a couple of hours, though. Through Aug. 20 at Starlight Theatre, 6601 Swope Pkwy., 816-363-7827.