Every Christmas Story Ever Told! After running with that wildly successful menopause musical for nearly a third of a year, the American Heartland Theatre launches its new season with a show that also seems a sure thing: A group of actors, heartsick at the thought of yet another A Christmas Carol, instead dash off through every other Christmas story they can think of in one 90-minute comedy. With skilled comic actors Ken Remmert, Ron Megee and Martin English, this has potential. Still, we can already think of Christmas tales they'll likely leave out: that one about the dead Santa-playing daddy from Gremlins, say, or that whole crazy thing about King Herod killing every newborn male in Jerusalem. Through Dec. 31 at American Heartland Theatre at Crown Center, 2450 Grand, 816-842-9999.
The Fantasticks Less than a month after Musical Theatre Heritage rounded up a host of the best voices in town for a concert-style run-through of this musical comedy, here it comes again, this time from Putting It Together Productions. Considering the original production ran from the age of Kennedy to the dregs of Bush II, Kansas City can probably handle a double dip. The story remains one of young lovers from feuding families forbidden to be together though, bizarrely, it turns out that their fathers are faking said feud to inspire the lovers, which even after a 40-year run doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Through Nov. 19 at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Central, 816-229-8312.
Monkeys With Hand Grenades Of the three different shows offered at Comedy City, Monkeys is the most anarchic, despite being the only one with a script. Aimed at grown-ups (as opposed to CC's popular keep-it-clean improv game shows, which run every weekend), Monkeys offers rapid-fire sketch comedy, attempting to cram 30 separate plays each written by and starring the troupe into just 60 minutes. The quality varies from show to show, but the smart, sharp cast guarantees at least a couple of killer bits; on their best nights, they're a delight. Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m. at Comedy City, 300 Charlotte, 816-842-2744.
Songs for a New World Kansas City's unofficial yearlong celebration of Jason Robert Brown, the youngish musical theater composer, culminates with this audacious 1995 song cycle, which covers 500 years of American life in a series of stirring numbers. The cast is led by Damron Russell Armstrong, who was designed by God expressly for musical theater. The ensemble is led by musical director and pianist Daniel Doss if he's involved, it's worth checking out. Through Dec. 9 at Union Station's City Stage, 30 W. Pershing Rd., 816-460-2020.
Terror on the Toyland Express Since its inception, the Mystery Train has staged clever, interactive mysteries set on dining cars headed to or from Union Station in various eras of Kansas City's past. This time, things get weirder: The train is a Lionel electric, chuffing around the mayor's Christmas tree in front of Union Station, and the murderer, the victim and assorted other passengers are all toys. Was the culprit Post-Partum Barbie, Murder-Me Elmo or just a lack of batteries? Whatever the solution and, after playing along with the actors, you will be asked to provide one we've hit on one sure-fire clue indicating this could be good: George Forbes, one of the city's most compelling actors, heads the cast. Through Jan. 6 at the Hereford House, 2 E. 20th St., 816- 813-9654.