Reviews and previews of upcoming shows.

Stage Capsule Reviews 

Reviews and previews of upcoming shows.

Bad Dates With this one-woman, one-stage comedy comes a pistol shot heralding the start of the Kansas City Repertory Theatre's first two-stage season. The ol' stage at UMKC remains the home of the Rep's patented splashy takes on the canon, whereas the new Copaken indulges in the "intimate." A friendly little show, interested in shoes and clothes and the troubles of being single in New York, Bad Dates sounds light but has potential for some weight. Theresa Rebeck complicates her genre with some real life: Our heroine is a waitress, a single mom from Texas. Describing her life before the big town, she says, "I was just another person who married a moron and had a load of shit to deal with." In that one line, at least, she says more about real life than most new plays manage. Through Oct. 21 at the Copaken Stage in the H&R Block Building, 13th and Walnut, 816-235-2700.

City of Angels Like Old Country Buffets, most local community theaters dole out fatty, predictable fare so soft that patrons hardly even need to chew. The Barn Players, though, never shy away from spice and texture. Worth mastication, we hope, is this revival of Larry Gelbart's noir-parody City of Angels, a witty musical about hard-boiled detectives ... and the process of revision. As crime writer Stine adapts his novel into a screenplay, his characters live around him, acting out his changes and singing David Zippel's inspired (and Tony-winning) lyrics. The gags range from sophisticated to stupid, and the music from scats to romantic Hollywood swells. This might not be familiar, but it shouldn't be tough to swallow. Through Oct. 7 at the Barn Players, 6219 Martway, Mission, 913-432-9100.

Moonlight and Magnolias A comedy more ambitious than most American Heartland shows, Ron Hutchinson's Moonlight and Magnolias imagines Hollywood titan David O. Selznick (Craig Benton) corralling screenwriter Ben Hecht (William Grey Warren) and director Victor Fleming (Scott Cordes) into a frantic, marathon overhaul on the troubled script of a film already in production: Gone With the Wind. While the film's cast and crew sit around, getting paid to wait out the changes, Selznick and company hole up in an office to act out the script, playing all the characters themselves. Combining the gossipy fizz of a show-biz tell-all with the hyperactive silliness of those All of Faulkner in 40 Seconds-type shows, this has a chance to win over both the gag-loving Heartland faithful and the trivia-savoring Turner Classic Movies crowd. Through Oct. 14 at the American Heartland Theatre, at Crown Center, 2450 Grand, 816-842-9999.

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