Bernstein's Broadway The world didn't know what to make of it when the great conductor Leonard Bernstein dared to step from the rarefied realm of the classical to the hit-driven world of the Broadway musical. Now, the dances from West Side Story have entered the serious repertoire, and the poor musical — after some creative flourishing — languishes in its rut of film adaptations. Bernstein's original songs for Candide, On the Town and West Side Story are the heart of this original revue from Musical Theatre Heritage, local preservationists serious about their fun. Aficionado-by-trade George Harter hosts a four-piece band and a batch of expert singers including Seth Golay, the operatic Alison Sneegas Borberg, live wire Tim Scott, and the inimitable comic heartbreaker Karen Errington. Through February 24 at the Off Center Theatre on the third floor of Crown Center, 2450 Grand, 816-221-6987. (Alan Scherstuhl)
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change The comely young things in Steven Eubank and Daniel Doss' crisp, exciting production of this shticky musical manage a kinda-sorta triumph over a script they outclass. This is one of those revues packed with songs and sketches on a theme — in this case, dating and marriage. The numbers are jaunty but predictable; most climax with a spoken joke just before the razzle-dazzle final notes. The singing is strong, the choral passages stirring, and the piano accompaniment by musical director Doss wholly satisfying. It's the American Heartland Theatre with a sex life. Through Feb. 23 at Just Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Central, 800-838-3006. (Alan Scherstuhl) (Reviewed in our February 7 issue.)
Nine Inspired by Fellini's 8 1/2, Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit's musical Nine details a great director's great crack-up, charting not only his failure to come up with a script worth shooting but also his attempts to free himself from from a host of earthly dilemmas. The stage teems with women who satellite about Guido Contini (Tim Cormack, who attacks his numbers with clarity and muscle). Some he romances; some he casts; most spill from one category into others. The result is a hard-eyed look at male narcissism, but with torch songs, showstoppers and some stabs at real feeling. Most of this tricky material is pulled off by the Barn Players: the ensemble singing is excellent, and Laura Jacobs and Melissa Anderson are inspired in a pair of spotlight numbers. Through February 28 at the Barn Players, 6219 Martway in Mission, 913-432-9100.