Missy Koonce, the outrageous madam of Late Night Theatre's cast of women, shifts gears dramatically from her work at the Old Chelsea when she directs Theatre for Young America's Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. However, Koonce may be just the person to take charge of this play about a flashy young mouse named Lilly who fends off bullies with creative disguises and asserts herself as queen of her neighborhood. Lilly's trademark outfit includes red cowboy boots and a crown, in keeping with themes to which Koonce might be accustomed. In this play, Lilly gets a hot new purse and "movie star sunglasses" that she can't stop showing off. That really irks her hip teacher, Mr. Slinger. (We know he's hip because he says "howdy" instead of "hello.") But Lilly has to come to grips with her tendency to steal the show -- a tricky lesson to teach someone whose name is in the title of both a book and a play. Today's shows start at 10 a.m. and noon at 4881 Johnson Drive, Mission. For more information, call 913-831-2131.
Tonight is a double feature at the Boulevard Drive-In, 1051 Merriam Lane in Kansas City, Kansas. In an event affectionately dubbed "Sleaze Under the Stars," the 1975 blaxsploitation cult classic Dolemite (8:30 p.m. and midnight) and the 1964 Japanese dental/sex hit Daydream (10:30 p.m.) show back to back. Daydream isn't so much a movie about oral sex; rather, it's a movie about a combination of oral hygiene and sex, specifically the torturous erotic hallucinations experienced by drugged dental patients. Moviegoers are advised to rinse and spit after watching this one, or else loved ones waiting up at home might smell trouble. It is worth noting that none of the performers in Daydream is Asian, and the method used to disguise that fact -- pantyhose over heads -- is far from convincing. It's a night of campy and ill-advised erotica that is unlikely to repeat itself any time soon. For more information, call 913-262-0932.
It's opening night for Mozart's German-language opera The Magic Flute at the Lyric Theatre, 1029 Central. The Magic Flute has a plot that's more complex than the typical opera, which tends to play out much like a soap opera. In The Magic Flute, however, Mozart creates characters who are less clearly divided between good and bad. The character Papageno, for example (who accompanies the prince on a series of trials to prove he is worthy of a woman's love), is a forerunner of the antihero; he's constantly questioning whether slaying dragons to prove one's love is really necessary. But instead of making Papageno a bad guy, Mozart asks the audience to question the validity of these customs as well. The lesson that slaying dragons is a laughable way to get a girl must have taken hold, because possession of a sword is treated as a major red flag these days. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets cost from $45 to $210. For more information, call 816-471-7344.
Today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. is the Reptile Breeders Expo and Sale, an event not recommended for folks who are spooked by slithering things. Seventy vendors will be displaying and, in some cases, selling reptiles, amphibians, books, supplies and cages. The event is sponsored by the Kansas City Herpetological Society, a group of reptile enthusiasts whose Web site includes pages titled "So You Wanna Iguana" and "So You Want a Burmese Python" (which begins with the warning, "A Burmese python over eight feet in length is fully capable of killing an adult human being.") There's nothing to fear at this convention, though. The rules clearly specify that no venomous animals will be allowed to participate, that all animals must be caged or bagged and that all animals must have been bred in captivity. Crocodilian herps are also excluded from this show. And David Nieves returns this year with the breed he originated: the tangerine leopard gecko. Admission costs $5 for adults and $2 for children. The expo is at the Kansas City Airport Hilton, N.W. 112th Street and I-29. For more information, call 816-468-5609.
If you've ever been approached by someone obnoxiously singing voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir? and wished you knew enough French to shoot back an insult or two, tonight could be big for you. Kansas City's Alliance Francaise will be offering adult French-language classes, and tonight is the first session. Each ten-week course, held at Rockhill Club, 4520 Kenwood, costs $120; that sounds like a lot, but it will be worth it to sound like you're gargling whenever you pronounce hors d'oeuvres. For class schedules, call 816-221-2049.
This week's movie at the Englewood -- the only true revival theater in the area -- is the restored Hitchcock classic Rear Window, starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. The original, released in 1954, had lost some of the color that had been infused via the Technicolor dye-transfer process; in addition, the prints made from that original were poorly handled, and scratches and tears began causing nostalgic Hitchcock fans to cringe. Until last year, when film restoration experts Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz came on the scene, Rear Window was dangerously close to becoming lost history. Which would have been too bad. This story of L.B. Jeffries, a photographer who breaks his leg and spies on his neighbors in his immobilized boredom, is a brilliant look into urban life and modern voyeurism. "We've become a society of peeping Toms," Jeffries' nurse tells him. "If we really want to see something, we should get outside our own windows and look in for once." Fortunately, the original print of this film was restored, because its relevance hasn't come close to fading. The Englewood is located at 10917 Winner Road in Independence. For more information, call 816-252-2463.
This week only, the Hobbs Building, 1427 West 9th Street, is showing a juried exhibition called The Grand Nude Show, presenting nude figures in a variety of media. The most striking theme in this show is that there are naked people all over the place. But more bizarre -- and harder to explain -- is a red-chair motif. Yes, these naked people have a strange tendency to be on or near red chairs. In Jennifer Boe's painting "Wash Day," a woman stands bare-breasted on a checkered floor wearing white underwear briefs, pulling a shirt over her head. In the background lurks a mysterious red chair, and before her lies a black cat. While the nude pictured in Eugene Bortavich's watercolor titled "Nude in Red Chair" is more legitimately nude -- as in, devoid of clothing -- she shares with Boe's nude the red-chair allure. The show is on display from noon to 4 p.m. through Friday, September 28. For more information, log on to rebeccawilkinsonstudio.com.