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Stage Capsule Reviews

Reviews and previews of upcoming shows.

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Rose's Dilemma Neil Simon's latest is more sweet than it is funny, but it's often funny enough — the jokes went over with one night's crowd of sweet old ladies like bread in front of pigeons. A Lillian Hellman-ish playwright (the commanding Donna Thomason) hires a disreputable young crime writer to ghostwrite the end of her dead husband's unfinished novel; the fact that the dead husband (Jim Korinke, all elegant twinkle) still pads around the house talking to Rose is just the first of the complications. The sentimental stuff is more interesting than the comedy, and the climax, with its redressing of grievances and interest in dying, generates real warmth, a contemplative feeling muscled along by extraordinary lighting and director Sidonie Garrett's subtle blocking. Through Oct. 23 at the American Heartland Theatre, 2450 Grand, Crown Center, 816-842-9999. (Reviewed in our Sept. 21 issue.)

Who's in First? This third production from the Mystery Train finds its audience once again caught up in an interactive dinner-time murder mystery set in the dining car of a KC train. This time, it's 1914, our town's on the upswing, Union Station has just opened with brass bands and mayoral proclamations, and the word boondoggle hasn't even been coined yet. A train departs, a murder is committed, and you, who ponied up for this, are called upon to solve the crime, discuss matters with performers between acts, and maybe even grab a script and join in. The last show was great fun both as a mystery and a history lesson; the food wasn't bad, either. Reservations are required. Through Nov. 19 at Union Station Café, 2200 Main. 816-813-9654.

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