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Stage Capsule Reviews

Reviews and previews of upcoming shows.

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Angels in America Tony Kushner's epic has survived the transition from news to history to HBO miniseries, suffering no loss of urgency. A decade after the exemplary Unicorn productions that marked its regional premiere, and a full 15 years after Millennium Approaches first debuted, the full two-part Angels in America is back in the area, this time in Mark Swezey's ambitious staging at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Throughout the run, the production switches between Millennium Approaches and the less familiar second part, Perestroika. Then, on Sunday, January 21, Swezey's hardworking cast mounts both. Through Jan. 21 at the center, 5801 W. 115th St. in Leawood, 913-327-8054.

Enchanted April Years ago, when this ladies' idyll was a lovely little Mike Newell movie, this critic overheard a bitter complaint from a Chiefs-pants-wearing husband to his wife as they filed out afterward: "Why didn't you tell me this was going to be one of those womanist things?" Here's hoping that Mrs. Chief Pants makes it to that the Olathe Community Theatre's production of April, the story of four British women's Mediterranean escape from the doldrums of London and their marriages. Olathe might not be a villa in Italy, but director Don Carlton and a cast that includes Phillip Blue Owl Hooser and Amy Eisele, who already opened a can of womanist whoop-ass in The Kathy & Mo Show last year, is encouraging. Through Jan. 27 at the Olathe Community Theatre, 500 E. Loula, 913-782-2990.

Leading Ladies The big question with any New Theatre production (other than "What play are they doing?" or "Is it any good?") is "Which TV star are they keeping in gravy now?" The answer: Bernie Kopell, beloved by us for his work as Sigfried, the great KAOS villain from Get Smart. In that spirit, on to the other questions: Would you believe that the New Theatre is doing Macbeth with Bernadette Peters? No? How about Once Upon a Mattress with Judith Light? Or Leading Ladies, a funny farce about fleecing a dowager from her fortune, starring that dude who played the doctor from Love Boat? If it helps, a guy at the bookstore says it's good. Through Feb. 10 at New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster in Overland Park, 913-649-7469.

Once on this Island Nobody in town tries as many things as the Barn Players: challenging adult fare (A Number or The Shape of Things); traditional, let's-bring-grandma community theater; and now this class-conscious, gods-and-lovers Caribbean kids' show from Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (the team behind Ragtime, Seussical and the cartoon flick Anastasia). When Ti Moune, an Antilles peasant girl, falls for a wealthy lad, the four gods of her people send her out a-questing, daring her to test her love "against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred and death." Bring the kids, but leave the touchy, home-schooled monotheists at home. Through Jan. 14 at the Barn Players, 6219 Martway in Mission, 913-432-9100.

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