2018-2019 Productions

Graduate Productions


by Mitch Brian
Newly adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker
Directed by John Rensenhouse

Oct. 12-Oct. 21
Co-Produced with Kansas City Actors Theatre
Spencer Theatre

Sensuous. Seductive. Sinister. Kansas City Actors Theatre presents its first-ever original production in this fresh adaptation, commissioned by Kansas City Actors Theatre, of Bram Stoker’s gothic classic, “Dracula.” Produced in partnership with UMKC Theatre, this classic tale of obsession and desire arrives just in time for the Halloween season. Directed by John Rensenhouse after his record-breaking KCAT production of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” last season, “Dracula” promises wickedly delicious fun, thrills, theatrical magic and intense performances.

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck
Directed by Jason Chanos

Oct. 19-Nov. 11
Design Co-Production with KC Rep
Copaken Stage

A pair of migrant workers in Depression-era California move from town to town in search of work, and dream of buying land and owning a ranch someday. Straight-shooter George protects Lennie, whose sweet, simple-mindedness is juxtaposed by his formidable strength. When the two find work on Curly’s ranch, a series of tragic events lead to one of the most heartbreaking conclusions in American literature. John Steinbeck’s classic text explores the decay of the American dream, and the enduring kindness that bond friends together for life.


The Wolves

by Sarah De Lappe
Directed by Heidi Van

Nov. 28-Dec. 30
Co-Production with Unicorn Theatre
Jerome Stage

A Pack of Warriors. Left Quad. Right Quad. Lunge. A fierce girl’s soccer team warms up for games and practice. From the safety of their indoor soccer field, the team kicks around everything from balls to politics. Each one struggles to hang on to her individuality while remaining a part of the group. Take a first-hand look at nine young women exploring who they are and who they want to become in a complicated world.


Secret Soldiers:

Heroines in Disguise

by Wendy Lement
Directed by Jeff Church

Jan. 22-Feb. 10
Co-Production with The Coterie

True accounts of four women who, for different reasons, served as men in the Civil War. Woven into this unique and interactive play: early suffrage movement as well as the formation of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment (the first African American regiment in U.S. history) and Harriet Tubman.

The Game of Love and Chance

by Pierre De Mariveaux
Translated and adapted by Stephen Wadsworth
Directed by Theodore Swetz

Apr. 26-May 5
PAC 116: Studio Theatre

Unrequited love, mistaken Identities and the uncontrollable power of love make up the heart of of this hysterical romantic comedy.  This play will tickle your funny bone as it challenges your heart and mind. 


Undergraduate Productions


by Chiara Atik
Directed by Nicole Marie Green

Oct. 5-Oct. 14
Grant Hall Theatre

Jo March really thinks she could be the voice of her generation. But being a “little woman” in 1800s New England is just so hard, you know? Women is a hilarious, and entertaining mash-up of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women in the style HBO’s Girls. A contemporary spin on a timeless classic, you’ll never look at these “little women” the same way again.

The Tempest

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Scott Stackhouse

Mar. 8-Mar. 17
PAC 116: Studio Theatre

A raging storm crashes a ship on a remote island in the sea, igniting a revenge plot twelve years in the making. Sorcery and spirits abound in this epic tale of romance and betrayal. Considered by many to be Shakepeare’s farewell to the stage, The Tempest explores the path through darkness and isolation to the freedom of forgiveness.


Playwright Project

Playwrights & Directors: TBA

Apr. 11-Apr. 14
Grant Hall 105: Light Lab

Staged premieres by our talented undergraduate, graduate and/or alumni playwrights performed by undergraduate actors.



2017-2018 Productions:

Graduate Productions

Men on Boats

by Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Missy Koonce

Sept 6-Oct 1
Co-Produced with Unicorn Theatre
The Levin Stage
Ten manly explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. And an all-female cast! Men on Boats tells the true story of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of daring volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River, dodging rapids and naming every landmark. This rowdy satire written in modern language about fearless pioneers takes on a whole new meaning with women at the helm.


King Lear

by William Shakespeare
directed by Ryan Artzberger

October 13 – 22, 2017
Spencer Theatre
Co-Produced with Kansas City Actors Theatre

October delivers a new take on Shakespeare’s King Lear, directed by Ryan Artzberger. Starring Theodore Swetz with a cast that includes Mark Robbins, Peggy Friesen and Logan Black, this classic tale of tragic hubris, sibling rivalry, and heated passions will be produced in a renewed partnership between KCAT and UMKC Theatre. We’re excited to introduce bright new talents alongside some of the city’s finest veteran actors, all of it in service to one of the Bard’s finest works.

“We watch a crowned leader who has never done a thing for others suffer tremendously through his own blindness and narcissism. At the moment his heart breaks, he is filled with human insights of love, compassion, grace, trust, and loyalty. He dies a better person, and Shakespeare gives hope to us all for a possible redemption, even in our dying breath.”
– Tom Mardikes,
UMKC Theatre

Stupid Fucking Bird

By Aaron Posner
Directed by Theodore Swetz

29 Nov – 23 Dec
Co-produced with Unicorn Theatre
The Levin Stage
Sort of Adapted From THE SEAGULL by Anton Chekhov 
An aspiring director, a beautiful young actress, an aging Hollywood star and a famous author discover the messed up joys and thrilling heartbreaks of the struggle to create new art. In this hilarious reimagining of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Aaron Posner pits two tangled generations of star-crossed lovers against each other in the search for love and true meaning. With original songs, boundary-crossing innovation, and irreverent wit, Stupid Fucking Bird gives the finger to one classic play.

Go Please Go

by Emily Feldman
Directed by Joshua Kahan Brody

Dec 1-Dec 10
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116

A couple decides: This isn’t working. He

says he’ll leave, and then he doesn’t. He stays and stays and stays. Through seventy years of marriages, bar mitzvahs, baptisms, and funerals, he stays. People get drunk. People get sober. People plan vacations. People die. Somebody wins the lottery. A baby grows up. Everybody dances. GO. PLEASE. GO. asks what it means to love somebody for a lifetime, and what a lifetime even means.


The Secret of Courage

Adapted by Laurie Brooks
From the short story by Terry Brooks
Directed by Graham Whitehead

Jan 23-Feb 18
Co-Produced with  The Coterie
A world premiere production with magic and wonderment, the play begins with 13 year old Jack McCall learning some very bad news about his health. His best friend Waddy is not as concerned as he is, since you hear stories of people getting over this illness all the time. From there, reality blends with fantasy as Jack becomes convinced that he needs to find his way back to the magical park and the imaginary friends from his childhood. An elf named Pick along with an owl, a troll, and a ghost challenge Jack to an adventure to save the park from an evil imprisoned in a massive tree. But this adventure may not even be real, so what does facing this adversary in the park have to do with Jack’s sickness anyway?

Author Terry Brooks is one of the most celebrated fantasy authors in the country. Terry is brother to our resident playwright, Laurie Brooks, who has adapted this world premiere for our stage.


The Storytelling Project

A Devised Piece 
directed by Karen Lisondra
Composer: Amado Espinoza

Feb 23-Mar 4
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116

Devised by Karen Lisondra and the second year MFA Acting class, Storytelling Project aims to create a visual and musical experience through personal stories and physical storytelling. With inspired compositions the creation of original instruments by Amado Espinoza, audiences will be pulled into the true collaboration that exists within us all.

(Against) Type

Directed and Created by Darren Sextro

April 20-29
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116

A collection of work challenging the parameters of texts, and what the audience expects of them.

Freedom Summer

by Ricardo Khan, Sibusiso Mambo &
Denise Nicholas
Directed by Ricardo Khan

May 4-13
Spencer Theatre

When the hate and inhumanity of man against man makes it seem sometimes like the bad guys and bullies are winning, don’t fret. For there are always some who will stand up in the face of it, and with courage, love and a belief that we are better than that, prove the best of who we truly are. In the summer of 1964, groups of college students, black and white together from across America, gave up their summer vacations, their sense of comfort and safety, and travelled south into the very mouth of one of the most frightening, racist places imaginable at that time, Mississippi, where black Americans were being systematically terrorized and intimidated out of their right to vote, and good people were being killed just for trying to help. That summer, Mississippi burned and the country saw and bore the spiritual cost. But because of the efforts of these brave and beautiful young people, the light in us prevailed and history was made. And in the process, united for a cause greater than themselves, they also found joy, love, and music. Freedom Summer.

Undergraduate Productions

Dog Sees God

by Bert V. Royal
directed by Stephanie Roberts

Sept 29-Oct 8
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead is a reimagining of our beloved childhood comic book characters as modern, dysfunctional adolescents. Drugs, sex, violence—good grief! This dark comedy dives headfirst into teen angst and the painful reality of trying to find one’s place in the world.


The Insubordinates: Adaptations of Dystopia

Directed by Heidi Van
Co-Produced with Fishtank Performance Studio
Nov 16-19
Performances at The Living Room

The Fishtank Theatre and UMKC Theatre present adaptations of dystopia in an evening of new work titled: The Insubordinates. The short plays presented are adapted and inspired by 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, Gathering Blue, The Lottery, and Brave New World.

Playwrights are Heidi Van, Teresa Leggard, Vanessa Severo, Darren Canady, Lindsay Adams, and Jesse Ray Metcalf. Performances will take place at The Living Room Theatre in the East Crossroads.

Winter Intensive

Directed by Heidi Van
Co-Produced with Fishtank Performance Studio
Feb 8-11

Twice a year the Fishtank works with undergraduate theatre students on a production that fuses form and idea in a devised piece based on the students’ themed class work.




2016-2017 Productions


O Beautiful

Spencer Theatre
Oct 14-23

By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Stephanie Roberts and Theodore Swetz

This fiercely funny and disturbingly shocking story explores the lives of high school students, teachers, and their families as they cope in a world of real personal problems and extreme ideologies. Jesus, Joan of Arc, and Benjamin Franklin, among others, show up to weigh in and mix it up. As topical as tonight’s newscast, O Beautiful lands the complex realities of our culture squarely on the stage in an electrifying blend of ancient characters, founding fathers and your neighborhood high school.

Photo from MFA production of Desire


Adaptations of Tennessee Williams Short Stories

Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Nov 25-Dec 10

Directed by Darren Sextro

Tennessee Williams’s life-changing short stories depict loss of innocence, coming of age, fighting loneliness and isolation, and what it means to love and to lose it.  Adapted by some of America’s leading playwrights, Williams’s striking stories explode off the page.

The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin by Beth Henley
The Field of Blue Children by Rebecca Gilman
Tent Worms by Elizabeth Egloff
Oriflamme by David Grimm
Desire quenched by touch by Marcus Gardley
You Lied to Me About Centralia by John Guare

Way of the World poster

The Way of the World

Grant Hall
Feb 10-19

By William Congreve
Directed by Theodore Swetz

The Way of the World is about money, sex, power, appearances and deception, and finally, love.  Mirabell and Millamant love each other, but they endlessly deceive other people, and each other, in order to achieve that love. And that is probably the truest relationship in the play! It’s a huge comedy of deception, set in a society that really has money and sex at the heart of its concerns.” (Michael Kahn)

Written in 1700, Congreve’s The Way of the World continues its life as a classic Restoration comedy because its language is musical and its social commentary is timeless.


Julius Caesar/ X: Or, the Nation vs Betty Shabazz: Politics, Power, and the High Cost of Real Change

Feb 21-23
Spencer Theatre

The Acting Company and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, University of Kansas, University of Central Missouri and University of Missouri-Columbia are embarking on an exciting artistic and educational collaboration featuring Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and a newly commissioned play about the life and assassination of Malcolm X by Marcus Gardley; X:Or, the Nation vs Betty Shabazz in rotating repertory.

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Directed by Devin Brain

Tackling essential questions about the balance of ambition, personal loyalty, and love of country, Shakespeare’s timeless political masterpiece has never been more relevant. Through the story of Julius Caesar, a rising political star torn down by his most trusted allies, audiences witness the art of persuasion, the ugliness of backroom politics, and the historical patterns we can’t stop repeating.

X:Or, the Nation vs Betty Shabazz by Marcus Gardley

Directed by Ian Belknap

The assassination of Malcolm X-both the story we think we know and illuminating details that have seldom been shared-is brought to vivid, lyrical life in award-winning writer Marcus Gardley’s new play. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar provides a framework for Gardley to deepen our understanding of one of America’s most complex, compelling historical figures and explore the tumultuous landscape of ideology and activism in the 1960s.


Animal Farm

Fishtank Performance Studio
Sept 22-25

Directed by Brian Buntin

Twice a year The Fishtank works with theatre students on a production that fuses form and idea – this fall we approach ANIMAL FARM with a foundation in commedia dell’ arte. Directed by Fishtank Resident Artist Brian Buntin and coached by Commedia scholar Patrick Rippeto



An Octoroon

Unicorn Theatre
Nov 30-Dec 26

By Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins

An Octoroon transforms a 19th century plantation melodrama with a beautiful maiden, Indians, and slaves into a theatrical event that is equally hilarious and moving, subversive and provocative. Part period satire, part meta-theatrical middle finger, it’s a shocking challenge to the racial pigeonholing of 1859-and of today.


Hana’s Suitcase

The Coterie
Jan 3-Mar 4

In Partnership with Midwest Center for Holocaust Education and Tradewind Arts

By Emil Sher
Directed by Walter Coppage

An investigative play by Emil Sher, based on the book by Karen Levine and directed by Walter Coppage. Past and present mysteries come together in this captivating true story spanning 70 years and crisscrossing three continents. Fumiko Ishioka, a Japanese Holocaust educator, and her students set out to track down information about a suitcase from Auschwitz. It is a worldwide search for information about its owner, Hana Brady, whose fate is pieced together from her suitcase and artifacts. Hana’s story reaches through time into the lives of the young Japanese students in a Holocaust story like no other – providing a contemporary global perspective and a fascinating history of love and tragedy from Hana’s courageous life story.

Antony and Cleopatra

Spencer Theatre
May 5-May 14

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jason Bohon

A new translation by Christopher Chen, commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! Program co-produced by Kansas City Repertory Theatre

A new modern language adaptation of Shakespeare’s story of two lovers torn between their passions for each other and their duties to their countries. Performed by an ensemble cast of only eight, this epic story is produced as part of Kansas city Repertory Theatre’s Origins KC festival and commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! Program.


The Comedy of Errors

Grant Hall Theatre
Oct 4-16

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Scott Stackhouse

“A man may break a word with you, sir, and words are but wind;Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.” (Dromio of Ephesus)

Two sets of twins, mistaken identity, superstition, slapstick, wild wordplay, a gold chain and a prostitute are the perfect ingredients for a wild night in the theatre. This comic gem is Shakespeare’s shortest play but it’s long on laughs.

Fabulation, Or the Re-education of Undine

Studio 116
April 8-16

By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Amanda Davison

Fabulation is a social satire about an ambitious and haughty African-American woman, Undine Barnes Calles, whose husband suddenly disappears after embezzling all of her money.  Pregnant and on the brink of social and financial ruin, Undine retreats to her childhood home in Brooklyn’s Walt Whitman projects, only to discover that she must cope with a crude new reality.  She faces the challenge of transforming her setbacks into small victories in a battle to reaffirm her right to be.

2015-2016 Productions

Graduate Productions

The Learned Ladies
by Moliere & Richard Wilbur translation,
directed by Theodore Swetz
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Oct. 16-31
Immeasurable Heaven
by Stephanie Roberts and ensemble
directed by Stephanie Roberts
April 29-May 8


Heaven and Hell
conceived and directed by Heidi Van
Fishtank Performance Studio
Oct 1-4
Mr. Burns: A post-electric play
by Ann Washburn
directed by Theodore Swetz
Unicorn Theatre
Dec. 2-27
And Justice for Some: The Trial of Anthony Burns
by Wendy Lement & Bethany Dunakin
directed by Jeff Church
Jan 19-Feb 21
Greek Winter Intensive 
directed by Heidi Van
Fishtank Performance Studio
Feb 18-21

Undergraduate Productions

by David Davalos
directed by Tom Mardikes
Grant Hall Theatre
Oct 9-25
Medea by Euripides
directed by Joshua Brody
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Feb 26-Mar 12

2014-2015 Productions

Graduate Productions

Caucasian Chalk Circle
by Bertolt Brecht
directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Spencer Theatre.
Oct. 17-26
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
by William Shakespeare
directed by Joshua Brody
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Dec 5-14
The Liar
by Pierre Corneille, adapted by David Ives
Directed by Theodore Swetz
Olson Performing Arts Center
April 24-May 3
Freedom Rider
by Murray Horwitz, Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Nathan Jackson, Nikkole, Salter
directed by Ricardo Khan
Spencer Theatre
May 1-10


Our Town
by Thornton Wilder
directed by David Cromer
Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Sept 5-Oct 5
Death by Shakespeare
Conceived and directed by Heidi Van
Fishtank Performance Studio
Oct. 2-5
Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo
by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Ian R. Crawford
Unicorn Theatre
Dec 3-28
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
by Kate DiCamillo
directed by Jeff Church
Coterie Theatre
Jan 27-Mar 1
Lasso of Truth
By Carson Kreitzer
Directed by Johnny Wolfe
Unicorn Theatre
Jan 21-Feb 15
Winter Intensive: The American Musical
Directed by Heidi Van
Fishtank Performance Studio
Feb 19-22

Undergraduate Productions

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare.
directed by Scott Stackhouse
Grant Hall Theatre
Oct 10-19
Rocky Horror Picture Show
By Richard O’Brien
Directed by Steven Eubank
Grant Hall Theatre
Feb 27-Mar 8



Graduate Productions

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
by Alex Timbers (book) and Michael Friedman (music and lyrics)
directed by Cynthia Levin
Unicorn Theatre
Oct 10-Nov 4
The Lady from the Sea
by Henrik Ibsen, translated by Pam Gems
directed by Theodore Swetz
Spencer Theatre
Oct. 19-28
A Devil Inside
by David Lindsay-Abaire,
directed by Scott Stackhouse
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Nov 30-Dec 9
Kansas City Swing
By Ricardo Khan and Trey Ellis
directed by Ricardo Khan
April 19-28
Burnt by the Sun
by Peter Flannery, adapted from the film by Nikita Mikhalkov
directed by Tom Mardikes
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
May 3-12
Eat This! KC Chew on the Politics of Food
written from community interviews
directed by Stephanie Roberts
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Mar 1-10


44 Plays for 44 Presidents
directed by Heidi Van
Fishtank Performance
Nov 1-4
Inspecting Carol
by Daniel Sullivan
directed by Theodore Swetz
Unicorn Theatre/Kansas City Actors Theatre
Nov 28-Dec 23
Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
directed by Eric Rosen
Kansas City Repertory Theatre
directed by Eric Rosen
Jan 18-Feb 10
Number the Stars
by Jeff Church from the Lois Lowry book
directed by Cynthia Levin
Coterie Theatre
Jan 22-Feb21

Undergraduate Productions

Cover of Life
by R.T. Robinson
directed by Ron Schaeffer
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Nov 2-11
Winter Intensive
directed by Tom Mardikes, Carla Noack
and Stephanie Roberts
Feb 21-24
Drums in the Night
by Bertolt Brecht
directed by Erin Merritt
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
April 5-14


Graduate Productions

Comedy of Asses
by Plautus
co-directed by Stephanie Roberts and Theodore Swetz
Oct 21-30
Spencer Theatre
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
April 20-29 a
Spencer Theatre


Billy Bishop Goes to War
By John Gray in collaboration with Eric Peterson
Directed by John Rensenhouse
Kansas City Actors Theatre
The National World War I Museum
Feb 10-26
God of Carnage
By Yasmina Reza
Directed by Mark Robbins
Unicorn Theatre/Kansas City Actors Theatre
Oct 19-Nov. 13
The Salvation of Iggy Scrooge
By Larry Larsen and Levi Lee
Directed by Missy Koonce
Unicorn Theatre
Nov. 30-Dec 24
The Wrestling Season
By Laurie Brooks
Directed by Leigh Miller
Coterie Theatre
Jan. 24-Feb. 19

Undergraduate Productions

The Farnsworth Invention
by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Ron Schaeffer
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
A Yorkshire Tragedy
by Thomas Middleton
directed by Scott Stackhouse
March 9-18
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116


Graduate Productions

Miss Julie
Strindberg adapted by Craig Lucas
Directed by Carla Noack
Olson Performing Arts Center, Studio 116
Oct 2-24
The King Stag
By Carlo Gozzi
Directed by Theodore Swetz and Stephanie Roberts
Spencer Theatre
Oct. 23-31
By Ron Hutchinson
Directed by Barry Kyle
Spencer Theatre
April 23-May 1


by Lisa Loomer
Directed by Cynthia Levin
Unicorn Theatre
Nov 23-Dec 12
Oh! What a Lovely War
by Theatre Workshop
Directed by Barry Kyle
Kansas City Actors Theatre
The National Wold War I Museum
Feb 11-27
The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza
by Don Solids
Directed by Meghann Henry
Coterie Theatre
by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Ricardo Khan
Unicorn Theatre
April 14-May 1
A Christmas Carol
Directed by Kyle Hatley
Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Spencer Theatre
Nov 19-Dec 26

Undergraduate Productions

Black Comedy/The White Liars
By Peter Shaffer
Directed by Todd Carlton Lanker
Grant Hall Theatre
Oct 19-30
The Shape of Things
By Neil LaBute
Directed by Ron Schaeffer and Carla Noack
Grant Hall Theatre
Feb 16-26

















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