Always count on Kansas City’s Unicorn Theatre to push the boundaries by presenting new plays, bound to leave audiences both entertained and talking.
For their 40th season, Cynthia Levin lined up what she said was her ultimate wish list of shows available and was overwhelmed when she secured the rights to all of her first choices. She said this was the first time she did not miss on one single play.
After the first two successful ventures of the season, Venus in Fur, and Seminar, Clybourne Park comes to the stage at The Unicorn Theatre.
The Unicorn’s award-winning series brings another hit comedy, Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris, directed by Joseph Price, and co-produced with UMKC Theatre. For background, Clybourne Park, won the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, the Pulitzer Prize and Olivier Award for Best New Play.
The play, in two acts, brings new meaning to the term “house-flipping.” Act One is 1959 as community leaders try to stop the sale of a home, in Chicago’s historic Clybourne Park, to a black family. Act Two is present day, in the same home, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification, a spokesman for The Unicorn said.
Clybourne Park features Kansas City actors, David Fritts as Russ/Dan; Jennifer Mays as Bev/Kathy; Mykel Hill as Albert/Kevin; Janae Mitchell as Francine/Lena; Brian Paulette as Karl/Steve; Jessalyn Kincaid as Betsy/Lindsey; and Michael Pauley as Jim/Tom/Kenneth.
Clybourne Park debuts on Unicorn Theatre’s Mainstage located at 3828 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111. The show runs Dec. 4-29. Previews are Dec. 4-6. Opening Night is Dec. 7.
Performances run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday at 3 pm.
Due to the holidays there are no performances Dec. 24 and 25, but an added 3pm performance on the 28, and 7:30pm performance on the 29, a spokesman said.
Talk back performances, where patrons are encouraged to stay after the show and discuss the play with the actors and director, are scheduled for Dec. 10, Dec. 15, and Dec. 22.
Tickets are now on sale. Call 816-531-PLAY (7529) EXT. 10, online at: UnicornTheatre.org or buy in person at the box office located at 3828 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111. Special discounts are available for seniors (65+), students and patrons under age 30.
Joseph Price (director) is the Program Director for the University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Actor Training Program. He returns to the Unicorn, where he directed Blue/Orange, Fuddy Meers, Well, Bright Ideas, The Shape of Things, The Pillowman The Lieutenant of Inishmore and the world premieres of The Velvet Rut by James Still.
David Fritts (Russ/Dan) is a Kansas City actor who is very happy to be back at the Unicorn after last being seen in Time Stands Still. Clybourne Park is his 22nd show at the Unicorn in the last 25 years. Recent credits include Three Viewings and Picnic with the Kansas City Actors’ Theatre, Social Security at the New Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Antony and Cleopatra with the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and Oleanna at the Living Room Theatre.
Jennifer Mays (Bev/Kathy) is making her Unicorn Theatre debut. A graduate of UMKC, Jen has been a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association and a professional actress in and out of KC for over 15 years. Her favorite local theatre credits include August: Osage County, Christmas Carol, Guys and Dolls, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses at KC Rep; On Golden Pond, Gypsy, Beau Jest, Barefoot in the Park, and Leading Ladies at New Theatre, The Nerd, Swingtime Canteen, and Bingo at The Heartland, and Picnic with KCAT.
Mykel Hill (Albert/Kevin) is excited to be back onstage at the Unicorn Theatre, where he directed two shows last season: Blacktop Sky and The Mountaintop. Favorite acting roles at the Unicorn include: Leland in Blues for an Alabama Sky, “Man” in Crowns, and George in Intimate Apparel. The Rialto, CA native earned his MFA in Acting from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program under Jack Clay. Other roles include: Sholto in Mappa Mundi, Jim in Big River, and Boy Willie in The Piano Lesson.
Janae Mitchell (Fracnine/Lena) Credits: Death of Salesman (KCRep); Seven Guitars, A Devil Inside, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Lady from the Sea (UMKC Theatre); Self-Defense, or death of some salesmen (Swine Palace Productions);Antigone, The Living, A Night of Pinter (Louisiana State University). She has also performed in Antigone at the Young Theatre Festival in Seoul, Korea. Education: BA in Theatre, Louisiana Stage University; third year MFA-Acting graduate student at UMKC.
Brian Paulette (Karl/Steve) returns to the Unicorn, having previously appeared in God of Carnage, as well as 12 other Unicorn productions, including Next of Kin, Blue/Orange, Lobby Hero, Proof, and many others beginning with Mad Forest in 1993. More recently, you may have seen him in Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Kansas City Actors Theatre, or as Teach in American Buffalo at the Kansas City Rep. A KU graduate, Brian has appeared on national television in PBS’ American Experience, national commercials, and short and feature length films. Based in Kansas City, he lives with his wife Cinnamon, and their two amazing children.
Jessalyn Kincaid (Betsy/Lindsay)is delighted to be returning to the Unicorn, where she was last seen in [title of show]. Over the last 10+ years she is proud to have turned in critically-acclaimed performances on almost every professional stage in town, including the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, New Theatre Restaurant, American Heartland Theatre, Coterie Theatre, Quality Hill Playhouse, and Musical Theater Heritage.
Michael Pauley (Jim/Tom/Kennety)is thrilled to making his debut with the Unicorn. Kansas City credits include Death of a Salesman at KC Rep and Kansas City Swing and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot with the UMKC Graduate school. Michael has performed with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Texas Shakespeare Festival, the Theatre at Monmouth, Teatro Canovaz in Malaga, Spain,and Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan, Italy. On television he has appeared on Saturday Night Live, Rescue Me, The Good Wife, All My Children,and Guiding Light.
The creative team for Clybourne Park is comprised of many UMKC student designers: Brett Engle (scenic design), Devorah Kengmana (lighting design), Adam Raine (assistant lighting design) Marc W. Vital II (costume design), Matt Mott (prop design) and Nihan Yesil and Jonathan Robertson (sound design). Tanya Brown is the Unicorn Theatre Stage Manager, Stephanie Demaree is the dramaturg and Rachel A. Dyer, Chloe Robbins-Anderson and Matt Henrickson are the Production Assistants.