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'Bad Auditions' mixes comedy with audience participation for Fringe Festival

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The Kansas City Fringe Festival opens July 17 with an evening of teasers to lure prospective audiences to the vast array of shows slated for this year’s 10 run, with “Bad Auditions” being one of the more different offerings because the cast and performances change nightly with different performers appearing and disappearing throughout the festival’s run.

Fresh off his first full length play, “Flowers in the Wardrobe,” writer/producer Kevin King present “Bad Auditions,” produced by his Whim Productions. According to King, “Bad Auditions,” an original theater piece conceived and curated by King offers a unique theater experience. The piece, staged like an actual audition call, complete with nervously excited actors and a director, all in full view of the audience, working their way through an audition. Some are successful; some not.

King currently works with his band of actors to select and comically craft audition pieces. Some of the cast will bring original works, he said. Each performance promises to be like A Chorus Line, but funny–and without all the singing--he said.

“This is going to be a very fast-paced production. During the show, audiences will go from laughing with the actors, to laughing at them, and from sympathizing with the director to feeling bad for the actors because they have to deal with an unpredictable director.”

In a bit of meta-casting, King plays the director himself. He’ll be joined by actors from diverse backgrounds but most known for their body of work in the Kansas City Metro area.

Most recently added to the “Bad Auditions” cast are: Meredith Wolfe, who recently electrified audiences in Gorilla Theatre’s production of “Elektra.” Ben Auxier and Brian Huther, the members of the popular improv duo Dog and Friend Dog will bring their unique comedy talents. Kenzie West is also part of the “Bad Auditions” cast. West recently starred in The Living Room’s production of “Fat Pig.”

“Bad Auditioners” previously announced: Stefanie Stevens, Matt Sweeten, Alisa Lynn, and Genewa Stanwyck (all from Whim’s “Flowers in the Wardrobe”), local playwright-actor-producer Tara Varney, and Seth Macchi (also regularly appearing with the Kansas City Improv Company).

Each performance night will feature a core group of actors, with some actors rotating in and out as they have performances in other Fringe shows, King said. Audiences will see a slightly different show each night. Additionally, some level of audience participation should be expected.

“Audiences may get to help select which actors return for call backs in the second half of the show,” King said.

Tickets, available through www.kc-fringe.ticketleap.com/bad-auditions/, are $10 in addition to a one-time purchase of a Fringe button. The dates for Bad Auditions are: Friday, July 18 at 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, July 22 at 6 p.m.; Thursday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, July 26 at 9 p.m. All performances are in The Fishtank Performance Studio, 1717 Wyandotte, Kansas City, MO.

Whim Productions is a theater company based in Kansas City, Mo. Founded in 2011, the company focuses primarily on irreverent and campy original scripts, according to King. Whim has also produced two plays in the Kansas City Fringe Festival, one each in 2011 and 2012.

For more information on the Kansas City Fringe Festival, check their website: www.kcfringe.org.

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