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'White Sangria’ makes world premiere in Kansas City

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A new play by a native Kansas City playwright, currently living in New York, “White Sangria,” produced by The Melting Pot, makes its world premiere on Friday, May 2, 7:30 p.m. and runs through May 18, at the Just Off Broadway Theatre.

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The Melting Pot announced the premiere on April 30 and said they are proud to work with author Arika Larson on this endeavor. Harvey Williams, founder of KC Melting Pot said that his production company wants to focus on local talent, works created by local writers, performed by local talent, and hopefully supported by local audiences throughout the greater Kansas City area.

Larson said she is happy to join the Melting Pot KC team for this amazing season of works by KC women. Her plays have been seen in three Kansas City Fringe Festivals. Fringe attendees may recognize this piece from the 2011 Festival where it won best-selling show in its venue, Larson said. Though she now lives in Brooklyn, she said she is thrilled to share this new version of “White Sangria,” and happy for the excuse to come home to Kansas City and work with such a talented group.

Williams directs “White Sangria” for The Melting Pot. The cast features: Jonathon Engle, Sabrina 'Brie' Henderson, Coleman Crenshaw and Melody Butler.

“White Sangria,’ looks at gender, power, love, beauty and what brings us together or tears us apart," Larson said. "Ben and Marla are a regular suburban couple. They like to play games. They like to have friends over. They like to drink sangria. And they like to ‘tell lies.’ John and Susan are coming over tonight, and they have no idea what’s going to happen . . . and neither do Ben and Marla.”

According to a press release, “Melting Pot KC is happy to announce the second show of their first full season as an affiliate of Just Off Broadway Theatre (3051 Central in Penn Valley Park) with their world premiere of an original play by local playwright Arika Larson. The play, “White Sangria,” takes place in the suburbs of Portland, Ore., and hopes to bring more meaning to "what does not drive us apart can only bring us together."

Larson’s play “Foreign Bodies” will be produced at The Artist’s Movement in 2014 in New York, and her play “Birthday Boy” is a semifinalist for the 2014 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Look for her brand new comedy, “Doin' It the Easy Way” in this summer’s KC Fringe Festival.

Harvey Williams is the founder of The Melting Pot. As an actor, he has been seen at theatres across Kansas City in productions of “Driving Miss Daisy,” “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” “Little Tommy Parker,” “The Watsons go to Birmingham,” “Now Let me Fly,” “The Piano Lesson,” “Fences,” “12 Angry Men,” “1940’s Radio Hour,” “The African Company presents Richard the III,” “Monkey Don’t Drink Hot Chocolate,” “Othello,” “Journey with Barbara Jordan.” Williams also toured with Bob Paisley’s Central Standard Theatre to Bedford, UK, and the Adelaide Fringe Festival in Adelaide, Australia. He is a member of the Screen Actors’ Guild and Actors’ Equity. Harvey is the author of “Old School’s Ghetto Gospel” and “The Session.”

The play premieres on Friday, May 2 and runs through Sunday, May 18, curtain time Thursday through Saturday is 7:30 p.m.. Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m. Ticket prices are: $25 or $20 for seniors and students. For industry nights, Thursdays, tickets are $15. To Reserve or purchase tickets online visit: kcmeltingpot.com/tickets or purchase by phone at 816.226.8087 or 816.914.1520. Just Off Broadway Theatre is located at: 3051 Central in Penn Valley Park, Kansas City, Mo. 64108, 816.784.5020.

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