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'A Hard Day's Night' pits Beatles lyrics against Disney magic and pet ashes

Play "A Hard Day's Night"


Walt Disney’s World comes alive as the lights come up on the 2014 Kansas City Fringe Festival opening of “A Hard Day’s Night,” as a teenage girl looks in despair at a mixture of Walt Disney memorabilia and the ashen remains of previous pets.

Just Off Broadway's production of "A Hard Day's Night, " a new play by local playwright, Vicky Vodrey, opened July 18 as one of the initial pieces to kick off the 2014 Kansas City Fringe Festival.
Mary Donaldson and courtesy of Vicky Vodrey, playwright and producer
"A Hard Day's Night" opened July 18 at the Just Off Broadway Theater as part of the KC Fringe Festival.
Mary Donaldson and courtesy of playwright Vicky Vodrey

Such is the life of Kelly K. Kelly, in Vicky Vodrey’s newest entry into the Kansas City Fringe Festival. In “A Hard Day’s Night,” Kelly only speaks in lyrics from Beatles music. She rebels against her parents and especially her mother because she can no longer exist in the atmosphere of Disney memorabilia videos and absolutely everything Disney. Added to the Disney memorabilia the house is littered with the ashen remains of every previous at on by the family – all names starting with a “K.”

As her personal revolt, Kelly speaks in Beatles lyrics while the veneer begins to fade as she examines the problems of her family. All hell breaks loose after the mother’s best friend (along with a new husband) come to visit to celebrate a 20th anniversary.

According to the info provided to KC Fringe, "Poor Kelly. Growing up isn’t easy - parents obsessed with Disney, a popular sister, Grandpa’s ghost in the basement, and a house cluttered with pet ashes. But at her parents’ twentieth anniversary celebration, with guests there for partying the night away, she vows to make things change. "It's a f****** compliment to call this family dysfunctional!"

Six highly talented actors bring the show to the stage. All give outstanding performances and show great get an understanding of character development. No weakness can be found in the ensemble cast that features some of the best local Kansas City talent.

The cast includes: Jen Mays, Bryan Moses, Melissa Fennewald, Chris Roady, Shelley Wyche, and Mariah Thompson. The creative team includes: Vicky Vodrey, producer/playwright, Taylor St. John, director, Jill Gillespie, stage manager, Jan Simon, Beatles lyrics dialogue; Mandy Mook, production assistant; Kimberly Best, costumes.

The play works on all levels. Vodrey took care in the character development phase of the writing, giving each character a chance to give a back story, a current story, and provide a change to develop the depth of character needed for this. No stone is left unturned, and no character is left unjustified or unfinished.

All characters have the chance to play funny, yet also reveal their inner weaknesses and character flaws. The story begs the idea that everyone is different, everyone is flawed and together it all makes a normal person.

The show comes with the highest recommendations, and should be in contention for best of venue. The show is mostly finished. It has beginning, middle, end, character development, resolution, etc–all the pieces for a successful production. The characters are all varied and different. This show should be high on list of shows to view.

All performances are at the Just Off Broadway Theatre. For tickets and more information, go to the KC Fringe website:

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