Adapt an classic Greek fable to modern time; set it in a high school; cast local, high energy musical performers; give the choreographer free reigns to create dance; add peppy music; tune up the jokes; ratchet up the characterizations from Greek mythology; sit back and watch as Egads! Theatre produces a rip-roaring show, "Lysistrada Jones," that opened Saturday night, June 14.
Hats off to Steven Eubank for finding this unknown work and bringing it to the Off Center Theater in Kansas City’s Crown Center in midtown. Hats off to the entire cast and creative team that developed the show and kept the audience engaged and laughing throughout.
Just a smattering of K.C.’s young talent acted in the show, but rest assured the cast features some of the best singing, dancing and acting talent in the area so blessed with consummate performers. Credit Eubank for scouring the vast talent here and finding the perfect cast for “Lysistrada Jones.”
Egads! returns to its "campy" roots for this slightly naughty and enormously fun romp. The musical, loosely based on an Aristophanes' classic Greek Comedy, “Lysistrata Jones” is a modern day fable about a girl who decides it's time to live up to her full potential by convincing the ladies of her cheerleading squad to refuse sexual favors to their boyfriends on the Athens University Spartans' Basketball team until they win a game–any game, Steven Eubank said.
Even on opening night the lines were fast and the dancing sharp and crisp. Of course, a few minor glitches, but nothing that will not correct itself for subsequent performances. The show moves and has great color and tremendous energy.
The cast features: Mandy Morris as Lysistrada Jones, PT Mahoney as Mick, Teal Holliday as Hetaira, Chelsea Anglemyer as Lampito, Shawna Downing as Myrrhine, Daria Le Grand as Robin, Katelyn Baron as Cleonice, Matthew Lindblom as Cinesias, Phillip Russell Newman as Xander, Josh Akins as Tyllis, Francisco Javier Villegas as ‘Uardo, Christopher Carlson as Harold, and Erin Huffman, who understudies the female parts.
The Creative team under the directorship of Steven Eubank includes: Tyler Parsons, associate director; Daniel Doss and Julie Danielson, music directors; Tiffany Powell, choreographer; Ashley Pike, stage manager; Morgan Myers, costume designer; Emily Swenson, set designer; Alex Perry, lighting designer; Emily Swenson, props designer; Jeff Eubank, Sound designer; Fiona Carmody, assistant stage manager; Elizabeth Green, associate lighting designer; Shannon Jumiston, production assistant; Delaney Herman, spoltight operator; Nick Uthoff, electrician; Ian Crawford, electrician.
The band includes: Daniel Doss, keyboards; Tony Kirkland, guitar; Kevin Payton, bass; and Pat Adams, percussion.
"While local theaters in the parks will be featuring familiar family fare, 'Lysistrata Jones' will be heating things up on stage inside air-conditioned comfort," Eubank said. "Grab a group and laugh over this hilarious musical comedy written by Tony nominee Douglas Carter Beane, with a fresh, contemporary pop score by Lewis Flinn."
“Mandy (Morris) and I moved to Los Angeles about five months ago and we are working to get noticed and picked up there; but we came back to Kansas City to do just this show. It’s great working with Steven,” Phillip Russell Newman, one of the leads said.
After a critically acclaimed off-Broadway run, "Lysistrada Jones" later opened on Broadway, Eubank said. The show received a "thumbs up" from all five leading critics in NYC.
Egads! Theatre marks the Midwest premier of “Lysistrada Jones,” and it’s filled with KC's youthful rising stars who will have the audience cheering along with them throughout this fast-paced show, Eubank said.
Prepare to shocked with the fast paced dancing and choreography for this show. The dancing really stands out and the syncopated moves are crisp and spot on. Tiffany Powell deserves a standing ovation for creating the movement and for teaching all the cast to perform it with such precision.
Morris and her cheerleader squad have the most difficult of dance moves. She and LeGrand especially stand out for their performances. Both are convincing in their characters and the singing and dancing stand above the rest. Also of note of the lead women is Teal Holliday as she plays Hetaira and also a prostitute with helpful suggestions for the cheer squad.
As for the men, the singing and dancing of Mahoney and Newman lead the male ensemble, but pay attention to Francisco Javier Villegas and Matthew Lindblom who bring a mix of great characterization and dance to the show. Villegas and Lindblom continue to build solid credentials in the local theaters.
“Lysistrada Jones” is a winner. Get tickets now and enjoy. The language is strong, so probably not appropriate for elementary age children. Middle and high school students will hear nothing they do not hear on a daily basis or see on TV.
The show continues through July 13 at the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center of Kansas City, Mo. For more information and tickets contact Egads! Theatre Company or visit their website: www.egadstheatre.com. Tickets may also be purchased via phone at 816.545.6000.