BWW Review: LYSISTRATA JONES: A MUSICAL COMEDY a Don't Miss at the Off Center Theatre in Kansas City
The sexiest romp to appear in Kansas City this season, Lysistrata Jones: A Musical Comedy opened Saturday June 13 at the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center. Steven Eubank provides magnificent direction to an energetic and phenomenal cast for the Egads! Theatre Company production that runs through July 13.
The choreography provided by Tiffany Powell stands tall above other local musical productions of the last few years. The cast brilliantly executes the complexity of the movements, the wonderful timing, the fluid motion, and sexy insinuations designed by Powell.
Lysistrata Jones: A Musical Comedy is adapted from the comedy Lysistrat by Aristophanes. Douglas Carter Beane wrote the book, with a musical score by Lewis Flinn. The musical opened on Broadway in December of 2011, closing in January of 2012. It received a nomination for Best Book of a Musical from the Tony Awards and Outstanding Book of a Musical for the Drama Desk Award.
Returning from Los Angeles to work with Eubank, Mandy Morris stars as Lysistrata Jones. Set in modern times Jones, who attends Athens University, tries to motivate the basketball team to win a game by convincing the girlfriends to withhold favors until they do. Before moving to L.A., in my opinion she ranked in the top five female performers in Kansas City. Her voice is beautiful and blends marvelously with the other members of the cast.
Chelsea Anglemyer plays Lampito, one of the new cheerleaders who reluctantly joins Jones in the boycott of sexual favors to the basketball team. She too should be considered in the top five in Kansas City. With such a marvelous voice and stage presence, she is always a delight to watch. Anglemyer and Morris do not just portray their characters they become them.
Matthew Lindblom gives a brilliant performance as Cinesias, the white guy who thinks he has a black heritage. His performance is superb and brings large laughs for the audience as he tries to fit into the black culture. He admits later in the show that he does not know who he is, but we know who he is not. Do not listen to Josh Atkins as Tyllis who says, "I'm the only black guy out here, stop talking like that." We like Cinesias just the way he is.
Shawna Downing makes her debut at Egads! as Myrrhine, one of the cheerleaders who joins in the crusade against the basketball team. She gives a splendid performance, with dynamic vocals that I would listen to all night long. She has appeared with the Coterie Theatre, Theatre for Young America and Heart of America Shakespeare Festival among others.
Daria LeGrand delightfully plays Robin, the intelligent, out-spoken, overlooked librarian, who breaks out of her shell to join Lysistrata Jones and the cheerleading squad. She transforms Robin from the woman who thinks she could not get a date in a male prison with a hand full of pardons, to the seductive beauty who finds love in unexpected arms.
P. T. Mahoney is Mick, the captain of the basketball team who is more interested in the party after the game than actually trying to win. He unites the other members of the team to stand-up against their girlfriends and against Jones. He gives an enjoyable performance in his debut with Egads!
The cast list is a cornucopia of Who's Who of the finest performers in Kansas City. Francisco Javier Villegas as Uardo yet another wonderful performance to his resume, Phil Newman, also back from Los Angeles, as Xander, Teal Holiday as Hetaira, Katelyn Baron as Cleonice, and Christopher Carlson as Harold.
Lysistrata Jones: A Musical Comedy continues at the Off Center Theatre through July 13. Purchase tickets by calling 816-545-6000 or at the Egads! Theatre Company website.