Unicorn slates UMKC co-production


An Edgy Reboot.


By Aaron Posner

Sort of Adapted from THE SEAGULL by Anton Chekov

Directed by Theodore Swetz


An aspiring director, a beautiful young actress, an aging Hollywood star and a famous author discover the messed up joys and thrilling heartbreaks of the struggle to create new art. In this hilarious reimagining of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Aaron Posner pits two tangled generations of star-crossed lovers against each other in the search for love and true meaning. With original songs, boundary-crossing innovation, and irreverent wit, STUPID F##KING BIRD gives the finger to one classic play.

“[A] funny, heartbreaking, fourth-wall battering post-punk manifesto.”

–          Alex Huntsberger, New City

STUPID F##KING BIRD is the best Chekhov adaption in two decades.”

–          Steven Leigh Morris, LA Weekly

“Exceptionally smart, exceptionally funny.”

–          Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

STUPID F##KING BIRD is on Unicorn Theatre’s Levin Stage located at 3828 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64111. The show runsNovember 29th to December 23rd, 2017. Previews are November 29th, 30th and December 1st. Opening Night is December 2nd. Featured Friday pre-show events are scheduled for and December 8th and December 15th. Talk back performances, where patrons are encouraged to stay after the show and discuss the play with the actors and director, are scheduled for December 5th, 10th and 17th.

Performances run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. For those who are unable to afford a full price ticket, they may “Pay What U Can” at performances on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; because we believe art is for everyone.

Tickets are now on sale. Call 816-531-PLAY (7529) EXT. 10, go online at www.UnicornTheatre.org or buy in person during box office hours located at 3828 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111. Special discounts are available for groups of 10+, seniors (65+) and students.

About the Director, Cast, and Creative Team:

Cynthia Levin (PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) is in her 39th season with the Unicorn. Over the years she has served as a director, actor, designer or producer for over 300 productions.  At the Unicorn, she recently directed Priscilla Queen Of The Desert (co-directed with Missy Koonce), Eclipsed, Hand to God, Heathers: The Musical (again, with Missy), The Oldest Boy, Women Playing Hamlet (world premiere), Bad Jews, Grounded, Venus in Fur, My Name is Asher Lev, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, The Soul Collector (world premiere), Hungry (world premiere), Red, Two Jews Walk Into A War…, Distracted, Green Whales (world premiere), Miss Witherspoon, My First Time, The Clean House, Mauritius, 9 Parts of Desire, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Bat Boy: The Musical and additionally the world premieres of rightnextto me (both at the Unicorn and Geva Theatre Center, Rochester, NY), How His Bride Came to Abraham, Light:Damage, Mercy Killing, Innocent Thoughts and Jack and Jill. At Coterie Theatre, she has directed Number the Stars, And Then They Came for Me, Frankenstein, Gatherings in Graveyards (I and II), Valley Song and To Kill A Mockingbird. At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., she directed readings of Occupants, In The Belly Of The Whale, The Friendship Of Her Thighs, The Last Pair Of Earlies, Tigers Be Still and White Devil and Loving Mother for the MFA Playwright’s Workshop. Cynthia is a graduate of Park University which also awarded her an Honorary Doctorate in 2002. She is a founding board member of the National New Play Network, an organization dedicated to the development and production of new works. She has been honored with the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Human Rights Campaign Equality Award. She shares her home with Zia (the beagle), Dodger (the cat) and the spirit of the big red dog, Sylvia.

Theodore Swetz (DIRECTOR) just completed playing Lear in King Lear for KCAT/UMKC Theatre and last year at the Unicorn portrayed the role of David in I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard. Other roles in KC, the Tiger – Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Donny – The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Unicorn); Friar Lawrence – Romeo and Juliet, Max – Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Argan – The Imaginary Invalid(KC Rep); Ben Franklin – Ben Franklin’s Apprentice (Coterie). Directing credits include – TribesMr. Burns, a post-electric play, Mojo,SidemanRabbit Hole (Unicorn); The Comedy of Errors (KC Rep); Ferdinand the Bull (Coterie); Tally’s FollyInspecting Carol (KCAT); Ah, Wilderness!OthelloLove’s Labour’s LostAs You Like It (Riverside Shakespeare); The Way of the WorldThe Learned LadiesThe Liar,King StagThe Comedy of Asses, and O Beautiful (UMKC Theatre). Ted began his career with the NY Shakespeare Festival, at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park and Lincoln Center. He later went on to be an original member of the Tony Nominated, American Players Theatre, Spring Green, WI (a classical repertory company) where he acted, taught, directed and served as associate artistic director. He received his training from legendary teachers Stella Adler, Morris Carnovsky and Phoebe Brand, all original members of the historic Group Theater. Ted serves as The Patricia McIlrath Endowed Professor of Theatre Arts and heads the MFA Actor training at UMKC.

Doogin Brown (CONRAD) is grateful to be back at the Unicorn. Previous Unicorn shows: Bad JewsMy Name is Asher LevNext Fall,Speech and Debate and Orson’s Shadow. Other Kansas City credits include work at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, KC Actors Theatre, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, New Theatre, Coterie Theatre, and the American Heartland Theatre. Regional Credits include Cardinal Stage Company in Bloomington and Theatre at the Center in Munster, Indiana. Chicago credits: Steep Theatre, Commission Theatre Company and Bluebird Arts.

Duncan McIntyre (DEV/MUSIC DIRECTOR) is a 3rd year MFA Acting student at UMKC, and is pleased to be making his Unicorn debut inStupid Fucking Bird. His Kansas City Credits include: Duke of Cornwall in King Lear (KCAT), Lepidus/Eros in Antony and Cleopatra (KC Rep), Sir Wilfull Witwoud in The Way of The World, Jim/Detective Bacon/Adam in Desire and Lennie Ryan in O Beautiful (UMKC). Over the summer, Duncan had the pleasure of joining the acting company of Season 14 at the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN. There, he appeared as Hastings/Ratcliffe in Richard III, Jailer/Musician in Comedy of Errors, and Louis de Rougemont (understudy) inShipwrecked! An Entertainment! Duncan would like to thank the Unicorn and UMKC Theatre for making this production possible, the cast and crew for all their incredible work and specifically to Cynthia Levin and Theodore Swetz for this amazing opportunity.

Heather Michele Lawler (MASH) is thrilled to be making her Unicorn debut! She has performed in New York City, Chicago, regional theatres and internationally in Perth, Australia. Heather is currently in her final year of MFA training at UMKC. KCAT: King Lear (Goneril); Riverside Theatre: Macbeth (Ross/Witch 1/Young Siward), Marion Bridge (Louise); C&P Productions: Sense and Sensibility (Marianne); KC Rep: Antony and Cleopatra (Iras/Octavia), KC Fringe: Story of the Century (Ivey); Colonial Williamsburg: The Servant of Two Masters(Beatrice) and Bloomington Playwrights Project: She Kills Monsters (Agnes). “Thanks to my incredible family and friends for their support, guidance and love.”

Amy Billroth-MacLurg (NINA) is elated to debut at the Unicorn among this talented cast and crew. Other co-productions in Kansas City include King Lear (Regan) with KCAT and Antony and Cleopatra (Caesar) with the OriginKC New Works Festival. Locally, Amy has performed with Right Between the Ears and in Neighborhood Goons (Sophia) at the KC Fringe 2017. At UMKC she was in Desire(Layley/Roe) and O Beautiful (Alice Fletcher). Amy has performed in Pippin at the Balagan Theatre (Seattle), and with the Livermore Shakespeare Festival in As You Like It (Audrey), Sense and Sensibility (Lucy Steele), and in Pride and Prejudice (Charlotte Lucas).

Katie Gilchrist (EMMA ARKADINA) is elated to be back at the Unicorn where she was last seen in Men on Boats. She is a co-founder of Bohemian Cult Revival, the co-Proprietrix of The Pearl, and Artistic Director of KC Irish Theatre. She is a member of the Late Night Theatre Girls’ Troupe, an educator with Crossroads High, and a director/creator for Worlds of Fun/WinterFest. Voted Best Actress by Pitch Readers (2013-2016). Past Unicorn credits include: Lobby HeroIntimate ApparelRabbit HoleDistracted, and Everyday Rapture. Upcoming:Hedwig and The Angry Inch (Egads), Inaugural Season of KC Oyster Cult, and quite a few naps. For the Charlotte furries.

Brian Paulette (DOYLE TRIGORIN) is thrilled to return to The Unicorn, where he feels right at home.  Previous Unicorn credits includeHow to Use a KnifeClybourne ParkGod of CarnageNext of KinBlue/OrangeLobby HeroProof, Light:DamagePrelude to a Kiss,Ev’ry Time I Feel the SpiritThe Waiting Room, Mud River StoneQuills, and Mad Forest.  Brian is a core artistic member of Kansas City Actors Theatre, where he has appeared in many productions, and has also been seen on the stages of The Kansas City Rep, The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, The Coterie, The New Theatre, and others.  He lives in Kansas City with his wife Cinnamon, and their two lovely children.

Robert Gibby Brand (DR. EUGENE SORN) first appeared with The Unicorn Theatre in Hunting Cockroaches in 1987. Ten other productions with this theatre have come and gone since then, including Breaking the CodeJudas KissOld Wicked Songs, and I am My Own Wife. A familiar face on the Kansas City stage, he has appeared with Kansas City Actors Theatre, Heart of American Shakespeare Festival, Spinning Tree, New Theatre, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, KC Lyric Opera, The Coterie, and The Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Tanya Brown (STAGE MANAGER) has been working with the Unicorn for the past eleven seasons and counting. Some of her all-time favorites have been Bloody Bloody Andrew JacksonMy Name Is Asher Lev, Women Playing HamletCock, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical.

Sandra Lopez (SCENIC DESIGNER) is a 3rd year MFA Theatre Grad Student at UMKC with an emphasis in scenic design. Her previous credits include scenic design for KCRep New Works Antony and Cleopatra, properties master for The Unicorn/UMKC’s An Octoroon, and scenic design for UMKC’s A Comedy of Errors.

Ashley L. Kok (LIGHTING DESIGNER) is a graduate student at UMKC where she is obtaining her MFA in Lighting and Projections design. She is from Flint, Michigan and attended the University of Michigan-Flint receiving a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Theatre Design and Technology. Her previous designs include Desire and Oh Beautiful with the University of Missouri Kansas City Theatre,Rodelinda at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Sympathetic Vibrations Going Back In Mind with the Kansas City Baroque Consortium, and A Lie of the Mind with the Kansas City Actors Theatre.

Gretchen Halle (COSTUME DESIGNER) is a recent graduate of the UMKC MFA Costume Design Program. She is thrilled to be working at the Unicorn Theatre. Recent designs include A Lie of the Mind (KCAT), What Would Crazy Horse Do? (KC Rep), and Lot’s Wife (KC Rep). She is currently teaching Costume Construction at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Upcoming designs include Heathers at Graceland University and Night Watch at KCKCC.

Stephen Jarvis (SOUND DESIGNER) is very excited to work on his first production at Unicorn Theatre. He started acting in high school and secured the lead role of Scrooge for his debut. He then served as the student head of the Drama department during high school. He continued acting throughout undergrad, but discovered his love for sound design during a sound class. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Brigham Young University Idaho in Theatre Studies. His capstone project for that degree was three Page-to-Stage productions of Henrik Ibsen plays while also designing a few student directed scenes.

Calan Welder (DRAMATURG) is an MA Theatre History candidate at the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a BA in Design from Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. In fall 2016 he directed three shows in UMKC Theatre’s “Playwright Project,” where his own 10-minute play, End Game, was featured in the showcase. He will direct the spring production of Muerta in Tuscon, AZ with UMKC Theatre’s University Theatre Association. Calan is proud to make his debut as a dramaturg with the Unicorn Theatre and would like to thank Dr. Felicia Londré for her support and guidance in this project.


Kelli Harrod (PROPERTIES DESIGNER) is in her second year in UMKC’s scenic design program. Her most recent scenic design was forMen on Boats at The Unicorn Theatre, and is thrilled to be back again working on the properties for this show. With a lifelong passion for art and community, the theatre culture in Kansas City has found a very special place in Kelli’s heart, helping to fuel her creativity and design, and she knows that it will continue to do so.

Stephanie Roberts (CHOREOGRAPHER/MOVEMENT) is pleased to be returning to the Unicorn where she last choreographed Mr. Burns. She is an Associate Professor of Theatre at UMKC where she teaches mask, clown, Commedia Dell’Arte and devised work. Other choreography/movement director credits include Shoothorses (Arcola Theatre, London), Caucasian Chalk CircleBig LoveSeven Guitars,The Winter’s Tale, Master and Margarita and Train to 2010 (UMKC Theatre). Most recently she was an artist-in-residence and performed at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Stephanie received her MFA from Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and is a former Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performing Artist Fellow.

Chloé Robbins (PRODUCTION ASSISTANT) worked most recently as a production assistant on Fences at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre; and Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude and Elephant and Piggie: We are in a Play! at the Coterie Theatre. Past Unicorn credits include Men on BoatsHow to Use a Knife and Clybourne Park.

About the Playwright: Aaron Posner is a Helen Hayes and Barrymore Award-winning director and playwright. He is a founder and former Artistic Director of Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre, is an Associate Artist at both the Folger Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and has directed at major regional theatres from coast to coast including the Folger, Seattle Rep, Portland Center Stage, The Alliance, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Arizona Theatre Company, Milwaukee Rep, California Shakespeare Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Roundhouse Theatre, Studio Theatre, Signature Theatre, Theatre J, American Player’s Theatre and many more. His adaptations include Chaim Potok’sThe Chosen and My Name is Asher Lev (both of which has enjoyed successful runs at more than 50 other theatres across the country, including at Unicorn Theatre), Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion, Mark Twain’s A Murder, A Mystery and a Marriage, an adaptation of three Kurt Vonnegut short stories, entitled Who Am I This time?  (And Other Conundrums of Love). Mr. Posner has written two other Chekhov adaptations Life Sucks and No Sisters. Aaron was raised in Eugene, Oregon, graduated from Northwestern University, is an Eisenhower Fellow, and lives near Washington, DC.

About Unicorn Theatre

Founded in 1974, Unicorn Theatre enhances the Kansas City community by developing and producing high-quality, thought-provoking plays that have never been seen in the region. We illuminate social issues by shining a light on diversity and inclusive stories which include race, religion and gender identity. Unicorn creates opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians and administrative staff.  Unicorn Theatre is under the artistic and executive leadership of Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin, who joined the company in 1979. From a newly expanded home in the Midtown neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri, the Unicorn houses two stages—The Levin Stage (formerly The Main Stage) and The Jerome Stage (added in 2008).  After a year-long capital campaign Unicorn Theatre was able to purchase the building outright in 2014.  A fully professional not-for-profit theatre, the theatre operates under agreement with Actor’s Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States. The Unicorn is a founding member of the National New Play Network, an alliance of not-for-profit professional theatres that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays for the American theatre; and is a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theatre.  Financial assistance for this theatre has been provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; corporate and foundation gifts; and the generous individuals throughout the community we serve.


Unicorn Theatre / 3828 Main Street / Kansas City, MO 64111

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