Unicorn announces 2017-18 season of KC premiere plays


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2017 – 2018 SEASON

Unicorn Theatre announces
the 44th season of diverse new plays

Unicorn Theatre, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin, announces the 44th season of radical new plays that speak to our changing world, including seven Kansas City premieres and one world premiere yet to be announced.

The new season will open September 6, 2017 and include eight regular season shows. Subscriptions for the new season are on sale now. In addition to a full line-up of new productions to Kansas City, the Unicorn will also continue the In-Progress New Play Reading Series, bringing scripts in development and under consideration for production in upcoming seasons before the public.

Men on Boats

By Jaclyn Backhaus

A Co-Production with UMKC Theatre

Sept. 6 – Oct. 1, 2017

On the Levin Stage

Ten manly explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. And an all-female cast! Men on Boats tells the true story of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of daring volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River, dodging rapids and naming everything in sight. This rowdy satire written in modern vernacular about intrepid pioneers takes on a whole new meaning with women at the helm.


By Ayad Akhtar


Oct. 18 – Nov. 12, 2017

On the Jerome Stage


The personal is political in this Pulitzer Prize-winning drama. Amir Kapoor is a successful Pakistani-American lawyer who is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. His wife, Emily, is a white artist whose work explores Islamic imagery. When this couple hosts a dinner party for their colleagues, the veneer of civility gives way to a damaging encounter in this unflinching tale of big-city aspiration, cultural assimilation and the truth hiding just below the deception.

Stupid Fucking Bird

By Aaron Posner

A Co-Production with UMKC Theatre

Nov. 29 – Dec. 23, 2017

On the Levin Stage

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 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 Fucking Bird gives the finger to one classic play.


By Lee Blessing

Dec. 19, 2017 – Jan. 7, 2018

On the Jerome Stage

In a strained political season, the provocative work of one performance artist comes up against a conservative senator running for re-election. The senator has a lovable dog; a charming, folksy manner; and a campaign to cut frivolous arts spending. The artist has a plan for one final shocking performance with his NEA funding. How much could a dognapping really cost, anyway? In this tale of an attempt to kidnap and retrain a politican’s pooch, Lee Blessing explores the mysterious connections between dogs and their humans, politics and artists, and supernatural wonder in our lives.


Jan. 24 – Feb. 18, 2018

On the Levin Stage

Next season will include a world premiere production to be announced soon. In recent years, Unicorn Theatre has worked with the National New Play Network to bring amazing rolling world premiere productions to Kansas City. Some of our recent world premieres include How to Use a Knife by Will Snider, The Ghosts of Lote Bravo by Hilary Bettis, Grounded by George Brant, and Women Playing Hamlet and How to Steal a Picasso by William Missouri Downs.

Informed Consent

By Deborah Zoe Laufer

March 7 – April 1, 2018

On the Jerome Stage

A genetic anthropologist, Jillian, is driven to map out futures and reveal histories through DNA, desperately fighting to save her own young daughter from developing early-onset Alzheimer’s. When the opportunity to research the genes of an isolated Native American tribe battling high rates of diabetes arises, Jillian sets out on a mission to make a break-through discovery. Inspired by a recent court case between a Native American tribe and an Arizona university, Informed Consent takes a balanced approach to the personal and national debate about science vs. belief, and whether our DNA will write our life stories.


By Qui Nguyen

April 18 – May 13, 2018

On the Levin Stage

In Vietgone, award-winning pioneer of “geek theater” Qui Nguyen brilliantly chronicles the love story of his parents’ meeting in an Arkansas refugee center after fleeing Vietnam. It’s a buddy story, an all-American romance, and a motorcycle road-trip adventure that revisits how we think about the heroes and victims of the Vietnam War. Vietgone skips through time and roams the globe with snarky humor, hip-hop, and lots of sex. It’s one ironic, foul-mouthed, and bad-ass new play.


By Taylor Mac

May 30 – June 24, 2018

On the Jerome Stage

When a soldier returns from war to his suburban home, he discovers a household undergoing a total upheaval. His mother has been liberated from an oppressive marriage after her husband’s non-fatal stroke, and with the help of her newly out transgender son, she is passionately dismantling the patriarchy. In Taylor Mac’s progressive and absurd comedy, this family may find that even the most radical changes can’t always free you from the weight of the past.

Season Subscriptions are now on sale. Call 816-531-7529 EXT. 10 or buy in person at the box office located at 3828 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64111.

About Unicorn Theatre

Founded in 1974, Unicorn Theatre enhances Kansas City by developing and producing professional, provocative new plays. We create 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). 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.

National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters dedicated to the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has supported more than 200 productions nationwide through its innovative National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere program, which provides playwright and production support for new works at its Member theaters. Additional programs – its annual National Conference, National Showcase of New Plays, and MFA Playwrights Workshop; the NNPN Annual and Smith Prize commissions; its residencies for playwrights, producers and directors; and the organization’s member accessed Collaboration, Festival, and Travel banks and online information sessions – have helped cement the Network’s position as a vital force in the new play landscape. NNPN also strives to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. Its most recent project, the New Play Exchange, is changing the way playwrights share their work and others discover it by providing immediate access to information on more than 9,500 new plays by living writers. NNPN’s 30 Core and more than 75 Associate Members – along with the more than 150 affiliated artists who are its alumni, the thousands of artists and artisans employed annually by its member theaters, and the hundreds of thousands of audience members who see its supported works each year – are creating the new American theater. nnpn.org

UMKC Theatre has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top graduate theatre training programs in the country. Graduates from UMKC Theatre are invited to the most prestigious New York and Los Angeles professional reviews and auditions to exhibit their work and secure positions with national and international performing companies.  We build bridges. We assist the creative student in making the journey to becoming a creative professional. The practice of the department is to vigorously educate students in the many arts, crafts and traditions of theatre, and provide a basis for future careers in the creative industries. Our program offers intensive hands-on experience while at the same time fostering analytical and contextual skills. The practical experience of theatre-making occurs not only within the performing venues of UMKC, but also in professional theatres in Kansas City. Theatre is a passion. We seek it, we train for it and we embody it. UMKC Theatre is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) and the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA).

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

                              INTIMATE. INSPIRING. INVIGORATING.

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