Why settle for just the 23rd floor?
In his 1993 play “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” Neil Simon recalls the experiences he and other eventually famous writers had putting together Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Shows” in the 1950s.
Catch the play at the White Theatre Jan. 5 through Jan. 13 at Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, 5801 W. 115th St., Overland Park. And try to figure out which fictional characters represent real comedy stars such as Carl Reiner (An “Ocean’s Eleven” alumnus and the creator of “The Dick Van Dyke Show”), Larry Gelbart (TV’s “MAS*H” and “Tootsie.”), Mel Tolkin (“All in the Family”) and Mel Brooks.
Sadly, Lucas Brickman, the character Simon based on himself warns viewers, “There is no character based on Woody Allen.” Yes, the mind behind “Midnight in Paris” was part of that crew.
The play features language that’s a little more frank than the kind one might hear in a 1950s TV comedy sketch. Tickets are $20. For more information, call the box office at 913-327-8054 or go to jcckc.org.
From “MAS*H” to “Golden Pond”
Mike Farrell, who’s probably best known for playing a prankster Army surgeon on “MAS*H” for eight seasons, has also played disgraced MU alumnus and Enron chairman Ken Lay, Superman’s earthly Kansas-based dad Jonathan Kent and one of the faces on Wisteria Lane on “Desperate Housewives.”
With that sort of range, Farrell shouldn’t have trouble playing Norman Thayer, the cranky old father in “On Golden Pond,” Ernest Thompson’s 1979 play. Henry Fonda won an Oscar playing the same character in the 1981 movie, so Farrell might not want to take his new role lightly.
“On Golden Pond” is scheduled to run from Jan. 23 to March 31 at the New Theatre Restaurant on 9299 Foster Ave., Overland Park. Tickets range from $47 to $54. For more information, go to newtheatre.com or call 913-649-7469.
Jessie Jones (the movie “Kingdom Come”), Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten (a writer for “The Golden Girls”) are a trio of playwrights known together as Jones Hope Wooten, whose plays celebrate and poke a little fun at Southern life.
In “The Hallelujah Girls,” the feisty Sugar Lee Thompkins turns a decaying church into her own spa. When she and her pals take over the place, the unexpected becomes the norm. The family-friendly play runs from Jan. 24 through March 3 at the Chestnut Fine Arts Center at 234 N. Chestnut Ave., Olathe. Tickets are $23. For more information, call 913-764-2121 or go to chestnutfinearts.com.
Moulin Rouge — without Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor and the singing
The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is bringing its unique reworking of the 2001 movie “Moulin Rouge!” Baz Luhrman’s film was about a struggling writer’s romance with a courtesan at a cabaret in turn of the 20th century Paris.
This touring production will be at Yardley Hall at Johnson County Community College at College Boulevard and Quivira Road in Overland Park on Jan. 27. Tickets are $37 and $46. For more information, call 913-469-4445.
The late African-American writer Richard Wright is probably best known for his powerfully disturbing 1940 novel and later play “Native Son.” He also wrote a series of haikus that are the focus of an unusual exhibit at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Roe Library at 5120 Cedar Ave., Roeland Park, on Jan. 31.
The library will feature refreshments and readings from Wright’s work along with a series of quilts that take their images from his poems. The quilts were made by students at Lawrence Central Junior High School, Antioch Middle School and Roseland Elementary. The event is free, and no registration is required. For more information, call 913-826-4600.