© 2024 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The KC Fringe Festival Returns With Musicals Tackling Tough Subjects

Shea Coffman & Bryan LaFave star as the "thrill killers" Leopold and Loeb in THRILL ME
photo: Dusti Cunningham
Shea Coffman & Bryan LaFave star as the "thrill killers" Leopold and Loeb in THRILL ME

When the KC Fringe Festival unfolds next week, it will mark the sixth summer that performers of all stripes have exhibited their talents at venues all over the metro. Broken up into such categories as visual art, dance, and fashion, the festival has always had theater at its core, and this year debuts over 40 new plays and musicals. Among the latter are two musicals written by Kansas City natives that, as KCUR's Steve Walker discovered, delved into such tough subjects as murder and mental illness. By Steve Walker


Kansas City, MO –

KC Fringe Festival, July 23 - August 1, 2010 (download a festival program here). More than 70 groups will do three-minute previews on Sunday, July 25 at 6 pm at the kickoff party, Fringe Central, 1730 Broadway.

photos courtesy of Seth Golay, Heidi Van and Dusti Cunningham

In the 1920s, a Chicago boy named Bobby Franks was murdered by teenagers Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who simply - if shockingly - wanted to see if they could commit the perfect crime. Overland Park native Stephen Dolginoff adapted the story into the musical "Thrill Me," which had a modest run Off-Broadway, but makes its Kansas City debut at this year's Fringe Festival.

"Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story," Wednesday, July 28, 6:30pm, Thursday, July 29, 8pm, Saturday, July 31, 6:30pm & 11pm.

Tracking mental fallibility from a more personal point of view is the musical "Goodbye, Kansas," written by Seth Golay and Frankie Krainz. Actress Merle Moores plays the main character, a fractured housewife of rural Kansas. Moores has tread the boards of Kansas City's main stages for years, but she's thrilled to be showcasing small, experimental work.

"Goodbye, Kansas - a musical breakdown," Monday, July 26, 8:30pm, Thursday, July 29, 6:30pm, Friday, July 30, 10pm, Saturday, July 31, 8pm.

Download recent arts stories or subscribe to the KCUR Arts Podcast

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
Your donation helps keep nonprofit journalism free and available for everyone.