Cynthia Levin

Unicorn Theatre

Bad Jews, which opened this week at the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City, Mo., is a comedy.

Still, some potential funders weren’t amused. Cynthia Levin, the Unicorn’s producing artistic director, says some philanthropic organizations that have sponsored the Unicorn’s shows declined this time because of the show’s title.

“I understand that,” Levin says. Arts philanthropy is a competitive arena with intensely interested boards of directors, so the name of a production can sometimes work in the Unicorn’s favor – or not.

Cynthia Levin / Unicorn Theatre

In its 40th year, the Unicorn Theatre continues its mission of bringing new American plays to Kansas City audiences. Among the themes explored this season are racial identity, family dysfunction, and, with its kickoff production, Venus in Fur, the ever-shifting power dynamic between men and women.

Maggie Elliot / Unicorn Theatre

The world premiere of the play BlackTop Sky, opening this weekend at the Unicorn Theatre, marks a homecoming for its author.

Kansas City playwright Ron Simonian had his first play produced in 1992 in a warehouse in the Crossroads District.

Cynthia Levin / Unicorn Theatre

If there's not enough political theater in the run-up to the November elections, the Unicorn Theatre is offering a bit more with its production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the emo rock musical biography of America's seventh President. 

Cynthia Levin / Courtesy of Unicorn Theatre

The Unicorn Theatre has a long history of developing the work of new playwrights. In the last few years, the Unicorn has established a connection with the up-and-coming talent Lia Romeo.

photo: Cynthia Levin, courtesy of Unicorn Theatre

Though the Unicorn Theater has always been quick to pounce on the most buzzed about plays in New York, it has actually launched many new plays. In fact, a quarter of the shows over the years have had their world premieres in Kansas City. The latest is called "Green Whales," and while it tackles tough subjects in comedic ways, it is giving everyone involved a voice in bringing this new play to fruition.