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Preview by Robert Trussell:

“The Kentucky Cycle” consists of nine one-act plays. The first is set in 1775, the last in 1975. What connects them is a specific piece of land, a homestead acquired in an act of violence. It changes hands more than once through deceit and treachery and is eventually ecologically raped by coal companies.

It also tells the stories of three families — the Rowens, descended from an Irish immigrant patriarch; the Talberts, locked in a cycle of murder and revenge with the Rowens; and the Biggs, an African-American family descended from slaves. A key character early in the saga is Morning Star, a Cherokee whom patriarch Michael Rowen kidnaps, rapes and takes as a wife; from them the Rowen clan descends.

Some characters first appear as young people and reappear in old age. The huge cast of the MET production is anchored by Equity actors Scott Cordes and Manon Halliburton. It features notable young performers, including Matt Leonard, Jessica Franz, Coleman Crenshaw, Kyle Dyck and Chris Roady. Veteran performers Alan Tilson and Sherri Roulette-Mosley are on hand, as is the Paisley family: Karen Paisley, husband Bob Paisley and son James Paisley all appear onstage.



Robert Trussell at the KC Star previews a handful of Kansas City Theatre Season Openers including Move Over, Mrs. Markham (at The New Theatre), Nobody Lonesome for Me (The American Heartland Theatre), The End of Apathy (The Living Room), Rules for Widows (The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre), and Red (Unicorn Theatre).  Below is an excerpt:

“Rules for Widows,” a new play by Kansas City playwright Michael Ruth, receives its world premiere tonight at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. In the play, a woman begins discovering her husband’s secrets after his untimely death and finds herself in conflict with her sister while dealing with her unemployed son and her daughter, who brings her new girlfriend to the funeral. The cast includes Jan Rogge, Marilyn Lynch, Coleman Crenshaw, Jessica Franz and Katie Ligon. Karen Paisley directs. The show runs through Oct. 2. Call 816-569-3226 or go to

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