CinemaKC Interview This Thursday

I'll be appearing on CinemaKC this Thursday, November 7 at 10:30 pm on KCPT-19 to talk about KC Screenwriters. It should be rebroadcast on Sunday at 5:00pm. (Photo by Phil Peterson)

See Tara Varney in "Carrie the Musical"

Tara is playing Margaret White, Carrie's mother, in Carrie The Musical at the Off Center Theatre in Crown Center. For more information, go to Egads' Theatre

Tara also has a brand new website here

"Perfect Love" Reading by City Playwrights Oct. 7

My short play "Perfect Love" will be read at the City Playwrights short play reading on October 7 at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. This is the group that produces the 4Play event at Fringe.

Here's the details:
Join City Playwrights as they present an evening of staged readings. Playwrights presenting works are Bryan Colley, Mark Katzman, Michelle T. Johnson, and Dane Zeller.

"Perfect Love" by Bryan Colley
Directed by Madeline McCrae
Nicole Santorella, Elissa Schrader, and Edward Turner

"Pretty Button" by Mark Katzman
Directed by Mark Katzman
De De DeVille and J. D. Higgason

"What A Fool Believes" by Michelle T. Johnson
Directed by Michelle T. Johnson
Claudia Copping, Sabrina "Brie" Henderson, and Curtis Smith

"Lulu and Sam" by Dane Zeller
Directed by Erin Merritt
Pete Bakely and Linda Levin

October 7
, 2013
Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, 3614 Main Street
Doors open at 6:30pm, Readings begin at 7:00pm

$5.00 suggested donation at the door.
Following each reading there will be a talk back with the audience. Light snacks will be provided. Soda and wine will be available for a donation.
And here's the Facebook event if that's your thing.

"Hexing Hitler/Sexing Hitler" Ready for Production

Interested in producing Hexing Hitler or Sexing Hitler (or both)? Here's all the details:

Hexing Hitler
In January 1941, five people gather in a remote Maryland cabin to put a curse on Adolf Hitler and end World War II using witchcraft.

Sexing Hitler
During World War II, German soldiers in occupied territories are contracting syphilis from prostitutes in astounding numbers. The disease threatens the stability of the Third Reich. To solve the problem, Adolf Hitler orders the creation of inflatable pleasure dolls that the soldiers can carry in their packs to satisfy their urges.

Hexing Hitler/Sexing Hitler are two thematically-related one-act plays. They may be performed individually or together utilizing the same cast. Both plays are based on true stories.

Cast Requirements
Male, 40s-50s
Male, 30s-50s
Male, 20s
Female, 30s-50s
Female, 20s

The running time is approximately 60 minutes for Hexing Hitler, and 50 minutes for Sexing Hitler. Performance royalties are negotiable and dependent on the size of the performance venue and ticket prices.

Production History: Hexing Hitler was first performed at the Kansas City Fringe Festival July 22-30, 2011 (see the original show page). Sexing Hitler was first performed at the Kansas City Fringe Festival July 20-28, 2012 (see the original show page).

Contact: For questions or to read a copy of the script, please contact Bryan Colley at

"Chicken Heart" Performance

This is our performance of Chicken Heart by Arch Oboler at the Kansas City Fringe Festival on July 21, 2013. Directed by Tara Varney. Starring Andy Garrison, Parry Luellen, Amy Hurrelbrink, Marcie Ramirez, and Eric Tedder.

"Chicken Heart" review by tomeserole

Wonderful Sci-FI
Wow. This takes me back to how sci-fi made it into the media.
Great stage show. Wonderful performance from the cast, including the
puppets and their masters. So nice to SEE live sound effects. (Yes, do
think about that last sentence.)

I plan to go back again and take more friends to see this. It took me back
to being on a live set of The Twilight Zone.

Thank you to the cast and crew.

from KC Stage 
Photo by Shane Rowse

"Chicken Heart" review by Rabid_Reviewer

Old Radio with a lot of heart
After so many years of the Fringe Festival, there has been one consistency you can count on: a clever script by Bryan Colley and excellent direction by Tara Varney.

This show is somewhat dated, not because of the material, but because the delivery method of the story is something younger generations are not familiar with anymore. The Chicken Heart was a presentation of the Lights Out radio show. In the iPod generation, radio shows are not something most younger people are familiar with.

The presentation of this piece hearkens back to the old radio days, by presenting not only actors on a set, but also the sound engineers, creating live sound effects on stage. I loved it.

The staging is creative, entertaining, and forces the audience to use their imagination to fill in the gaps in a highly effective way.

My favorite moment of the show was Amy Hurrelbrink's performance as the airplane. I don't want to say anymore about that because it really should be seen without the surprises ruined.

I do have one nitpick. To increase the size of the cast on stage, hand puppets were employed to play characters. The concept works well, however, it would have been even MORE effective if the puppets and humans could have been individualized and interacted more. As an actor, it is difficult to separate yourself from the puppets you are working with and keep each of them active in their own subtext. It's the kind of thing that takes years of training and practice to get just right, and let's face it, the Jim Henson company is probably beyond the budget of this production. It's a minor flaw and I'm nitpicking.

This is a highly entertaining production that will bring a sense of nostalgia to the older generation and hopefully introduce a younger generation to a form of entertainment that is passing into the mists of time due to constantly changing technology.

from KC Stage
Photo by Shane Rowse

"Chicken Heart" review by wornall

Chicken Heart FUN!
Just back from the Fringe Festival and saw Chicken Heart. In almost one word: "a blast!" In two words: "go see!" Imagine an old radio show and an old comic book, got together in the back seat of a 1948 Hudson and produced a love child. They name it "Chicken Heart," as produced by Bryan Colley and Tara Varney. The small cast produces sound affects, plays three characters at one time and has as much fun as the audience. Then just when you think they have taken it too far, they go further and it is perfect! The cast, each and every one, is great. Andy Garrison is perfection as the mad scientist! So if you want to have fun, hoot, be surprised and have even more fun, go see Chicken Heart!

from KC Stage 
Photo by Shane Rowse

"Chicken Heart" review by Showrev

Great play, excellent acting!
I went to this play by chance, but I'm glad I did. It was a nice surprise, one of the best shows at Fringe Fest that I've seen! The play is funny, on the dark humor side, trying to keep the horror SF plot of the original radio show, and the acting outstanding. Worth seeing!

more at KC Stage 
Photo by Shane Rowse

"Chicken Heart" review by BrettV

They push the medium in new directions - and it works, again!
This show is not just funny and nostalgic. It's an extremely clever update combining visual theater with radio performance. Colley/Varney has again created a new vision of what traditional theater can be, without sacrificing the entertainment value. The actors fulfill roles of stage acting, multiple characters, radio sound effects, and even props, and all are excellent while challenged by not being allowed to remain immersed in their roles (method actors need not apply).

The Colley/Varney team is local-famous for pioneering writing and stage techniques, including not breaking but bulldozing the fourth wall (Lingerie Shop), and disallowing suspension-of-disbelief as an allegory to the play itself (Sexing Hitler). But it isn't just High Art, lost in intellectualism or existentialism. It's real entertainment for most audiences. I'm looking forward to their next new invention, even if it's just a plain-old show.

more at KC Stage 
Photo by Shane Rowse

"Chicken Heart" review by fluffysingler

Brechtian cheesy fun
Brecht said that there was no need for the "suspension of disbelief" in theatre, citing the recounting of an accident as an example of performance that lays the performance elements bare. Chicken Heart straddles that line, making the sound effects obvious to the audience and making no effort to make this a realistic play, and in this case, it really works well! Many of the effects, such as the flying of the helicopter, reminded me of the backyard plays of children. The scientist is right out of Central Casting and harkens back to Dr. Strangelove. This pulls out every sci-fi cliche in the book and has so much fun with it! I can't imagine anyone not having fun at this show!

And by the way, it is family friendly. Bring the kids! Bring the grandparents! Bring your friends! Bring your enemies, your frenemies, and everyone else you can fit in your car.

from KC Stage
Photo by Shane Rowse

Three Bonus Performances of "Chicken Heart"

Due to a cancellation, we've been able to add three more bonus showings of Chicken Heart to the KC Fringe schedule.

SUN JULY 21 @ 4:30PM

It's still at the Off Center Theatre, still $10 tickets (with $5 Fringe button).

more details here

"Khaaaaan! the Musical" Soundtrack Free Download

Khan is thrilled to have been resurrected in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and feels obliged to make a generous gift to his minions on the planet Earth.

For a limited time you can download the entire Khaaaaan! the Musical soundtrack free of charge. All you have to do is enter your email address, and you might get an email a few times a year whenever anything major happens.

You can also stream the album for free at Bandcamp or if you want a lossless plastic disc, you can order one through Amazon.

Khan commands you to enjoy his music, especially Khan's Awesome Song, and share it with your friends!

Announcing "Chicken Heart" at the 2013 KC Fringe Festival

I'm happy to anounce our play for the 2013 KC Fringe Festival will be "Chicken Heart" by Arch Oboler, the chilling tale of a science experiment gone horribly wrong. A chicken heart is kept alive in a vat, but an accident causes it to grow until it threatens to devour the world. It’s apocalyptic fun for the whole family.

This is a theatrical adaptation of an episode of the "Lights Out" radio show, which first aired in 1937 and enjoyed renewed popularity thanks to Bill Cosby’s 1968 album "Wonderfulness".

It will be the first Fringe show that we didn't write (we are adapting it for the stage as an ensemble), and the first that's appropriate for all ages.

The cast includes the "Sexing Hitler" team of Andy Garrison, Parry Luellen, Amy Hurrelbrink, Marcie Ramirez, and Eric Tedder. Tara Varney directs with stage manager Ryan Puffer and production assistant Jill Gillespie.

More updates will follow...

Program for KC FilmFest 2013

Program I designed for the KC FilmFest (cover art by The Collaboration).

Click here for a pdf of the program.

Poster for Byrd Productions "Laidback Fundraiser"

Poster I designed for Byrd Productions "Laidbck Fundrasier 2013"

Poster for French Cabaret "Paris in April"

Poster I designed for the French Cabaret "Paris in April" for Byrd Productions

Hargrove Exhibit Closes This Weekend

This is the final weekend for the Hargrove Exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  Thank you to everyone that came to see our little project. It's been a lot of fun and a real change of pace for us, and we're now hard at work on our next Fringe show. Details about that will be announced here very soon.

Last Chance to Meet Tara Hargrove

Tonight is your last chance to meet Tara Hargrove at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. She'll be there from 6-9pm to talk about the Hargrove Family Exhibit. Feel free to show up at any time. You can also check out Tara Hargrove on Facebook.

The exhibit will continue at the museum through March 21.

Hargrove Exhibit Review from Vertigo

I had just finished making my way slowly more or less chronologically through the galleries of Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and medieval European art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City when I turned a corner into a tiny gallery that appeared to be an exact recreation of someone’s study.  Judging by the evidence, the time was more or less a century ago and the occupant had clearly been a world traveler, an obsessive collector, and something of an eccentric.  The clock in the corner was ticking and it appeared that someone had only moments before slid the chair back from the desk with its ancient typewriter and had walked out into the museum.  The introductory panel told me I was looking at “The Magnificent Collection of Gilbert G. Hargrove.”

Scott Heffley Interview by Alice Thorson

As the senior conservator of paintings at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Scott Heffley has restored such masterworks as Rembrandt’s “Young Man in a Black Beret” (1666) and a large painting by noted American still life painter Severin Roesen.

In his spare time, Heffley is also an insatiable collector of “things of beauty and curiosity.”

Roughly 50 works from Heffley’s collection are displayed as part of “The Magnificent Collection of Gilbert G. Hargrove,” a show of odd and wondrous things based on the story of a fictional 19th century adventurer, on view in gallery P10 through March 24.

Tara Hargrove to Appear at the Nelson

Tara Hargrove will be appearing at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to talk about the Hargrove Family Exhibit. Pop in to find out what it's all about.
  • 1-4pm Sunday, February 3
  • 6-9pm Friday, March 1

Meet Tara Hargrove on Facebook

Visit Tara Hargrove, author of the Hargrove Family History, and hear more stories about the exhibit on her Facebook page.

Hargrove Family History Exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

It's official: The Hargrove Family History Exhibit is at the Nelson-Atkins Museum through March, 2013. The Hargrove's final descendant Tara Hargrove will be appearing at the exhibit - schedule to be announced.

There's more info about the exhibit here.