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Wild Style 

Nude flappers and booze fuel Kalliope's season opener.

Tonight, Kalliope Stage kicks off its fourth season with Andrew Lippa's critically acclaimed off-Broadway look at the Jazz Age, The Wild Party. Six years ago, two different musicals based on the same 1920s-era poem were staged in New York. The Broadway version boasted the stars (Mandy Patinkin and Toni Collette appeared), but it was the off-Broadway version that ended up snagging tons of awards. "It's like a modern opera," says artistic director Paul Gurgol, who directs Kalliope's production. "It's full of jealousy, passion, and murder."

True to its bawdy roots, Kalliope's play features nudity, violence, and sex — all of which take place in the Manhattan apartment of a vaudeville couple. Their party spins out of control as each tries to make the other jealous. By the end of the night, one of them is dead. "It's about the ultimate cast party gone wrong," says Gurgol. "This lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll can be very seductive to young people. Before you know it, you're sucked into this whirlpool and you can't get out." Still, says Gurgol, it's ultimately a hopeful piece. "We're all the same," he says. "Every human can be seduced to the dark side, but within us there's a light to change that."
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Sept. 7. Continues through Oct. 15

Speaking of Highlights

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