They are silly. They are funny. They are the Top Bananas!

Martin City Melodrama’s current production is performed by those with special needs.

Top Bananas
These Top Bananas are prepared to astound you at the Martin City Melodrama March 7-9.

This Martin City Melodrama show is performed by a special group of actors

By Kathy Feist

A dozen actors sing out with gusto, “Make ’em laugh, make ’em laugh! Don’t you know ev’ry one wants to laugh?”

And with that lively chorus introduction, the show continues with one comedic antic after another.

Tim Bartow, far left, has cerebral palsy. But that does not prevent him from being  a natural ham on stage.

What separates this show from most vaudeville acts you will see performed at Martin City Melodrama and Vaudeville Co is that they are performed by people with special needs. It is part of Martin City Melodrama’s outreach program called Top Bananas!.

The current production, which will be March 7-9 at 11:30 a.m., is performed by individuals who hail from  Life Centers of Kansas.

“This show has been three years in the making,” says Jeanne Beachwood, owner and producer of the Martin City Melodrama.  In the past three years, Beachwood and her company have bounced around between different theaters before finally landing at her “forever home” at 702 Blue Ridge Blvd, only a five minute drive east of Martin City. According to Beachwood, it usually takes a year to put on a Top Bananas! production.

Josh Ergwell receives direction from Jeanne Beachwood on his tribute to the armed forces.

This year’s show features a sexy May West imitation by Jennifer Wilkinson. “Come up and see me sometime, Lover Boy,” she likes to say.  Pam Mayes performs with Lisa, her black dog puppet. Tim Bartow sings a moving rendition of “Waving through a Window.” Josh Ergwell honors a family member in the services by waving an American flag during “Proud to Be An American.” Paul Knox  loves to perform as a villain and has the sinister “Bahaha” laugh down to perfection. Elliott Bartow dawns hair curlers while the women prance around him singing Beauty School Drop Out. Ron Goul, appearing as an angel, rescues him from the scene.

Others in the production include Kara Elliott, Ken Caywood, Devon Prowse Roewe, Michaela Menke, and Garrett Meyers.

The performance is ready and all that is necessary is the audience. The show lasts 35 minutes and costs only $4.99.  Call 913-642-7576 for more information or visit


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