As Starlight Theatre prepares to celebrate its 65th year of bringing live musical entertainment to Kansas City audiences, the iconic outdoor theatre has finalized its 2015 Broadway season lineup. As in most years, Starlight will feature five weeklong shows in its Broadway season, but the theatre also has booked two weekend special engagements to add greater diversity and choice to its summer theatrical schedule.
The five-show Starlight season will begin in King Arthur’s Court in early June with one of the most fabled love triangles of all time in the new national tour of Camelot. Next, medieval times will mix with high-flying acrobatics as Starlight audiences track young Pippin on his quest for an extraordinary life in the new, visually arresting national touring production. Then, Starlight guests will find a princess who is far more than a pretty face and petite foot when the new national tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella puts some surprising spins on the classic fairy tale. Soon after, Starlight’s very own production of Mary Poppins won’t need a spoonful of sugar to go down as one of the musical favorites of the summer. And, finally, the creations and contortions of Cirque éloize iD will close the season in September in a show packed with urban edge and artistic flair.
But Starlight isn’t stopping there. Patrons will be able to make it a seven-show season if they opt to add the two weekend special engagements Starlight has included on its 2015 calendar.
Fans of good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll will want to save a night during Memorial Day weekend to see Million Dollar Quartet, a high-energy show that transports audiences to 1956 Memphis for the impromptu jam session that brought together Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. And, a month later, families will be singing and laughing along with everyone’s favorite orphan girl when the national tour of Annie makes a weekend stop at Starlight.
Starlight will produce one musical in 2015, Mary Poppins, and will hold cast auditions in New York City and Kansas City after the first of the year. Details regarding casting needs for both adult professionals and youth performers will be posted on the auditions page of kcstarlight.com in coming weeks.
“We think we’ve programmed a season in 2015 that will appeal to all audiences, offering shows that are perfect for families, shows that are touring straight from highly successful Broadway runs, and shows that truly stretch the imagination and excite the senses,” said Rich Baker, Starlight president and CEO. “I hope many people will want to include all seven productions in their summer plans, but, if they can’t commit to that many, I’m confident they’ll find one show or several that will ideally fit schedules and interests.”
A weekend special, Million Dollar Quartet, is the official opener for Starlight’s 2015 Broadway season on May 22-24. Following a yearlong run on Broadway in 2010-11 and a Tony Award® for Best Performance by a Featured Actor, this fictionalized account of a real-life event has been a national touring success since it launched in Cleveland in October 2011. The electrifying musical transports audiences back to Dec. 4, 1956, when the mega-talented quartet of Presley, Cash, Lewis and Perkins rocked tiny Sun Records’ studio in one of the greatest jam sessions of all time. Get ready to move to timeless hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “I Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and many more.
Kicking off the regular five-show season on June 9-14 is the new touring production of one of Broadway’s beloved classics, Camelot, the legendary musical from lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe. The new tour coming to Starlight is a fresh take on the four-time Tony Award-winning fable of chivalry, majesty and brotherhood under the rule of King Arthur. The show’s celebrated score features classics including “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” and, of course, the title song, “Camelot.” And, in an interesting twist, a local Kansas City boy will be cast as Sir Tom of Warwick and appear in the show’s final scene.
The second of two weekend special engagements, Annie, brings the hope and humor of orphan Annie and Oliver Warbucks to Starlight’s Cohen Community Stage on June 19-21. The original production of Annie opened on Broadway in 1977 and won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Choreography; it has played continuously somewhere around the world for the past 37 years. The new national touring production is led by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin (his 19th rendition of the original), is choreographed by Liza Gennaro, and features a 25-member cast. Its well-known score includes such favorites as “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”
After winning four Tony Awards on Broadway in 2013, including Best Revival of a Musical (40 years after its original run), the visual extravaganza of Pippin is now on the road. The national tour, which debuted in Denver in September, brings its spectacle to Starlight on June 30-July 5. Featuring a score by Stephen Schwartz of Wicked fame, sizzling choreography in the style of Bob Fosse and breathtaking, circus-style acrobatics, Pippin is the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his life. Familiar songs include “Corner of the Sky” and “Magic to Do.” A full-scale fireworks display will immediately follow the show on Saturday, July 4.
Offering a fresh take on the fairy tale of a young woman transformed from chambermaid to princess, this funny and romantic new tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is ready to captivate Starlight audiences of all ages July 7-12. The story’s classic elements – glass slippers, pumpkin and a beautiful ball – combine with some surprising new twists. After making its debut in 2013, the production continues on Broadway through this holiday season.
One of the most popular Disney movies of all time, Mary Poppins captures hearts in an even bigger way on the stage. This magical musical comes to Starlight for the first time July 24-Aug. 2 and will be produced locally. Starlight expects to announce the show’s director and creative team shortly. Kansas City audiences will surely spy a few familiar local faces among the adult and youth performers to be cast in the show. Some high-flying theatrics by Mary herself and unforgettable songs like “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” should make it a night to remember.
Finally, the 2015 Starlight season concludes with a multidisciplinary performance style that has gained devoted followers worldwide. Cirque éloize iD, a show crackling with daring and modernity, takes over Starlight on Sept. 8-13. Director Jeannot Painchaud blends circus arts and urban dance in a show set in the heart of a city, in a public space where people forge identities and express their individuality. Fifteen performers from 13 disciplines create an entertaining urban universe in this eighth original creation from the Canadian Cirque company.
Starlight’s 2015 season ticket renewal campaign is under way with email and direct mail communications to current season ticket holders.
Advance orders or gift certificates for new season tickets are also available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or by visiting the Starlight box office on weekdays at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. Five-show season ticket packages start at just $56 in the theatre’s Side Terrace seating sections. Reservations for discount group tickets are available by calling 816.997.1137 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Single tickets to Starlight’s 2015 shows go on sale in the spring. All shows during Starlight’s 2015 Broadway season will begin at 8 p.m.