KC Parks News | Kanas City Parks & Recreation Department

KC Parks News

  1. KC is “Hitsville USA” as Motown the Musical Lights Up Starlight Theatre

    Photo 7Motown The Musical, the Tony® Award-nominated tribute to the musical greats of the 1960s and ‘70s, brings its signature sound and American dream story to Starlight Theatre for six performances August 22-27. The acclaimed musical follows the true life story of Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. on his journey from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul. The man who founded Motown records in Detroit in 1959 went on to launch the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.

    Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, Motown The Musical features more than 60 classic hits from the Motown catalog, including favorites like “My Girl” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” as well as three new songs written specifically for the musical by Gordy and Michael Lovesmith. The production delves into the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the entire Motown family fought the odds and created the soundtrack of change in America. In a time of racial and cultural unrest, Motown shattered barriers, shaped lives and made Americans move to the same beat.

    “I’m excited for Kansas City audiences to learn about the man behind the music and the movement that Motown created nationwide,” said Rich Baker, Starlight president and CEO. “When our guests hear the musical arrangements and orchestrations that are so true to the original Motown recordings, they’ll imagine themselves right there in Hitsville U.S.A.”

    Motown The Musical is produced by Tony Award winner Kevin McCollum (Rent, In the Heights, Avenue Q), SONY Music Entertainment chairman and CEO Doug Morris and Motown founder Berry Gordy. It features staging by Schele Williams, choreography by Patricia Wilcox (A Night with Janis Joplin) and Warren Adams (Toy Story), scenic design by David Korins (Bring It On: The Musical, Annie), costume design by Emilio Sosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, “Project Runway”), light design by Natasha Katz (Once, Sister Act), sound design by Peter Hylenski (Rock of Ages, The Scottsboro Boys) and projection design by Daniel Brodie (Aladdin).

    The show’s arrangements and orchestrations were created by Ethan Popp (Rock of Ages), who also serves as music supervisor in reproducing the classic “Sound of Young America.” Co-orchestrations and additional arrangements are by Bryan Crook (“Smash”), and dance arrangements are by Zane Mark (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

    Motown The Musical performed on Broadway from 2013 to 2015, earning four Tony Award nominations, has toured North America since 2014, and continues its successful run in London’s West End.

    Tickets for Motown The Musical at Starlight Theatre are on sale now starting at $14. Tickets are available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

    Discount prices for groups of 10 or more are available. For information about group pricing, contact group sales coordinator Camille Sumrall at 816.997.1137 or groups@kcstarlight.com. For more information about the show, visit www.MotownTheMusical.com.

    About Starlight Theatre
    Starlight Theatre, a recent winner of the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second-largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts. It also offers extensive community outreach and educational programming, including classes, scholarships and Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the nation.

    Located on 16 acres in Swope Park, Starlight’s venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage. For more information, visit www.kcstarlight.com.

  2. Join KC Parks for a Total Eclipse of the Park on August 21

    Total Eclipse of the Park125Historic Event. Historic Place. Historic Year.
    Celebrate KC Parks 125th anniversary as you view a total solar eclipse from a location set in time when Kansas City last witnessed a total solar eclipse. Shoal Creek Living History Museum in the Northland features a village of authentic 19th century buildings. Refreshments will be available for purchase or bring your own. In this location, the eclipse will peak at 1:08:49 pm CDT, when the moon obscures 100% of the sun.

    Total Eclipse of the Park Viewing Party
    Monday, August 21
    11 a.m.-2 p.m. (gates open at 6:30 a.m.; entry/gates close at Noon)
    Shoal Creek Living History Museum in Hodge Park
    7000 Northeast Barry Road, Kansas City, MO 64156
    $10/per vehicle; $40/per bus (includes two pair of certified eclipse glasses; additional glasses will be available for sale at $1/each while quantities last.)
    RESERVE YOUR SPACE TODAY>>

  3. Sixth Annual Sly’s Rock the Block Celebration Happening Saturday

    rtbThe sixth annual Sly’s Rock the Block celebration is set for this Saturday, August 12 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Washington Square Park. The event will offer a variety of entertainment and family-friendly activities to mark another year of successful summer programs.

    “All summer long Club KC and Mayor’s Nights provide our young people with an opportunity to have fun in a safe and caring environment,” said Mayor Sly James. “Saturday’s event is about the community as a whole and bringing people together to celebrate the end of summer with good food and family-friendly activities and entertainment.”

    This free event, produced by the Mayor’s Office, Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, and the Kansas City Police Department, is open to the public and will feature family-friendly activities live music, cultural performances, and community resources. The first 1,500 attendees will receive tickets for free hot dogs, chips and drinks. Several food trucks will also be on the premises offering various food items for sale. Parking is free at the Blue Shield Blue Cross Parking lot, on the north side of Washington Square Park.

    Live entertainment will begin at approximately 10 a.m. featuring the Jamil Family Band; Little Troy Lee Sanders; Los Bailadores de Kansas City; Lee’s Summit School of Rock Band; and Boogaloo 7 Band. Mayor Sly James and Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Terry Rynard will welcome guests and speak briefly at approximately 2 p.m. during the entertainment lineup.

    The celebration will offer families a variety of fun activities throughout the afternoon including: Arts Tech (caricatures, photo booth, giant Jenga); KC Zoo Mobile; Sister Act Face Painting; Imagination Playground; Stone Lion Puppets; video games; College Basketball Experience pop-a-shot; Mattie Rhodes Center (crafts); and several inflatables. Participants will also have the opportunity to visit with a number of community organizations, nonprofits and city departments.

  4. U.S. National Tour of The Bodyguard Makes KC Debut

    The Bodyguard, a triumphant success in London’s West End, will make its Kansas City debut at Starlight Theatre on August 8-13. The national touring production is the sixth show of Starlight’s 67th Broadway season and the third of three brand-new musicals lighting up the Starlight night this summer.

    Grammy® Award-nominated, multi-platinum R&B/pop recording artist and film/TV actress Deborah Cox stars as Rachel Marron. Cox made her Broadway debut as the lead in Aida and most recently starred as Lucy in Jekyll & Hyde. In the role of bodyguard Frank Farmer is television star Judson Mills. Since starting his acting career with a three-year stint in “As the World Turns,” Mills has had numerous guest and starring roles on TV series ranging from “Law and Order” and “The X Files” to “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He has also appeared in more than 20 feature films, including the Academy Award-nominated Gods and Monsters.

    Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar-nominated Warner Bros. film and adapted by Academy Award-winner (Birdman) Alexander Dinelaris, The Bodyguard had its world premiere Dec. 5, 2012, at London’s Adelphi Theatre. It was nominated for four Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical and Best Set Design, and it won Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage Awards. The production in January 2017 completed a return run in the West End after a sold-out 16-month tour throughout the U.K. and Ireland.

    The Bodyguard’s story is a romantic thriller. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge, but what they don’t expect is to fall in love. The musical’s score features a host of hits, including “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and one of the biggest-selling songs of all time, “I Will Always Love You.”

    “This show is pure entertainment and all about the songs audiences love,” said Rich Baker, Starlight President and CEO. “If you liked the movie, you’ll love the musical. And, in my opinion, Deborah Cox’s voice is the closest thing you’ll find to the original!”

    The Bodyguard’s creative team is led by British director Thea Sharrock, choreographer Karen Bruce, set and costume designer Tim Hatley, lighting designer Mark Henderson, sound designer Richard Brooker and video design by Duncan McLean. Orchestrations are by Chris Egan, musical supervision by Richard Beadle and production musical supervision by Mike Dixon. Musical director Matthew Smedal conducts the show’s live orchestra.

    Joining Cox and Mills in the principal cast are Alex Corrado (Gotham, Hannibal) as Tony Scibelli, Rachel’s personal security guard; Jarid Faubel (Black & White, X-Men: First Class) as FBI agent Ray Court; Charles Gray (Broadway: The Color Purple, Tour: The Lion King) as manager Bill Devaney; Jonathan Hadley (Broadway: Jersey Boys, A Class Act) as publicist Sy Spector; Jorge Paniagua (Regional: The Full Monty, Oregon Shakespeare Festival) as the Stalker; Jasmin Richardson (Tour: Memphis, Dreamgirls) as Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron; and Douglas Baldeo (Broadway: Kinky Boots, Tour: Motown) and Kevelin B. Jones III (Idlewild Music Festival) alternating in the role of Rachel’s son, Fletcher.

    Tickets for The Bodyguard at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $14 to $142. Tickets are available online at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

    Discount prices for groups of 10 or more are available. For information about group pricing, contact group sales coordinator Camille Sumrall at 816.997.1137 or groups@kcstarlight.com. For more information about the show, visit www.thebodyguardmusical.com.


    About Starlight Theatre
    Starlight Theatre, a recent winner of the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second-largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts. It also offers extensive community outreach and educational programming, including classes, scholarships and Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the nation.

    Located on 16 acres in Swope Park, Starlight’s venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage.

    For more information, visit www.kcstarlight.com.

  5. KCParks Newest Dog Park Opens July 29 at 4 p.m.

    wwfeatureEveryone is invited to join KC Parks for a Yappy Hour to check out Kansas City, Missouri’s newest off-leash dog park, West Terrace Dog Park. Membership is not required to attend this opening event.

    Saturday, July 29, 2017
    4 p.m.: Official opening at South entrance
    (top of the hill/pictured)
    4-6 p.m. Yappy Hour &  Activities
    West Terrace Off-Leash Dog Park , 750 Pennsylvania Ave. Kansas City, MO 64106

    West Terrace Off Leash Dog Park is a 1.5 acre park that provides a great place for you and your dog(s) to play, exercise and socialize. The members-only park includes benches, fantastic views of the west bottoms and Missouri River, park stairs, a shade pavilion with picnic tables, controlled entry, disposal bags/receptacles and two drinking fountains.

    Be among the first to enjoy this new park at Yappy Hour on July 29. Activities include a cash bar, pictures with your dog, pup cake, agility course, dog splash pool, canine art and more. Treat bags for the first 200 dogs!

    Participating vendors include: BarK Dog Bar, Dog Pawz, The Dogs’ Spot, Compton Event Photography, Wine & Design-KC Northland, Tail Waggin’ Pet Stop, KC Dog Club, and Three Dog Bakery.

    PARKING is available at 610 Washington Street. The gate house will be manned between 4-6 p.m. to provide access to the lot.

  6. DRAW Sponsors Quick Paint Competition at KC’s Big Picnic

    Via DRAW Architecture + Urban  Design

    L-R: Big Picnic Quick Paint winner Matt White with Dan Maginn.

    L-R: Big Picnic Quick Paint winner Matt White with DRAW Principal Dan Maginn.

    Kansas City’s 2017 Big Picnic was held July 23 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and for the second year in a row, DRAW Architecture + Urban Design sponsored the Plein Air Quick Paint competition presented by Kansas City Parks and Recreation. We love contributing to this event. It is truly inspiring to see what artists can accomplish in a couple hours. Twenty-five artists participated this year, employing a wide variety of media including watercolor, acrylic, pastel, graphite and ink–with some creative souls stretching the boundary to include less-conventional materials such as beeswax, aluminum foil and seeds.

    Dan Maginn, DRAW principal, served as the juror this year, and told the gathered crowd at the award gathering that DRAW was interested in rewarding the work that best “captured the spirit of the day” with the $500 prize. So what was the day like? The Big Picnic was a riot of Kansas City creativity, with funky music and food carts and pickleball courts and big insect puppets roaming around amazing the kids. It was four hours of frisbee and snow cones and picnic blankets and bright blue sky. It was a couple thousand people gathering as a single, inspired community in one of the best backyards on the planet.

    Dan kicked off the two-hour art session by blowing his industrial-grade compressed air horn at 5 o’clock. Words cannot express how loud this horn is, or how surprised peoples faces are (even after being forewarned) when it is blown. Two hours later, after more forewarning, the horn was sounded again, marking the end of the competition. After reviewing the 25 submitted works, Dan mentioned to the artists that he could have easily awarded five first-place awards, and that each of the submitted works had merit. But in the end, a winner had to be chosen, and Matt White was the artist who, at least in our minds, best captured the spirit of the day. His watercolor was filled with the singular energy of that hot Sunday afternoon. The place he depicted (the south lawn of the Nelson-Atkins) is clearly recognizable, but his work went beyond visual depiction, to tap into a remarkable sense of “sunday-afternoon-ness.”

    The piece is now located at the DRAW office in the Crossroads, along with last year’s winner. The DRAWers love how the piece is full of energy, but captures the particular laziness and mystery that makes Sunday afternoons different from other times of the week.

    More pictures from 2017 #KCBigPicnic & Quick Paint>>