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KC Parks News

  1. First Date Shares the Love and Laughter of Dating

    First DateWith Valentine’s Day right around the corner, Starlight Indoors will share the love (and laughter) of dating in today’s world when it stages the modern musical comedy First Date. Things will heat up in the climate-controlled Cohen Community Stage House on Feb. 3-26 as audience members join Aaron and Casey on their first date, which just happens to be a blind date, too!

    What starts as a casual drink at a busy restaurant for blind-date “newbie” Aaron and serial-dater Casey quickly turns into a hilarious, high-stakes dinner. As their date unfolds in real time, the couple soon discovers they’re not alone – restaurant staff morphs into the couple’s family members, opinionated best friends, pushy therapists and even unforgiving exes. The voices in their heads, now embodied on the stage, sing and dance the couple through ice breakers, appetizers and even awkward pauses in conversation.

    First Date played on Broadway for five months in 2013. It is the original creation of three talented young writers. Austin Winsberg, writer of the TV hit “Gossip Girl,” wrote the book, while Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner, whose credits include Secondhand Lions and Twice Charmed, penned the music and lyrics. The three, friends since high school and post-college, wrote First Date based on their own experiences in the modern dating scene.

    “Almost everyone has their own memorable first dates, and that’s what makes this show so relatable and relevant,” said Caroline Lakin Gibel, who makes her Kansas City directorial debut with First Date. “I guarantee couples and good friends will be giggling and nudging each other as they realize they’ve ‘been there, done that’ in their own dating disasters and successes!”

    Gibel, who joined Starlight Theatre in 2012 and serves as the theatre’s director of indoor programming and company manager, feels fortunate to direct a professional cast with strong ties to Kansas City. Starring in the lead roles are UMKC graduates Shea Coffman as Aaron and Lauren Braton as Casey. Although Coffman now resides in Chicago, he’s coming home to Kansas City for this show. A graduate of Raymore-Peculiar High School, Coffman performed locally at Starlight (The Sound of Music in 2014), the Unicorn Theatre and New Theatre Restaurant before moving to Chicago and starring in that city’s original cast of First Date. Braton, a Lee’s Summit High School alumnus, has performed extensively in Kansas City theatres, including Starlight (Cinderella in 2011 and The Sound of Music in 2014), Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Spinning Tree Theatre, Coterie Theatre and many more. This spring she will perform in She Loves Me at Musical Theater Heritage.

    “I’m excited to make Kansas City audiences laugh, dare them to fall in love and help them escape the craziness of the world a little bit,” Coffman said.

    Rounding out the five-person cast are two more Kansas City actors – Francisco Javier Villegas and Andrew Schmidt – and actress April Strelinger who calls St. Louis home.

    Guests attending any of the 25 performances of First Date will be sitting comfortably in Starlight’s heated 12,000-square-foot Cohen Community Stage House; 500 seats are available for each performance.

    Show times for First Date on Tuesday-Thursday are 7 p.m.; Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, 2 p.m. Self-parking is free for all shows, and valet parking is available for $10.

    Tickets for First Date can be purchased at www.kcstarlight.com, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. Ticket prices are $36 and $46, and a limited number of VIP tickets with private two-person tables, free valet parking and a free drink are available for $56. Groups of 10 or more qualify for discount pricing through Starlight’s Group Sales department at 816.997.1137 or groups@kcstarlight.com.

  2. Old Red Bridge Love Locks Featured in 435 Magazine

    orb-locksJust in time for Valentine’s Day, the love locks on KC Parks historic Old Red Bridge in Minor Park are featured in 435 MagazineThe placing of love locks is a custom whereby couples affix a padlock to a bridge, fence, gate or similar fixture so pronouncing their unbreakable and everlasting love. Couples have been placing locks on the Old Red Bridge since February of 2013.  More than 2,500 locks are on the bridge today.
    Read the article online>> 


    Old Houe Expo 2017 Advertisment smallHistoric Kansas City and the Young Preservationists, KC are pleased to present the third annual Old House Expo at the Kansas City Museum. This exciting, one-day event is packed with information and networking opportunities for old-house enthusiasts. Tickets begin at $20.00 and are available for sale at eventbrite.com. Additional event details can also be found at historickansascity.org.

    The Old House Expo will feature on-site exhibitor booths with contractors, designers, craftsmen, lenders, realtors and nonprofit organizations all specializing in preserving, restoring, and renovating historic homes. Education sessions will include topics such as: window restoration, house maintenance, energy efficiency, chimney and masonry restoration, plaster repair workshop, and several rehabilitation case studies. In addition, Historic Kansas City volunteers will be offering research assistance to allow attendees to learn more about the history of their homes.

    This year, Historic Kansas City is thrilled to welcome special guests Tamara Day from Leawood, Kansas and her father, Ward Schraeder, as keynote speakers.  Tamara and Ward are the stars of Little Money Mansions on DIY Network.  Event sponsors include: Kansas City Museum, KC Parks, VisitKC, McCray Lumber and Stewart Title.

    About Historic Kansas City and Young Preservationists KC
    Historic Kansas City (HKC) is the only greater Kansas City nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of the area’s heritage, neighborhoods and historic built environment. The Young Preservationists KC is an affiliate group of Historic Kansas City that strives to encourage and mobilize young preservationists through service, learning and advocacy.                              ###

  4. Join Us On A Community Walk to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    hca-2017-mlk-nature-walk-event-postcard-1Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “We have flown the air like birds and swam the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.”

    In this spirit, Heartland Conservation Alliance is leading a nature walk on Monday, January 16, to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Led by a community naturalist, the walk will begin with remarks from a local pastor at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Square Park and conclude with refreshments from MO State Parks at Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. Kansas City residents will be joined by hundreds of thousands across the country celebrating MLK Day.

    Local residents are invited to participate in the casual, family-friendly walk for reflection and to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy of peaceful demonstrations. The walk will take place on a paved trail and is appropriate for walkers of all ages and abilities. The 1.2-mile nature walk will begin at 1 p.m. at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Square Park. And conclude at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center, 3700 Blue Pkwy, Kansas City, Mo. 64130. Walkers are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and dress appropriately for outdoor weather, including hats and gloves. Participants are welcome to stay for refreshments and view the African American Inventors and Innovators Exhibit at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. Parking is available at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Square Park and a shuttle will be provided from the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center to Martin Luther King, Jr., Square Park after the walk.

    The walk is hosted by Heartland Conservation Alliance and its presenting partners Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation; the Missouri Department of Natural Resources; Missouri State Parks; Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center; and Kansas City Environmental Professionals of Color (EPOC). Dedicated to conserving natural areas, convening community members, and connecting people to nature, the Heartland Conservation Alliance is a nonprofit that works collaboratively throughout the Kansas City area.

    “All are welcome to join in the fun and beauty of our natural areas while we celebrate and remember Dr. King Jr., as a man of service,” said Heartland Conservation Alliance Partnership Coordinator Joy Heaviland. “Let us walk together and inspire each other to be kind and serve others. Then I am looking forward to the inspiration of great inventors and innovators at the special exhibit at Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center.”

    For more information about Heartland Conservation Alliance visit their website or find them on Facebook. For details about the Nature Walk, contact Joy Heaviland, Partnership Coordinator, 816-759-7300, ext. 1148, or by email at hcapartnerships@gmail.com.

  5. Old Red Bridge Love Locks Featured in AAA Magazine

    orb-locksJust in time for Valentine’s Day, the love locks on KC Parks historic Old Red Bridge in Minor Park are featured in the January/February 2017 edition of AAA Midwest Traveler Magazine. The placing of love locks is a custom whereby couples affix a padlock to a bridge, fence, gate or similar fixture so pronouncing their unbreakable and everlasting love. Couples have been placing locks on the Old Red Bridge since February of 2013.  More than 2,500 locks are on the bridge today.
    *Read the article online (if you live in Missouri)
    The Final Word>>
    *Download a PDF of the article (if you live outside of Missouri) AAA Love Locks KC>>

  6. Thanks A Million, Clay and Jackson Counties

    15803366_1567010269982750_4697095609226625024_nFor the first time in its 107-year history, one million guests enjoyed the Kansas City Zoo. Reaching that historical number in 2016 would not have happened without the support received from Clay and Jackson Counties.  On December 28, Jackson County Executive Frank White, Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner, Presiding Commissioner of Clay County Jerry Nolte, Executive Director/CEO of the Kansas City Zoo Randy Wisthoff, and KC Parks Director Mark L. McHenry celebrated a million reasons to be thankful.

    Some of the youngest residents and most avid Zoo lovers in Clay and Jackson Counties–including KC Parks Community Center Winter Break Campers–joined in for the spectacular celebration. Following a few words from the officials, the kids got the unique opportunity to go on the ice shelf and meet our feathered friends beak to beak, seeing King and Gentoo penguins up close inside their arctic environment at the Helzberg Penguin Plaza.

    Clay and Jackson Counties have been integral to the Zoo’s success during the last four years. Both counties showed their support for the Kansas City Zoo when the Zoological Tax was passed in 2011. In gratitude, the Zoo gave residents of the Zoological District, Clay and Jackson counties, reduced pricing on admission and memberships, four complimentary visits to the Zoo annually, educational programming through ZooEd and much, much more! Without the formation of the Zoological District, improvements like Helzberg Penguin Plaza, Orangutan Canopy, Tuxedo Grill, and Koala Flats this past summer would not have been possible.