KC Parks News

  1. High-Flying Musical Spectacular PIPPIN, Winner of 4 Tony Awards®, Lights Up Starlight Theatre on June 30-July 5

    PippinThey’ve “got magic to do, just for you”! PIPPIN, the most nominated Broadway musical of 2013, brings its high-flying thrills and talented company of 48 performers to Starlight Theatre on June 30-July 5. The national tour of this hit Broadway revival, which took home four Tony Awards®, brings to Kansas City audiences the beloved music of Stephen Schwartz, who also composed Wicked and Godspell, and sizzling choreography in the style of Bob Fosse. Tony winner Diane Paulus directs the dazzling production.

    Revived and reimagined, PIPPIN is entertaining audiences 40 years after the original production debuted on Broadway. Its celebrated score includes “Corner of the Sky,” “Magic to Do” and “Morning Glow.”

    As an added bonus, Starlight guests who attend the performance of PIPPIN on the Fourth of July will also enjoy a free fireworks extravaganza immediately after the show. The 15-minute fireworks production will be supported with a soundtrack of favorite Broadway tunes.

    PIPPIN tells the story of a young prince on a death-defying journey to find meaning in his existence. In search of an extraordinary life, Pippin heads off to war, unseats his father from the throne, later regrets his actions, meets a beautiful widow and more. Will Pippin choose a happy but simple life? Or will he risk everything for a singular flash of glory?

    Referred to as “a play within a play,” the story of PIPPIN is told by a traveling troupe of actors and acrobats (called “Players”) and led by the mysterious Leading Player. Like a vaudeville act, the Players act out the roles of the story and speak directly to the audience. Sasha Allen of season 4 of NBC’s “The Voice” stars as Leading Player in the national tour, and she is backed by the breathtaking acrobatics of the Montreal-based circus company, Les 7 Doigts de la Main.

    “I am thrilled to bring this production to Kansas Citians this season,” said Rich Baker, Starlight president and CEO. “This revival contains all of the wonderful music of the original production, but it’s newly conceived with circus elements that provide a fresh dimension and modern feel which I’m confident will captivate Starlight audiences.”

    In 2013, PIPPIN won four Tony-Awards® including Best Revival of a Musical, four Drama Desk Awards, seven Outer Critic Circle Awards and the Drama League Award.

    The touring cast of PIPPIN features Sasha Allen as the Leading Player; Sam Lips, who understudied the role on Broadway, as Pippin; John Rubenstein, who originally played the title role of Pippin in the 1972 production, as Charles; Sabrina Harper as Fastrada; Kristine Reese as Catherine; Adrienne Barbeau as Berthe; Erik Altemus as Lewis; and Jake Berman as Theo.

    The tour’s creative team is led by director Paulus, director; Chet Walker, choreography; Gypsy Snider, circus creation; Nadia DiGiallonardo, music supervisor and arrangements; Larry Hochman, orchestrations; Scott Pask, scenic design; Kenneth Posner, lighting design; Dominique Lemieux, costume design; and Jonathan Deans and Garth Helm, sound designers.

    Tickets for PIPPIN at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $92. 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 by contacting group sales coordinator Staci Shute at 816.997.1137 or staci.shute@kcstarlight.com

    About Starlight Theatre Starlight Theatre, winner of the 2013 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. Everyone’s Favorite Redheaded Orphan Will Grace Starlight Theatre Stage for One Weekend Only, June 19-21

    tourannie0246r_444_310Leapin’ Lizards! Plenty of talented “orphans” will surely charm Kansas City audiences when the national tour of Annie stops at Starlight Theatre on June 19-21 for a Broadway weekend special engagement. This brand-new physical incarnation of Annie remains true to the show’s nearly 40-year traditions, including the beloved songs and themes of resiliency and optimism.

    Martin Charnin, Annie’s original lyricist and director, directs the touring production – for the 19th time since the musical debuted on Broadway in April 1977. The show quickly became one of Broadway’s biggest hits ever, running for 2,377 performances, winning seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, and even a Grammy for Best Cast Show Album. It has since been performed worldwide in 28 languages.

    Starlight audiences will be transported back to New York City in 1933 where a little red-headed orphan, Annie, lives in an orphanage but is on a continuous search for her parents who left her there years before. After escaping the orphanage and having a few adventures on the streets of NYC, Annie is chosen to spend the Christmas holiday at billionaire Oliver Warbuck’s mansion. Warbuck soon learns to love the girl as his own and vows to help her in her search for her parents. The musical’s celebrated score features such audience favorites as “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

    “I’m extremely pleased that Starlight is able to host this incredible production and wonderful cast,” Starlight president and CEO Rich Baker said.  “Annie is a musical that so many people have grown up with, and now they have a new opportunity to experience it with their family and friends. When that little redhead belts out the words to ‘Tomorrow,’ it fills you with a joy that few other musical numbers can match.”

    Annie’s touring cast features a 25-member company. Making her tour debut in the title role of Annie is 10-year-old Issie Swickle. She is joined by principal cast members Gilgamesh Taggett as Oliver Warbucks, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, Ashley Edler as Grace, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily, Jeffrey B. Duncan as FDR, and Sunny, a 5-year-old rescue terrier mix as Sandy.

    The tour’s creative team includes Tony Award® winner Beowulf Boritt, scenic design; Suzy Benzinger, costume design; Tony Award® winner Ken Billington, lighting design; Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski, sound design; Tony Award® honoree William Berloni, animal training; Keith Levenson, musical supervision and additional orchestrations; Joy Dewing CSA and Holly Buczek CSA, casting; and the tour is produced by TROIKA Entertainment, LLC. The book for Annie was written by Thomas Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin.

    Tickets for Annie at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $92. 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 15 or more are available by contacting group sales coordinator Staci Shute at 816.997.1137 or staci.shute@kcstarlight.com

  3. Summer Soccer Camp Moves to Swope Soccer Village

    This week, the Upper Room Summer Soccer Camps will officially begin at Swope Soccer Village. The camp will be held five days a week for four hours a day. The camp runs daily through end of July.

    The summer soccer camp started over 8 years ago with around 1,000 kids enrolled. It has grown tremendously since then as there are 3,200 kids expected this year.

    Heartland Soccer created the summer soccer camps with Upper Room and has been one of the biggest supporters of this program. This summer, Heartland will help with the funding of the camps, donating all of the equipment and field rental. Also, Heartland coaches from across the area will provide instruction throughout the week.

    “We are very proud to offer and support such a tremendous opportunity for these kids. Soccer is a sport where all ages and skill levels can play. At its very core, the game of soccer is simple. Just kick the ball, run and have fun so literally almost everyone can play,” said Shane Hackett, Heartland Soccer Executive Director. “We started these camps many years ago playing out in the middle of nowhere. No real soccer fields just open land and lots of weeds. Now to have the camps at this world class soccer complex is quite unbelievable. The kids love it!”

    Swope Soccer Village, which is Located at 63rd and Lewis Road in Kansas City, Missouri’s Swope Park, the state-of-the-art Swope Soccer Village features nine full-size soccer fields – three natural grass and six synthetic turf – as part of a $15.5 million expansion. Home to MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City since 2007; the facility has also attracted marquee events such as the Big 12 Soccer Championship as well as the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships for Division II (2016-17) and Division III (2014-15).

    Heartland Soccer Association is a non-profit organization located in Overland Park, Kansas. Heartland represents more than 1,150 league teams and nearly 17,000 players. This is just league play; the organization also holds some of the largest tournaments in the Midwest. When you add up league and tournament play, Heartland represents more than 2,500 teams. Heartland is dedicated to developing and promoting a healthy lifestyle to the youth of Kansas City.

    Upper Room is a local non-profit organization that works closely with youth groups in the Swope Park Corridor and surrounding areas. The organization provides high-quality programs to low-income families in the Kansas City area.


  4. Attend our First Teddy Bear Picnic

    TB Picinc signPICNIC IS SOLD OUT — THANK YOU!!! National Teddy Bear Picnic Day is celebrated every year on the 10th of July and this year it will be celebrated in Kansas City for the first time! Join KC Parks on Friday, July 10 for an afternoon of fun on the front lawn of the Kansas City Museum.  Be sure to pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and grab your favorite teddy bear (or bears)–dressed in their best attire, of course– and join us! The picnic is presented by HealthCare USA.

    National Teddy Bear Picnic Day stems from the early 1900s when then-president Theodore Roosevelt gave the permission to use his nickname for the stuffed animal for children. In 1932,  the Teddy Bear’s Picnic song was released and in the 1950s the song was used as the theme for the Big Jon and Sparkie radio program. Between these historical points, there emerged a day where you bring your favorite stuffed bear and head down to the park for a sandwich together.

    What is a Teddy Bear Picnic? It seems that there are few rules but generally:

    • Everyone must bring a Teddy Bear, preferably one which has been spruced up for the day.
    • A picnic must be brought which should ideally include things which your bear would like to eat too. Cupcakes and honey sandwiches are often high on the list!
    • Teddy related games and crafts are usually played.
    • A Best Dressed Bear contest is held.

    KC Parks inaugural Teddy Bear Picnic will feature entertainment by Janie Next Door with  her own rendition of the Teddy Bear’s Picnic song; teddy bear crafts by Macaroni Kids-Downtown; lawn games including Badminton, giant checkers, giant dice, golf and corn hole (thank you Northeast News!); face painting and more! Each child will receive a goody bag and commemorative photo.

    BIG NEWS!!!! Thanks to our sponsor, HealthCare USA, there is NO COST to attend, however, each child must be pre-registered. Attendance is limited to 150 so sign up today! Please email Carol Green with names and ages of children attending (must be accompanied by an adult).

  5. National Tour of Camelot Brings Chivalry, Knighthood and Medieval Pageantry to Starlight Theatre on June 9-14

    Camelot_Photo_2Hear ye! Hear ye! The confines of Starlight Theatre will transform into the kingdom of Camelot next week. One of theatre’s most legendary musicals, Camelot will enchant audiences of all ages when it takes Starlight’s Cohen Community Stage on June 9-14.

    This production of Camelot, which launched its national tour last fall, reimagines the classic tale of King Arthur, Guenevere, Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table in a way that is both intimate and fresh, while still preserving the beloved themes of brave knights, troubled romance, passion, betrayal and majesty. The musical’s celebrated score includes the classics “If Ever I Would Leave You,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” and, of course, the title song.

    Through song and narrative, the four-time Tony Award®-winning Camelot transports audiences back to 12th century medieval times. Taught well by Merlin, King Arthur and his beautiful queen Guenevere rule the kingdom of Camelot with new ideals, bringing peace to a troubled land. However, with the arrival of the dashing Sir Lancelot and his addition to the Knights of the Round Table, one of the most fabled love triangles of all time ensues. Finally, Mordred, King Arthur’s illegitimate son, sees a kingdom in chaos and attempts to destroy all that is Camelot.

    “The timeless story of Camelot has been preserved in this production, but the show also incorporates updates for our 21st century audience tastes,” Starlight president and CEO Rich Baker said. “As we continue Starlight’s 65th Broadway season, I think all audience members will find something to relate to in Camelot. From the men who dreamed of knights in shining armor and sword fights at a younger age to the women who want to watch a love story unfold, this show offers something for everyone.”

    Camelot’s talented touring cast features Adam Grabau as Arthur, Mary McNulty as Guenevere, Tim Rogan as Lancelot, Mark Poppleton as Merlyn/King Pellinore, and Kasidy Devlin as Mordred. Of particular interest to local audiences is the fact that Broadway actress McNulty is a graduate of the University of Kansas’ School of Music. Additional local flavor was added to the show with the casting of three Kansas City area boys – Maddox Carter Banes, age 11, Marek Burns, 9, and Andrew Stout, 13 – to alternate nightly in the role of Tom of Warwick at the conclusion of each night’s performance.

    The tour’s creative team includes Michael McFadden, director and artistic producer; Kevin Depinet, scenic design; Paul Tazewell, costume design; Mike Baldassari, lighting design; Craig Cassidy, sound design; Steven M. Bishop, musical supervisor; and Marshall Keating, musical direction.

    Based upon the book The Once and Future King, this musical masterpiece of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe premiered on Broadway in December of 1960 and quickly became one of the most popular musicals of its time. The original production of Camelot ran on Broadway for 873 performances, and it has been revived three times since.

    Tickets for Camelot at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $91. 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.

  6. {NEWS} Flag to be Respectfully Retired by Korean War Veterans for Flag Day Ceremony

    flagWhat: A Flag Day ceremony in which a flag that has outlived its glory will be appropriately retired by being respectfully burned in a pyre with pomp and circumstance by Korean War veterans from Missouri. It is open to the public and military service veterans will be in attendance.

    The ceremony will include three rifle volleys and a rendition of “Taps” by American Legion Post 189. There will also be a flag collection, and all flags collected will be properly retired in a similar manner and interred at the Leavenworth National Cemetery. The American Legion Band will also perform patriotic music.


    • To respect the memory and sacrifices of veterans on Flag Day.
    • To educate people on the importance of the emblem of our country and the proper way to dispose of a flag once its colors have faded or it has become tattered.
    • To show that flags need to be treated with respect including being replaced on a regular basis and disposed of properly.


    • Rear Admiral (Upper Half) J. Stanton Thompson – Keynote speaker
    • Father Jerry Spencer, invocator
    • Debra Shultz – speaker and president of the Missouri Korean War Veterans Memorial board of directors
    • Bob Kalkofen – speaker and first vice president of the Missouri Korean War Veterans Memorial board of directors
    • Military veterans
    • The public at large

    Where: Missouri Korean War Veterans Memorial, Washington Square Park at the northeast corner of Pershing and Main

    When: Flag Day, Sunday, June 14 at 1:30 p.m.

    Contact: Steve Nichols, MS 913-486-4177 or steve@boswellinc.com