KC Parks News

  1. Matilda the Musical at Starlight May 24-28

    Matilda photo 1The musical celebrated with four Tony Awards® in 2013 and crowned TIME Magazine’s No. 1 Show of the Year, Matilda The Musical is ready to bring its magic and charm to Starlight Theatre audiences May 24-28. Based on the beloved novel by best-selling children’s author Roald Dahl, Matilda will make its Kansas City premiere at Starlight.

    Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary girl who dreams of a better life. Armed with a vivid imagination and sharp mind, Matilda dares to take a stand and change her destiny. The three girls sharing the title role in the national touring production coming to Starlight are Sarah McKinley Austin, Lily Brooks O’Briant and Savannah Grace Elmer.

    “This production will surely inspire audiences of all ages,” said Rich Baker, Starlight president and CEO. “With outstanding performances by a very talented cast, captivating costumes and sets, and many special lighting and sound effects, Matilda will literally make your head spin!”

    Matilda The Musical has played continuously in London’s West End since October 2011 and on Broadway since spring 2013. Along the way, it received 50 international awards, including Tonys for Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role, Best Scenic Design and Best Lighting Design. In addition, the four young girls who shared the title role on Broadway received a special 2013 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater. Matilda also took home a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards® in 2012, including Best New Musical.

    The show’s creative team is led by Tony Award-winning director Matthew Warchus (God of Carnage), with a book by Tony Award-winning playwright Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Australian comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin. The production’s sets and costumes are designed by Tony Award winner Rob Howell, choreography was created by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision are by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Tony Award winner Hugh Vanstone, and sound by Simon Baker. The musical was produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Dodgers.

    Tickets for Matilda The Musical 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 15 or more are available by contacting group sales manager Staci Shute at 816.997.1137 or staci.shute@kcstarlight.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. June 1 is “Milkweed for Monarchs Day” in Kansas City

    Kansas City Mayor Sly James is proclaiming June 1 “Milkweed for Monarchs” Day. The mayor’s proclamation will be made at 9:00 a.m. on June 1 at the southeast corner of Ilus Davis Park, just north of City Hall at 414 E. 12th Street.  A pollinator garden there features several kinds of milkweed, the host plant for monarch butterflies.

    “Monarch butterflies breed in Kansas City, and we’re in the critical path on their long migration from Mexico to Canada,” Mayor James said. “This is our butterfly, and its numbers are down more than 90% because we’ve destroyed its habitat.  We need every Kansas Citian to help monarchs survive by planting milkweed every year on June 1. Even if you live in an apartment, a pot of milkweed on the deck provides the only food monarch caterpillars can eat.”  Free milkweed seed will be given to those attending the proclamation ceremony, courtesy of a Raytown-based group called Monarchs on the Move.

    In December, Mayor James signed the Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, joining the mayors of Austin, Dallas, Oklahoma City, St. Louis and other cities along the monarchs’ 3,000 mile migration path.  The pledge, created by the National Wildlife Federation, commits these cities to 25 actions such as establishing monarch habitat, educating citizenry, and creating policies to support the declining butterfly.  ”Kansas City has already completed most of the monarch pledge actions,” said Mayor James.  ”Our city has a strong commitment to natural ecosystems, and many groups working on the problem.  But we still need every citizen to plant.”   While milkweed is necessary for monarch caterpillars to feed, the butterflies need a sequence of bloom from other plants, such as purple coneflower, asters, liatris and goldenrod, all available at local nurseries.

    In 2016, a Kansas City group led by Burroughs Audubon and including KCMO Parks and Recreation, Kansas City Power & Light, Bridging The Gap, Johnson County Parks and Recreation, Powell Gardens, the Kansas City Native Plant Initiative, Westport Garden Club, Platte County Land Trust, Grow Native and MODOT are working to create more than 1,000 acres of monarch habitat.  On May 19, a native plant pollinator garden, which supports monarchs and other beneficial insects, was installed at Loose Park near the rose garden, for citizens to learn from and enjoy.

    At the proclamation ceremony, Mayor James will sport a hand-painted, monarch butterfly bow tie, presented to him for his collection by Bridging The Gap, a Kansas City environmental non-profit.  And what’s the name of Kansas City’s Negro Leagues baseball team?  The Monarchs.  ”I think Satchel Paige would have planted some milkweed.  I plan to,” said Mayor James.

    Media is invited to contact kcnpi@kcpni.org or Mary Nemecek of Burroughs Audubon at 816-210-5148.

    For online information about supporting monarch butterflies and other beneficial insects, go to grownative.org, monarchwatch.org, or  http://burroughs.org/conservation/nfwf-grant/.

  3. Registration Opens Saturday for Mayor’s Nights

    On May 21, Mayor Sly James will kick off registration for Mayor’s Nights, the annual summertime offering of activities for youth and adults, starting next week and running through early August.

    The Mayor’s Nights Registration Frenzy, featuring entertainment, snacks and prizes, will be held from 11am to 2pm at Brush Creek Community Center, 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd. Youth and adults are invited to attend and learn more about participating in Mayor’s Nights activities.

    “This program offers a variety of interesting, fun activities so there is something for everyone,” said Mayor James. “I encourage all young people to register and invite their friends and family to get involved, too.”

    The events and activities, which are held at community centers and many other locations, provide opportunities for youth and adults to play sports, dance, socialize, explore art and technology, and just have fun.

    Registration for Hoops, Kicks and Nets closes June 10. Registration for Club KC is open all summer. Registrants will receive a free Mayor’s Nights VIP Card, which is required to participate in Mayor’s Nights events. Holders of a VIP Card from previous years need not register again.

    Mayor’s Nights includes four major initiatives:

    Club KC — Youth ages 11-18 can enjoy live DJs, dancing, basketball, swim parties, video games, arts, robotics, digital literacy empowering speakers, guest celebrities, concessions and much more from late May through early August. Partners in 2016 include Arts Tech KC, Atkins Group, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Guadalupe Center, Kansas City Public Library, KC Hoop, Swope Park Corridor, and Mattie Rhodes.

    Night Hoops — Night Hoops, founded in 1992 and the longest-running Mayor’s Nights program, is an eight-week evening basketball league for youth and adults that not only focuses on basketball, but also offers youth-enrichment activities, job and professional development training and mentoring. Night Hoops is managed by Kansas City Parks & Recreation.

    Night Kicks — This eight-week evening soccer program for both youth and adults is modeled after the World Cup Soccer tournament. The 2016 partner’s are Guadalupe Center and Mattie Rhodes.

    Night Nets — Night Nets is an eight-week evening volleyball program for both youth and adults. The program also offers educational enrichment on topics such as health and wellness, financial literacy and more. Night Nets is managed by Kansas City Parks & Recreation.

    An important objective of Mayor’s Nights is to give youth and young adults a wide variety of beneficial alternative activities during the summer evening months when more stringent youth curfew rules are in effect.

    “Mayor’s Nights and Club KC provide ways for teens and adults to learn new skills, compete in a healthy manner and just have fun in a safe environment,” said Mayor James.

    Kansas City’s more stringent curfew is enforceable from May 27 (the Friday of Memorial Day weekend) to Sept. 25 (the last Sunday in September) and will be supported by an appropriate increased police presence. For minors 15 and younger, the curfew is set at 10 p.m. For minors ages 16 and 17, the curfew is set at 11 p.m. in most parts of the City.

    The City’s five entertainment districts — the Plaza, Westport, Downtown/Central Business District, 18th and Vine, and Zona Rosa — have a special curfew during summer months that requires anyone under 18 to be accompanied by a parent or guardian after 9 p.m. during those summer months.

    Register on the  Mayor’s Website>>

  4. Interior Department Selects Kansas City as Priority City to Connect Youth to the Great Outdoors

    13188000_131434060602266_971812128_nAs part of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s leadership of First Lady Michelle Obama’s
    Let’s Move! Outside initiative to engage the next generation of outdoor stewards and inspire millions of young adults to play, learn, serve and work in the great outdoors, Mayor Sylvester James joined Senior Advisor to the Secretary David Jayo, and David Byrd, President & CEO of YMCA of Greater Kansas City today in Oak Park to announce that Kansas City has been selected as one of the 50 cities to participate in the nationwide movement.

    The initiative, funded through a $2.5 million national commitment by the American Express Foundation, will provide two years of funding for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City to help coordinate efforts, facilitate collaboration, grow resources, and increase participation in outdoor programs on all public lands – from local parks to federal lands and waters.

    “Engaging people of all ages, especially youth, in enjoying and caring for parks and public lands builds a sense of stewardship and fosters deep connections to nature that will last a lifetime,” said Secretary Jewell “Kansas City is blessed with amazing public parks and a strong network of public and nonprofit leaders committed to getting kids outdoors, active and connected to nature. Through this new partnership with financial support from the American Express Foundation and community connections of the YMCA, we are nurturing a movement to foster the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, stewards and leaders, while helping young people connect to the public lands in their community.”

    “Kansas City is proud to have been selected as one of 50 cities to participate in this exciting initiative,” said Mayor Sly James. “When I was growing up, we were always running around and playing outside. Unfortunately, too many kids today are glued to their electronic devices and are missing out on the opportunity to actually be kids and learn how to play and stretch their imaginations. Our City is blessed with an incredible parks system and this program will give Kansas City kids more opportunities to get outside and learn how to care for their environment.”

    “Many people in our urban neighborhoods don’t always have the chance to experience all that our public lands in and around the city have to offer,” said David Byrd, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.  “This initiative will help us bring together leaders in conservation, education, recreation and service to provide opportunities for children and families to have fun, deepen connections to the city’s natural and historic sites, develop important skills, and engage in activities where they can give back and strengthen our community.”

    “Community service and historic preservation have a long heritage at American Express,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of the American Express Foundation. “Since our founding more than 160 years ago, American Express has seen how America’s parks and public lands contribute to our sense of national and local identity, and we are proud to lead an effort to mobilize a new generation of volunteers to protect, conserve and revitalize America’s public lands and treasured national parks.”

    The Department of the Interior is leading First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Outside initiative getting millions of young people to play, learn, serve and work in America’s great outdoors. In March 2015, Secretary Jewell announced this partnership with the American Express Foundation and kicked-off the first cities across the country to be a part of this movement. Kansas City joins 26 cities announced in 2015. The remaining cities will be announced throughout 2016. For more information about the initiative, visit: http://www.doi.gov/youth.

    This work is part an overall strategy by the Obama Administration to connect young people to the outdoors. Other efforts include the “Every Kid in A Park” program to provide all fourth grade students and their families with free admission to national parks and other public lands and waters for a full year. These complement the National Park Service’s Find Your Park campaign preparing for this year’s centennial of the National Park System.

  5. National Golf Day Celebrated by The First Tee of Greater Kansas City and Tom Watson Golf Academy at Heart of America Golf Course

    The First Tee of Greater Kansas City is celebrating National Golf Day by hosting a golf registration drive at the Heart of America Golf Course. From 3-8 p.m., families can sign up their children for any of The First Tee or Tom Watson Golf Academy summer classes and camps and receive free range balls to practice that day. The event, for the public, begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 18 at the Heart of America Golf Course, 7501 Blue River Road.

    The First Tee of Greater Kansas City offers summer classes and camps at six locations around Kansas City for Kansas City youth 7-17 years. Building life skills such as integrity and perseverance while learning a love for the game is The First Tee’s recipe for success. The Tom Watson Golf Academy offers affordable lessons for kids working to improve their golf acumen for youth 10 to 17-year-old. Introductory lessons are provided through The First Tee Life Skills Experience classes.

    “We want to build the game by helping kids perfect their golf skills,” said Watson, a 39-time PGA Tour champion and World Golf Hall of Famer. “The Academy is a simple and affordable way to bring golf to the youth of Kansas City.”

    About The First Tee of Greater Kansas City

    The First Tee of Greater Kansas City is a Missouri Not for Profit Corporation. Our mission is to impact the lives of young people in the Greater Kansas City area by providing learning opportunities and educational programs that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. The First Tee of Greater Kansas City serves 10,000 young people at six programming sites, over 30 local schools and through outreach programs. The First Tee of Greater Kansas also administers the Al Hoffman Scholarship Program. Currently, five alumni of the chapter are attending college with the financial assistance of this program. The Greater Kansas City Chapter is part of The First Tee Network of youth development organizations.

  6. ONCE OPENS 2016 BROADWAY SEASON AT STARLIGHT THEATRE

    The celebrated story of an Irish musician and Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music took Broadway and Tony Award® voters by storm, and now it is ready to capture the hearts of Starlight Theatre audiences. The internationally acclaimed musical ONCE opens Starlight’s 66th Broadway season with a weekend special engagement May 20-22.

    ONCE, winner of eight Tony Awards in 2012 including Best Musical and recipient of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is based on the Academy Award-winning 2007 film of the same name. The musical tells the story of “Guy,” the Irish musician (played by Sam Cieri), and the beautiful Czech “Girl” (played by Mackenzie Lesser-Roy). Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together.

    Brought to the stage by an award-winning team of visionary artists and featuring an ensemble cast of gifted actor/musicians, ONCE is a musical celebration of life and love. The musical is thrilling in its originality, daring in its honesty and unforgettable in every way.

    ONCE is the perfect show to officially launch summer in Kansas City,” said Rich Baker, Starlight president and CEO. “It is a touching story that shows how quickly lives can be transformed. All of the cast are not only talented actors but very accomplished musicians, and our audiences will feel connected to them before the curtain even rises for Act I.”

    The independent Irish film on which ONCE the musical is based was shot in just 17 days for $150,000. It went on to gross $20 million worldwide. Written and directed by John Carney, the film starred and featured original music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The duo won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original song for “Falling Slowly” and the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Music. The movie’s soundtrack also was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

    The musical features the music and lyrics of Hansard and Irglová; a book by award-winning Irish playwright and screenwriter Enda Walsh (Penelope, Hunger, The New Electric Ballroom); direction by the acclaimed Scottish director of Black Watch, John Tiffany; movement by Steven Hoggett (Black Watch, American Idiot); and music supervision and orchestrations by Martin Lowe (Mamma Mia!). Set and costume design were provided by five-time Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (The Coast of Utopia, Mary Poppins), lighting design by Tony winner Natasha Katz (Aida, The Coast of Utopia), and sound design by Clive Goodwin.

    ONCE the musical’s accolades also include Best Musical honors from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle and the Lucille Lortel Awards. The musical ran for more than 1,100 performances on Broadway before closing in January 2015 and also launched international productions from London and Australia to Japan and South Korea.

    Tickets for ONCE at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $11 to $109. 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 manager Staci Shute at 816.997.1137 or staci.shute@kcstarlight.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.