Arts/Entertainment

Shows Taking Center Stage at KC Theaters Next Season

Find out which productions are gracing KC’s stages next season.

One of the many amazing things that sets Kansas City apart? Our theater scene. Get a first look at the shows you’ll want a front row seat to during the 2015-2016 season.

Under the artistic leadership of Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin, Unicorn Theatre next season opens August 26 featuring eight regular season shows. Highlights include: “The Oldest Boy” (August 26–September 20), the story of couple that must decide whether to let their American son (played by a puppet) be taken to India when Tibetan Monks believe him to be the reincarnation of a high Buddhist Lama; “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” (December 2–27) an imaginative dark comedy about the evolution of pop culture and collective memory co-produced by UMKC Theatre; “The Whale” (March 2–27, 2016), the story of a 600-pound man struggling to reconnect with his daughter penned by MacArthur Genius Grant winner Samuel D. Hunter; and “Heathers, The Musical” (June 1–26, 2016), based on the ‘80s cult classic film.

Another take on a film from the decade opens the Kansas City Broadway Series: “Dirty Dancing” kicks things off December 8–13. The 2015-2016 season also includes hits “Newsies,” A Night With Janis Joplin,” “Kinky Boots” and “Ragtime” as well as special engagements of “Wicked” and “Cirque Dreams Holidaze,” arriving at the Kauffman Center right after Christmas.

And KC’s theater scene doesn’t put babies and other little ones in the corner. The Coterie’s lineup of enchanting and education kid-friendly shows includes “The Miracle Worker,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “And Justice for Some: The Freedom Trial of Anthony Burns [1858],” “Tomás and the Library Lady/Tomás y la Señora de la Biblioteca,” “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: There are still plenty of must-see productions happening this season. Starlight Theatre’s Broadway series begins next month with “Camelot.” Other shows you can catch this summer are “Pippin,” “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” “Mary Poppins,” and “Cirque Eloize iD,” plus weekend specials of “Annie” and “Million Dollar Quartet,” the latter running May 22–24. Or hop to The Coterie’s “A Year with Frog and Toad,” a story of the animals’ friendship throughout the seasons June 16–August 2.

Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s “Sticky Traps,” written by the theater’s Playwright-in-Residence Nathan Louis Jackson, ends the season May 24, as does rock concert and theatrical fusion “Stillwater.” The new season kicks off with a collaboration between KC Rep and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. ”Sunday in the Park with George,” the Stephen Sondheim classic musical about the neo-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat, will be jointly produced by the two local arts powerhouses in the Atkins Auditorium September 11–October 4.

KC Rep’s 2014-2015 season ends this weekend with “Stillwater.” Photo by Tom Gault.