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May 30

“Annie” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” launch the Theatre in the Park’s 2019 outdoor season

Posted on May 30, 2019 at 12:04 PM by Becky Burnside

Family favorites about a lovable orphan and a magic car kick off the Theatre in the Park’s 50th outdoor season in Shawnee Mission Park during June. 

“Annie,” which is Rated G, will be on the park’s stage June 7 through 9, and June 12 through 15, while “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” which is Rated PG; will be presented on June 21 through 23, and June 26 through 29. Also during June, TIP’s Summer Theatre Academy participants will present two shows with one performance each at The Black Box Theatre inside the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, and the first two films of the 2019 Movies in the Park program, “Solo” and “Christopher Robin,” will be presented on the outdoor stage. 

“I’m hopeful that folks will take advantage of the family friendliness of all the productions this season” said Producing Artistic Director Tim Bair. “Our season is perfect for the entire family. It’s a great year for us, and I want as many people as possible to experience the terrific work we do at the park each summer. I think the shows all have really good appeal, and will draw a lot of folks to the park this summer!” 

In “Annie,” the famous orphan charms everyone’s hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City. She escapes an orphanage and the cruel Miss Hannigan to the wondrous world of New York City in adventure after fun-filled adventure, and finds a new home and family in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary, Grace Farrell, and a lovable mutt named Sandy. In TIP’s production, Sandy is played by a dog named Buck, who was rescued as a four-month-old puppy from the wreckage of the 2011 Joplin tornado and was raised and trained by David Caton of KC Elite Dog Training

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” will take audiences on a fantastic musical adventure with an out-of-this-world car that flies through the air and sails the seas. Based on the beloved 1968 film version of Ian Fleming’s children’s book, and featuring an unforgettable score by the Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins), “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” is family-friendly entertainment which audiences will find “Truly Scrumptious.”

To celebrate its 50th season, TIP will be having special curtain speeches on the opening night of “Annie.” and some VIPs are invited to attend. At each performance this season, limited-edition flying discs will be tossed out from the stage, and a small number of limited-edition popcorn buckets will be passed at the gates, and can be filled for 50 cents throughout this season. 

“It’s a great year for us, and I want as many people as possible to experience the terrific work we do at the park each summer,” Bair said. “I think the shows all have really good appeal, and will draw a lot of folks to the park this summer!”

Earlier this year, officials asked the public and past performers to share their memories about TIP.

“We got some very sweet stories,” Bair said. “We are currently getting those loaded onto our website on a special memories page. We are planning to announce the page and launch it on opening night of “Annie” (June 7).” 

Other shows in TIP’s 2019 outdoor season are: “The Music Man,” Rated G, July 5 through 13; Roald Dahl’s “Matilda,” Rated PG, July 19 through 27; and “The Wizard of Oz,” Rated PG, Aug. 2 through 10. Much more information about the theater and this year’s productions is available at the Theatre in the Park’s website.

For outdoor productions, gates open at 7 p.m., and shows begin at 8:30 p.m.  General admission is $8 for adults, $6 for youth ages four to ten, plus tax, and free for children three and under, but tickets are still required. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online. “Anytime tickets” available via either ticket-buying method, are not specific to a certain night or performance, and can be printed out at home and scanned at the gate. 
 
Continuing in 2019 is Thrifty Thursdays whereby a 20 percent discount is offered on Thursday night performances. This makes adult tickets $6.40 and children’s tickets $4.80, plus tax. The discounted tickets must be purchased at the box office for the specific show.

Also returning are Movies in the Park, a program that lets participants see popular recent films on a 40-foot screen on the TIP stage for only $1 per person at the gate. With the exception of one Monday screening during August, films are shown on selected Tuesday nights when musical productions are not scheduled. Shows for 2019 Movies in the Park are: “Solo,” rated PG-13, on June 11; “Christopher Robin,” rated PG, on June 25;   “Mary Poppins Returns,” rated PG, on July 9; “Black Panther,” rated PG-13, on July 23; and “A Dog’s Way Home,” rated PG, on Aug. 5.

Indoor TIP shows at JCAHC will include Summer Theatre Academy for youth productions of “Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Jr.,” on June 15 and July 13; “Once on This Island Jr.,” on June 29; and “Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.,” on July 19 and 20.  All three shows are Rated G.

The Theatre in the Park’s outdoor location is north of the main entrance to Shawnee Mission Park at 7710 Renner Road in Shawnee. The Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center is located at 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park.

This year’s outdoor season, the Movies in the Park presentations, and Summer Academy programs are sponsored by Advent Health and First National Bank. Sponsorships for specific shows are still available, and you can learn more by calling Kate Buenger (913) 826-3016 or at kate.buenger@jocogov.org.