No one yet knows if the ongoing pandemic will break enough to allow in-person performances this year, but the Theatre in the Park is pushing ahead with plans for an exciting 2021 lineup of shows with variety and fun.
“With the length of time it takes us to get approval from all the folks involved, we needed to plan and move forward - or we wouldn’t be ready,” said Producing Artistic Director Tim Bair. “Who knows what the summer holds, but at least now we have plans in place, and we are really hopeful that we can move forward safely and get some shows on our stages!”
Anticipated for this year is a lineup consisting of eight shows, none of which have been produced on the TIP stage before in the theater’s 52-year history. This includes three indoor productions at The Black Box Theatre located inside the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, and five outdoor summer shows on TIP’s outdoor stage in Shawnee Mission Park.
Up first is “Songs For a New…Now,”
an original production in the form of a new music cabaret featuring brand new songs written by Kansas City regional composers and lyricists. Song submissions were due Jan. 31, and the show is scheduled indoors for April 16 through May 1, possibly with both live and streamed presentations. A rating for this show has yet to be determined, depending on the successful songs.
“It is something we have never done before,” said Bair, who will also be directing this production. “It will highlight talent around our area. The challenge is putting together the songs in a way that is entertaining and exciting!”
Outdoor summer productions will include: “Mamma Mia,”
which is on stage June 4 through 12; “Curtains”
on stage June 18 through 26; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,”
July 2 through 10 with no performance on July 4; “Half Time - Gotta Dance,”
July 16 through 24; and “Newsies,”
July 30 through Aug. 7. “Curtains”
and “Half Time - Gotta Dance,”
are both rated PG-17, while the rest of the summer shows are all rated PG.
“Momma Mia,” “Cinderella,”
are all holdovers from the originally-announced 2020 season, which was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Bair said he is especially looking forward to “Half Time - Gotta Dance,”
which is described as the incredible true story of ten determined 60 dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major basketball team, only to learn they’ll be dancing to hip-hop.
“It is rather unusual for us to have a show that most of the principal characters are 60 year old women,” he said. “It is going to be very fun.”
TIP’s fall indoor production at The Black Box Theatre will be “The Full Monty - The Broadway Musical,”
which is Rated R, and will take place Oct. 1 through 17.
The December 2021 production at JCAHC will be a return of the “Innovative Theatre Challenge,”
which will give playwrights from across the Kansas City Metro area an opportunity to submit new work that will compete to be a new production, which will take place indoors Dec. 10 through 24. The first “Innovative Theatre Challenge”
in 2020, drew 14 entries and resulted in the successful production of a show called “And to All…A Swipe Right.”
A rating for this show also has yet to be determined, depending on the successful entries.
2021 audition dates have yet to be announced, but Bair said he anticipates these will take place in mid- to late-April, and will result in the casting of about 150 performers for this year’s shows. TIP holds open auditions, and no prior experience in theater is needed to audition. Audition information is announced and posted on theatreinthepark.org
, and also sent out via the TIP e-newsletter, which you can sign up for at www.theatreinthepark.org
Although specific films have not yet been announced, officials anticipate the popular Movies in the Park program will also return in 2021. Through this program, patrons can see popular films on a 40-foot screen on the TIP stage on selected summer nights when musical productions are not scheduled.
Much more information about all of TIP’s productions is available on the Theatre in the Park website