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May 28

“Mamma Mia” and “Curtains” launch Theatre in the Park’s 2021 outdoor season

Posted on May 28, 2021 at 3:00 PM by Becky Burnside

The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular 1970s group ABBA, and a musical-theater parody of whodunnit classics kick off the Theatre in the Park’s 52nd outdoor season in Shawnee Mission Park during June. 

“Mamma Mia,” which is rated PG, will be on the park’s stage June 4 through 6, and June 9 through 12, while “Curtains” which is rated PG17; will be presented on June 18 through 20, and June 23 through 26. Also during June, the first two films of the 2021 Movies in the Park program, “The Wizard of Oz” and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” will be presented on the outdoor stage. 

“Mamma Mia” is one of the most popular musicals produced, and nearly has a cult following,” said Producing Artistic Director Tim Bair. “There are so many ABBA songs, and great dancing, of course.”

In the musical, Sophie’s getting married! Even though her mother, Donna, is Sophie's world, she still feels like something is missing…and that’s the father she’s never known.  In an attempt to find out who her father is so that he can walk her down the aisle, Sophie has gone snooping through her mother’s past and come up with three possible fathers. And what’s a girl to do when faced with that dilemma? Invite all three of them of course! Hilarity ensues as Sophie prepares for the wedding, tries to figure out who her real father is, and keep it all secret from her mother. And all of this happens to chart topping ABBA hits including “Super Trooper” “Honey, Honey,” and “Dancing Queen.” Nominated for five Tony Awards®, Mamma Mia is a funny, feel good musical that will leave audiences disco dancing out of the theater.

”Curtains,” while not known as well, is really delightful,” Bair said. “(It features) great tunes by one of the most important and famous writing teams of all time: John Kander and Fred Ebb. It’s a murder mystery musical about a wanna-be musical theater performer detective behind the investigation after a leading lady dies on stage on opening night! I mean, come on. What’s not to love!”

This musical is set in the brassy, bright, and promising year of 1959 where Boston’s Colonial Theatre is hosting the opening night performance of a new musical. When the leading lady mysteriously dies on stage, the entire cast and crew are suspects. Enter a local detective, who just happens to be a musical theater fan! Packed with glorious tunes and a witty, charming script filled with delightful characters, “Curtains” is a hilarious journey for both performers and the audience.

Other shows in TIP’s 2021 outdoor season are: 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.

Much more information about the theater and this year’s productions is available at The Theatre in the Park’s website, theatreinthepark.org.

Bair said that after TIP’s outdoor scheduled was cancelled in 2020 because of COVID-19, he’s hopeful folks are ready to get out of the house and enjoy some live theater again.

“We are just really excited to get to do what we do again! I’m looking forward to a great summer with terrific casts, crews, and patrons. I really am expecting good crowds this summer. Plus, we’ve got some really popular shows with “Mamma Mia,” “Cinderella,” and “Newsies,” and the other two are intriguing enough that I think people will want to see them just out of sheer curiosity! This pandemic has been a giant cloud over us for so long…it’s time for some fun, frothy musical theatre to lift everyone’s spirits!”

For outdoor productions, gates open at 7 p.m., and shows begin at 8:30 p.m.  General admission is $10 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 2021 is Thrifty Thursdays when a 20 percent discount is offered on Thursday night performances. This makes adult tickets $8 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 two Thursday screenings during August, films are shown on selected Tuesday nights when musical productions are not scheduled. Shows for 2021 Movies in the Park are: “The Wizard of Oz,” rated PG, on June 8; “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” rated PG, on June 22;   Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” rated G, on July 6; “Moana,” rated PG, on July 20; Disney’s “Tangled,” rated PG, on Aug. 3; “The Incredibles,” rated PG, on Aug. 13; and “Up,” rated PG, on Aug. 20.

The Theatre in the Park’s outdoor location is north of the main entrance to Shawnee Mission Park at 7710 Renner Road in Shawnee. 

This year’s Theatre in the Park productions, and the Movies in the Park presentations are sponsored by AdventHealth Shawnee Mission and FNBO. 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.