By David Markham
An overworked mother and her teenage daughter who magically swap bodies, and a family’s adventures at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair kick off the Theatre in the Park’s 54th outdoor season in Shawnee Mission Park during June.
Disney’s “Freaky Friday,” which is Rated G, will be on the park’s stage June 2 through 4, and June 7 through 10, while “Meet Me in St. Louis,” also Rated G; will be presented on June 16 through 18, and June 21 through 24. Also during June, the first two films of the 2023 Movies in the Park program, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” and “Lilo & Stitch,” will be presented on TIP’s outdoor stage.
A new musical based on the celebrated novel by Mary Rodgers, the hit 1976 Disney movie and its 2003 remake, “Freaky Friday” is a heartfelt, comedic, and unexpectedly emotional update on this classic. By spending a day in each other's shoes, mom Katherine and daughter Ellie come to appreciate one another's struggles, learn self-acceptance, and realize the immeasurable love and mutual respect that bond a mother and daughter.
This show will run approximately 2.5 hours with one 15-minute intermission.
Based on the 1944 Judy Garland movie of the same name, “Meet Me in St. Louis” is set in the summer of 1903, when everyone in the Smith family is eagerly anticipating the opening of the 1904 World’s Fair. Over the course of a year, the family's mutual respect, tempered with good-natured humor, helps them through romance, opportunity, and heartbreaks.
This show will run approximately 2 hours with one 15-minute intermission.
Other shows in TIP’s 2022 outdoor season are: “13,” Rated PG, June 30 through July 8; Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” Rated PG, July 14 through 22; and “Footloose,” Rated PG, July 28 through Aug. 5.
Much more information about the theatre and this year’s productions is available at the Theatre in the Park’s website, theatreinthepark.org.
For outdoor productions, the box office opens at 7 p.m., gates to the theatre bowl open at 7:30 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. A limited number of reserved tickets for outdoor chairs are also available for every performance for $20 each.
Continuing in 2023 are Thrifty Thursdays when a 20% 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 on the evening of the specific show.
Also returning are Movies in the Park, a program that lets participants see popular recent films on a big screen on the TIP stage for only $1 per person at the gate. With the exception of two Friday screenings during August, films are shown on selected Tuesday nights when musical productions are not scheduled. The other two films listed here will be presented on Friday nights in August after the TIP outdoor season concludes.
Shows for 2023 Movies in the Park in the bowl at TIP are: “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs,” rated PG, on June 6; “Lilo & Stitch,” rated PG, on June 20; “Toy Story 4,” rated G, on July 18; “Trolls World Tour,” rated G, on Aug. 1; “The Goonies,” rated G, on Aug. 11; and “Top Gun Maverick,” Rated PG-13 on Aug. 18.
Visitors to TIP this summer will also be able to view a temporary public art installation called “Cloud Cover” by Kansas City Visual Artist Chris Dahlquist (see related story). This photographic sculpture is a surprising play on perspective, giving a colorful greeting to visitors to Theatre in the Park and the nearby trails. Using photographs of clouds printed on bright acrylic suspended overhead, Cloud Cover celebrates the intersection of the colored stage lights and the open skies intrinsic to the park. It provides a fun and engaging respite from the sun while inviting viewers to lay back, look up, and slow down. This installation is located near the south entrance to the theatre bowl. Find out more about Dahlquist’s work at theatreinthepark.org/temporary-art-2023.
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 outdoor season is sponsored by AdventHealth Shawnee Mission. Sponsorships for specific shows are still available, and you can learn more by calling Development Manager Kelly Blandford at 913-826-3448 or at [email protected].