Starlight Theatre has announced a 2015 season that includes three touring productions of Broadway shows, one Starlight-produced classic and a touring circus spectacle from Montreal.
In addition, the city’s outdoor theater in Swope Park will try something new by booking two “specials” — shows that aren’t part of the regular season but which season ticket holders can switch out with another show that may not be their cup of tea.
▪ “Camelot,” which Starlight’s CEO/president Richard Baker said he and other presenters were booking sight unseen. The new production of the 1960 Lerner & Loewe fable about the love triangle between King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot is produced by Phoenix Entertainment.
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Baker said the creative team’s goal is to “bring back a beloved show with an up-to-date feel. Think of it as ‘Camelot’ with a ‘Game of Thrones’ theme. This is supposed to be the new cool version of ‘Camelot.’”
The “Camelot” tour will allow one teen from each city on the tour to perform a walk-on. Baker said he’s still working out the details of just how a local teen will be chosen.
The show runs June 9-14.
▪ “Pippin,” the touring version of the successful Broadway 2013 revival, will play June 30 through July 5.
The decision to perform on July 4 was in part the result of audience surveys, Baker said.
“One of the questions I asked was if they’d be willing to come on a holiday if that’s what it takes to get better shows,” he said. “I got the show to go in with us, and we’re going to do fireworks that night.”
The show, first staged in 1977, tells the story of young Pippin’s search for meaning, even as he is sent to war by his father, the king. The story is told by an acting troupe, but for the revival director Diane Paulus gave the piece a circus theme. Roger O. Hirson wrote the book, and Stephen Schwartz wrote the music and lyrics.
“I saw it and was just blown away by it,” said Baker, who votes in the annual Tony Awards.
▪ “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” runs July 7-12. The legendary songwriting team first wrote the score for a 1957 TV special, which was produced twice more for television. This new stage version, with a book by Douglas Carter Beane, opened on Broadway in 2013. This will be the touring version of that Broadway production.
▪ “Mary Poppins,” which Starlight will produce, plays July 24-Aug. 2. The stage adaptation of the Disney movie opened on Broadway in 2013 and features all the classic songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, plus additional tunes written for the stage musical.
“One of the things I’m committed to doing is flying Mary Poppins over the audience,” Baker said. “It’s going to cost a little extra money, but I think that’s critical to the piece.”
▪ Cirque Eloize iD, an acrobatic circus troupe based in Montreal, will perform Sept. 8-13. The show features spectacular lighting effects and is couched in a hip-hop sensibility.
“The thing that appealed to me is that it has a little younger feel to it, with a little urban edge,” Baker said. He added that the presentation is different from Cirque du Soleil shows, which feature elaborate costumes.
“This is more like street kids, but still doing these incredible stunts,” he said. He added that the show features dramatic lighting effects and projections, which is why he booked it in September, when the sun sets sooner.
The two “specials” will be weekend runs of “Million Dollar Quartet,” which depicts the early rockabilly stars who recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, and a new tour of the venerable “Annie.”
“Quartet” will run May 22-24 and is actually the first show of the season. “Annie” plays June 19-21.
Baker said the two shows are a way to allow patrons more flexibility without committing to two additional weeklong runs.
“In a way it’s to let our subscribers kind of tailor their own season,” he said.
In other words, if “Cinderella” strikes some potential viewers as too old-school, they can switch that show with “Million Dollar Quartet.” Or if one of the shows doesn’t fit a patron’s schedule, “Annie” could be an option.
“This is a bit of an experiment for us,” he said.
For more information, call 816-363-7827 or go to kcstarlight.com.