This is the 34th year that Frosty White has auditioned at The Theatre in the Park.
His first show? “The Music Man” in 1982. And there’ve been a lot since then.
“I don’t audition for a particular show, I like them all,” White said. “I take whatever they give me. It’s just a pleasure to be in a show.”
White was among about 582 theater hopefuls — 113 more than last year — who participated in the two-dayTheatre in the Park auditions held March 4 and 5 in the new Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., in the former King Louie West building. The official opening of the center will be in May.
Last season White, who lives in Overland Park, was in “The Drowsy Chaperone.” “It was a special show for me because my daughters, Stasha Case and Trudy Hurley, and Trudy’s daughter, Lauryn, were in the cast too,” hes said. “We’ve been together in four or five shows before but it’s always special.”.
White played the superintendent and was in the ensemble. Hurley, who lives in Shawnee, portrayed the chaperone. It was her 15th show at The Theatre in the Park. Lauryn, 16, was in the ensemble and Case played Kitty, a ditzy flapper.
Contrast White with Ron Kole, who recently moved to Overland Park from Spokane, Wash., and was auditioning for The Theatre in the Park for the first time.
“I’d been in shows in Spokane and Frosty told me I’d like The Theater in the Park. So here I am,” he said nodding toward White who was sitting beside him.
Tim Bair, producing artistic director of The Theatre in the Park, was especially pleased with the large turnout for this year’s auditions and the spacious interior of the renovated building that includes a 300-seat theatre. “I think it may be one of the best auditions we’ve had. Everything went smoothly, like a well-oiled machine,” he said.
“Of the 582 participants — except 17 who walked in late Sunday and 30 who sent in video auditions —all reserved timeslots in advance which eliminated hours of sitting around waiting for their turn to audition,” he added.
Bair said “Grease,” the premiere production in the Arts and Heritage Center’s new theatre, will be June 9 and run through June 25.
Kameron Green, 41, hadn’t auditioned for a show at The Theatre in the Park show since 2004. “I was in five shows at The Theatre from “Peter Pan” in 1994 to “9 to 5” in 2004 when I moved to Michigan. Now I’m back in Overland Park auditioning again.”
“I’d like to be in “Crazy for You” or “Grease.” I’ve always wanted to do them,” she said.
Erin Keehn, 21, now in her third year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, was auditioning at The Theatre in the Park for the first time. “I’ve been singing all my life,” she said. “I’m also teaching music part time at Meyer Music in Overland Park.”
“I didn’t audition for a certain show,” Keehn said. “I’ll be happy with anything I get. Of course, playing Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” would be nice,” she said with a laugh. “It’s my dream role.”
Andrew Ramaley, 45, is another performer auditioning for the Theater in the Park for the first time. “I’ve been in several shows at the Lawrence Theatre,” he said. “Last year I was a man-eating plant in “The Little Shop of Horrors.” It was a fun part. In fact, it’s one of my favorites,” he said.
“I just like theater,” said Mike Brown, 74, who lives I Kansas City. “I’ve been in four shows at The Theatre in the Park. The last one was “Guys and Dolls.” I’d like a part in “Crazy for You” or “Spamalot.”
Addison Landes, 13, a student at Frontier Trails Middle School in Olathe, was in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” last year at The Theatre in the Park. “It was a lot of fun so I decided to try out again,” Landes said.
“I’ll take any part but I would like to be in “Beauty and the Beast.” I’ve been singing since I was six years old so any part would be good,” she said.
“I’d really like to have a role in “Crazy for You” or “Beauty and the Beast,” said Allison Huddleston, 18, Shawnee, a senior at Shawnee Mission Northwest. “I’d love to play Belle in “Beauty and the Beast,” of course. But anything would be good.”
Huddleston is in dance at SM Northwest. “I was a dancer in both “Cabaret” and “Mary Poppins” at The Theatre in the Park.”
Another Shawnee Mission Northwest student, Amanda Dulny, 17, a junior, would like a role in “Beauty and the Beast,” too.
Dulny, who also lives in Shawnee, has been in “Cinderella,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and last year “Mary Poppins” at The Theatre in the Park. She’s presently in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” at Northwest.
“I love to sing and dance, especially dancing. I just love performing. I hope to make musical theater my career,” Dulny said.
Morgan Ball, 19, a student at Missouri State University in Springfield, also wants to make a career of musical theater. “I love everything about it, singing, dancing, all of it,” he said.
“I was in “The Secret Garden” at The Theatre in the Park last summer,” Ball said. “My choices for this year are “Crazy for You,” “Back to the 80s” or “Beauty and the Beast.” If I don’t get any of the three I’ll take what I can get,” Ball said with a laugh.
The Theatre in the Park’s 2017 season opens June 2 with “Spamalot.”