The Theatre in the Park has raised the curtain on its 2017 season.
The schedule offers a variety of entertainment ranging from the comedy “Spamalot,” the season opener June 2, to the enchanting fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast,” bringing down the final curtain Aug. 5 .
In between are “Crazy For You,” loaded with popular Gershwin tunes, “Camp Rock, the Musical” a rocking story about teen-agers at summer camp, and “Back to the 80s,” reminiscing with a high school senior class.
“Spamalot,” “Camp Rock,” and “Back to the 80s” are being produced at The Theatre in the Park for the first time.
“I’m excited about having three new shows for our audiences to go with ‘Crazy For You’ and an all-time favorite, ‘Beauty and the Beast,” said Tim Bair, producing artistic director of The Theatre.
“Although ‘Camp Rock’ and ‘Back to the 80s’ aren’t well known both provide opportunities for young performers to showcase their talents on our stage,” Bair said.
In addition to the traditional summer season, the theater group in June will open the new Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center in Overland Park with ‘Grease,’ Bair said. Dates for ‘Grease’ will be announced later.
The arts and heritage center is located in the former King Louie building now being renovated at 8788 Metcalf Ave.
“We’re excited about the Arts and Heritage Center and the opportunities it provides,” Bair said. “Moving into 2017 The Theatre in the Park will present indoor shows....We hope the AHC will become a one-stop hub for all performing arts in Overland Park.”
Jo Geller, executive director of Johnson County Park and Recreation District, said the theater in the arts and heritage center will seat 300. The facility will be available for other community theater groups to rent.
The Theatre in the Park will continue its summer seasons in Shawnee Mission Park and produce four or five shows during the winter at the arts and heritage theater, Geller said.
The Theatre in the Park’s main offices also will move to the Metcalf location.
“Spamalot,” based on the film “Monty Phython and the Holy Grail,” retells the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and features beautiful showgirls, killer rabbits and cows. It’s directed by Barb Nichols who has directed 12 productions at The Theatre in the Park, including “The Secret Garden” last year.
“Crazy For You” follows Bobby Child, a wealthy playboy whose dream in life is to dance. It’s directed by Kevin Bogan, director of traditional/blended worship at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. He directed “Children of Eden” at The Theatre in 2013.
“Camp Rock, the Musical,” a combination of the Disney Channel’s “Camp Rock” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam,” is directed by Mark Swezey, longtime director of theater at Shawnee Mission South. Swezey has directed 20 shows at The Theatre in the Park including “West Side Story” in 2015 and “Cabaret” last year.
“Back to the 80s” revisits the senior class at William Ocean High School with all the “cool,” and not so cool guys and girls, as they’re remembered through the eyes of an over-30 former student.
“Back to the 80s” is directed by Guy Gardner who last year made his debut as a director at The Theatre in the Park with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Steven Eubank, artistic director of Egad Theatre, makes his debut as a director at The Theatre in the Park with the Broadway classic “Beauty and the Beast,” based on the Disney Academy Award winning animated film.
The show is the fourth production co-produced by The Theatre in the Park and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in which the two organizations share the expense of sets, costumes and props and use the same cast at both theatres.
Curtain time at all The Theatre in the Park shows is 8:30 p.m.; box office opens 6 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 adults, $6 youths and children three and under are free.
Ticket prices for “Beauty and the Beast” at the Jewish Community Center have not been announced. The Theatre in the Park is in Shawnee Mission Park, 7710 Renner Road.
The 2017 season
▪ “Spamalot,” June 2-4 and 7-10.
▪ “Crazy For You,” June 16-18 and 21-24.
▪ “Camp Rock, the Musical,” June 30-July 2 and July 5-8.
▪ “Back to the 80s,” July 14-16 and 19-22.
▪ “Beauty and the Beast,” July 8, 13, 15, 20, 22 at 7:30 p.m. and July 9, 16, and 23 at 2 p.m. in White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City; July 28-30 and Aug. 2-5 at The Theatre in the Park.