Performing Arts

Starlight season will be filled with shows new to Kansas City

Starlight Theatre’s 2016 subscription season opens with the award-winning “Matilda the Musical,” which has been running on Broadway since 2013.
Starlight Theatre’s 2016 subscription season opens with the award-winning “Matilda the Musical,” which has been running on Broadway since 2013. Starlight Theatre

The 2016 season at Starlight Theatre will be a mix of recent Broadway hits and old favorites, including some shows making their Kansas City debuts.

The season opens with the first weekend special, a return engagement of “Once,” the Tony-winning folk musical about young songwriters in Dublin based on the indie movie of the same title. The show runs May 20-22.

The six-show subscription package gets underway May 24, when “Matilda the Musical” makes its first appearance in Kansas City. Based on Roald Dahl’s novel for young readers, this London and New York hit features music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and a book by Dennis Kelly. The Broadway production, which opened in March 2013, claimed five Tony Awards (including an honorary prize for four child performers) and is still running. The Starlight engagement runs through May 28.

The rest of the season:

▪ “The Bridges of Madison County,” June 14-19. This show, based on the novel by Robert James Waller about the flash-fire romance between an Iowa housewife and a traveling photographer, had a fairly short run on Broadway in 2014, but Jason Robert Brown’s music and lyrics got high marks. Brown, in fact, claimed Tony Awards for both his score and his orchestrations.

▪ “Bullets Over Broadway,” June 28-July 3. This adaptation of Woody Allen’s memorable film about a gangster with writing talent who gets involved in a Broadway show was written by Allen and features a score of 1920s music from various sources. It ran on Broadway in 2014 under Susan Stroman’s direction.

▪ “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” returns to Kansas City for a July 13-19 engagement. Based on the Disney animated film, this show has proven to be a crowd-pleaser for family audiences.

▪ “If/Then,” July 26-31. This show features music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey (the team behind “Next to Normal”). The Broadway production, starring Idina Menzel, opened in 2014 and ran a year. The show tells dual stories reflecting alternate choices the main character could have made.

▪ “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” Aug. 9-14. This smash hit opened on Broadway in 2013 and is still running. It claimed four Tony Awards and stands as one of the liveliest musical comedies to come down the pike in years. The show is based on source material that also inspired the memorable Alec Guinness movie, “Kind Hearts and Coronets.”

▪ Wrapping up the summer will be another weekend special, “The Rat Pack Is Back,” Sept. 9-11. The show celebrates the era when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. were casino headliners in Vegas.

For more information, call 816-363-7827 or go to