The Starlight Theatre has been the main stage for Kansas City, MO since 1950. Located in Swope Park, the outdoor venue has been in continuous operation since 1951.
The idea for an outdoor stage for the city began in the mid-1940’s and became a pressing issue as the 100thAnniversary of Kansas City came into view. On June 4th, 1950 an historical revue titled “Thrills of a Century” became the first production in the yet unfinished facility. The historic revue used local talent and included “props” such as the actual locomotive that crossed the Hannibal Bridge 81 years before to help bring settlers and business people to the new city. The success of that first production inspired and encouraged the Park Board of Directors to move ahead to complete the Starlight Theatre. Using grants from the City, and on June 25, 1951, the first Broadway production of “The Desert Song” was staged. The Theatre has undergone many expansions and improvements since those first shows. In 2013, the Starlight won the Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Manager (IAVM). That prestigious award says that Kansas City has “the best of the best” outdoor performing arts venue!
The Starlight Theatre has become a year-round performing arts center with Broadway Shows, Concerts, educational opportunities, and outreach programs to introduce children to live theatre. This not-for-profit organization keeps growing and serving Kansas City residents and visitors to the area.
The Broadway Series features for the rest of the summer include: Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” (June 29 – July 1); “Hairspray” (July 27 – August 2); “Love Never Dies” (August 14 – 19); “Chicago” (September 14 – 16); and “The Illusionists – Live from Broadway (September 28 – 30).
There are still 20 events remaining in the Concert Series (sponsored by Capitol Federal)! Some of the remaining shows include: Chicago and REO Speedwagon (June 27); Ray LaMontagne (July 8); STYX and Joan Jet (July 10); The Comedy Get Down (July 13); Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band (September 3);Counting Crows and Live (September 11); Deep Purple & Judas Priest (September 18). Check out the complete line-up of concerts for the rest of 2018’s outdoor series.
Tickets for all events are available online – of course!
Education and Community Outreach are vital to the continued success of Starlight Theatre! There are two summer camp sessions available for kids on the Kansas City area – both are titled “Act Like An Animal Camp”. These camps are held in conjunction with the Kansas City Zoo and the participants learn about the animals for half of the day then learn the acting skills needed to “Act Like An Animal” during the other half of the day. The creativity of the kids is just amazing! That program is just one of the educational opportunities in performance arts.
Outreach from Starlight reaches Young Adult Professionals to offer networking and “backstage” knowledge of the theatre and how it benefits the community, thereby strengthening future growth and support of the organization. Another ourreach program takes live theatre to some of Kansas City’s most vulnerable young residents by performing in hospitals or social service agencies. “Just Imagine” takes four professional actors (and props) to these locations to brighten the children’s day and perhaps give them a “spark” of live theatre.
Your attendance at any of the concerts or shows produced at Starlight Theatre supports our community as well as providing a wonderful night of entertainment for you! Since our B&B isolated just 10 miles from the theatre, the 16 minute drive makes it easy to get there and to return “home”. Make your reservation to stay at Hawthorn B&B and purchase your ticket to one of the fantastic shows or concerts for a wonderfully entertaining getaway.