Wichita Live Theatre Preview: Fall & Holiday 2019
Ah, fall and winter holidays in Wichita. The spicy smells of baked goods, crisp evenings, decorated porches, Crock Pot dinners simmering away...and a full slate of live theatre productions to enjoy!
Whether you're a Wichita theatre devotee, looking for some fun holiday activities, or just need some way to get visiting family out of the house for awhile (for the love of fruitcake, you can NOT listen to Uncle Bob's gallbladder surgery story one more time!) … there's something playing that's sure to fit the bill.
"Pericles" by Wichita Shakespeare Company
Here's your chance to check one of Shakespeare's rarest plays off your "seen-it" list. This version features an all-female cast who collectively plays over 40 characters: the dashing hero, swarthy sailor, raucous pirate, virtuous young maiden, wicked queen and more! It plays in several Wichita area parks throughout September.
Performances are free to the public, though donations are accepted. Pack a picnic dinner, some bug spray, a blanket or lawn chair, and enjoy Shakespeare in the Park!
Fri Sept 6 – College Hill Park, Wichita
Sat Sept 7 – Buffalo Park, Wichita
Sun Sept 8 – University Friends Church, Wichita (indoor performance)
Fri Sept 13 – Central Riverside Park, Wichita
Sat Sept 14 – Hap McLean Park, Park City
Sun Sept 15 – Andover Central Park
Fri Sept 20 – College Hill Park, Wichita
Sat Sept 21 – High Park, Derby
Sun Sept 22 – Central Riverside Park, Wichita
Kechi Playhouse wraps up its 37th season with two very different shows. The egos of a maestro conductor and his opera diva wife drive their ghostwriters frantic in "Living on Love," a wacky romantic comedy playing Sept. 9–29. Closing out the season is "Fireflies," a gentle romantic comedy based on the novel "Eleanor and Abel." This charming show about the unexpected spark of late-life romance is the perfect way to spend a cool fall evening. It runs Oct. 4–27.
Mosley Street Melodrama
Need to entertain out-of-town guests, or just wanting to have a fun night out? A show at Mosley Street Melodrama is the ticket. You'll be in stitches all though the audience-interactive comedy, then humming and toe-tapping along during the musical comedy revue that follows. See "Harry Squatter and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" Sept. 13–Nov. 2, and "Is Jack Frost Nipping at Your Hose? Or, Christmas at the Firehouse" Nov. 15–Dec. 28. Holiday season shows fill up fast at Mosley Street, so book early.
Making its regional premiere at Roxy's, "tick, tick...BOOM!" is the critically acclaimed musical autobiography of "RENT" author Jonathan Larson. It runs Sept. 6–29. Up next is "Hocus Pocus," an unauthorized musical parody of the cult classic. You'll want to run amuck with the three witch sisters, but watch out—this show will cast a spell on you! It runs Oct. 11–Nov. 3.
Roxy's does something different for the holidays this year with a production of "A Tuna Christmas," the second in a beloved series of plays by Jaston Williams. Two men play over 20 eccentric characters of multiple genders and ages in this affectionate yet satirical take on small-town Southern life and attitudes. Catch it Nov. 14–Dec. 22.
Forum Theatre Wichita
The Forum Theatre Company presents the 2010 Tony Award-winning "Memphis, The Musical" Sept. 26–Oct. 13. Starring a cast of Wichita favorites, this tale of fame, forbidden love and the birth of Rock 'n Roll features explosive dancing and irresistible songs.
A traditional holiday favorite returns this year with The Forum's biennial production of "A Christmas Carol" Dec. 5–22. This Forum original, with music by Paul Jackson and book by Conrad Jestmore, entertains and inspires with Dickens' eternal message of hope, love and forgiveness. Sean Michael Morse reprises his role as Scrooge.
WSU School of Performing Arts
Take in two very different shows at WSU's Wilner Auditorium this fall! "The Moors" by Jen Silverman tells the story of two sisters and a dog who live out their lives on the bleak English moors, dreaming of love and power. The arrival of a hapless governess and a moor-hen set them on a strange and dangerous path. This dark comedy plays Oct. 3–6.
The fall season continues with Cole Porter's classic "Anything Goes." You'll want to tap-dance along to this lively musical filled with music, dance, laughs, and the age-old tale of Boy Meets Girl. It plays Oct. 31–Nov. 3.
Music Theatre for Young People
Music Theatre for Young People (MTYP) celebrates the power of young people to make a difference with its 2019–2020 season. "Matilda" runs Oct. 11–13 and tells the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to change her own destiny. This captivating Tony Award-winning musical is inspired by the genius of Roald Dahl.
The season continues with "Les Miserables School Edition" running Dec. 13–15. Epic, grand and uplifting, this classic musical packs an emotional wallop that has thrilled audiences all over the world.
Wichita Community Theatre
Bob is being checked into a nursing home. Sometimes he thinks he's God, and sometimes he's right. That's the premise of the fantastical "Almighty Bob," playing Oct. 16–27 at Wichita Community Theatre.
For the holiday season, WCT presents "Christmas Belles" by beloved playwriting team Jones, Hope and Wooten. Join the Futrelle sisters in tiny Fayro, Texas, for a hilarious holiday journey through a misadventure-filled Christmas Eve that is guaranteed to bring joy to your world. It runs Dec. 4–15.
"The Rocky Horror Show" by Signature Theatre and Crown Uptown Theatre
Get ready to do the Time Warp again with this cult favorite, just in time for Halloween! In this live theatrical experience, you'll travel with Brad and Janet as they encounter mad scientist Frank-N-Furter for a thrilling night of creation, love, hate, adventure, and most of all, sex. This musical by Richard O'Brien is presented by Signature Theatre and the Crown Uptown Theatre with performances Oct. 24, 25, 26 and 31.
The PANTS Co. Debut Performance
The PANTS Co., a new experimental theatre group, makes their debut Oct. 29 and 30 at Wichita Community Theatre. Their stated goal is to spark conversation and out-of-the-box thinking...by performing 30 original plays in 60 minutes! How will they pull off this incredible feat? You'll have to attend to find out.
"Fiddler on the Roof" by CYT
Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts program that gives students the opportunity to participate in Broadway style productions. CYT opens its 2019–2020 season with the beloved classic "Fiddler on the Roof." This tale of a Jewish family's joys and struggles in Czarist Russia plays Oct. 31–Nov. 2 at Isely Traditional Magnet School.
"A Grand Night for Singing" by Opera Kansas
Opera Kansas opens its season with a delightful revue of your favorite tunes from Broadway duo Rogers & Hammerstein. "A Grand Night For Singing" offers a fresh take on the R&H canon conceived by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie. Enjoy the music and lyrics you know so well in a brand new way as you take an emotional journey through the stages of love. Two nights only: Nov. 8 and 9 at the Wichita Center for the Performing Arts.
"Long Day's Journey Into Night" by the Guild Hall Players
The Guild Hall Players at St. James Episcopal Church will open their 2019–2020 Season with "Long Day's Journey Into Night" by Eugene O'Neill. This Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning classic family drama is considered by many to be the magnum opus of O'Neill, the first great American playwright. It runs Nov. 14–17.
"Mystery at the Country Music Jamboree" at Prairie Pines Playhouse
Great for holiday parties or a night out with friends and family, Prairie Pines Playhouse Mystery Theatre offers an all-inclusive evening of entertainment. Enjoy an interactive, high-energy "whodunnit" played between courses of a delicious holiday meal. The actors and servers serve dinner directly to your table and interact with guests throughout the night. "Mystery at the Country Music Jamboree" runs Nov. 15–Dec. 23.
"A Very Special Crown Christmas" at the Crown Uptown
What a wonderful holiday gift—the Crown Uptown is once again producing theatre in Wichita! Presented by the Crown Uptown Theatre and Christine Tasheff, this evening promises a bountiful buffet, big laughs and beautiful holiday music to get you into the Christmas spirit. It features Wichita favorites including John Bates, Jenny Mitchell, Ryan Schafer, Cindy Summers, Kyle Vespestad and Madi White. Nov. 22–Dec. 12.
"Keys to My Heart" by FFW and Rock Christian Fellowship
Films From Within (FFW) presents "Keys to My Heart," a gospel stage play full of love, laughter and mystery! It features the talents of 15 local performers. You won't want to miss this one-night-only event, playing Nov. 30 at Rock Christian Fellowship.
"All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914" by Wichita Grand Opera
Wichita Grand Opera presents this documentary-musical that recounts the unofficial ceasefire initiated by a single, unarmed German soldier, who crossed into no-man's-land and began singing "Silent Night." What followed was a night of peace, music and fellowship in the midst of a dreadful war. Sung entirely a cappella by an all-male cast, "All Is Calm" incorporates familiar holiday carols and poignant, harmony-rich battle hymns, interspersed with letters and diary entries written from the trenches. It plays Dec. 13–15.
"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Wichita Children's Theatre and Dance Center
"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" introduces an outrageous family of children who learn the Christmas story and help everyone to rediscover its true meaning. This is an annual holiday tradition from Wichita Children's Theatre & Dance Center you won't want to miss. It plays Dec. 20 and 21 at Century II's Mary Jane Teall Theatre.
What do you want to see?
What shows are you looking forward to most this fall and holiday season? Any recommendations? Share in the comments!