Pictured: The Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center
by Jason Epperson
Spinning Tree Theatre has announced the 2019-20 season of four mainstage productions, which will have them moving to the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.
“Our organization is honored to have been invited to produce our ninth season at Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center,” said Artistic Director Michael Grayman-Parkhurst. “The center features a state-of-the-art black box performance space with the latest sound and lighting equipment and comfortable patron seating as well as a vast, accessible lobby and parking lot. We look forward to continuing to produce intimate experiences of contemporary shows that highlight exceptional storytelling performed by Kansas City’s finest talent.”
The season features “Every Brilliant Thing” by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe; “Caroline, or Change” by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, “Girlfriend” by Todd Almond and Matthew Sweet, based on Sweet’s 1991 rock album; and Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s “La Cage aux Folles.” “Every Brilliant Thing,” “Caroline, or Change,” and “Girlfriend” are all Kansas City premieres.
The company will also inaugurate their Youth Theatre Project, a two-week musical theatre intensive for teenagers to be held June 10-23, 2019. Additionally, they will continue the Spinning Tree Sings! cabaret series featuring Kansas City-based musical theatre and jazz vocalists.
Season tickets are on sale at spinningtreetheatre.com or by calling Central Ticket Office at (816) 235-6222. Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center is at 8788 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas (the former King Louie bowling alley/ice skating rink). The final show of this season, “Billy Elliot,” will still take place at Just Off Broadway Theatre, April 4-20.
Spinning Tree’s 2019-20 Season (show descriptions from the press release):
Every Brilliant Thing
by Duncan Macmillan and Jonny Donahoe
August 16 – September 1, 2019
Kansas City premiere
You’re seven years old. Mom’s in the hospital. Dad says she’s “done something wrong.” She finds it hard to be happy. So you start to make a list of everything that’s brilliant about the world. Everything that’s worth living for. 1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies… 6. Me. You leave it on her pillow. You know she’s read it because she’s corrected your spelling. So begins a moving, insightful and hilarious new one-person play that is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Audiences are taken on a remarkable journey that truly examines what makes life worth living – and the power of theatre to bring people together.
Caroline, or Change
book and lyrics by Tony Kushner
music by Jeanine Tesori
November 8-24, 2019
Kansas City premiere
A moving portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval. Set in 1963 Louisiana, the musical focuses on Caroline – a maid working in the sweltering basement of the Gellman household – and her relationship with 8-year-old Noah Gellman. The score combines spirituals, blues, Motown and Jewish klezmer and folk music.
book by Todd Almond
music and lyrics by Matthew Sweet
January 24 – February 9, 2020
Kansas City premiere
A vibrant and tender coming-of-age musical duet from when flannel was the height of fashion and mixtapes were the language of love. It’s 1993 in small-town Nebraska during the summer between high school and whatever comes next. College-bound jock Mike and self-assured but aimless Will find themselves drawn to each other. Their rush of first-time love, full of excitement, confusion
La Cage aux Folles
music and lyrics by Jerry Herman
book by Harvey Fierstein
April 17 – May 3, 2020
The only show to win 3 Tony Awards for Best Musical: one for the original (1984) and one for each of its revivals (2005 & 2010)!
The 20-year relationship between Georges (a club owner) and Albin (the head drag performer) faces a test when their son announces his engagement to the daughter of ultra-conservative parents. To please their son, Georges and Albin agree to hide their relationship and play it straight for a dinner with the potential in-laws. A fabulously fun musical (featuring the iconic song “I Am What I Am”) about family, identity and loving who you are.