Come hear the music play: Theatre in the Park’s 2016 season is here
In her first experience with Theatre in the Park, Alison Huddleston is learning a lot and having a good time doing it.
“I really like it. Everyone is really on top of their game and very responsible,” said the Shawnee Mission Northwest student who will be a senior in the fall. “Everyone just has the same attitude of just wanting to make the show great, which is something that I appreciate.”
Huddleston is one of 24 cast members appearing in Theatre in the Park's season debut, “Cabaret,” which opened Friday and runs through Saturday. The country's largest outdoor amphitheater is located in Shawnee Mission Park, 7710 Renner Road.
In "Cabaret," Huddleston plays Lulu, a dancer at the Kit Kat Club cabaret, where much of the musical's action unfolds. The role is a bit racier than those she has previously undertaken, said Huddleston, who has long been involved in both theater and dance.
“It's a fun part to play, there's lots of dancing, which is something that I really enjoy,” Huddleston said. “It's also challenging acting-wise, so it's growing me as an actress.”
The show is set in 1930s Berlin, just as the Nazi party is rising to power. There's a lot of fun to be had from “Cabaret's” lively dancing and musical numbers, but there's a strong message to be drawn from the show too. Toward the end of the last act, in “Cabaret's” titular song, main character and night club act Sally Bowles (Liz Golson of Overland Park) almost defiantly invites everyone to put away their troubles and “come hear the music play” — for at least as long as they can in an atmosphere of growing hatred and anti-semitism.
“Underneath all the fun dancing and stuff, it just wakes people up,” Huddleston said. “I think that when people put up blinders around them and only focus on their own life, how the world around them can drastically change for better or for worse.”
Huddleston will also perform in Theatre in the Park's production of “Mary Poppins,” scheduled for later in the season.
Due to the show's adult language and themes, “Cabaret” is rated PG-16. But there is a lot more in store this season for both younger youths and adults. See the complete schedule below:
Theatre in the Park main stage productions
All shows start at 8:30 p.m.; box office opens at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for youths ages 4-10 and free for those 3 and under.
Dates: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
• “The Drowsy Chaperone”
Dates: June 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24 and 25
• “A Chorus Line”
Dates: July 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9
• “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”
Dates: July 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 and 23
• “Mary Poppins”
Dates: July 29, 30 and 31; Aug. 3, 4, 5 and 6
Movies in the Park
A series of family-friendly films shown on a large, outdoor screen.
Movies begin between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m. Gates open at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $1 per person and free for youths ages 3 and under.
• “Frozen” sing-a-long event
• “Cinderella,” 2015 version
Date: June 21
Date: July 5
• “Inside Out”
Date: July 19
Date: Aug. 2
Date: Aug. 13
• “Ferris Bueller's Day Off”
Date: Aug. 20
Date: Aug. 27
Patrons are welcome to bring their own blankets or low beach chairs for performances, but there are also 80 reservable chairs available for $20 plus tax. Guests may bring in their own food or soft drinks (sorry, no alcohol allowed), and there will be also be concessions available for purchase. More information is at www.theatreinthepark.org.