|Sweeney Todd launches The Theatre in the Park’s 43rd season on June 8|
“I’d like to think we are taking strides toward appealing to a larger demographic by producing ‘new’ shows that might appeal to folks that perceive the park as only presenting shows that are ‘kid friendly,’” said The Theatre in the Park Producing Creative Director Tim Bair. “While we will always present shows in our season that are family friendly, the shows in this season offer a more diverse range of characters and possibilities for actors in our community.”
“Sweeney Todd,” which has an R rating, will run June 8 through 10 and June 14 through 17. This chilling, suspenseful, heart-pounding masterpiece of murderous barber-ism and culinary crime tells the infamous tale of the unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife.
Next up is “Legally Blonde,” which will be produced on The Theatre in the Park stage June 22 through 24 and June 28 through July 1. PG-rated for a few instances of language, this is the story of sorority star Elle Woods who follows her former boyfriend to Harvard Law School and learns along the way that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
Theatre patrons often bring blankets, lawn chairs, and picnic baskets and come early to enjoy the park setting before the show begins. The Theatre in the Park presents seven performances of each show. Opening night for every production falls on a Friday night with performances Friday through Sunday the first week and Thursday through Sunday evenings the following week. Typically, each performance lasts about two hours with a 20-minute intermission.
For all productions, the box office opens at 6:30 p.m., gates open at 7:30 p.m., and the show begins at 8:30 p.m. Regular admission for each two-hour show is $8 for adults, $6 for kids ages four to 10, plus tax. Children ages three and younger are free. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at http://www.theatreinthepark.org/ticket-options. “Anytime” tickets available via either ticket-buying method make it extremely easy to go to a show because the tickets are not specific to a certain night or performance and can be printed out and scanned at the gate.
New for 2012 is a 20 percent discount on Thursday night performances, of which there is one during the second week of each show. This makes adult tickets $6.40 and children’s tickets $4.80, plus tax. The discounted tickets must be purchased at the box office for the specific show. As was initiated in 2011, Sunday night performances are “picnic nights” when the gates open at 6 p.m. and patrons are encouraged to come early and enjoy a picnic in the theatre bowl.
Also available are: 80 reserved seats for each show, which must be purchased in advance for $20 for a specific evening; convenient reserved parking spaces available for $5 each; and three different “Star Packages,” which include 20 to 30 tickets and an array of “extras.”
Other shows of the 2012 season will include: a G-rated Disney Double Feature consisting of one-act versions of both “The Jungle Book” and “Sleeping Beauty” on July 6 through 8 and July 12 through 15; “Urinetown, which has a PG rating, on July 20 through 22 and July 26 through 29; and “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” also G-rated, on Aug. 3 through 5 and Aug. 9 through 12.
Much more information about the theatre and this year’s productions is available on The Theatre in the Park website, including a complete synopsis of the each show which parents who may be concerned about the rating of a particular show can use to help them make a more informed decision about whether the production is suitable for their child.
The Theatre in the Park is located north of the main entrance to Shawnee Mission Park at 7710 Renner Road in Shawnee.