In a groundbreaking collaboration with the Coterie Theatre, the Lewis & Shirley White Theatre at the J will be opening Disney’s Newsies on July 7th, with performances running throughout the month of July.
“This is a significant event for a couple of reasons,” stated Keith Wiedenkeller, Director of Arts + Culture at the J. “For one thing, it’s the first locally produced production of Newsies in the KC Metro area since the Broadway touring production in 2016.”
Typically, only professional theatres would have access to Newsies this soon after the Broadway tour, but The White Theatre’s partnership with The Coterie allowed the J’s community theatre venue to get into the Newsies game early.
“The other thing we’re super excited about are the resources we’ve been able to bring to bear due to our Coterie partnership,” Wiedenkeller added. These resources include the prodigious directing and choreography talents of regional theatre superstar, Jerry Jay Cranford, whose professional credits include productions in such venues as the Merry Go Round theatre in New York, The Rose Theatre in Omaha, The New Theatre, Kaufman Center, Starlight, The Coterie and numerous other professional venues here in Kansas City, as well as several Broadway touring productions. In his “spare time,” Cranford teaches theatre at Kansas State University.
The partnership between the White Theatre and The Coterie also led to acquisition of an amazing set rivaling anything one might see on Broadway, created by Fourth Wall Scenic out of Dallas, Texas. The $75,000 set is truly stunning, and is the first time The White Theatre has engaged in renting a set of this scale.
Lastly, the Coterie’s network of talent helped supplement to usual pool from which the White Theatre is able to draw, featuring several local up-and-coming stars, as well as some established local theatre icons.
“At the end of the day, this will be a production to rival anything that could be seen in the region,” said Wiedenkeller, “and you won’t have to pay Broadway prices or put up with parking hassles … it’s the best of both worlds.”
Disney’s Newsies runs July 7th through the 29th at the White Theatre, 5801 W 115th Street, in Overland Park, Kansas. Call 913-327-8054 or visit www.TheWhiteTheatre.org for tickets.