The Coterie Announces 2018/2019 40th Anniversary Season

The Coterie Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Season will entertain, engage, and serve as memorable experiences that all generations of the family can share. Highlighted in the season of two plays and four musicals, selected by Producing Artistic Director, Jeff Church, will be the world premiere of a new play about a teenaged Martin Luther King Jr., written by noted local screenwriter and playwright, Kevin Willmott, a professor of Film Studies at Kansas University and a respected local filmmaker who recently won the Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival for the feature film, “BlacKkKlansman,” which he co-wrote with Spike Lee. The Coterie’s season will also feature a new family musical that features music made popular by The Beatles.

Often theaters use anniversaries to look back at what’s been accomplished,” says Church, explaining The Coterie’s different take on an anniversary season. “But, at The Coterie, we serve as an early introduction to live theatre to many of the young people in our audience and those experiences become touchstones that are shared with their friends and classmates, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents. It inspires us to use this anniversary as not just an opportunity to look back, but as a springboard for what’s coming ahead – how we’ll connect to the next generation. Our mission has always been to open lines of communication between races, sexes, and generations, and this season’s line-up does that well on so many levels.



Becoming Martin
By Kevin Willmott

September 18 – October 21, 2018
For families with AGES 11+

Kicking off The Coterie’s season will be the world premiere of Becoming Martin, commissioned by The Coterie from Kevin Willmott, centered on the mentorship Martin Luther King, Jr., receives when he enters Morehouse College at age 15. Through debate over civil disobedience concepts, Morehouse College President, Dr. Benjamin Mays, sets young MLK on a path towards fighting for civil rights. Produced in community partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City and The Black Archives of Mid-America.


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
Script adaptation by Robert Penola  |  Arrangements and orchestrations by Timothy Splain
Based on the animated television special and the stage production directed and conceived by Jeff Frank and First Stage

November 6 – December 30, 2018
For families with ALL AGES

Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. As one reviewer put it, “If adorable is at the top of your Christmas list, save an afternoon or evening for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical… as rich as eggnog!”


Secret Soldiers:
Heroines in Disguise

By Wendy Lement
A co-production with UMKC Theatre

January 22 – February 10, 2019
For families with AGES 10+

True accounts of four women who, for different reasons, served as men in the Civil War. Woven into this unique interactive play: early suffrage movement as well as the formation of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment (the first African American regiment in U.S. history) and Harriet Tubman.


Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Script by Robert Kauzlaric
Music & Lyrics by George Howe
A musical of the Newbery Honor Book by Richard & Florence Atwater

February 26 – March 31, 2019
For families with AGES 7+

Mr. and Mrs. Popper’s lives take an adventurous turn when a mysterious box arrives on their doorstep with a penguin inside. Not long after, the local aquarium sends over a female penguin and soon, the Poppers are hearing the patter of 20 little feet. What starts for Mr. Popper as a giant bill for canned shrimp leads to an imaginative journey across America – one that ends in the Antarctic to place the penguin colony in a “life they were meant to lead.”


Beat Bugs:
A Musical Adventure

Based on the Netflix original series “Beat Bugs”
Created by Josh Wakely  |  Written by Sean Cercone & David Abbinanti
Inspired by music made popular by The Beatles

April 16 – May 19, 2019
For families with ALL AGES

A brand new musical featuring five young anthropomorphized insect pals who live in an overgrown suburban backyard. Using music of The Beatles to learn life lessons while having adventures, one little independent bug learns the value of friendship with “A Little Help From My Friends.”


Elephant and Piggie’s
“We are in a Play!”

Script and Lyrics by Mo Willems
Music By Deborah Wicks La Puma

June 11 – August 5, 2019
For families with ALL AGES

One of the most popular and beloved shows The Coterie has ever done returns to the stage! Gerald the Elephant is cautious and Piggie is not. Along with the three nutty Squirelles, these “bestus” friends might get invited to a swimmy fancy costume dancey pool party or decide to spend the day playing ping-pong in silly hats.  This lively and irresistibly charming musical look at friendship has become one of the best-selling and most beloved young readers’ series of the past decade.

Individual tickets, Spotlight Passes, and group reservations for The Coterie’s 2018/2019 mainstage season are available now by calling The Coterie’s box office at 816.474.6552 or visiting

  • Subscriptions: In lieu of season subscriptions, The Coterie offers passes which work like season tickets without committing to a set schedule. Passes range from $110.00-$150.00 and include a variety of benefits including 10 flexible tickets that can be used on a combination of shows in the 2018/2019 Season, priority seating, ticket exchanges, and other privileges.
  • Individual Tickets: Tickets are $12.00-$13.00 for youth under 18, students, and seniors age 60 and older, and $15.00-$19.00 for adults, depending on performance date.
  • Group Pricing: The Coterie offers groups of 20 or more a special preview rate of $5.00 per person the first week of each production. After preview week, groups pay only $5.50 – $10.00 per person, depending on performance date.