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Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011

The world’s a stage for Theatre in the Park

Special to The Olathe News

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In an unprecedented step off its home stage, Theatre in the Park this year is presenting “An Olde Fashioned Holiday Supper Club” at the Mildale Farm in Edgerton.

The yultide event, which features a meal and holiday songs by community theater performers, is part of producing artistic director Tim Bair’s plan to expand the organization’s reach.

“Events such as this one — which we would like to see become a holiday tradition — increased rentals of the new pavilion adjacent to The Theatre and expanding the season from four to five shows that will include more current productions are some of the steps we’re taking,” Bair said. “Down the road I’d like to have a multicultural music festival and possibly a bluegrass festival.”

The Johnson County Parks and Recreation District’s Mildale Farm, with cottage houses and an equestrian-style main barn, is at 35250 W. 199th St. in Edgerton. For the “Olde Fashioned Holiday Supper Club” it will be decorated for the holiday and open for tours, Bair said.

Breakfast shows will include a buffet, a craft station where youngsters can make their own holiday ornaments and a visit from Santa Claus. Parents are invited to bring cameras for photos of their children with Santa.

Matinees offer hors d’oeuvres, a salad, a choice of beef or vegetarian entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages. Evening dinner shows include hors d’oeuvres, a salad, a choice of beef, chicken, pork or vegetarian entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverages. Diners can buy wine and beer at the dinner shows.

Entertainment at each of the 12 shows is a holiday music revue featuring Julie O’Rourke-Kaul of Overland Park and her sister Laura VanLeeuwen of Olathe, Kipp Simmons of Kansas City, Kan., and Curt Crespino of Kansas City. The show is directed by Bair with musical direction by Dolores Duran-Cefalu, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

O’Rourke-Kaul most recently played Janet in “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the Barn Players and Erzulie in “Once On This Island” at the Jewish Community Center She is singing this holiday season with the Dickens Carolers and also is a member of the Kansas City Divas with Epic Entertainment.

VanLeeuwen recently was music director/conductor for “Avenue Q” at the Jewish Community Center. She is in her 19th year as director of choral activities at Shawnee Mission West High School. Under her leadership, the school’s choirs have performed across the country, including at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She holds four music degrees with masters’ in voice performance and choral conducting from the Univerity of Missouri-Kansas City.

Simmons has performed in Chicago-area theaters and was in the national tours of “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” He recently started directing and has choreographed “Schoolhouse Rock Live!,” “Big River” and “Babes in Hollywood” at The Chestnut Fine Arts Center. He’s appeared in “Hello Dolly,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “West Side Story” and “Fiddler on the Roof” at Theatre in the Park.

Crespino has performed in 12 productions at The Theatre in the Park, including “Guys and Dolls,” “Beauty and the Beast” and twice as Marcellus in “The Music Man.” His last show at Theatre in the Park was in 2007 when he played Motel in “Fiddler on the Roof.” He has appeared in Kansas City theatres in “Urinetown,” “Godspell,” “Forever Plaid” and “You Can’t Take It With You.” He also has served on directing staffs.

Duran-Cefalu is a longtime acquaintance of Bair and was associated with him in productions at the American Music Theater in San Jose, Calif., where Bair was artistic director before moving to Theatre in the Park.

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Showtime

“An Olde Fashioned Holiday Supper Club” plays 12 shows next month: 9 a.m. Dec. 10 and 11; 1 p.m. Dec. 7, 10 and 11; and 7 p.m. Dec. 5 to 11.

Tickets for breakfast shows cost $18.50 for adults and $14.50 for children 12 and under. Matinee tickets cost $39.75 and evening tickets cost $47.50.

Visit www.theatre inthepark.org/holiday to learn more or order tickets.

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