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Monday, Dec. 02, 2013

Theatre in the Park starts 2014 season with Gilbert and Sullivan

Special to The Star

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The 2014 season “Pirates of Penzance” June 6, 7, 8 and 12, 13, 14; “Guys and Dolls” June 20, 21, 22 and 26, 27, 28; “Honk” July 4, 5, 6 and 10, 11, 12; “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” July 18, 19, 20 and 24, 25, 26; “Ragtime” Aug. 1, 2, 3 and 7, 8, 9.

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The Theatre in the Park will bring a Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera, “The Pirates of Penzance,” to its stage for the first time June 6 to open the 2014 season.

Following “Pirates” is “Guys and Dolls,” last produced at the theater 14 years ago, and “Honk,” “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Ragtime,” also first time shows at the theater.

“Pirates of Penzance” is one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comedic operas with pirates, police officers and dimwitted young lovers. “Guys and Dolls” is a romantic comedy featuring high-rollers and missionary do-gooders. “Honk” is a musical love story based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of the ugly duckling. “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” is a musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic. “Ragtime” is a musical story of life in America at the turn of the last century based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow.

“I’m very excited about our 2014 season,” said producing artistic director Tim Bair. “We’re opening our stage to four shows we’ve never produced before, and, with ‘Pirates of Penzance,’ to a demographic of performers not typically associated with The Theatre in the Park.”

Bair said Gilbert and Sullivan’s work stands out as different from the Theatre in the Park’s usual fare.

“Some people think Gilbert and Sullivan is a different kind of animal and don’t care for family shows,” Bair said. “Performers of the same opinion may not care to audition for what they consider typical Theatre in the Park shows. But offering them the opportunity to do a show like ‘Pirates’ may change their perspective. We want to expand the knowledge of our performing circle.

All shows this season can be considered similar to G-rated films except “Ragtime,” which has adult themes.

Bair said auditions will be held sometime in March. The Tuesday night “Movies under the Stars” will continue this season.

The Theatre in the Park is in Shawnee Mission Park at 7710 Renner Road and is a program of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

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