The Kansas City Repertory Theatre has lost its popular annual holiday production of “A Christmas Carol” to COVID-19, but the company hopes to start a new tradition. In the process, it will give local theater enthusiasts a rare outlet for entertainment during this pandemic.
KC Rep artistic director Stuart Carden today announced the first event for a revised 2020-21 season, and it will be like no production Kansas City has seen. “Ghost Light: A Haunted Night of Songs and Stories from KC’s Cultural Crossroads,” is a hybrid concert and ghost story event to be staged Oct. 22-31 on the south lawn of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Carden, who indicated “Ghost Light” will become an annual offering, said his inspiration for the production came from his youth outside Louisville, Kentucky.
“One of my favorite childhood memories is my family’s annual trip to a ghost storytelling festival,” he said. “Together with families and new friends, we would lay out our blankets under a field of stars and be transported by classic ghost stories.
“Come ready to have your imagination transported by original songs and new versions of traditional ghost stories created just for this evening by some of KC’s most compelling storytellers and musicians.”
Storytellers will include playwright and TV writer Nathan Louis Jackson, who wrote “Sticky Traps” and “Broke-ology” for KC Rep; Jane Barnette, witch scholar, author and University of Kansas professor; and Maria Vasquez Boyd of the Latino Writers Collective.
Among the musicians will be Madisen Ward (of the mother-son duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear) featuring Mike Harte, Freight Train Rabbit Killer, Indie-Americana singer Sam Wells and folk musician Jessica Paige.
The 85-minute show will have six performances (Oct. 22-24 and 29-31), beginning at 7 p.m. each evening. Seating on the lawn will be arranged in 8-foot circular “pods,” each accommodating up to four people and costing $80.
Audience members must provide their own lawn chairs and blankets and are welcome to bring food and drink, although concessions will be available. Social-distance protocols will be enforced, with masks required except while seated in a ticketed area.
“This all-ages, outdoor music and storytelling experience is one of many safe and fun events we are planning to help uplift and connect KC friends and families during this unique time,” Carden said.
KC Rep, which typically draws 100,000 attendees each year, canceled its seven-play 2020-21 season in August. Virtually all other area theater events also have been canceled since mid-March and through the end of the year. Among the few shows that have survived are virtual productions by MTH Theater at Crown Center and The Coterie’s ongoing “Electric Poe” at Union Cemetery.
For tickets or more information on “Ghost Light,” visit kcrep.org or call 816-235-2700.
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