Broadway's Philip Wm. McKinley to Direct THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Starlight this Summer

Internationally known Director Philip Wm. McKinley will direct The Sound of Music at Starlight Theatre, July 25-31. McKinley previously directed Broadway's Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark and The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman, as well as the internationally acclaimed "Mozart L'OPERA ROCK" which premiered last year in Tokyo, Japan.

"Starlight is thrilled to have Phil McKinley returning to direct our production of this beloved classic - The Sound of Music. Phil is like family to those of us who have been a part of Starlight for many years. He's an incredibly talented director whose career continues to rise at a staggering rate. We are very lucky he found time in his busy schedule to lead our production," said Donna Thomason, Interim President of Starlight Theatre. "Phil comes to Kansas City after finishing a great run with Spiderman on Broadway. He is known for creating impactful and memorable productions, full of heart, and I have no doubt this production will be one of the highlights of our 64th season."

The Sound of Music marks McKinley's eighth production at Starlight. He previously directed three productions of The Wizard of Oz, (the first in 1991, starring Phyllis Diller that garnered McKinley a Kansas City Drama Desk Award for Best Director); Peter Pan, Big River; Jekyll and Hyde; the Kopit/Yeston Phantom and Grease.

"I'm excited to return to Kansas City and especially to be welcomed back at Starlight. It's a magical venue unlike any other theater in the United States. I hold many fond memories of Starlight and the summers I spent with the Starlight family. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to return to Starlight and give back to the theater that offered me support and encouragement in my early career," McKinley said. "I'm looking forward to the joys and challenges the outdoor theatre offers a director and to working with the cast and company that we're assembling for one of the greatest American musical theater classics, The Sound of Music."

The Sound of Music is the fourth production in Starlight's 2014 Broadway Season and is sponsored by US Bank. This Starlight-produced musical will include well-known actors from the Kansas City community as well as some of Broadway's best. Season and individual tickets will go on sale to the public beginning April 14; group tickets are now on sale. For more information, visit

Philip Wm. McKinley directed the Broadway production of Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. After his taking over the reins the production earned the top box office record, taking in nearly $3 million dollars in one week. Spiderman also has the distinction of being one of the top 20 all time box office grossing productions in Broadway history. McKinley also directed Mozart L'Opera Rock in Tokyo, which has broken Tokyo's theatrical box office records. Standing room only tickets were sold for the production and a revival of the production is scheduled for 2016. Previously, McKinley directed the five-time TONY nominated Broadway musical The Boy From Oz, which earned its star, Hugh Jackman, his first TONY award; the revival of The Most Happy Fella starring Paul Sorvino at the New York City Opera; the Drama Desk-nominated hip comedy Thwak; and the cult Off-Broadway musical Zombie Prom. He was also nominated for a Barrymore Award as Best Director of the new musical Nerds://A Musical Software Satire, which played at the Philadelphia Theater Company and garnered seven Barrymores including Best Score and Best Book for a musical.

McKinley directed Ben Hur Live, an operatic sports spectacular which had its world premiere at London's 02 Arena and was presented in Rome in summer of 2011. It is the largest live production to tour Europe with a cast of more than 350 performers and over 100 animal performers.

He also devised and directed Kenneth Feld's European style one ring Barnum's Kaleidoscape and conceived, directed and staged the 128th - 133rd and 135th editions of Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey's The Greatest Show on Earth. With Kenneth and Nicole Feld, he directed and conceived Boom-A-Ring, his tenth Ringling production making him the person who has directed the most editions of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey. He also directed Feld's Gold Unit EU, a one ring circus which premiered in Rome.

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