Casts for "Theatre In The Park" 2018 five-summer productions to be performed at the Shawnee Mission Park amphitheater have been announced and are beginning their rehearsal periods. "Theatre In The Park" is the nation's largest audience capacity community theater facility. Capacity is 4000 audience members.

Actors nervously await callbacks:  Photo by Alan Portner
Actors nervously await callbacks

One-hundred-seventy nine actors, singers, and dancers are cast in this summer's productions. Six-hundred-fifty hopefuls attended first auditions.

The season kicks off with "Disney's The Little Mermaid" from 2009 retelling the classic Hans Christian Anderson story with music and lyrics by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. The little mermaid, Ariel, will be played by Alexa Morgan. Her male counterpart, Prince Eric, is Zak Smith. Ariel's father, King Triton, is Mathew Walberg. Sebastian the crab is David Thompson. A huge supporting cast of forty-eight populate the imaginary sea world, shore, and pirate ship. "The Little Mermaid" swims by June 8 - 16.

Into The Woods Director Chris McCoy
and Musical Director Langston Hemmenway
confer during TTIP callbacks

Rogers and Hammerstein's 1949 "South Pacific" continues the summer voyage with a show set still on the ocean, but on the other side of the world during World War II. This play is remembered best for many of its great musical numbers like "There Is Nothing Like A Dame," "Bali High," "I've Got To Wash That Man Out Of My Hair," and "You've Got To Be Carefully Taught." It was, however, more than 15 years ahead of its time and quite controversial in its day. The real subject of "South Pacific" is xenophobia and interracial marriage. American nurse Nellie Forbush is Madeline Clem. The widowed French planter Emile with multi-racial children is Paul Morel. Young Lt. Joe Cable is Jon Rizzo. Bloody Mary is Zenia Lee. "South Pacific" steams past June 22 - 30.

The season reappears in a central European forest with Stephen Sondheim's 1987 expedition "Into The Woods." "Into The Woods" is an imaginative mashup of classic fairy tales including "Jack and the Beanstalk," "Cinderella," "Little Red Riding Hood," and "Rapunzel." The relatively small cast spreads the workload pretty evenly among the characters. The Baker and his wife are Tony Francisco and Alyson Golladay. Jack and his mother are Arthur Clifford and Ruth Baum Bigus. Cinderella and her Prince are Courtney Koval and Thomas Nelson. Rapunzel and her Prince are Rachel Adcock and Carson Tate. The Wicked Witch is Wendy Musick and the Narrator is Reed Uthe. "Into the Woods" opens July 6 finds its way out of the forest after July 14.

Next, audiences discover the spooky residence of "The Addams Family" made famous in the macabre imagination of cartoonist Charles Addams and the "New Yorker" magazine. Enjoy the slightly off kilter adventures of Gomez, Morticia, and their off center family. Music and very funny lyrics by Andrew Lippa. In this summer's TTIP version, Gomex is Brian Larios and Morticia is Jeul Perry. Wednesday is Paris Naster and Pugsley is Fritz Sullivan. Lurch the Butler is Mathew Koehler. Cousin Itt is Mia Cabrera and Grandmama is Debbie Blinn. The Addams family creeps onto the TTIP stage July 20-28.

"Into The Woods" callbacks

Last, TTIP returns to secondary school with "High School Musical 1" and its sequel "High School Musical 2" Zanie Champie is Troy. Anna Synek is Gabriella. Mia Valentine is Sharpay Evans and Phillip Licata is Ryan. The cast of 45 skates, dances, and otherwise takes the boards from August 3-11.

Tickets for "Theatre in the Park" are available at or by telephone at 913-826-3012.

Audition photos by Alan Portner

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