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Missouri: Show Me the shows

Courtesy KC Reperatory Theatre

It’s showtime in Missouri, no matter what time of year you visit.

From Kansas City in the west to St. Louis in the east and numerous smaller destinations in between, Missouri has a great tradition of live theater. Groups that tour the state can enjoy the best of Branson entertainment, as well as large outdoor productions and small regional theaters. So whether you enjoy comedy, drama or music, you can find a Missouri show to suit your fancy.

Kansas City 
Repertory Theatre

Kansas City
Celebrating its 49th season this year, the Kansas City Repertory Theatre on the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus has received national recognition.

“Over the past five years, we’ve become a leader in the creation and development of new plays for the American stage,” said Laura Muir, director of communications. “This season, we’re making Kansas City history with New York’s Broadway premiere of the hit musical ‘A Christmas Story’ and the off-Broadway premiere of ‘Venice,’ both developed here at KC Rep.”

The theater’s programming is a mix of new work, musicals and classics, with an interesting twist. Upcoming productions include “Death of a Salesman,” “Carousel” and “American Buffalo.” “A Christmas Carol” wraps up the year and has become a multigenerational family tradition.

First Page, a new four-week program debuting this spring, invites audiences inside the process of developing new works. It progresses from the beginnings of an idea to the final, successful completion of an original script or theatrical production.

Groups can schedule backstage tours that take them to the Rep’s scene shop and costume room. Sometimes, depending on the schedule, they peek into a rehearsal. The Rep is known for terrific sets and costuming.

“It’s not unusual for the curtain to go up and the set to receive applause before the show even begins,” said Muir.

Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre
Arrow Rock
The town of Arrow Rock first appeared on a French map in 1732 and has been designated a national historic landmark. One of its chief visitor attractions is Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, a long-running professional theater that attracts talent from across the country.

Performers, designers, directors and technicians take up residence in Arrow Rock to bring Broadway-caliber productions to this intimate, 408-seat theater. The 2013 season runs June through November with eight shows, among them “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Nerd” and “Steel Magnolias.”

“Our theater [started at] a historic church, which is now the lobby,” said ticketing and group sales manager Lisa Boudreau. “The current theater was added to the building in 1991. Groups can shop, have lunch or dinner on Main Street, and walk to the theater.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.