The Coterie Theatre’s 42nd Season will offer multiple new plays and musicals created to entertain, engage, and serve as memorable experiences for all ages and every generation of the family.
Back by popular demand, The Coterie’s 2021-2022 Season begins in September with the return special engagement of Union Cemetery’s Historical Society (UCHS)’s Electric Poe, performed outdoors at sunset in one of Kansas City’s hidden gems, Union Cemetery, through Halloween for families with ages ten and older. Electric Poe 2021 features new adaptations of two classic stories from Edgar Allan Poe. In ‘The Pit and the Pendulum,’ a man is sentenced by The Inquisition to various unspeakable tortures in a diabolical chamber of horrors, while ‘The Tomb of Ligeia’ envisions Poe’s twist on reanimating the dead.
Next, The Coterie will move back indoors to its mainstage in Crown Center for the world premiere of the new Theatre for Young Audiences version of The SpongeBob Musical. Adapted from the hit Broadway show by Church through The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals program, The SpongeBob Musical for Young Audiences uses the music of a legendary roster of Grammy Award winners to turn one of the world’s most beloved and unforgettable characters loose on stage in the undersea town of Bikini Bottom! The ever-optimistic yellow sea sponge named SpongeBob shows everybody that he is not “just a simple sponge” by proving to one and all that optimism really can save the world.
Following that in February, The Coterie will shine a spotlight on little known Kansas City history with the world premiere of Only One Day a Year, a new play commissioned by The Coterie and written by Michelle Tyrene Johnson, a fourth generation Kansas City, KS native and former KCUR reporter. This National Endowment for the Arts award-winning play intertwines the present day with the last segregated days of Fairyland amusement park, formerly located at 75th and Prospect in Kansas City, MO, which, in the 1960s, allowed African Americans to enter only one day annually. Intertwining a story from the past with one in the present, Only One Day a Year shows a young girl today using her talent and grandmother’s spirit to shine a light on an injustice at her school
In March 2022, The Coterie will bring the highly-anticipated musical adaptation of Pete the Cat to its mainstage, after postponing the production in 2019. With its Beach Boys musical vibe and ’60s feel, Pete the Cat will have everyone in the family strumming and strutting when the grooviest, guitar-slinging cat in town meets the Biddles family and rocks their world.
Next up during the Summer of 2022, The Coterie will produce the world premiere of the new musical, Alice’s Wonderland, adapted from Lewis Carroll’s classic story and featuring an original score inspired by hip-hop, pop, gospel, and contemporary musical theater co-written by J. Quinton Johnson and Julia Riew based on a treatment by Linda Chichester and David Coffman. In Alice’s Wonderland, brilliant teen-coder Alice dreams of changing the world with her new video game, Wonderland, but when a rabbit suddenly emerges from the screen and offers her an escape from reality, Alice takes the leap – and lands in her own virtual world.
In addition to the season’s stage productions, The Coterie will also continue the many educational and community outreach programs it undertakes each year: year-round acting classes for ages Pre-K through 12 grades at multiple locations around the K.C. metro; teen playwriting programs; a free acting troupe for LGBTQ teens and their allies; the award-winning Dramatic HIV/STD Project, which tours free to high schools all over the region teaching teens about STD prevention; and Project Daylight, a new free presentation that offers 6th-8th Grade students tactics for improving mental health.