Great Plains Theatre executive director Elizabeth Weese says it is unusual for a town of 6,500 people in the middle of Kansas to have a theater that hires professional performers from throughout the country. Add a talented staff’s innovative directing, staging, costuming and set design to the intimate setting—the theater seats 150 people—and the productions rate standing ovations. Great Plains Theatre, located in Abilene, is one of the only professional live theaters between Kansas City and Denver.
“We had a couple in the audience who told me they had seen Lost in Yonkers performed on Broadway and they liked our production better, which speaks volumes,” Weese says. Great Plains Theatre offers four main stage shows from June through December with additional public programming throughout the year.
But the Great Plains Theatre is not the only place in Kansas to enjoy a high-quality show. New Theatre Restaurant in Overland Park regularly welcomes Academy-, Emmy-, and Tony-Award winning performers such as Michael Learned, Charles Shaughnessy and Hal Linden. Recognized as “the best dinner theater in the country” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Theatre Restaurant features a five-star dining experience with an ever-changing buffet menu during the theater’s five productions featuring celebrities in stage, film or television throughout the year.
Music Theatre Wichita brings applause by combining Hollywood and New York City professionals with Midwest talent in five Broadway-scale musical productions it self-produces from June through August at Century II Performing Arts Center in Wichita.