A gentle breeze cools theater lovers in lawn chairs under the starry summer sky as the music and lights signal the opening scene of another Broadway RFD musical in Lindsborg’s Swennson Park.
Billed as “the longest running outdoor theatre in Kansas,” Broadway RFD was established in 1959 to bring entertainment and exposure to the theatrical arts to those living in the Smoky Valley. Over the decades, the community theater has performed such longstanding Broadway shows as Fiddler on the Roof, Hello Dolly and The Sound of Music in its unique open-air venue. The park’s band shell was built in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration.
This year’s production, the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, will run July 21, 22, 28 and 29 in the park on Lindsborg’s North Main Street. Shows begin at 8:30 p.m. In this stage adaptation of the animated Disney film, a beautiful young woman takes the place of her imprisoned father in the castle of a beast, who is really a cursed prince, and the two fall in love.
“This is the first time it’s ever seen our stage,” says Jessica Lundberg, president of the Broadway RFD Board of Directors. Extravagant costuming, elaborate lighting and sound effects, and a full orchestra of talented area musicians are part of production plans.
Lundberg says the outdoor performance “makes for a totally different” theater experience and is truly a community effort. “Around 100 people come together to make this happen. It creates a ‘we’re in this together’ attitude, and it’s good to know we can pull it off in that [outdoor] environment and have it be successful.” broadwayrfd.org
FAMILY COMMUNITY THEATRE’S SUMMER MUSICAL THEATRE ACADEMY
July 10–14, Hutchinson
Dream of starring on a stage? Every summer, children ages six to 17 learn acting, singing and dance skills—and even make-up design—at the Family Community Theatre’s Summer Musical Theatre Academy in Hutchinson.
“Something new this year is we’ve added an adult class for ages 18 and up,” says Craig Williams, president of the Family Community Theatre’s Board of Directors.
Now all ages will hone their theater skills at the camp, which culminates in a showcase performance at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Hutchinson on July 14 at 7 p.m.
“The showcase gives all three age groups an opportunity to perform and utilize the skills they’ve learned during the week’s camp,” Williams says. “One of our biggest reasons for doing this is to allow our younger actors to get skills they can utilize on stage. We’re giving them the skill base, the confidence and ability to join our larger [community theatre] group in our main stage shows.” familycommunitytheatre.org