Enjoy the show.
We use that phrase a lot here at the Missouri Division of Tourism. The great thing about it is that it can mean so many different things, depending on why we need it.
It can mean “enjoy the beautiful state parks Missouri has to offer.” It can mean “enjoy a sporting event featuring one of Missouri’s collegiate or professional teams.” It can even mean “enjoy the countless festivals found year-round in Missouri.”
But every now and again, “enjoy the show” actually means getting out and enjoying a show in one of Missouri’s live-performance venues. And with so many from which to choose, you are certain to find something to enjoy.
You can flock to the most popular venues; after all, they are popular for a reason.
St. Louis’ Fabulous Fox Theatre is a treat for the eyes from the moment you walk in the door, let alone when the curtain goes up. The Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts doesn’t even wait for you to walk in the door to take your breath away, thanks to its amazing architecture. Both of these locations deliver top-notch performances from some of the finest touring companies in the world.
But if you dig a little deeper, you find a host of other venues. Spring is here and summer isn’t too far away. Maybe you would like to “enjoy the weather” while you “enjoy the show.” Missouri has amazing outdoor theater venues.
In Kansas City, the stars sparkle in the sky and on the stage when you check out the Starlight Theatre. And while Forest Park sports the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center and the Saint Louis Art Museum, perhaps the crown jewel of the park is The Muny, St. Louis’ own outdoor theater. And as a special treat, there are free seats for every performance. Columbia has its own outdoor theater option, with the Maplewood Barn Theatre putting on shows throughout the summer.
Maybe you want to see a show that isn’t the standard Rogers and Hammerstein fare. Missouri has plenty of theaters showing avant-garde productions.
The Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City premieres its 58th original show this season, and is constantly the first theater in the area to debut the most recent Broadway hits after they leave The Great White Way. The Springfield Contemporary Theater puts on a delightful mix of both the standard classics and the new-to-you productions, pleasing all sensibilities. And in Jefferson City, Scene One Theatre strips its shows down to the basics as the Capital City’s only Black Box Theater.
And, of course, you can’t talk about theater in Missouri without at least mentioning Branson, which currently boasts more live theater seats than Broadway itself. The long-running “Shepherd of the Hills” outdoor drama returns in 2014, reversing an earlier decision – and delighting countless fans in the process – to shut down last year. Although the schedule has been trimmed from six nights to four during the summer and weekends only during the fall, the Shepherd will return to the Ozarks hills on May 23, 2014.
No matter where you decide to go out and take in a night at the theater, you can be assured that when you do it in Missouri, you are sure to “enjoy the show.”
Written by Ben Yarnell, new media specialist at the Missouri Division of Tourism, theater enthusiast, and occasional actor.