Take advantage of nearby opportunities to experience live theatre

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Back in April, my wife and I took our daughter to experience her first musical production, and she loved it. 

It was “The Lion King” production at Century II Performing Arts Center and Convention Center in Wichita, and I thought she might explode with joy when the first animal entered from one of the side doors near our seats and proceeded down the aisle. 

I too was enthralled with the entire production since it was my first time seeing it. My wife had seen it before, but she thoroughly enjoyed it as well, especially getting to watch our daughter watch the show. 

Both my wife and I are fans of the arts. We especially enjoy musical theatre. We hope our children develop a love for it as well. It’s a dream of ours to be able to take our family to New York City and see a few shows on Broadway. 

Until we win the lottery and can afford that, though, we seek out other options. Luckily, we have several opportunities nearby. One only has to hop on the interstate and transport themselves to the world of singing and dancing. 

Wichita is our primary choice. After all, it was in Wichita where we got to see “The Lion King,” and both “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen” will come to town next year. I just hope we can get and afford the tickets to those shows.

Of course, there are budget-friendly options in town too.

Both the Crown Uptown Theatre and Roxy’s Downtown host musicals and other theatrical productions. 

On July 16, my wife and I will be at Roxy’s to see “Heathers: The Musical,” which is based on the 1989 movie that starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. 

I love that movie, and I can’t wait to see the musical version, even if we did get a taste of what it might be like in the “Chapter Fifty-One: Big Fun” episode of the CW’s television series “Riverdale.”

I wonder if they’ll serve slushie drinks from 7-Eleven? Probably not, I guess. It would freeze our brains.

Then, on Oct. 28 and just in time for Halloween, we are going to see “The Rocky Horror Show” at the Crown Uptown.

This musical was adapted into 1975’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” film, and Tim Curry played the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter in both productions. 

Though Curry won’t be on stage, it’ll be a blast doing the time warp in Wichita. 

And on June 11 we got to see “The Addams Family” musical at the Crown Uptown. 

It was based on the Addams Family characters we are all familiar with, such as Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester, and Lurch. 

However, it was a unique story that had Wednesday falling in love with a “normal” guy and having to navigate a meeting between the two families. 

The musical numbers were great, the tunes were catchy enough that I bought the original Broadway cast recording album, and the story was fun and hilarious. 

Based on “The Addams Family” alone, it is clear musical theatre is alive and well in Wichita. What’s more, though, each show features local performers. 

Tickets for productions at either Crown Uptown or Roxy’s have only cost us $30 per person for these professional-quality, Broadway shows. That might not be the cheapest form of entertainment out there, but it rivals the total cost of going to a movie once you factor in the expensive concession items. 

My wife and I love going to the movies too, and everyone involved in making a movie clearly has immense talent. However, there is something about live theater that is just different. 

The actors and actresses don’t have a safety net. They can’t just stop and try a scene again. They have to keep going.

There’s excitement and energy in that. It’s almost like there’s an element of danger. 

Of course, no one — and I mean no one — goes to a show hoping to see the performers fail, but the risk of something not going right ratchets up everything. 

So if you’ve never experienced live theatre, I encourage you to be like the performers and be daring. Find a show that interests you, and go see it. 

Arts and theatre are good for the soul and can open up a new world of experiences. 

You’ll be glad you did it. Todd Vogts is a native of Canton, a resident of McPherson County, and an assistant professor of media at Sterling College. He can be contacted with questions or comments via his website at www.toddvogts.com.

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About toddvogts 843 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at twitter.com/toddvogts or via his website at www.toddvogts.com.