A questionable coup that sent the capable Denton Yockey packing. Yockey was the successor to Bob Rohlf, the dude who teamed with former Kansas City Chiefs head guy Jack Steadman to save the iconic outdoor theater and preserve a Kansas City institution.
Among other issues, insiders say Starlight’s difficult-to-get-along-with board wanted more concerts to go with the five live theater events Starlight puts on every summer.
Mission accomplished on the concerts…
However all eyes are on fixed the bread and butter musicals Yockey reportedly booked prior to his departure.
The season tips off with the Wizard of Oz (been there done that), We Will Rock You (Rock of Ages lite?), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968 called and wants its musical back), The Sound of Music (critics barbecued NBC’s TV version in December) and Blue Man Group (more than 30 percent of the people on Trip Advisor rate the show as average to terrible).
Winner, winner, chicken dinner?
“The Wizard of Oz is a tour,” says Theater League main man Mark Edelman. “Plus it’s an Andrew Lloyd Webber thing, so it’s new and it should do well.”
Joseph may be a little long in the tooth, “But that’s what Starlight’s for,” Edelman says. “Joseph is a highly popular, family show. Don’t forget that Joseph is based on the Bible and it follows the story of Joseph pretty closely until the Pharaoh comes out like Elvis Presley – that gets pretty silly.
“We Will Rock You is the odd duck there. It’s the music of Queen, but it tells a story, kind of like Mama Mia. It’s been around a long time but it’s just coming to the states for the first time because the British don’t come here. So it’s an American production.
“And the Sound of Music is a classic – it’s Rodgers & Hammerstein‘s greatest musical ever and it’s a Starlight production, so they’ll make some money on it.”
Last but not least…
“Blue Man Group is great,” Edelman says. “It’s smart. It’s clever. It’s mostly non-verbal, the sound is always great and they do a great job with the technicals. It’s a family show. It’s going to be interesting to see how they do all their stuff outdoors. Like they float giant balloons into the audience and spray stuff on the crowd. And they use a lot of bananas – bananas are a big part of the show and you need to get a certain quality of banana – like 40 pounds per show.”
“In order their business will be, Sound of Music, Joseph, Wizard of Oz and Blue Man group,” Edelman says. “And We Will Rock You could bring in a lot of Queen fans.”
As for concerts, Live Nation has come through with a slew of heavy duty shows – 15 to date.
They range from Chelsea Handler, Sarah McLachlan, Pat Benatar, James Taylor and The Backstreet Boys to Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stone Age andWidespread Panic. From STYX & Foreigner, Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss, Journey & Steve Miller Band, Chicago & REO Speedwagon to OneRepublic, Alabama and Ray LaMontagne.