‘Back to the 80s’ opens at Theatre in the Park


Theatre in the Park will be rockin’ July with Disney’s BACK TO THE 80S

Recall those “bygone” days of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were cool, the Rubik’s Cube provided idle brains with a real challenge, and a night at the movies included such hits as “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Back to Future”?

Those were just some of the fun of a decade gone by that’s the setting for BACK TO THE 80S, the next production at Theatre in the Park’s (TTIP) outdoor amphitheater. BACK TO THE 80s is the fourth production of the 2017 summer season opening Friday night, July 14 through Sunday, July 16 then continuing the following Wednesday, July 19 through Saturday, July 22. The box office opens at 6 p.m. and the gates to the seating bowl open at 6:30 p.m.; the show begins at 8:30 p.m.

Under the direction of TTIP veteran David Hastings, BACK TO THE 80S features an all-local cast with a large ensemble of young, talented performers. Joel Steelman music directs, Josh Finch is conductor and Kyra Weinberger is the choreographer. This show is rated PG and is appropriate for the entire family.

Thirty-something Corey Palmer fondly remembers his senior year at William Ocean High School during the 1980s. BACK TO THE 80s takes the audience back to those days when a 17-year-old Corey was in love with his next-door neighbor Tiffany Houston, a popular girl who had her sights on Michael Feldman – the hottest guy in town.

Seventeen-year-old Corey is madly in love with his next-door neighbor, Tiffany Houston, one of the coolest girls in the school, but she is too busy mooning over Michael Feldman, the hottest guy around. Corey and his buddies’ dream of being like Michael and his friends, the good-looking athletic type. Throw in all kinds of kids including computer nerds, new students, cheerleaders and a student council election, and high school drama takes over. Even the teachers have their share of excitement with which to deal. Toss in a Star Wars dream sequence, energetic dance numbers and a 1980s party scene coupled with some of the most popular songs ever written and it’s BACK TO THE 80s!

“The main character in Back to the 80s takes on a journey back to his senior year of high school in 1989. He says the 80s was when he was having the time of his life. And although times moves pretty fast, we will always love looking back on this time, because it will live with us forever.

As we rehearsed this show, I said the same thing to the cast. Let’s have the time of our lives and make memories that will last forever. You will know every song in this show. The songs stick with you. And music often attaches itself to some of your greatest memories.

There is one remaining show in TTIP’s 48th summer season – DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – July 28, 29 & 30, Aug. 2, 3, 4 and 5. This is a joint production with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City with performances at The J’s White Theatre prior to its move outdoors for TTIP (July 8-23).

TTIP is holding the line on prices for the 2017 season with general admission only $8, youth $6, and children three and under may attend for free (but require a ticket for entrance). Limited reserve seating and parking is available; lawn chairs may also be rented nightly at the theatre. Tickets may be purchased online at www.theatreinthepark.org or at the theatre box office the nights of performance.

MOVIES IN THE PARK are back for only one buck! Sponsored by Shawnee Mission Health, two movie nights remain this summer: July 18- “Pitch Perfect” and Aug. 1- Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Dory. Movie night details are available at the TTIP website, www.theatreinthepark.org/movies. On movie nights, gates open at 7:30 p.m. with movies starting at 8:30-8:45 p.m., depending on sunset.

Early this season, TTIP inaugurated its INDOOR theatre program at the new Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center with the musical GREASE. The remainder of the INDOOR season will be announced soon.

The Theatre in the Park Outdoor is located in Shawnee Mission Park at 7710 Renner Road, in Shawnee, KS, and is a program of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District. TTIP is the largest outdoor community theater in the country, and has been providing quality theatre entertainment in the community for more than four decades. Sponsors of the 2017 season include First National Bank and Shawnee Mission Health.

For more information including entire show synopses for all 2017 TTIP productions, please visit http://www.theatreinthepark.org.


  • Choreographer Kyra Weinberg, Vocal Director Joel Steelman, Stage Manager Amy Hastings and Conductor Josh Finch all student taught at Olathe South this past semester – where Director David Hastings is Director of Theatre. This fall, all four will be first-year teachers in area school districts – Blue Valley, Olathe, and Ottawa.
  • Two local teachers are actually playing teachers in this show – Erin Huffman, who teaches 7th grade math at Belton Middle School/Freshman Center, and Jeff Smith, who teaches business and coaches baseball and football at Washington High School (KCK). In addition Langston Hemenway, who plays the adult version of Corey Palmer, is a professor of music and director of bands at William Jewel College.
  • Sam Aubuchon, is a finalist in the 2017 KC SuperStar high school singing competition- his second time as a finalist. He will compete in the event sponsored by the Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Aug. 27.
  • Lucas Lowry was the 2016 Starlight Blue Star Award winner for Outstanding Lead Actor in Shawnee Mission West’s production of the musical “All Shook Up”.


Cast of BACK TO THE 80S

(Role, Performer, City)

Corey Palmer Sr.: Langston Hemenway, Kansas City, MO
Corey Palmer Jr. Alec Bridges, Lee’s Summit
Michael Feldman: Alec Walberg, Olathe
Tiffany Houston: Korrie Murphy, Blue Spring, MO
Eileen Reagan: Rebecca Frances, Overland Park
Feargal McFerrin: Gerald Briscoe, Gardner
Ms. Sheena Brannigan: Erin Huffman, Kansas City, MO
Mr. Stevbie Crocker: Jeff Smith, Kansas City, MO
Cyndi Gibson: Maggie Hutchinson, Kansas City, MO
Billy Arnold: Sam Aubuchon, Blue Springs, MO
Alf Bueller: Hewleek McKoy, Olathe
Kirk Keaton: Ryan Richeson, Olathe
Mel Easton: Anna Hastings, Olathe
Kim Easton: Colette Worthington, Fairway
Lionel Astley: Lucas Lowery, Lenexa
Huey Jackson: David Pokorny, Overland Park
Laura Wilde: Katherine Allison, Overland Park
Debbie Fox: Abigail Becker, Independence

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