The J announces new season


The White Theatre at The J Announces 2017-2018 Season;

New partnership with Coterie Theatre for regional premiere of Disney’s Newsies


Excitement is in the air as The Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City announces its 2017-2018 season of arts and cultural offerings at the White Theatre.

The 13th season of the White Theatre, produced by The J’s Arts + Culture Department, includes something for everyone, including a new partnership with the Coterie Theatre that will co-produce the regional theatrical premier of Disney’s Tony Award-winning musical, Newsies, during July 2018.

The White Theatre season also includes concerts to visual arts, comedic plays to thought-provoking dramas as well as dance and literature presentations. The inspirational season includes four locally produced shows, several musical concerts, a choreography showcase and a new artist-in-residence offering with the Kinnor Philharmonic.

The season includes:

  • November 4-19, 2017: Mel Brooks’ comedic musical, Young Frankenstein (local production), directed by Missy Koonce.
  • December 2 & 3, 2017: The Sarah Play produced by the In[Heir]itance Project.
  • January 1, 2018: Kinnor Philharmonic, The J’s artists-in-residence, perform first of two concerts; the second concert is June 10, 2018.
  • January 6, 2018: YidLife Crisis-Live! starring Jamie Elman & Eli Batalion, the creators and stars of the award-winning Yiddish comedy web series YidLife Crisis.
  • February 3-18, 2018: Tony Award-winning musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (local production), directed by Steven Eubank.
  • March 17-25, 2018: The Tony-Award winning play, The Miracle Worker (local production) directed by Bill Christie.
  • April 8: Kansas City’s professional dance showcase, Open Stage at The J.
  • April 11-14: Wiesenthal, the riveting true story of Simon Wiesenthal, nicknamed the “Jewish James Bond”.
  • July 7-29, 2018: Disney’s Newsies (in collaboration with The Coterie Theatre), the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes.

(Full descriptions for each event are available at Auditions for various productions will be held throughout the year.)


Young Frankenstein is a hilarious musical based on the classic Frankenstein story, with a Mel Brooks comedic twist. The musical is an adaptation of Brooks legendary film. With a book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan and music and lyrics by Brooks, audiences will roar with laughter as they follow Frederick Frankenstein, the grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein. The younger Frankenstein travels to Transylvania to inherit his family estate and zaniness ensues, complete with a tap-dancing monster.

The Sarah Play is in the creative stages of The In[Heir]itance Project as part of a national series.  Playwright Jon Adam Ross presents the story of the biblical matriarch, Sarah, in conversation with contemporary realities in Kansas City. Developed during workshops with local clergy, artists and community members as well as interfaith groups, The Sarah Play reflects local perspectives on sacred texts.

YidLife Crisis Live! starring Jamie Elman & Eli Batalion, the creators and stars of the award-winning Yiddish comedy web series YidLife Crisis present a night of shtick, schmoozing and inspiration. This duo of seasoned performers mix skits, discussion, screenings and use the “trojan horse” of comedy to bring Yiddish and yiddishkayt to the forefront and engage the topic of Jewish identity for all.

The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee is a riotous musical ride complete with audience participation and comedic genius. This Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning musical features an eclectic group of 6 awkward tweens as they vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.

The Miracle Worker, the Tony-Award winning play by William Gibson, takes the audience through the daily struggles of Helen Keller, who is blind, deaf and mute. With the help of her devoted and sometimes defiant teacher Annie Sullivan, Helen is finally awakened from the darkness in this emotional story. (Special school performances are available.)

Wiesenthal focuses on the story of one man, Simon Wiesenthal, who devoted his life to bringing 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice. Wiesenthal’s dedication to this one purpose – seeking justice for the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust – is the focus of the play. This production focuses on this courageous man’s wit and wisdom, tenacity and dedication to help repair the world.

Disney’s Newsies marks The Coterie and the White Theatre’s first partnership, as well as the Kansas City region’s first locally produced production of the Tony Award winning musical. Disney’s Newsies, based on the 1992 motion picture, features a high energy, explosive song and dance score by eight-time Academy Award® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux FollesTorch Song Trilogy).   It will be co-directed by Coterie Producing Artistic Director, Jeff Church, and Jerry Jay Cranford, who will also serve as choreographer, with musical direction by Pam Williamson, veteran of 10 musicals at the White Theatre. Disney’s Newsies will feature a cast of all-local professional and non-professional adult and youth actors. Auditions for Disney’s Newsies are set for December 17 at 2 p.m. at the White Theatre.  More information on auditions for the entire 2017/18 season can be found at

The White Theatre’s season tickets are available now.  Season ticket holders enjoy many perks including preferred seating, free ticket exchange, friends and family discounts and more!   The new Flex Five pass option allows the season ticket holder to design their own package with five tickets to use at their discretion. Performances for the Kinnor Philharmonic are an “add on event” to the regular season ticket.

In addition to season tickets, the Arts + Culture Patron program has been enhanced to provide additional “perks” at every level including complimentary tickets, seatback surprises on select show nights, tax deduction or your support and more. For a complete list of patron benefits visit

Individual tickets for the 2017-2018 season go on sale September 1. Tickets may be ordered online at, by phone at (913) 327-8054 or in person at the White Theatre’s Box Office.

            In its effort to expand its offerings, additional Arts + Culture events will include the Kansas City Jewish Film Festival in April and May, literary salons and the Midwest Jewish Artists Lab.

Discover The J’s White Theatre at 5801 West 115th, Overland Park, Kansas 66211, conveniently located at 115th & Nall.  Contact our box office at (913) 327-8054 or by email at  The White Theatre box office is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  For more information on everything Arts + Culture at The J and the White Theatre check out our website at


About “The J”

Established more than 100 years ago, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City—The J, provides a warm welcome to families of all backgrounds. The J’s all-in-one hub for health, learning and well-being elevates the lives of the community and its members with programs of excellence in fitness, sports, theatre, arts + culture, senior adult programming and youth services including summer camps and child development. Everyone can “live up” at The J, located in Overland Park, Kansas, and at

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