UMKC Theatre ends season with new production


UMKC Theatre’s 2018-2019 Season Closes with

Letters from Freedom Summer

Co-production in partnership with Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Work by Ricardo Khan, Sibusiso Mambo and Denise Nicholas

May 4 – 13 at UMKC Spencer Theatre


KANSAS CITY, MO (April, 20, 2018) – Known for high-quality productions and successful collaborations with Kansas City and nationwide theatre companies, and ranked by Hollywood Reporter as having the #17 best graduate acting program in the English-speaking world, UMKC Theatre announces its 2017-18 season closing production, “Letters from Freedom Summer”, directed by Ricardo Khan. In the charged summer of 1964, college students from across the U.S. came together to fight for voting rights in Mississippi, a state known for intimidating and terrorizing Black Americans out of their right to vote.  “Letters from Freedom Summer” celebrates the courage and resilience of the young people who changed the fate of this nation.

Kahn stated, “Dr. Martin Luther King once said that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. “Letters From Freedom Summer” is a story of courage, love, spirit and conviction during the years of the Civil Rights Movement in this country. These extraordinary times not too long ago, saw people, young and old, Christian and Jew, black and white and of all colors in between, crossing racial lines they were warned they should not, in order to work together for the more just, free and equal world they truly believed we should and can be.”

He continued, “More than ever, young people need to know that they can change things. They can change the world! The Freedom Riders and the civil rights workers of Freedom Summer believed they could. The people of today, right here and right now, need to know that same truth. that you can make a difference.”

Written by Ricardo Khan, Sibusiso Mambo and Denise Nicholas, the production will preview May 4 – 8, open May 9 and run through May 13 at Spencer Theatre, Olson PAC.   “Letters from Freedom Summer” is a workshop production of KCRep’s OriginKC: New Works Festival.

When the hate and inhumanity of man against man makes it seem sometimes like the bad guys and bullies are winning, don’t fret. For there are always some who will stand up in the face of it, and with courage, love and a belief that we are better than that, prove the best of who we truly are. In the summer of 1964, groups of college students, black and white together from across America, gave up their summer vacations, their sense of comfort and safety, and travelled south into the very mouth of one of the most frightening, racist places imaginable at that time, Mississippi, where black Americans were being systematically terrorized and intimidated out of their right to vote, and good people were being killed just for trying to help. That summer, Mississippi burned and the country saw and bore the spiritual cost. But because of the efforts of these brave and beautiful young people, the light in us prevailed and history was made. And in the process, united for a cause greater than themselves, they also found joy, love, and music.

The production will preview May 4 – 8, open May 9 and run through May 13 at Spencer Theatre, Olson PAC.  Press night for this production is scheduled for Wednesday, May 9 at 7:30 pm.


The principals in “Letters from Freedom Summer” are Danny Cox (Blues Man), Meru Kimi’Sung (Mrs. Combs), Harvey Williams ( Old Mississippi Man), Lanette King (Mamie Trace), Duncan McIntyre (Mickey Schwerner), Brandon Gibson (James Chaney), Frederick Rivera (Andrew Goodman) and Khalif Gillett (Mandla).


Ticket Information

Single ticket adult prices are $20 for any performance.  All UMKC faculty and staff tickets are $13 and UMKC student tickets are $10 for any performance (limit one per ID). Senior (60+) ticket prices are $15.  Groups of 10 or more are $13 each. For tickets, call the Central Ticket Office at (816) 235-6222 or purchase online  here


Free event parking for Olson Performing Arts Center is on level 5 of the Cherry Street parking structure. Park near the Northeast Tower and use the skywalk to the theatres. The Olson Performing Arts Center is at 4949 Cherry Street on the UMKC campus.




May 4

7:30 pm


May 5

7:30 pm


May 6

2:00 pm


May 8

7:30 pm



May 9

7:30 pm


May 10

7:30 pm


May 11

7:30 pm


May 12

7:30 pm



May 13

2:00 pm











About UMKC Theatre

UMKC Theatre has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top graduate theatre training programs in the country. Graduates from UMKC Theatre are invited to the most prestigious New York and Los Angeles professional reviews and auditions to exhibit their work and secure positions with national and international performing companies.  We build bridges. We assist the creative student in making the journey to becoming a creative professional. The practice of the department is to vigorously educate students in the many arts, crafts and traditions of theatre, and provide a basis for future careers in the creative industries. Our program offers intensive hands-on experience while at the same time fostering analytical and contextual skills. The practical experience of theatremaking occurs not only within the performing venues of UMKC, but also in professional theatres in Kansas City. Theatre is a passion. We seek it, we train for it and we embody it. UMKC Theatre is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) and the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA).

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.  UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban engagement. UMKC has been designated as Missouri’s Campus for the Arts. More information is available online at


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