Kids need theater. It provides numerous benefits, both from the audience and on stage. Learn how to support your community performing arts programs and get involved with our guide. Discover these six awesome theaters around Leawood, Kansas.

Coconut Theater and Krem TV

Children perform a play at a local theater in Leawood, Kansas

School Play” licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 via Flickr by Walakazoo

The theater is more than a form of live entertainment. It’s a unique, immersive learning experience for audiences of every age, from infants to grandparents. That’s why Crème de la Crème of Leawood’s Coconut Theater enrichment program is so important. Education experts designed this 30-minute class to help your child excel in areas like language arts and language development through storytelling and participation.

An increasing number of Kansas communities like Leawood recognize how vital theater is to a child’s development, and it shows. At Crème de la Crème, your preschooler will be a rising star with The Krem TV studio. This program supports your child’s critical thinking skills through dramatic play, while Music Studio fuels their imagination and strengthens memory with singing, dancing, and making music.

Leawood Stage Company

The Leawood Stage Company has brought live theater and performing arts to the residents of Leawood since 1998. This group works closely with the City and the Parks and Recreation Department to provide families like yours with high-quality entertainment. Its mission is to enrich our community from a variety of area venues, including Ironwoods Park Amphitheater.

Make sure you see each one of the three theatrical productions Leawood Stage Company hosts each year. You can catch performing arts events like the Jazz Age musical “The Drowsy Chaperone” or get involved with the behind-the-scene action and volunteer. Help with costumes, sets, props, concessions, or hand-out programs. If you have a talented actor in the family, sign up for auditions online and star in a local play or musical.

Theatre in the Park

Leawood’s Theatre in the Park is one of the largest — and longest-running — outdoor community theaters programs in the area. Organizers launched its first season in 1970 and celebrated its fiftieth in 2019 in front of generations of enthusiastic patrons.

This award-winning series continues its summer tradition by entertaining approximately 35,000 theater lovers each year. It shares the magic of live performances with young and old alike while providing creative challenges for hundreds of actors, orchestra performers, and crew members. The amphitheater sits within Shawnee Mission Park’s 10 beautiful acres. We recommend you use the entrance off Renner Road and remember that gates don’t open until 7 p.m. on performance nights.

Theatre in the Park also provides Leawood actors with a lifelong learning opportunity. No matter how skilled your child is on stage, performers in 3rd through 9th grade get the chance to act in Disney Kid’s classics like “The Jungle Book” and “Sleeping Beauty” during Summer Academy. These include three youth camp sessions over six weeks, plus a total of nine performances.

The New Theatre and Restaurant

Owners opened the 617-seat New Theatre and Restaurant in 1992. This Overland Park state-of-the-art theatrical facility touts a revolving stage just like the one at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It features everything you’d expect from a world-class theater, like an orchestra pit, computer-controlled sound and lighting systems, plus spacious rehearsal and production facilities. There are also thousands of LED lights in the lobby, making the walls shimmer with color.

This popular pick enjoys a quarter-million attendees, including 25,000 season ticket holders that appreciate its five annual productions. The season runs between nine and 13 weeks and includes hits like “A Tribute Concert To The Music and Marriage Of Johnny and June Cash,” and Morgan Fairchild starring in “In Don’t Dress For Dinner.”

What sets this awesome theater apart from our other recommendations is its restaurant. The New Theatre takes dinner and a show one step further with chef-driven culinary delights like mouthwatering aged smoked steak. There’s also a savory grilled chicken breast tossed in an Asian-inspired honey glaze. Get either entree with a side of classic roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

Chestnut Fine Arts Center

The magic of the theater is alive and well at Leawood’s Chestnut Fine Arts Center on North Chestnut Street. Creators designed the center to provide theater lovers with enriching arts activities. It’s committed to furthering opportunities to enjoy the performing arts for everyone and hosts roughly 16,000 guests annually.

The whole family can immerse themselves in exciting stories and characters galore, thanks to The Chestnut’s theatrical season. It hosts six plays or musicals a year, such as “A Tribute to the Grand Ole Opry,” “An Evening With The Remmerts,” and The Dickens Carolers. This group of professional Christmas carolers presents three holiday concerts to the delight of festive patrons. In addition, the Chestnut Center sponsors numerous children’s programs, like:

  • Workshops.
  • Talent shows.
  • Recitals.
  • Concerts.
  • Vocal education.
  • Piano studio.

The White Theatre

The Lewis and Shirley White Theatre at The J (The Jewish Community Center) is a cutting-edge community arts theater that can seat up to 500 guests. Located in nearby Kansas City on West 115th Street, this nonprofit organization brings you and the kiddos a terrific selection of Broadway shows, live productions, educational programs, and events like STAGES. Staff designed this 14-week musical theater program for aspiring performers in the 4th through 8th grades.

Whether your family is Jewish or not, the J’s theater directors invite you to come out and see its lineup of family-friendly concerts, shows, and performances at this stunningly beautiful theater. Its billboard showcases concert series, special engagements, and titles like:

  • Kinnor Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • Joanie Leeds and Friends.
  • Memphis The Musical.
  • The Odd Couple – Female Version.
  • Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

Well, that’s a wrap! Crème de la Crème of Leawood just informed you of the city’s top six awesome theaters. What did you think of our picks? Did we miss a favorite theater of yours — one Kansas locals will love? If we did, let us know! Drop us a line; we’ll be sure to add your suggestions to our growing guide.