Starlight Theatre

Super loose and fast doodlewash to show you Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre in Swope Park. As seen from the park itself, the stage is on the right and the top of the seating is on the left. Just beyond the theatre and down the hill is the entrance to the Kansas City Zoo (trying to talk Philippe into taking me there so I can show you that, but that will hopefully be another day before it gets too cold here!).

Starlight Theatre began construction in 1949 and though it was still unfinished for the city’s 1950 centennial anniversary, the show went on, and thousands of Kansas Citians flocked to see the historical revue of their city, Thrills of a Century. Sounds super exciting, but I have no idea what was involved. According to their site, while there were once 38 other self-producing outdoor theatres in the U.S., today only three remain, making Starlight a landmark not just for Kansas City, but also the whole country.

One summer back in 1988, when I was 17, I auditioned and was cast in the chorus of two shows at Starlight. The first was Jesus Christ Superstar, in which I donned sandals and played various townspeople and also sang off-stage backup to fill in the vocals of the New York stars. The second was Oliver! starring Davy Jones, of The Monkees fame, where I was again various townspeople as I was already too old to play an orphan.

I remember towards the end of Oliver! the actress playing Mrs. Bedwin and I found a huge stack of Davy’s books titled They Made A Monkee Out Of Me. Assuming they were there for the cast, we each grabbed one and took them to him to have them signed. He smiled and then paused and said, “Did you buy these?” And we just stopped and stared at each other wide-eyed, before he thankfully said, “I sure hope not!” and happily signed and returned them. I still have the book somewhere, but can’t remember actually reading it.

I went on to perform in professional shows around town in order to help pay for college while I was earning my Bachelor’s in Studio Art. I was also a licensed real estate agent during college and worked for a realtor doing marketing and advertising as well as a dance studio teaching tap & jazz dance. But those are stories for another time (thankfully, YouTube didn’t exist back then!). I sometimes miss theatre, but over the years I’ve become fine with just singing in the shower like everyone else.

And it’s great to be back doing art again after all these years, so it’s been a nice circular journey. Out of all the things I’ve done, my love of art and design has fueled every decision I made in my career and life. Come to think of it, I’ve not tried to sing, dance, and doodlewash, but who knows, I’m always looking for my next great challenge!

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

29 replies on “Starlight Theatre

  1. I am totally enjoying reading about your lovely city and about you! When you and Phillippe are out, do you both sketch? If so, is there a bit of comparison?

    My one and only “performance” was in my high school production of 12 Angry Men.. I had the non-speaking role of the lawyer assistant.. Lol. It really was not my thing.

    You definitely are getting loose in your inking! Very cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kari!! Philippe and I will often take photos when we’re out and then sketch them later. We’re not urban sketchers for the most part. Moving too fast and on the next thing usually! We’re doodlewashers! Not a lot of comparing each other’s work…Philippe tends to compare himself to himself and I do the same. Hehe. I’m sure your were an amazing lawyer assistant!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What more can I add to what the rest of your fan club has already said Charlie ?! 😍. How you are endearing yourself to all of us. Love the art. Love learning about your experiences there too. Rock on doodle dancer!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a great story. I applaud you for trying so many different things. I think that’s sort of the definition of full life, isn’t it? And the sketch–awesome. Really. Just how fast did you do it? It looks very complete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Charlie, I’m the communications director at Starlight Theatre. Would you mind if we shared your blog post and image sometime either on our social media or our e-newsletter “On The Spot”? I love the doodlewash and your story about performing at Starlight! I’m sure your singing in the shower is way better than mine!

    Liked by 1 person

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