Starlight Theatre

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!

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. memadtwo 7 years ago

    Looks like a magical place to see a show.
    And song, dance and doodlewash seems like a good combination to me…(K.)

  2. Kari 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      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!! 😉

  3. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    You had quite a fascinating and varied career! What fun being in a play with Davy Jones! I loved watching The Monkees and used to be able to sing about half their songs. 😉 I love these two page-spreads!

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa! Hehe…this one was so fast I didn’t quite gauge the scene so it was only a page and a half! Lol And yeah…Davy was super nice and it was a fun experience. My penchant for taking on any challenge that comes my way started young! 😊😊

  4. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    So you can sing and dance AND create AMAZING art! You a very talented my friend! 😊☺️😉

    • Author

      Hehe…I can still sing…not sure about the dancing as I haven’t tried in years! Lol And you’re so sweet to say amazing art… You make me blush and smile Jill!! 😊😃❤️

  5. Jodi 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      You’re so sweet Jodi!! What a wonderful thing to say. I’m endeared by all of YOU! You make me want to keep trying and creating each day. Thank you so much my friend!! ❤️😃

  6. Doodle dancer!!! Love that term!! Beautiful work as always, Charlie, and enjoyed learning more about your background too!! 💛💛💛

    • Author

      Thanks friend!! 💛💙 Appreciate it! And you’ll doodle dance with me right?! 😉

      • Well, or doodle step on your feet; I’m not much of a dancer lol 💜

        • Author

          I’m not sure I am either anymore😳 Could get dangerous! LOL Oh… and I got new M Graham colors that just came! Going to be trying them out today! 😃😃

          • Nice! What color family?

          • Author

            I got the deluxe set of 10 😊 Been saving my pennies for a couple months! But it really wasn’t too much. Then I maybe added some others to fill my little silver tin. 😊😊

          • Haha, love that “maybe”. Graham paint is relatively inexpensive, and worth twice that other brand IMO. A little goes a long(er) way. I hope you fall in love with them, Charlie!

          • Author

            I already have! Just used them today in the doodlewash I’m about to post. They are so luscious and don’t dry out in my little tin. Thinking I’ve already been converted!! ❤️

          • See?!? This is what I’m saying! I’ve done many paintings without even spraying them first to wake them up. They’re always so juicy! Yay for conversions! :)))

  7. kirkistan 7 years ago

    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.

    • Author

      Thanks! Yeah…I definitely went for the full life! And this sketch? It was 8-10 minutes in ink and another 10 or less in watercolor. I’m trying to do some in 20 minutes or less to loosen up my sketching a bit.

      • kirkistan 7 years ago

        Wow. That is fast.. You are my sketching hero.

  8. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    The arts are in your blood. Wonderful sketch. Your pen and brush dance across the page creating lovely art,….just add singing and you are set. 😀

    • Author

      Lol…hmmm…wonder how I could add singing into a sketch…. thanks so much for that! I’m glad you like it. Loose isn’t a natural style for me yet!

  9. b 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      Thanks so much! I’m so pleased you liked the post! 😃Feel free to share anywhere and everywhere you like! (Would be great if you could send me a note via my Let’s Connect link when you do!😉) Thanks again!!

  10. Barb Schulte 7 years ago

    Oops I hit post too quickly above. Here’s my contact info at Starlight.

    • Author

      Hey Barb! There’s just a link to Starlight. Perhaps send me a note via my Let’s Connect link if you want to link up? But you’re more than welcome to share the post! 😃

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