Community theater returns with outdoor show in Independence

By Mike Genet
The Examiner

It’s like theater in the round from ancient days, just in the Square. 

The City Theatre of Independence will present “A Selection of Shorts” Saturday at Sunday at Liberty Lounge on the Square in Independence – the former bank parking directly behind the Square Association office at 108 S. Liberty St. Show time is 1:30 p.m. both days.  

A scene from City Theatre of Independence series of one-act plays in November at Liberty Lounge on the Independence Square. City Theatre will present a similar show there this weekend and is scheduled to return indoors at the Sermon Center later in the summer.

It’s not the first time the community theater group has put together an outdoor production amid the pandemic. But unlike a similar performance of one-act plays last November, when uncertainty was still the norm, City Theatre and all types of other theater groups have now made definite plans to return to regular shows. 

“The theaters are coming back, now that we’re getting immunizations and trusting that we can do things safely again,” said Nancy Eppert, CTI president. 

This weekend’s performance will be a series of six one-act plays, about 10 minutes each, with about 10 total cast members. 

“They’re little standalones, and they run the gamut of genres,” Eppert said. “We have murder mystery, comedy, love story, thriller. We present it as a sampler.” 

“Selection of Shorts” is free, and the public is invited to bring their own lawn chairs, etc. Eppert said donations will be accepted to help fund new sound equipment “so we can take the show on the road.” 

Two weeks later, June 19 at Liberty Lounge, CTI will present “Broadway Under the Stars,” with several actors and actresses singing hit showtunes. Also in the summer, July 29-Aug. 1, the Playwright Festival of short plays will be in the Sermon Center Powerhouse Theatre – the first venture back indoors since the pandemic hit – with a Missouri theme to celebrate the state’s bicentennial.  

“This started as something last November,” Eppert said of outdoor performances, “with three of our theater members wanting to get back to performances.” 

City Theatre’s main stage season begins in September with the musical “Gypsy.” 

Similar to CTI, Blue Springs City Theatre will return to live, in-person shows Wednesday at Colonial Gardens in rural south Blue Springs. The community theater group will present “Theater in the Garden: Crab Cakes and Murder.” Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at millertheatres.com/showtimes or at the Miller Theaters box office at 1901 NW Missouri 7, Blue Springs.