Jewish Community Centers sprang up in many American cities around the turn of the 20th century, in part because Jews were excluded from other organizations.
But unlike the YMCA, for example, these centers didn’t focus solely on physical fitness. They also stressed the growth of the whole person, including artistic endeavors. In this installment of our performARTS series, we’ll take you out to Overland Park to see some of the impressive work going on inside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City, a place its own Cultural Arts director calls the “best kept secret around.”
The center’s season will conclude with Hairspray, July 13-28 in the White Theatre, which will then move out to Johnson County’s Theater In the Park, the first time that arrangement has ever been tried.
If you want to learn more about the history of the JCC’s old Resident Theatre, check out Richard Piland’s book, The Illustrated History of the Resident Theatre Kansas City, Missouri 1932-1983, which chronicles this piece of Kansas City and Jewish history. The book features pictures and descriptions of almost all of the major productions the theater offered.