Experience Springfield Little Theatre’s Intimate Off-site Performances

While critical restorations happen at the historic Landers Theatre, Springfield Little Theatre takes over local venues for immersive performances of Cabaret and The Awesome ‘80s Prom.

By Corin Cesaric

Jan 2019

springfield little theatre
Photo courtesy of Springfield Little TheatreThe Landers Theatre was built in 1909, and after a fire in 1920 it was rebuilt. The Springfield Little Theatre organization purchased it in 1970.

The Landers Theatre has showcased top-notch theatrical performances to the community for more than a century. Famous faces caught the acting bug on the historic stage and thrill seekers are intrigued by the ghost stories that surround it. Kim Crosby, Lucas Grabeel and Cailee Spaeny are just a few of the big names that have graced the stage before catching their big break. In 1970, The Landers was purchased by the Springfield Little Theatre organization, and the non-profit has grown tremendously since then.

The organization offers education classes for all ages in acting, voice and dance along with workshops and youth performance groups. “What a lot of people don't realize is that we're not just the performances you see on the Landers’ stage. It's also a huge education program that serves 30,000-plus kids a year,” says Springfield Little Theatre’s Marketing Director Megan Buchbinder.

While the theater delivers eight main stage shows a year and countless special events, fundraisers, education series events and showcases, there are some restorations needed in order to ensure that it will be around for another 100 years. The people behind the theater are reaching out to the community for help ensuring its future.

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Launched in fall 2018, The Next Stage Campaign, aims to raise $5 million dollars over the course of a year. The campaign goals include improving security and accessibility, preserving and renovating the theater and purchasing and renovating the McDaniel School to use as an education facility.

Throughout the restoration process, the theater will be closed for two months. Instead of completely closing the curtains, the shows will be transformed into intimate off-site performances at Nathan P. Murphy’s and The Old Glass Place.

The Awesome ‘80s Prom at The Old Glass Place | February 14–23

Just in time for Valentine's Day, The Awesome ‘80s Prom hits The Old Glass Place for two weekends in February. You can finally relive your high school glory days—wear ‘80s gear, prom attire or come as you are! The immersive show is a blast from the past with all of those memorable characters from your favorite ‘80s movies. You can expect to see the football team captain, exchange students, nerds, head cheerleaders and other high school staples at the prom. They’re all dying to get their hands on the crown, but it’s up to the audience to decide who goes home as winners.

After this interactive show, the restorations will be complete and the theater will host performances again. You can donate to the Capital Campaign online, by mail, over the phone (417-869-3869 X14) or in person.

Cabaret in Springfield, MO
Photo by Tonya Forbes
Cabaret at Nathan P. Murphy's
Photo by Tonya Forbes

Cabaret at Nathan P. Murphy’s | January 17–February 3

In January, Nathan P. Murphy’s hosts Cabaret. The sultry musical is set in a seedy German nightclub on the night of Hitler’s rise to power. Well-known musical classics are performed while the cast uses the entire venue as their stage. The intimate space is a perfect fit for this show, and the bar is an added bonus—something you won’t find at The Landers Theatre. Cabaret is PG-13 and recommended for people 21 years and older, so drop the kiddos off at the babysitter, grab a drink and enjoy the show. There is limited seating, so there will be double showings on some nights with the first at 7 p.m. and the second at 10 p.m. “[Cabaret] lends itself really well to a late night show,” Buchbinder says. Massively successful, each performance sold out. 

The owner of Nathan P. Murphy’s, Bob Martin aka Dr. Bob, was more than happy to offer up his venue for the performances as a longtime supporter of the arts. “It all revolves around an organization that has given so much to the community and the people, especially the young people,” he says.

About Springfield Little Theatre

Springfield Little Theatre was founded in 1934. Since then, the organization has focused on being a safe and welcoming space for all people. “No matter who you are, no matter what talents you bring, there's a place for you here and that's how we thrive and grow,” Buchbinder says.

The theater is loved by the community and has worked with many Springfield natives who have gone on to make theater their career. Dr. Bob’s daughter was involved with the theater growing up, which led to her pursuing acting and filmmaking in Los Angeles. He credits her love of acting to the theater.

“It's a place that not only welcomes you, but then will encourage you and foster your talents and give you the confidence and skills you need to achieve whatever it is you want to do in life,” Buchbinder says.

Springfield Little Theatre's Capital Campaign


Springfield Little Theatre Season Performances

January 17–February 3, 2019

The Awesome 80s Prom
February 14–32, 2019

Blow Ye Winds Blow
February 28
–March 3, 2019

All In The Timing 
March 7
–10, 2019

Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr.
March 21–April 7, 2019

Youthfest Talent Showcase
April 1

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