Unicorn Theatre History
1974 three UMKC Theatre graduates rented an old warehouse in the historic River Market area and called it Theatre Workshop and produced the first show.
1975 KC Star drama critic Giles Fowler writes, “There is something about the place-something about the spirit and guts-that make you want to see it thrive.
1976 Theatre Workshop had produced 28 plays, including four world premieres by local playwrights and was recognized by the Missouri Arts Council with an Artist-In-residence grant.
1981 Name changes from Theatre Workshop to Unicorn theatre received additional Missouri arts Council funding to stage an original script. Cynthia Levin named Producing Artistic Director.
1984 Unicorn Theatre joined Actors Equity Association, the nation union for professional actors and stage managers.
1986 Unicorn Theatre moved to current location, an 80 year old brick garage transformed into a modern, intimate theater with a thrust stage and a seating capacity of 150.
1987 World Premiere of Doin’ The Reality Rag which utilized the talents of five physically challenged actors and was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.
1988 Unicorn Theatre became one of only three area performing arts organizations to receive National Endowment for the Arts funding.
1992 Falsettoland breaks box office records and fills the company deficit for two years.
1994 Thanatos by Ron Simonian played to sold out houses, then moved to one of New York’s Off-Broadway stages.
1995 Unicorn was granted the opportunity to premiere Jack and Jill by the highly praised Jane Martin.
1996 Unicorn solidified its position as the only professional theatre company in Kansas City to consistently produce plays by and about African-Americans. Unicorn also became the first theatre in the region to obtain the rights to produce Tony Kushner’s epic Angels in America.
1997 Unicorn renovated and expanded their space with interior improvements including a new box office, lobby, rehearsal space, administrative office and Main Street Entrance.
1998 Unicorn Theatre became one of thirteen founding theatres of the National New Play Network, formed to promote the development of new plays and playwrights.
1999 Sold out runs of Having Our Say and Paula Vogel’s 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning piece How I Learned to Drive.
2000 Pulitzer Prize Winner W;t attracted such large audiences that it extended for three weeks.
2001 Yasmina Reza’s ‘Art’ extended due to demand for tickets.
2002 Three productions extended including The Laramie Project, Proof and Fully Committed.
2003 Unicorn Theatre reaches all time high for foundation dollars granted.
2004 Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out extends for three weeks.
2005 Unicorn produced the regional premiere of The Exonerated about people on death row with collaboration of four local exonerated inmates.
2006 Regina Taylor’s Crowns sold at 104% capacity and was brought back the following season at the Gem Theater.
2007 La Cage Aux Folles opens the 34th season and becomes the highest grossing single run show in the company’s history.
2008 Unicorn Theatre expands again by opening The Jerome Stage, a more intimate 120 seat theatre, a new box office, coffee bar and entrance after completing their most successful capital campaign to date, including a Kresge Challenge Grant Match.
2009 Cynthia Levin celebrates 30 years with Unicorn Theatre and season subscriptions reach another all time high despite a national economic crisis. The company also rebrands itself as the theatre who presents BOLDNEWPLAYS in Kansas City.
2010 Unicorn Theatre obtains a liquor license and opens a bar in the lobby.
2011 Unicorn Theatre continues it mission of producing BOLD NEW PLAYS.
2013 Unicorn Theatre celebrates it 40th Anniversary Season and announces the buying of the building.