The live entertainment at Worlds of Fun has been a long-time staple at the park. The "Words of Fun" blog invites you to join our entertainment manager, Brian Cross, as he takes you backstage for a closer look at our shows, our team and auditions process.
What goes into creating a show?
- With guidance from the Cedar Fair Live Entertainment Team, headed up by former Worlds of Fun entertainment head Brent Barr, the Worlds of Fun team creates a general concept that will steer the general direction for the new show.
- Brian Cross, live entertainment manager at Worlds of Fun, goes to the drawing board to outline a variety of concepts and provide options to the corporate team.
- Once a concept has been decided upon, the creative team gets together and begins laying out the specific details and identifies the look of the show. That team consists of Walter Bryant (Musical Director), Phil Vitug (Choreographer), Shellie Jeffrey and Ellen Rastorfer (Costume Designers of The Sparkle Factory), Mandy Morris (Director), Rebecca Lumianski (Script Content Creator) and Jayson Chandley (Technical Director)
- Once the musical director has created some references for the team, the choreography is developed, costumes are designed and stitched, and lighting and technical effects are added.
- The Worlds of Fun entertainment team then casts for the show following auditions. Once a cast is established, the team teaches the show to the oncoming performers.
- The cast practices, practices and practices until all details are down and the show opens for the season.
Entertainment – Above all else, we look for someone who looks like they enjoy performing in front of an audience. We can teach performers to do a lot in a short amount of time, but the comfort and joy of ENTERTAINING is something that can take years to learn. We need contagious, fun-loving energy that plays to the audience.
Technique – We pride ourselves on helping performers increase their skills, and like with any production, there is a lot to learn before we open. Vocal technique, dance technique and stamina are all things we expect our performers to already have
Professionalism – Anyone that has worked for us in the past can tell you this is something that is not only appreciated but is required. Our performers know that, when you get a note, we expect a “Thank you”. They’re all expected to come back the next day knowing what they learned the day before, sometimes requiring extensive work at home. Additionally, backstage behavior is as important as on-stage behavior. You work with your castmates for a long time in tight spaces, so treating your fellow cast members with respect is a necessity.
What have some of the Worlds of Fun Performers gone on to do?
We’ve had some of our performers go on to be part of the original cast of Hamilton, Memphis, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and other Broadway shows. Some work on various cruise lines, including those based out of Australia, and have joined national tours such as Motown: The Musical. And many have had (and continue to have) very successful entertainment careers in Kansas City. Even once they go on to other things, we sometimes get the pleasure of having them back for such events like WinterFest.
For those that have worked for us and have continued to shine as performers, we are happy to be their recommendation for bigger things. Our goal is to help build talent so that performers can go on and be successful in life, whatever that might be for them.
What do our Performers do to keep up their skills during the offseason?
Voice lessons, dance classes, the gym, more voice lessons, more dance classes, perform at school and other venues in the area, take vacations and REST. But even when they’re home, they continue to train.
Although we hire many active professionals, quite a few go to school! Many of our Performers are college students and some are even high school students. Our goal is not only to find great existing talent but to foster young and upcoming talent as well.
Please join us for live entertainment at Worlds of Fun during your next visit to the park. You'll see one of the hardest working and most talented teams in all of Kansas City.