Cullen’s Corner

What a year last year was! From the largest ticketed holiday show in HMC history to the sold-out “After All- 60 Years of Cher” spring show to the epic Disney Pride in Concert- we took a big leap in musical excellence, theatrical presentation, and audience growth! One of the biggest challenges I face each and every season is answering the question that everyone asks- “So, how are you gonna top that?” Even though I have over 50 original career productions under my belt, the pressure to produce something that singers and audience members alike will love is sometimes completely overwhelming. 

Creatives often use a process at the beginning of their career rooted in imitating others. Through the learning process, programming moves naturally to assimilation and finally into the final stage of creative producing, innovation. No matter what, each time a producer or writer creates something for the stage, it takes a massive amount of vulnerability and trust grounded in experience and skill (still, always terrifying). 

This season we are taking a fresh, innovative approach to our holiday show by creating an original theatrical storyline with characters and a plot to guide our audiences on a holiday adventure. “A Very Merry Christmas Pageant” is an original musical production that follows all members of HMC as they represent various parts of Kansas and Missouri and compete for the title of “Mister Merry Christmas”. You’ll find out the backstory of a few contestants as they partake in several elements of competitive pageants, all while being judged by three guest judges from the KC arts community. This hilarious and heartwarming production will keep you giggling in your seat as you listen to 140 voices performing an eclectic mix of music to get you in the holiday spirit. You’ll hear everything from “My Grown Up Christmas List” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” to non-holiday pop songs through a holiday lens, like Laura Branigan’s 80’s hit- “Gloria”! Now we just need to figure out how to fit all these singers on the Folly and Yardley Stage! As usual, myself and our leadership team stay so very grateful for the community support of HMC, and we can’t wait to bring our music with a message to Kansas City once again this 38th Season!

Shawn Cullen