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  • Writer's pictureJAM

A Message from the Executive Director


Mark and Maggie O'Connor

In the early 1990s, an actor friend invited me to see him in a musical being performed at the Folly Theater. I was born and raised in Kansas City, so I remembered the push to save the Folly from the wrecking ball, but I didn’t know much else about it. I had never been inside the building, and I assumed it was “just another theater.”

Imagine my surprise entering this historic venue. The warmth and beauty of the space were striking. This was something special!

Several years later I was fortunate to perform on this wonderful stage myself (with Civic Opera Theater) and then stage direct COT shows here. The acoustics and intimacy of the venue are unparalleled. Since then I have experienced numerous performances by amazing artists ranging from Audra McDonald to Evgeny Kissin, and each time the Grand Lady of 12th Street inspires me with her elegance and charm.

Now, I am honored to take the stage as the Folly’s newest Executive Director. This is an exciting time in our history. In the coming months both our Jazz and Americana Series will present Grammy Award-winning artists on our mainstage, offering music from around the globe, including Mark O’Connor Duo (2/18), Allison Moorer (3/5), Paquito D'Rivera Quintet (3/12), Eliane Elias (4/16), and Jeff Lorber Fusion Trio (4/23).

In 2020, we launched our LIVE! In the Lounge Series to highlight talented musical artists who make Kansas City their home. The intimate Joan Kent Dillon Lounge is the perfect space to enjoy a relaxing evening of exceptional musical storytelling. We can’t wait to welcome these next artists – and you! – to the Series: John Keck (2/17), Deshica Rage (3/8), and Sam Wells (4/28).

And if it couldn’t get any more exciting, this summer we embark on the most transformational, consequential, and impactful renovation project the Folly has undertaken in over 40 years. Our $4 million revitalization includes new seats, carpet, and drapes; upgrades to the lobbies and mezzanine restrooms; and refreshed dressing rooms. Wow!

But it’s the people who make the Folly a home – the staff, artists, board, volunteers, and, of course, our devoted audiences. I have been overwhelmed by the welcome I’ve received so far. (The staff here are awesome!) I can’t wait for all that lies ahead. 2022 is going to be a great year; I know we’re destined to experience great things together in “Kansas City’s Carnegie Hall!”

Rick Truman Executive Director The Folly Theater www.follytheater.org


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