"At least it gives me a chance to participate in the theater community," Morrison says. "Eventually it would be fun to do a search engine that would, for example, show you every comedy that has a Wednesday matinee. For now, I'm just trying to get more theaters to send me stuff."
Because KCTheatre.com has, when available, links to theaters with current engagements, it serves as a convenient portal to those pages. The resulting survey shows a mix of the predictable, the newsworthy, and the invisible:
American Heartland Theatre The KCTheatre.com site didn't have a link to this theater's home page (it offered only show times and directions), and a wider search for "American Heartland Theatre" traveled only to culturefinder.com, a route to purchasing tickets with a $6 surcharge. Morrison's help led to the official site, where the theater features photos of its current 1940's Radio Hour, trivia questions, and links to "Our Neighbors," such as Hallmark and the Crown Center complex that envelops the theater.
The Coterie. Also located at Crown Center, the theater invites visitors "inside" with words like "create," "laugh," and "explore." Past the home page are a message from artistic director Jeff Church appealing to audiences young and old; a listing of which performances will be signed for the hearing impaired; and information about the Coterie's Dramatic AIDS Outreach Project and Reaching the Write Minds program.
Late Night Theatre. An animated home page shows pieces of the logo coming together as a whole before being greeted by an extreme close-up of the Kama Sutra wallpaper in the Old Chelsea bathroom. Delving further into the site, one finds photos from the opening night party and a Flash Media performance by Ron Megee that is funny but not all that flashy.
Missouri Repertory Theatre. "Meet Peter Altman" and "Meet the cast and creative team" are just two of the links available from the home page. Visitors to the site also can pull up press releases, articles, and reviews (including this writer's rave about Major Barbara). The site is one of the few where tickets can be purchased online.
New Theatre Restaurant. After a lengthy download , a sound not unlike a sci-fi special effect introduces the glitziest -- and most outdated -- home page of the group. Under "Now Showing," one finds The Music Man, which closed September 4, and a quote from The New York Times about, one assumes, the production currently on Broadway, not the one in Overland Park. The site also delivers news about job openings and a link called "Backstage Pass," available only if you have a season ticket number. Visitors to the site can access an e-mail ticket form that is said to prompt a call from a "sales associate" within 24 hours.
Quality Hill Playhouse. One click on any show in the season brings up clear, color-coded calendar pages of day and evening performances. Like other sites, it has links to reviews, a history of the space, and an invitation to book artistic director J. Kent Barnhart and members of his company for a performance at a special event. The site touts online ticketing as coming soon.
Theater League. One can see why Theater League president Mark Edelman is hardly ever in his office. The site introduces Theater League seasons in Kansas City; Phoenix; Tucson, Arizona; Toledo, Ohio; Thousand Oaks, California; and Long Beach, California, and it is interesting to track a tour like Jekyll and Hyde as it moves across the map from California through Kansas City and on to Ohio. The site also includes links for purchasing tickets online.
Theatre for Young America. Against a rich yellow and blue background the color of collectible dishes from the '40s, the information on this site is basic: a list of current and upcoming shows, a schedule of drama classes, and information on booking one of the theater's touring productions ($1,500 for one performance; $2,000 for two).
Unicorn Theatre. The most informative of the bunch, the Unicorn's site contains history, a mission statement, and "subscription advantages." Even the well-informed can learn new tidbits, such as how the National Playwriting Award Competition has been axed in favor of New Play Development, which accepts scripts year-round.