Gladstone Theatre in the Park is the only FREE theater in Kansas City!!!!
The dream of Gladstone Theatre in the Park began to take shape in 1988. In June of that year, a very dedicated couple devoted much of their time to provide the Northland community with quality entertainment. Van Ibsen and Susie Ibsen, along with the City of Gladstone, began a tradition that summer with the first GTIP production, “Oliver!”. Van Ibsen was the director, carpenter, and painter for that first show. Susie Ibsen did the choreography, costuming, and made all the frayed ends come together.
We all know that in order to have a musical, you must have music. A piano was the only accompaniment the first year, played by Laurie Mayfield who is still an accompanist to this day. Then the Northstar Community Band, conducted by Faye Rader, became the third sponsor in 1989 and has been in the pit ever since.
Beginning in 1988, the stage for Gladstone Theatre in the Park had very humble beginnings of 2 x 4’s and plywood. It was built from the ground up before the first show each summer, and torn down after the second show. Parents and children of Gladstone and surrounding communities helped build this temporary stage and the sets each summer.