Starlight Stars of the Backstage
2016-07-31 CATEGORY: Starlight
Some of our brightest stars are never seen on stage, while others shine in the spotlight and become fixtures in Kansas City’s theatre community. In tribute to several individuals who made key contributions to Starlight Theatre during their lifetimes, a memorial wall of bronze stars was erected in our west annex courtyard. Starlight guests can view the wall of stars on pre-show venue tours throughout the Broadway season.
The six individuals memorialized are:
Jan DeLovage (1943-2011)
A hairdresser, wig and makeup designer, Jan DeLovage was a constant backstage presence for Starlight shows. She also lent her talents to several productions for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Theatre for Young America, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the University of Kansas Theatre and the New Theatre Restaurant.
Karen Errington (1962-2011)
An actress noted for her stage presence and commanding singing voice, Karen Errington was an influential part of Kansas City’s theatre scene. Her ties to Starlight included being a member of the Divas, a female quartet that performed at private engagements for EPIC Innovative Events, and playing the roles of Alma Hix in the 2008 production of The Music Man and Mrs. Harcourt in 2009’s Anything Goes.
Errington also flexed her acting chops at many area theatres, including the Unicorn, Quality Hill Playhouse, American Heartland, New Theatre Restaurant, Kansas City Actors Theatre, Musical Theater Heritage and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.
Gary Holcombe (1945-2011)
A lead actor who became a household name among Kansas City theatre-goers, Gary Holcombe graced Starlight’s stage several times during his career. He was a founding member of the Actors Theatre of Kansas City and also worked extensively at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, American Heartland Theatre and Unicorn Theatre.
Holcombe landed his signature role as Daddy Warbucks in the fourth national tour of Annie, where he met and performed alongside his future wife and EPIC Innovative Events president Donna Thomason. He went on to play the part in three Starlight productions between 1994 and 2004. Throughout his career, he performed as Daddy Warbucks roughly 1,500 times and even owned his own costume.
Molly Jessup (1943-2009)
One of Starlight’s musical mainstays, Molly Jessup served as our theatre’s choirmaster and assistant musical director for more than 20 musicals in the mid-1980s, and returned as musical director and conductor from 2000 to 2004.
Jessup’s dedication to the musical arts extended to nearly every professional theatre in Kansas City. Over the years, her directing credits included The Coterie Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, American Heartland Theatre, Theatre for Young America and Quality Hill Playhouse. Nationally, she conducted productions at North Shore Music Theatre, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Casa Manana, the St. Louis Muny Opera and the Kennedy Center. Jessup also toured with the national tour of Les Miserables.
While Jessup wowed audiences with her directorial talents, she was an educator at heart. The Starlight STARS program took shape under her tutelage as did our Blue Star Awards.
Lon Muncrief (1950-2011)
A dedicated rigger and stagehand, Lon Muncrief prepared stages at Starlight and elsewhere for concerts and musicals for more than 30 years. He even toured with the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Fleetwood Mac. After spending the first half of his career unloading trucks and building trusses for traveling bands, Muncrief became head carpenter at Starlight in the early 2000s. He was a member of local stage union IATSE Local 31.
Steve Peters (1954-2005)
Steve Peters was a member of Starlight’s orchestra for nearly three decades. He had a true calling for music. Peters often played double bass and electric bass guitar with the Kansas City Symphony, performed in local chamber ensembles and freelanced as a jazz bass player. He was a founding member of KKFI 90.1 FM and contributed to the station’s folk music programs.