Pre-Show Entertainment

The show begins at Starlight Theatre before the main action begins on our Cohen Community Stage!

Our gates open to the public early each Broadway show night so guests can enjoy live, local entertainment on the Spotlight Stage or take a tour behind the scenes of our majestic theatre. And on concert nights, VIP guests arrive early to hear local Kansas City artists and bands perform on a stage within the VIP Applause Club.


Spotlight Stage
This satellite stage is located inside Gate 4 on Starlight’s northwest side

The Starlight STARS of Tomorrow, Starlight’s performance troupe of youth in grades 7 to 12, are frequently featured on the Spotlight Stage before Broadway productions. And on the nights that our STARS don’t perform, you will find talented children, teens and adults from local dance studios, choirs, performing arts clubs, barbershop quartets and more showcasing their skills and entertaining early arriving guests.

Spotlight Stage performances generally begin between 6:30 and 7 p.m. and average 25 minutes in length. Most groups perform twice on their assigned nights.

NOTE: Due to production restrictions, this stage is not programmed on opening night of each show.


Venue Tours
Tours begin behind Terrace section 1 at the top of the seating area

Free venue tours led by Starlight Ambassadors are offered every Broadway show night. Our volunteers share information about Starlight’s iconic structures, rich history, show highlights and fun facts. Most tours travel to backstage areas for a sneak peek at the technical and performance nuances of each show.

Starlight tours depart at three convenient times: 6:30, 6:45 and 7 p.m.


Concert VIP Club Stage
This satellite stage is located in the outdoor seating area of Starlight’s Applause Club

Established and up-and-coming local concert artists and bands arrive early to entertain Starlight’s VIP concert guests as well as others within hearing range. Each Kansas City area performer is screened in advance and selected to match or complement the music genre of the main stage headlining artist.

Our VIP Gate 8 generally opens at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted.  


There are many other ways for early arriving guests to make the most of their Starlight night. Our suggestions include:

  • Relax with a drink and snack alongside our beautiful Shirley Bush Helzberg Garden of the Stars fountain on the theatre’s east side.
  • ‘People watch’ and unwind as you enjoy a light meal and beverage on the Encore Deck, just above the Helzberg fountain.
  • Buy a souvenir of your Starlight visit from the Ovation gift shop or the tour’s merchandise stand.
  • Pose for a selfie or several in front of the many lush, landscaped gardens throughout our venue.
  • Visit the Anita Gorman Donor Court of Honor, located between the two pavilions on the theatre’s north side. Look down to see an LED-lit work of glass art, and then look up to read the names of generous donors – laser-etched into stainless steel rings – who have helped Starlight grow and glow!
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