The spotlight shone on Starlight Theatre on Feb. 25 in Columbia, Mo., when Starlight president and CEO Rich Baker accepted an award from the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association (MPRA).
Starlight was one of just three Missouri organizations selected to receive a 2016 MPRA Citation Award. The annual award honors a not-for-profit or business organization that “has made an outstanding contribution to recreation and/or parks.”
In nominating the Starlight Theatre Association for the award, Mark McHenry, director of Kansas City Parks and Recreation, cited the theatre for its education and outreach programs that further the arts for Kansas City community members. Specific Starlight programs noted in the nomination included:
- Vincent Legacy Scholarships. Since 2006, this scholarship program has provided funds to minority students in grades 6, 7 and 8 to help them refine and improve their performance skills through professional instruction.
- Just Imagine. This interactive program brings the magic of theatre to children struggling with illness in hospitals and to those being served by social service agencies.
- Fundraising Ticket Donations. Starlight annually provides tickets to not-for-profit organizations to use in their own fundraising efforts.
- Center Stage Young Professionals of Starlight. This membership group strives to make Broadway shows, concerts and special events accessible to young adults ages 21-40.
- Blue Star Awards. This high school musical theatre awards program recognizes outstanding achievement and excellence among theatre students and schools throughout Kansas City.
“It is an honor for Starlight to be recognized for our partnership with the Kansas City Parks and Recreation and for our 66 years of providing top-quality, affordable musical entertainment within Swope Park,” Baker said. “We thank Mark McHenry for taking the time to share Starlight’s accomplishments with a statewide audience.”