Best of KC 2022: The Coterie’s childlike wonderment is anything but kid’s stuff

Coterie Alices Wonderland Production Photo 102 900x600 1

Alice’s Wonderland at The Coterie. // Jim Vaiknoras and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre

This month, we published The Pitch’s annual Best of Kansas City issue. You can browse the results of the readers’ poll here. The issue also included a list, compiled and written by our editorial staff, of some of our current favorite things about Kansas City in 2022. We’ll be publishing these items online throughout November. 


We can’t get enough of The Coterie Theatre’s bite-sized musicals. One of two(!) different world-class performance spaces hidden in the sprawling mall of Crown Center, Coterie is aimed towards young audiences, but is anything but “children’s shows.”

As the creative group adapting their own versions of giant Broadway productions, Coterie has garnered national attention for serving as the spawning ground for shows that’ll travel the globe when their books are released to the masses. As international output, that’s a real feather in our cap as a city for cultural vanguards. But for those of us here in KC? Well, it’s hard not to fall in love with the rotating cast of performers here and their alternating opportunities to shine.

This year saw a delightful run based on the children’s cartoon Pete the Cat, which had just enough adult innuendo to (secretly) appeal across the audience spectrum. This was also the launchpad for a new musical adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, where Alice is a Black schoolgirl developing her own video game and attempting to topple a Queen of Hearts that’s a social media maven, streaming her way into evil machinations. Look, you aren’t going to find a production like that anywhere else.

Here’s to Coterie, who has something fantastic every month for a younger audience, a talented team both on-and-off stage, and an apparently unending set of creative surprises up their sleeve. 

If you’re at Crown Center, do give yourself time to catch something at the top floor’s Music Theater Heritage, whose 2022 was simply packed with a murderer’s row of stellar high-production stagings, including the best Cabaret we’ve ever seen and a Titanic that didn’t sink our spirits. Our thespian cup runneth over in the metro. Please enjoy with a pre-game of cocktails and Spin Pizza on the main floor.

Categories: Culture