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Shawnee cinema to showcase live stage theater along with the movies

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A local movie theater will soon have another form of entertainment.

B&B Theaters remodeled its Shawnee 18 theater complex, and now it's announced a new community partnership with Music Theater Kansas City (MTKC).

There are plans in the works for having live theater along with the movies.

“I actually grew up in the program; my mom started it 33 years ago in Wichita. We moved to Kansas City 10 years after that, so this is actually our 25th year in Kansas City,” says Julie Danielson, the Artistic Director of Music Theater Kansas City.

MTKC is a professional training program for young people interested in learning and pursuing a career in performing arts.

“B&B Theaters has a long history of being a family owned organization just like us, and they actually had four of their children go through our program,” adds Danielson.

MTKC and B&B Theaters are bringing live theater mixed in with a movie theater complex -- one of the first in the country -- to Johnson County.

“What is now theater number 7 will be converted into a fully-functional performing arts center and live theater,” says Paul Farnsworth , Public Relations Manager for B&B Theaters.

“They have really graciously allowed us to take one of their auditoriums. It's 500 seats, it's right inside the doors, and we're going to break out the back wall and build a stage with an orchestra pit and scene shops, dressing rooms, costume storage, rehearsal hall,” Danielson says.

B&B Theaters is remodeling the Shawnee theater, and this new venture is something they've never done before.

“It will finally give us a home. For 25 years we've rented different theaters all across Kansas City,” Danielson adds.

MTKC is raising money to build the stage, and a place where many young people who perform can call home.

“We are leading the fundraising for this, but this would allow a lot of other arts organizations to use the space as well,” says Danielson.

The idea is to bring new arts opportunities to Kansas City.

“They support the other art forms, and musical theater is truly a collaborative art form. It's singing, dancing, and acting and sets and orchestra and everything coming together, and so to have the world of film and television mixed with that and have it all under one roof is something really exciting for Johnson County,” adds Danielson.

So far MTKC has raised $150,000 dollars, but need $3 million to complete the project.

For more information, go to MTKC.org.