All of CoMo’s a stage: find your favorite

Take a closer look at three of Columbia’s local theater venues.
Cast members Jason Stanley and Aaron Hunsley pause during a rehearsal of “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre in Columbia, Mo. During the summer, catch “Two by Two,” “Leading Ladies,” and “Shrek: the Musical” at the theater. Maneater File Photo

There is no business like show business. To prove this, three great independent theaters downtown want to entertain you this summer.

Talking Horse Theatre, located in the North Village Arts District, aims to show out-of-the-box performances. Showing in June is a comedy called “Mostly Sweet” about a chaotic family who is in the midst of planning a wedding. The play was written by Missouri-based playwright Meg Phillips Crespy. Tickets for students are $11.

The musical comedy “Steeple People,” which follows a male gospel quartet and their pianist, will be showing in August as well. Be sure to check their [website] ( for showtimes and more information about their other shows coming up during the rest of the year.

Columbia Entertainment Company, located at 1800 Nelwood Drive, is preparing to show “Lucky Stiff” in June. The show is a comedic murder mystery musical that includes everything from a European getaway, several hundred dogs and the possibility for the main character to inherit $6 million. Even better than the show itself is the price of admission. All tickets are only $10. A little ways off in September, they will be showing the beloved classic centered around Disney’s favorite nanny, “Mary Poppins.”

CEC offers many volunteer opportunities both on and off stage as well.

Maplewood Barn Community Theatre has one of the more active summer seasons of any theater in Columbia, performing “Two by Two,” a musical about the classic biblical story of Noah and the flood, with modern themes added in throughout. Later, CEC is putting on “Leading Ladies,” a comedy about two down-and-out Shakespearean actors who pretend to be an elderly woman’s granddaughters in order to receive her several million-dollar inheritance, and “Shrek: The Musical,” based on the DreamWorks movie “Shrek.”

You can experience CoMo’s only live outdoor theater for $9-musicals and $7-plays, located at 2900 E. Nifong Blvd. On top of watching the shows, you can also be a part of them by auditioning for their September show. The Shakespearean classic “Much Ado About Nothing” will have an MU twist, as it is set on campus during homecoming. For the techie and behind-the-scenes types, they offer volunteer opportunities backstage. All you have to do is email them.

If ever there comes a night you just want to stay in, Maplewood Barn Theatre also does radio plays through KBIA. The podcasts can be heard live, and you can listen to past episodes on KBIA’s website. The podcasts are plays that range from the pulp fiction genre to comedic adaptations to thrillers that are all under 30 minutes.

Regardless which theater’s summer show selection is for you, there is bound to be an affordable show for you to enjoy and maybe even be a part of. It turns out that Shakespeare’s famous saying rings true in the theater-heavy culture of Columbia: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

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