Where it all Began | Tiffany’s Attic
In May of 1971, the lease was signed on an old laundry on Main street just south of the Plaza in Kansas City. With jackhammers, paintbrushes and lots of elbow grease, Dennis D. Hennessy and Richard Carrothers, their family and friends got to work and Tiffany’s Attic Dinner Playhouse was born. Hennessy had been running the old Resident Theatre at the Jewish Community Center and had hired Carrothers as his assistant. As the story goes, the two graduates from the University of Missouri – Kansas City decided to open a dinner theatre because, at the time, dinner theatres were sweeping the country as a commercial phenomenon. Hennessy’s mother mortgaged her house to lend the men money. Carrothers’ parents also financed a hefty loan and a new era in theatre began in Kansas City.
The opening production was Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” It starred a young actress named Patsy Calmes (who would later change her name to Morgan Fairchild). The show also featured an up and coming actor named Barney Martin who went on to play Morty Seinfeld, father of Jerry Seinfeld, on the iconic sitcom Seinfeld. As the curtain went up that first night, Carrothers was still applying stain to the coat room floor.
“Opening night, we had 5,000 people on a waiting list,” Hennessy said. “The whole place was sold out. It was something like a dream come true.” The response to Tiffany’s Attic was overwhelming. Shows were booked up to five months in advance. Ticket holders couldn’t wait for the next show. Starting with 500 season ticket holders, Tiffany’s Attic was such a success that Dennis and Richard decided to compete with themselves by opening a second theatre – the Waldo Astoria
When the Westmoreland Theatre opened in 1924, it offered silent films, vaudeville and burlesque. By 1939, the theatre was solely a movie house and had changed its name to the Waldo Theatre. It remained a movie house until it closed in 1972.
In 1973, Hennessy and Carrothers took over the vacant Waldo building and began to refurbish the theatre. The Waldo was decorated with a 1920’s motif including oil paintings of silent screen stars. Plans were even made to create a sidewalk a la Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood where the lead players of each show would imbed their footprints in cement.
This new theatre, dubbed the Waldo Astoria, opened on July 25, 1973 and ultimately proved to be as popular and successful as Tiffany’s Attic.
New Theatre Restaurant
When it was built in the 1960s, the Glenwood Theatre was the largest and most elegant lodging facility in Overland Park, Kansas. The complex included an 817 seat movie auditorium, hailed as Kansas City’s Luxury Movie Theatre, and an extravagant, free-standing convention center. By the late 1980s, developers were interested in converting the Glenwood Manor into retail space. Overland Park City Councilman Andrew Happer felt the convention center would be an excellent location for a theatre restaurant and convinced the property’s developers to bring Richard and Dennis on board.
Two years in the planning and construction, New Theatre Restaurant opened in Overland Park, Kansas in 1992 as a 617 seat, state-of-the-art theatrical facility with a revolving stage designed by the same company that installed the revolving stage for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The theatre also featured an orchestra pit, computer controlled lighting and sound systems and spacious rehearsal, production and culinary facilities.
In 2015, New Theatre underwent a multi-million dollar makeover adding LED panels and more than 4,000,000 LED lights to the theatre and LEDs in the lobby that seem to make the walls move with color.
New Theatre Restaurant is the largest and most successful theatre restaurant facility in the United States, averaging more than a quarter million in attendance annually, including 25,000 season ticket holders. We produce five shows annually, each running between nine and thirteen weeks.
Current Open New Theatre Auditions
The 2018/2019 Season Auditions were held on July 27, 2018.