The Unicorn Theatre, a Kansas City classic for 32 years, is in the midst of a $2.25 million dollar fundraising campaign that will give the theatre an even stronger presence in Kansas City.
When retail space came open next door to the existing theatre, Unicorn decided to buy the building and expand into the new space.
The Next Stage Capital Campaign began in 2004 to buy the building and renovate the additional 4,500 square feet of space to allow Unicorn to add seats to the current theatre. The new Norge Jerome Stage, named for the local philanthropist and founder of nutritional anthropology, will be used for rehearsals and staged readings. There will also be a classroom where Unicorn staff will teach students from Park University’s reinstated Theatre major program.
Unicorn Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, Cynthia Levin, says of Dr. Jerome. “Whenever there is a real need, she steps in. Norge is one of the most philanthropic people that I or Unicorn has ever known. We are incredibly lucky to have had her support through the years. She was a great board member who has a real passion for Unicorn.” She added, Through this naming Unicorn is the first professional theatre in the nation to have a stage named for an African-American female.”
So far $1.4 million in cash and pledges has already been raised, but another $1 million is needed. The renovation of the new space must be completed by April of 2007 for the opening of Iron Kisses by James Still. “We need $350,000 in cash immediately in order to finish the project on time,” Levin says. “If everyone that came to Unicorn shows gave at least $25, we can easily do that.”
Fundraising was given a huge boost with the award of a challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation for $220,000. The challenge is to raise an additional $800,000 by June 1, 2007. This is an “all or nothing” challenge.

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