Skip to site content
Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader Group Travel Leader

Grand Central Entertainment

Alternative rock icons the Flaming Lips hail from Oklahoma City. Wichita, Kansas, is a proving ground for future Broadway stars. Little Rock, Arkansas, draws a quarter of a million people to its annual music festival on the banks of the Arkansas River.

Music and live entertainment in the Grand Central states run the gamut. Visitors can enjoy folk songs in the Ozarks, country music in Oklahoma City’s century-old stockyards and Tony Award-winning musicals in Kansas.


Wichita, Kansas

Every summer from June through August, Music Theatre Wichita puts on five shows, which means the cast performs one show at night and, during the day, rehearses for the next. That makes it a training ground for the actors and an incredible experience for theatergoers, said Maureen Hofrenning, vice president of sales, Go Wichita, the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

“There was a time you’d go to any Broadway show [in New York City], and you would find a Wichita alum,” she said. “You may not think of Wichita as this jewel of outstanding theater, but it is a phenomenal summer series.”

Performances run Thursday through Sunday night, along with a Saturday matinee, at the Century II Performing Arts and Convention Center in downtown. The 2015 season includes “Aida,” “Disney’s My Son Pinocchio,” “Billy Elliott the Musical,” “Big Fish” and “Hello, Dolly!”

Wichita’s Western heritage is always a hit with visitors, but at Prairie Rose Chuckwagon Supper, guests may get hit with a fresh biscuit. The venue features cowboy entertainers telling stories and playing songs. Prairie Rose sits on 77 acres; guests can visit horses, watch a silent movie in a small theater or take a ride in a covered wagon. But when the chuck-wagon dinner is served, heads up.

“They throw you the biscuits; the biscuits are flying,” Hofrenning said.

Old Town is Wichita’s nightlife and entertainment district, where visitors will find renovated red-brick warehouses along with restaurants, bars, music venues, theaters and several hotels. The Old Town area is home to Mosely Street Melodrama, a musical theater revue where the audience is asked to participate in the company’s kitschy comedies. The dinner theater serves a barbecue meal and always makes an audience member or two get onstage.

“It’s so much fun,” Hofrenning said. “You can just imagine if you’re the one up onstage.”

Rachel Carter

Rachel Carter worked as a newspaper reporter for eight years and spent two years as an online news editor before launching her freelance career. She now writes for national meetings magazines and travel trade publications.