the1994projectkc Relive a memorable year of film and music – KC STUDIO

Elise Pauline/Nellie Maple Perlman in Dumb and Dumber (photo by Jennifer Long)

Where were you in 1994?

Katie Gilchrist, who won the Broadway World Award for Best Actor and Best Director, is committed to bringing back 30-year-old memories through rich entertainment.

Throughout 2024, Black Box will present a series of two-part curated shows celebrating 1994, with Black Box as sponsor and Mark Johnson as co-producer.

“The Sessions” includes the major songs and albums of the year; the movie reading session focuses on major movies. These musical performances and films defined a generation.

On January 27th, the “Audience Mixtape” begins, with live music, photos, prizes, birthday gifts and full program announcements. Spectators were asked to wear flannel shirts, denim overalls and thick-soled sneakers, “a dress code violation.” Nirvana’s music debuted in February.

The most recent “Sessions” performance honored The Cranberries’ “No Need to Argue.” During intermission, Gilchrist noticed an audience member in tears and sighed: “This is the music of my teens and twenties. It was all so innocent. All I could do was sing. and cry.

That’s exactly the response Gilchrist and her team were hoping for. “The mission of this project is to highlight artists who speak to us while creating a safe, inclusive environment for these tributes. the1994projectkc exists for us and by us. Anyone can know who they are, where they are, Who are they…just be who you are.

The theme of the May 18 conference was “A Wonderful Year,” centered around Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” and Tori Amos’s “Under the Pink.” These two albums were the inspiration for the series. “I found myself singing those two records loudly in the car,” Gilchrist recalls. “Then I started looking at other stuff that had been released that year. It blew my mind.

June brings Come As You Are, a drag/burlesque show paying homage to 1994 hosted by Annie Cherry.

Movie readings include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Speed, True Lies, and Dumb and Dumber. In May, the show launched “Reality Bites” with a live soundtrack, also benefitting KC Fringe.

Gilchrist is delighted that these readings “provide a wild and whimsical playground for actors in Kansas City.” Local musicians and various variety performers also have the same opportunity.

The year 1994 was a milestone for Eboni Fondren, host of the July event CrazySexyCool. “Moving from state to state, always being the new girl, always trying to fit in, music is everything to me. Especially the music of strong girl groups.

Ahafia Jurkiewicz-Miles considers the project “a source of artistic pleasure”. “The ’90s were a huge musical blind spot for me,” they say, “and I loved learning entire albums from some of the most influential musicians of our time.”

Show time is 7:30. Tickets for “The Sessions” are priced at $19.94. The film reading event requires a minimum cash donation of $10, which helps support local charities including KC Strong, The Arts Asylum, KC Public Theatre, The Black Box and more. By May, they had raised and distributed $1,000.

The project will culminate with a live music party on December 30, but there’s still plenty of time to “take a trip down memory lane with us” and “soak in the nostalgia of 1994.”

Upcoming performances include:


  • July: CrazySexyCool: The Mixtape hosted by Eboni Fondren.
  • August: Amor Prohibido: A Night of Selena Led by Shon Ruffin
  • October: Rock the Vote, Green Day Music, led by Ahafia Jurkiewicz-Miles

movie reading

  • July: Live musical performance of The Lion King benefits Black Repertory Theater
  • August: “Staff” benefit from Stand Up KC
  • September: Serial Mom starring Daisy Buckët

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