With the future of Century II up in the air, changes could come to Music Theatre Wichita

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The sky blue roof has been a part of the Wichita skyline for almost half a century, and now its future is up in the air.

The city announced this week that it wants to explore the possibility of giving a private developer control of Century II and the land around it.

For companies like Music Theatre Wichita, who work out of the building, the news is nerve-racking.

“We’re able to build these full-scale Broadway musicals here in Wichita,” explained Mitchell Southerland, MTW Production Manager.

Underneath Century II, Music Theater Wichita is already preparing for its five summer musicals.

“So, many shows now a days coming in as a tour, we’re able to actually organically build from the ground up, involving our local high schoolers, and local talent from the colleges,” stated Southerland.

As the largest renter at Century II, new owners could change things for the music theater.

“I’m nervous, cautious, because we have to have the shops. We have to have the stage. Everything is so important to us,” said Nancy Reeves, MTW Company Manager.

Reeves has been a part of the not-for profit for almost 30 years and has poured her heart into helping organize every production.

“I think there’s so much pride, and I usually see almost every performance of every show,” stated Reeves.

With a $4.1 million dollar budget, Wayne Bryan, MTW Artistic Director, tells KSN 70 percent stays in Wichita.

“We hire as many local people as possible,” said Bryan.

Bryan says 300 jobs are created every year by the company. Though Music Theater Wichita is open to change, they’re just hoping the show can continue to go on for many years to come.

“Changes need to happen in this building, and we’re all behind that. We’re just hopeful that we don’t become an accidental casualty of somebody coming in and setting up a building without taking into consideration, we need shops,” explained Bryan.

The city is looking into several alternatives for Century II. Developers are looking at revitalizing 30 acres of property owned by the city. That includes north of the Drury Hotel, to south of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It also includes the site of the current library.


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