Unicorn Theatre
3828 Main Street
Kansas City MO 64111-1915
Unicorn Theatre Entrance on Main Street

Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 531-7529
Mission Statement

Unicorn Theatre enhances Kansas City by developing and producing professional, provocative, new plays. We create opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians, and administrative staff.

CEO/Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Levin
Board Chair Ms. Winnie Dunn
Board Chair Company Affiliation KU Medical Center
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1974
Former Names
Theatre Workshop
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

Unicorn Theatre enhances Kansas City by developing and producing professional, provocative, new plays. We create opportunities for the advancement of emerging and established actors, directors, playwrights, designers, technicians, and administrative staff.

Background Statement

Annual Season: The Unicorn produces works that stimulate audiences to respond to, think about and discuss issues that surround ethnicity, gender orientation, race, and social justice. We strive to produce – not just the best new plays – but the best new important plays, works that say something that people should really hear. To give audiences a chance to process as a group the issues raised in a play, we schedule several Talk Backs during each production. Featured Fridays invite guests to come early and explore the context of the play through creative activities and presentations. For patrons that are especially interested in the creative process, we offer the free In-Progress New Play Reading Series.

“Our purpose is not to tell people what to think; it is to help them decide what to think about.”

Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin

The Unicorn’s Internship Program gives graduate students of theatre the valuable opportunity to work hands-on a professional production. Interns play major roles – both onstage and off - and receive academic credit. At least one production each season is in collaboration with UMKC’s Department of Theater. Pay What U Can levels the cultural playing field and welcomes guests from every income bracket to a night at the theatre. Art enhances our life and elevates our worldview. No one in should be deprived of this illuminating experience due to economic limitation.

Impact Statement


  1. Internship Program: This year a new structure was put into place. The application was revised and each intern underwent an entrance and exit interview.  These modifications were made to heighten the intern’s experience. An unexpected benefit was recruitment of talented students that were even more serious about their internship. Interns came from: KU, Kansas State, Kansas City Art Institute, Columbia College in Chicago, Lafayette College, Stephens College, Oklahoma City University, Graceland University, Sorbonne in Paris, Carnegie Mellon and UMKC.

  2. Pay What U Can: This was the 4th year for our program that makes great theatre affordable for everyone in Kansas City. We have received numerous emails from guests who expressed their gratitude for the program.
  3. Membership vs Subscription: 2016-2017 was our first full year to add a membership option to the traditional subscription approach.  Memberships are more flexible and this approach has worked well to attract younger patrons. 
  4. The 8 plays produced through the Annual Season were Hand To God; The Way We Get By; An Octoroon; Application Pending; How To Use A Knife; Eclipsed; I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard; and Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical.  This last play sold at 101% capacity and was extended for one week.
Needs Statement
  1. General Operating Support
  2. Volunteers to help in all areas of operation.
  3. Restaurants to cater Opening Night receptions and Peeks.
  4. Groups interested in bringing members to Peek at the Play events.
Service Categories
Arts Education
Minority Rights
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
Unicorn Theatre serves the entire Kansas City metro area.  The theatre regularly receives guests from other cities in Missouri and Kansas and from several states around the U.S.
CEO/Executive Director/Board Chair Statement

Of the many successes at the Unicorn Theatre, I am most proud that we begin our 44th Season, having produced over 300 new plays and 65 World Premieres. We own an incredible building (which we bought outright) housing 2 intimate stages which enable us to produce 8 extraordinary shows each year. There is an abundance of performing arts in Kansas City and each organization has their own niche. We do what no one else in town does; produce contemporary shows that have never been seen in Kansas City, the Midwest or anywhere at all. That also comes with its own set of challenges. Most people have never heard of the playwrights or plays we do and it can be a tough sell. Our audience must trust us to choose the very best, most interesting and thought provoking stories being written today. I believe that seeing something, feeling something that you have never experienced before is a magical and fascinating adventure.

The competition for audience members and funding dollars is steep. We have consistently high quality production values and employ top notch, local artists which keeps us at the forefront of our profession. I have been with the Unicorn for 38 years and I cannot think of another organization I would want to spend my entire adult life with. I am surrounded by thoughtful, intelligent people of many diverse cultures, races and ages. Along with our internship program we collaborate with UMKC’s MFA department ensuring we work with the next generation of artists who will be changing the world. There is a wealth of talent in Kansas City and by working together we can change the landscape of the American theater. I have seen the audiences grow and the generosity of funders escalate. For every challenge, there is a positive and rewarding opportunity to grow and help our community thrive.


This is a free annual series of readings of new works that are still in manuscript form.  Marketed to the public through our website, mailings, emails, Twitter and Facebook, the series attracts approximately 300 individuals each year and is held concurrent with our main Season.   

Program Budget $25,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater
Population Served General/Unspecified, Adults, Other Named Groups
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

  • The audience will get a first peek at what some of the best emerging playwrights are writing.
  • Playwrights will hear their play read by professional actors and professionally directed.  This supports the play-writing process that may include several rewrites. 
  • The Unicorn will identify a promising play to be further developed into a world premiere. 

Long-Term Success

  • Fosters new work.
  • Supports emerging playwrights. 
  • Gives audience members the chance to collaborate in the artistic process. 

Program Success Monitored By

We talk with the playwright and with the audience.  The staff is part of every reading so we have been able to find what works.

Examples of Program Success
Grounded by George Brant was part of the In-Progress New Play Reading Series in 2013 and had its world premiere at the Unicorn in 2014. The production went on from there to stages around the globe. In 2015, Academy Award-winning star Anne Hathaway performed in the solo play directed by Tony-winner Julie Taymor.
This play got its start at Unicorn Theatre.

The Unicorn's Internship Program is designed for highly motivated and committed college and graduate-level students of theatre who are looking to bridge the gap between their academic experience and a professional career. Interns are vital members of the company, working alongside the Unicorn's dedicated and passionate artists, administrators, technicians and designers. Not only do these students gain practical experience, knowledge and industry contacts, they are encouraged to discover their true potential in a creative and challenging environment that fosters both professional and personal growth. Each year, Unicorn Theatre invests hundreds of hours to offer internships students from around the country. Over the course of a year, we average 30 interns studying marketing, fund raising, dramaturgy, acting costume, lighting, sound and set design. 

Program Budget $34,790.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

  • Students will seek internships at the Unicorn.
  • Students complete their internships and receive class credit.
  • Students will benefit through mentoring relationships.

Long-Term Success

  • Young aspiring writers, technicians and actors will have a good foundation for their career development.
  • Artists will be encouraged and coached.
  • More art will be created. 

Program Success Monitored By We ask for feedback from students and keep track of those who have interned here.
Examples of Program Success
Dan Warneke: Interned at the Unicorn in the 2010-2011 Season.
Dan serves as the Resident Sound Designer at the Coterie Theatre. He also runs a freelance sound business designing, recording, editing and mixing for various audio projects and local post-production houses.
Alex Murphy: Interned on The Salvation of Iggy Scrooge in 2011.
Alex was hired as the Production Assistant for the recent world premiere of Grounded and the regional premiere of Other Desert Cities. Recent Production Assistant credits include: The Santaland Diaries and The Tallest Tree in the Forest (KC Rep). Stage Management credits include: How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Who’s Tommy, Enchanted April (MET); The Death of Cupid, Fool For Love, Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, Dog Sees, God, A Bucket of Blood (The Living Room Theatre); and Valhalla, In Trousers (Egads Theatre Company). Alex holds a B.A. in Theatre and English from Truman State University, an M.A. in Theatre from Missouri State University and an M.F.A. in Stage Management from UMKC.

The Unicorn Theatre will produce seven regional premieres and one world premiere in it's 44th Season.

Men on Boats By Jaclyn Backhaus , 06 Sept - 01 Oct. Directed by Missy Koonce. A Co-Production with UMKC Theatre

Disgraced By Ayad Akhtar. 18 Oct – 12 Nov. Pulitzer Prize Winner. Directed by Sidonie Garrett

Stupid Fucking Bird By Aaron Posner. Sort of Adapted from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. 29 Nov- 23 Dec. Directed by Theodore Swetz. A Co-Production with UMKC Theatre

Chesapeake By Lee Blessing. 19 Dec- 07 Jan. Directed by Cynthia Levin

Project Dawn By Karen Hartman. 24 Jan- 18 Feb. A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Directed by Heidi Van

Informed Consent By Deborah Zoe Laufer. 07 Mar- 01 Apr. Directed by Darren Sextro

Vietgone By Qui Nguyen. Original Music by Shane Rettig. 18 Apr- 13 May. Directed by Cynthia Levin

Hir By Taylor Mac. 30 May- 24 Jun. Directed by Ian R. Crawford

Program Budget $818,814.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theatrical Performances
Population Served General/Unspecified, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success

  • Kansas City audiences have access to shows they would have to travel to New York to see any sooner.
  • Local theatre professionals are employed through the Unicorn's commitment to local talent.
  • Audiences are stimulated emotionally and intellectually.

Long-Term Success

The Unicorn's Annual Season:

  • New works of American theatre are fostered through a highly professional regional or world premiere at Unicorn Theatre
  • Kansas City audiences are aware of the trends and issues explored through contemporary theater art.
  • Guests become more interested and invested in social justice.

Program Success Monitored By

We track ticket sales, subscriber numbers, reviews in local press and we ask for feedback from our audiences.

Examples of Program Success

  • The Unicorn is beginning its 44th Season of new plays.
  • Attendance has increased by 2,000 for the Annual Season.
  • Demand is such that each run is now four weeks long - productions had been shortened to three weeks during the recession,
  • The final show of 2016-2017, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, was extended by one week due to high demand and achieved a record 101% capacity. 

Every week of every production, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, guests can pay what they can to attend the performance. This program is revolutionary in its approach.
We believe strongly that Art is for Everyone, and that a person's financial situation should not prohibit them from experiencing great theatre. 
Program Budget $76,250.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, ,
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Program Frequently Assessed Yes
Short-Term Success Last season 2,008 people were able come through our door and see a production who otherwise would not have been able to afford a ticket. 
Long-Term Success Ultimately this program will makes the arts more accessible in Kansas City. It allows us to serve the under-served and share the beautiful stories we tell on stage with anyone in the community who wants to take part in them. 
Program Success Monitored By We take information from all ticket buyers including those who have utilized our Pay What U can Program.
Examples of Program Success

Subject: thank you

Good morning, Unicorn Theatre. I just want to let you know… there is little doubt that the most important factor contributing to our even being there last night was the Unicorn’s “pay what you can” invitation to the public to see a play, and not just any play, but a professionally produced, directed, staged, and acted one. I do not have to words to express how much I admire and appreciate that policy. The arts make us better people, I do believe, and the fact that the Unicorn Theatre sees fit to give everyone a chance to better himself is alone enough to make my wife and me fans of the Unicorn for life. Again, my warmest thanks for all you do.

Steve H.

Liberty, MO

CEO Comments

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Levin
Term Start Jan 1979
Experience Cynthia has been directing, designing and producing at the Unicorn since 1979. She is a founding board member of the National New Play Network, a member of Actors Equity Association, served on the Missouri Arts Council advisory panel, and is the recipient of a Missouri Arts Award, an Ingrams Magazine Local Heroes award, GLAAD leadership award, and honorary doctorate from Park University and Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Co-CEO/Executive Director
Co-CEO/Executive Director Mr. Jason Kralicek
Term Start Mar 2008
E-mail jkralicek@unicorntheatre.org
Compensation Last Year $50,001 - $75,000
Current Compensation $50,001 - $75,000
Co-CEO Experience
JASON KRALICEK (MANAGING DIRECTOR) is the primary staff member responsible for managing daily accounting operations, all box office activities, supervision and support of the organization’s marketing and development plan. Mr. Kralicek joined Unicorn Theatre in March 2008, after four years as Manager of Sales at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. During his tenure at the Rep, Mr. Kralicek helped to open the Copaken Stage as well as leading the sales team to new subscription records with over 10,200 subscriptions sold. He has a bachelor's in Business and Public Administration from UMKC and is currently pursuing a master’s in business at the Block School.
Senior Staff
Title Managing Director
Experience/Biography JASON KRALICEK (Managing Director) joined the Unicorn Theatre after 4 years as Manager of Sales at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre. During his tenure at the Rep, Jason helped to open the Copaken Stage as well as leading the sales team to new subscription records with over 10,200 subscriptions sold. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in Business and Public Administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.
Paid Full-Time Staff 6
Paid Part-Time Staff 10
Volunteers 167
Paid Contractors 92
Retention Rate 100%
Staff Diversity (Ethnicity)
African American/Black 1
Caucasian 5
Staff Diversity (Gender)
Female 4
Male 2
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes

The Unicorn has formal a collaborative agreement with UMKC Department of Theatre (since 2009) to co-produce at least one play at the Unicorn each season.   

Theatre Communications Groups - Constituent Theatre1990
National New Play Network - Constituent Theatre2000
Actor's Equity Association1986
Best of Kansas City--Best TheatreThe Ptich Weekly2007
Best Theatre 2006KC Independent Magazine2006
Best of Kansas City Arts & EntertainmentPitch Weekly2005
Top Rated Equity Show tick tick BoomKC Stage2006
2006 Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the ArtsJohnson County Library Foundation2006
Best Live TheatreKC Magazine2007
Best Performances of 2014: GroundedKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: Bad JewsKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: Hands on a HardbodyKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: I'll Eat You LastKansas City Star2014
Best Performances of 2014: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad ZooKansas City Star2014
Best of Kansas City: Critics Choice Clybourne ParkThe Pitch Weekly2014
Best of Kansas City: Critics Choice Robert Gibby Brand in SeminarThe Pitch Weekly2014
Best of Kansas City: Critics Choice Tosin Morohunfola in By the way Meet Vera StarkThe Pitch Weekly2014
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
CEO Comments

Board Chair
Board Chair Ms. Winnie Dunn
Company Affiliation KU Medical Center
Term July 2015 to June 2018
Board Members
Ms. Lydia Butler Hilary's Eat Well
Ms. Winnie Dunn Ph.D.KU Medical Center
Ms. Sally Everhart DST
Dr. Steven Geduldig Podiatrist
Ms. Francine Gill YMCA
Ms. Anne Lawrence-Cherry Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Dr Cynthia Levin Unicorn Theatre
Mr. Benjamin Mann Husch Blackwell LLP
Ms. Melissa McCray Freelance Marketing Consultant
Mr Craig Peterson Sedgwick LLC
Ms. Kimberlee Ried National Archives and Records Administration
Ms. Yve Rojas Community Volunteer
Ms. Shari L. Wilson Kansas Association for Conservation & Environmental Education
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 10
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 10
Standing Committees
Board Development / Board Orientation
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Community Outreach / Community Relations
CEO Comments
The arts can bring people together to share an experience even when they see the world in radically different ways. We accept and embrace disagreement as an essential ingredient to good art. The important thing is not that we agree about the experience that we share, but that we consider it worthwhile that we share the experience.
The Unicorn is the premier theatre in Kansas City offering provocative plays that address sensitive topics of our time. Art lovers and novices to art alike come to the Unicorn to share an art experience that challenges their ideas about life and the world in which we live.
This is why I have made a commitment of my time and resources to the Unicorn. I get to experience other points of view; sometimes I don’t even know where my own point of view came from until I come face to face with the emotions that a great performance evokes from me. The theatre is an immersive experience that requires my full attention. I have learned that in the days following a performance at the Unicorn, thoughts linger; I make connections among ideas that I had not linked before that play.
I am also committed to building the capacity of my community. The Unicorn Theatre produces more world premier plays than anyone else in town. This means I get to be part of the development of new playwrights, actors, set designers. Since I am an educator and researcher myself, I value getting to invest in artists’ evolution as well.
Another aspect of building capacity focuses on the audience. We have provided a ‘pay what you can’ option during the week for all our plays for the last two years as an investment in students, young professionals and other city dwellers who want to expand their social routines. The strongest cities have vibrant arts opportunities and consequently, many artists. I love being part of Unicorn’s contribution to our strong city.
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2017
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2018
Projected Revenue $1,023,944
Projected Expenses $1,023,934
IRS Letter of Exemption
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2016, 2015, 2014: Financial data reported using IRS Form 990.  
  • Foundations/corporate revenue line item may include contributions from individuals.
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$26,300$0$0
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$44($46,958)$22
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$10,008$46,968$45,212
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$874,743$728,929$656,113
Administration Expense$168,634$283,626$257,754
Fundraising Expense$68,740$41,607$49,035
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.940.861.97
Program Expense/Total Expenses79%69%68%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue12%8%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$2,212,229$2,233,253$2,370,635
Current Assets$384,675$440,834$663,132
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$199,657$151,291$136,728
Total Net Assets$2,012,572$2,081,962$2,233,907
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.932.914.85
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years No
Organization Comments

Organization Name Unicorn Theatre
Address 3828 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 641111915
Primary Phone (816) 531-7529
CEO/Executive Director Dr. Cynthia Levin
Board Chair Ms. Winnie Dunn
Board Chair Company Affiliation KU Medical Center
Year of Incorporation 1974
Former Names
Theatre Workshop