Theatre News

Portraits of TROY: Book Signing with Gary Krohe

Portraits of TROY: The Architecture of Topeka High School, is  a hardbound book with more than 342 images of Topeka High.

garyGary Krohe, author of Portraits of Troy, will be at The Upstage Gallery this Saturday for a book signing between 1-3pm. Many of the images from this book will be available as prints for sale.

Gary Krohe Author’s Bio:

Gary Krohe trained as a photojournalist. But after getting a bachelors degree from Washburn University in both Journalism and Broadcasting went on to take more Electrical Engineering classes and become a broadcast engineer. As Director of Engineering for Midamerica Broadcasting he built KLDH, now KTKA. In 1988 he started Krohe Electronics Corporation and consulted to TV and radio stations nation wide.

In 2007, after 32 years designing, building, and repairing TV and radio stations, he returned to his passion of photojournalism. After shooting some book illustrations and contributing images to 785 Magazine, Mr. Krohe took on a project of larger scope with Portraits of TROY. Being a Topeka High graduate in 1971 and having shot photos for THS publications for three years Mr. Krohe knew better than many the beauty of the building. Seeing the historic photos of the school, shot in 1931 when it was new, inspired him to document the architecture of the building. Portraits of TROY shows why Topeka High School is on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to be a Kansas landmark.



Nonprofit raising funds to restore Jayhawk Theatre

Theatre board members Nancy Shaughnessy, Doug Jones, and Lonnie Williams.

Theatre board members Nancy Shaughnessy, Doug Jones, and Lonnie Williams.


You may have recognized some of our board members in the Topeka Capital Journal.

Working to restore what will be the “Crown Jewel” of downtown revitalization, the board looks to the future where the theater will have an economic impact of 4.5 million dollars in three years.



Historic Jayhawk Theatre Inc. board members are asking people to “take a seat” to help raise $8.7 million for the restoration of the Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas, a 1926 vaudeville palace in downtown Topeka that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places…In exchange for the donation, the name of the donor or a designated honoree will be displayed permanently on the back of the seat, be cast in bronze and displayed in the theater’s lobby and linked to the theater’s website donor library.

Read the full article



Learn more about our “Take Your Seat” campaign.


Washburn Review

Special thanks to the support from The Washburn Review. The Washburn review raised $400 for the Jayhawk Theatre to be applied towards operating expenses. Check was presented to Doug Jones, Theatre President, during the September First Friday Artwalk.


Amazing Art Reception for Angela Lexow and The Upstage Gallery

Huge thanks to Topeka and all who came to support the Jayhawk Theater and featured artist Angela Lexow

The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre would like to thank all who were responsible for the incredible First Friday art reception on August 3rd.

Nationally recognized artist, Angela Lexow exhibits a body of worked produced from August 1, 2011 to August 1, 2012. The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theater received guests in record numbers this past First Friday. Angela Lexow had an amazing opening reception.

“150: “A Year in the Life of an Artist” Angela Lexow guides us through a year long journey of painting. Angela is a lifelong artist who works with fine art gourds, jewelry, and painting. “This show has reminded me how to be disciplined to work every day, even if the creative urge doesn’t strike me that day””

It was an incredible evening for art sales and theatre visitors. In fact, it was the highest number of pieces sold since the gallery has been open!

We would like to thank all who came to support Angela and The Jayhawk Theatre. A very exhausted staff said goodbye to our last visitor at 9:45pm.

With this huge opening we look forward to additional successes as the theatre and gallery continue to grow.

Other artists include: Randy Fay, Joe Williams, Robert Ash, Stella Robbins, Mary Anderson, Patricia Kovulchuk, Connie Ehrlich, Barbara Solberg

The opening reception was an enjoyable evening filled with family, friends and art lovers from all over Kansas.

Thank you again to everyone who helped make this opening such an inspiring success for both the gallery and the theatre.

To find out more about Angela Lexow:




Jayhawk Theatre Beautification Project

What are you doing on Saturday, July 21st?


Volunteer opportunity:


Join the Jayhawk Theatre Beautification Project! We are looking for volunteers to help us move out storage items, sweep, tear out 85+ year old carpet, clear off the stage, etc. to give the theatre a fresh makeover for future tours and upcoming restoration. Breakfast items and lunch provided. Saturday, July 21st from 8:30am to 2:00pm. Come for part or stay for all. Bring some work gloves and suitable work clothes. Recommended for high school-ages and up. We sure appreciate your support in our efforts toward historic preservation of this wonderful theatre!


RSVP to:




Heritage Trust Fund Grant

Media contact:

Doug Jones

President, Jayhawk Theatre Board of Directors

(785) 969-4630


For Immediate Release


The Jayhawk Theatre wins Heritage Trust Fund grant, plans to complete project


Topeka, Kan. – The Jayhawk Theatre was awarded a Heritage Trust Fund grant in the amount of $54,240 Feb. 18. The theater was one of 24 projects throughout the state recommended for grant monies by the committee of the Kansas Historic Sites Board of Review. The funds will be used for repair and revision work on the theater’s fly gallery roof and main theater roof.

“There were 24 projects that were awarded this year and the Jayhawk was one of the few to be fully funded,” said Katrina Ringler, grants manager at the Kansas State Historical Society. “It’s a beautiful building that has a lot of potential to have a rehabilitation that will benefit the city of Topeka and the state.”

The Jayhawk Theatre, built in 1926 and a National and State Historical site, requires $9 million for full restoration and renovation. The Jayhawk’s board of directors has raised over $600,000 over the past 15 years, utilizing those funds for infrastructural improvements.

The lengthy project has picked up speed in recent months with new board appointments, sizeable grants with the City of Topeka’s Historic Sites for Heritage Tourism grant in the amount of $42,400 last November, and the recent Heritage Trust Fund grant. The board of directors aims to complete the project by Dec. 2013.

New board appointments

Doug Jones, co-owner of JQ Historic Properties and past president of the Shawnee County Historical Society is the new president of the Jayhawk board of directors.

“I’m thrilled to become the president, and there’s exciting new momentum. This thing is starting to roll,” said Jones. “We have an aggressive fundraising campaign that is ready to kick into higher gear.”

Jeff Carson, co-owner of Gizmo Pictures, Inc., is the new vice president.

“The excitement about downtown, with the capitol renovations and other areas of revitalization really bode well for our project and our new team. We have a lot of work to do, and we’re rolling up our sleeves, but we’re all looking forward to the opening of the theater,” said Carson.

Plans moving forward

The Jayhawk board of directors plans to raise the remainder of the funds necessary for construction to begin through a combination of sources: corporations, foundations, individuals, further grant opportunities and through several types of tax credit tools.

“We want to make the Jayhawk the crown jewel of downtown development,” said Jones.

Once complete, the theater will seat audiences of up to 900 people and provide live theatre and music, film and other arts events as well as providing meeting space for business and recreational needs.

The board is seeking volunteers from the community to participate in theater cleanup efforts, office work, event planning and historical research. Interested members of the community are urged to get in contact with board president Doug Jones,

Plans are also underway for several large fundraising events in 2012 and 2013.

For more information, visit


First Friday

“The Upstage Gallery Partners with 10 Local, Regional, and National Artists for an Eclectic Art Exhibit”

The Upstage Gallery is honored to host an exhibition of work by some of the most influential artists in their mediums.


The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre present an eclectic art exhibit featuring 10 of the Kansas area’s best artists to highlight the diverse styles and mediums represented by the Topeka art community. The gallery will host a reception on January 6th, 2012 from 5-9pm. The Upstage Gallery is located at 720 SW Jackson in the Jayhawk Towers. This Eclectic Art Exhibit will be on display through the month of January. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9-5pm.

All participating artists have a strong presence in the Kansas area and range from emerging to established careers. They include: Robert Ash, Jan Jennings, Barb Quaney, Mary Anderson, Beth Cain, Angela Lexow, Pam Renovato, Joe Williams, Randy Fay, and Freestate Glass.

Most notable artists and information: Angela Lexow will exhibit her fine art gourds with styles ranging from Southwestern to Oriental. Fiber artist Barb Quaney showcases a style learned in New Zealand using indigenous techniques that are very rare here in the U.S. Master of Vivid Color Robert Ash, California photographer, offers his interpretations of the Kansas landscape. Digital Fine Artist Pam Renovato, displays works in the art world’s newest fine art medium as well as “Algorithmic Art” that is popular on both coasts. These styles are accompanied by the longtime experienced portrait art of Jan Jennings, recycled metal and wood sculptures by Randy Fay and Joe Williams, as well as jewelry by Mary Anderson and award winning jewelry artist Beth Cain.

As the Topeka art world continues to grow, The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre pride themselves on being an established yet growing venue for talented artists.  The gallery gathers multiple art mediums and styles with a spotlight held on providing attainable artwork for the everyday art lover from a list of “do not miss” artists. The Upstage Gallery realizes the importance of revitalizing Downtown Topeka and believes providing a showcase for diverse creative offerings and quality art that exist in Topeka is an excellent means to do so.

Creations of Hope 2011

Valeo Behavioral Health Care is sponsoring the 7th annual “Creations of Hope“ art exhibit.

Through “Creations of Hope” we aim to provide an accessible and empowering opportunity for artist experiencing mental illness to enter the art community. Additionally we strive to raise awareness and widen views of mental illness in the public by providing an event that celebrates creativity, strength, and hope.


2nd Annual Holiday ArtFest

“Celebrate the Second Annual Holiday Artfest with The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre”

More than 40 local artists and businesses join together in Topeka’s first European Tradition Christmas Market

As the Topeka art world continues to grow, The Upstage Gallery and Jayhawk Theatre bring the second annual Holiday Artfest to the December First Friday Artwalk to celebrate the holidays in the tradition of a European Christmas Market. The Holiday Artfest is one major event held to feature talent of artists in the form of music, dance, and visual arts in an effort to showcase the diverse creative offerings that exist in Topeka. On December 2nd, 2011 from 5-9pm, Holiday Artfest will take place in the Jayhawk Towers in the heart of Downtown Topeka and will be offering gifts of original art $1- $200.

Holiday Artfest is enjoying its second year of successfully gathering such a large group of local artists, entertainers, and businesses in one of Topeka’s biggest historical buildings.  This year’s Artfest will be bigger and better than the first with a full line up of do not miss artists and entertainers with highlights on a 6pm portrait unveiling to the public of State Representative Ann Mah and State Senator Laura Kelly taken by International photographer Robert Ash. Representative Ann Mah and Ted Daughety will be in attendance.

Showing in The Upstage Gallery for the event and month of December include local, regional, and international artists: Robert Ash, Angela Lexow, Freestate Glass, Pam Renovato, Randy Fay, Jan Jennings, Joe Williams, and Mary Anderson. The Upstage Gallery in Collaboration with the Jayhawk Theatre, Jayhawk Corner Café, and Parrish management will transform the Jayhawk walkway and Florentine room into a Christmas market that will showcase additional talents as well as Topeka merchants to include: Solo Peru, Washburn University Student Group-UMCOR-UUMC, The Merchant, Irie Tribal Dance, Faith, Hope, Love Photography, Patricia Kovalchuk, Barb Quaney, Linden Wilson, Eileen Turnbull-Coughlin, Randy Fay, Dianne Gates, Beth Cain, Washburn University Student Group- PEAPP, Cindy Brewalt Crow, Kala Hisel, Nichole Woodward, Robert Ash, Edna Coyle, Katie Hanshaw, Celia Smith, Wild Things Studio, Topeka Designs, Morgan Fay, Nutcracker/ Ballet Midwest, Fine Jewelry by Oshara Hayes, and Cindy Slope/ Dunie Horse Splash. Entertainment to include: Musicians; Daniel Mangiaracino, Backroads, Jim Phelps, Livid, Brad Renner, Tara’s Grace and Dance Companies: Irie Tribal Dance Company with special guests Basharaat Dance Co., and Ballet Midwest/ Nutcracker.

Gathering multiple art forms with a spotlight held on visual arts and a goal of providing attainable artwork for the every day citizen, Holiday Artfest’s intent is to bring quality art and entertainment to all art lovers in a festive setting. “We realize how important the revitalization of Downtown Topeka is and wish to encourage buying locally for this holiday season to support our local artists and businesses.”

For more information, contact The Upstage Gallery at 785-233-4295


Jayhawk Theatre receives $42,400 grant



Topeka, Kan. – The Historic Jayhawk Theatre of Kansas is closer to its goal of viability with a Historic Sites for Heritage Tourism grant award approved by the Transient Guest Committee of the Topeka City Council in the amount of $42,400. On Oct. 24, the committee voted to award the aging 1926 theater the monies to help stave off structural deterioration.

The committee is chaired by Larry Wolgast, with members Sylvia Ortiz and Denise Everhart. The funds were ultimately given above the Historic Sites for Heritage Tourism Committee’s recommended amount.

“Additional revenue was available from the transient guest tax, and the Historic Jayhawk State Theatre had requested a larger amount than the Heritage Tourism Committee had awarded to take care of emergency repair work that should be done immediately to preserve the integrity of the building,” said Wolgast.

Doug Jones, facilities chairperson of the Jayhawk State Theatre board of directors, spearheaded the grant application process.

“I am thrilled that the City of Topeka has shown confidence and support for the renovation of the theater,” said Jones.

The monies will be used for an electrical service evaluation and repair, and for HVAC work to bring heating and cooling control to the theater to alleviate further deterioration of the infrastructure and ornate plaster. The theater has been vacant since May 1976 but is open for historical tours.

The Jayhawk State Theatre of Kansas was placed on the national register of historic places in 1974, was designated by the legislature as the official state theater of Kansas in 1993 and is under the stewardship and protection of the Historic Jayhawk Theatre, Inc., a 501c(3) charitable organization.

The Jayhawk Theatre is currently raising funds through its campaign, “Take Your Seat,” which is attempting to appeal to businesses and individual donors to provide matching funds to qualify for historic grants and tax credits.


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Donations may also be sent to: 720 SW Jackson Topeka, Ks 66603 or by calling the office at: 785.233.4295

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"No more snow in #Topeka. It's a beautiful day for a tour of the Theatre!"
"Nonprofit raising funds to restore Jayhawk Theatre"