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Kansas City theater pioneer Cynthia Levin announces retirement

A woman wearing a denim shirt gestures with both hands while talking at a microphone inside a radio studio.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Unicorn Theatre Producing Artistic Director Cynthia Levin talks about the diversity in the theater's programming on KCUR's Up To Date on June 6, 2023.

Cynthia Levin started at the Unicorn Theatre in 1979. Now, 45 years later, she is preparing to step down as the producing artistic director.

Cynthia Levin, the Unicorn Theatre's producing artistic director, is known for taking risks with her work. That wasn't always accepted early on, she says. But with this week's announcement of her retirement in June 2024, Levin credits the support that helped her to this point.

"The support has been incredible, but it has grown," she says. "Because, you know, early days, '70s and '80s, there weren't a lot of people clamoring to see something that was new and different. So, we just kept doing it."

Levin has presented more than 320 contemporary plays to Kansas City audiences. One of her goals has been to dispel stereotypes with stories about marginalized individuals and issues that included gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.

Levin joined KCUR's Up To date to discuss her career and new chapters in her life.

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