Local Events: Musicals, Flowers and History

As Topekans turn the calendar over to April, our list of local events is really starting to fill up. Early April brings us two musicals – one for kids and one that will take adults back to the disco era. Those interested in history can learn more about “war fare.” And tulips are in bloom all over town. No matter what interests you, the library has related materials that will help you continue to learn, grow and explore.

Children’s Musicalskippyjon

  • Skippyjon Jones
  • April 1st-April 10th
    7 pm show on Friday and Saturday
    2 pm show on Sunday
  • Topeka Civic Theatre: Oldfather Theatre
  • Tickets: $10 for adults, $8 for students, $6 for children 12 and under. Available at the TCT Box Office, by phone at (785) 357-5211 or online

An adventurous kids’ musical based on the book by Judy Schachner, this enchanting musical is about unleashing your powerful imagination and following your dreams.

Enhance the Experience

skippyjon jonesWe hope that this musical introduces you and your family to a new favorite children’s book character! You can read all about Skippyjon Jones’s other adventures by checking out other books from the series by Judy Schachner. Perhaps you will find out in which book Skippyjon says “My ears are too beeg for my head. My head ees too beeg for my body. I am not a Siamese cat … I AM A CHIHUAHUA!”


  • Tulip Time
  • Now – April 1oth
    A special Tulip Time Day at the Lake is scheduled for April 17th from 10 am – 4 pm
  • Downtown Topeka; Gage Park; Lake Shawnee; Old Prairie Town/Ward-Meade Botanical Garden
  • Admission: A suggested donation of $5 per person at Old Prairie Town/Ward-Meade Botanical Garden and Ted Ensley Gardens helps cover the cost of the annual event. At Old Prairie Town tours of the historic buildings are also available: Adults $5, Seniors $4 and Children (6-12) $3.

TulipsPlaces to find Tulips around town include: 

  • Downtown Topeka: Take a slow stroll through our recently revitalized downtown area. Enjoy hundreds of tulips and various pocket parks along South Kansas Avenue.
  • Gage Park: Take a stroll in the largest park in Topeka and literally smell the flowers. Gage Park is home to the Renisch Rose Gardens as well as thousands of tulips during the Tulip Time Festival.
  • Lake Shawnee: Gaze in wonder at one of the most beautiful recreational outdoor areas in North East Kansas. On top of the natural beauty of the landscape, view more than 50,000 tulips and daffodils on the Ted Ensley Botanical Gardens
  • Old Prairie Town: Experience Topeka in its original state at historic Old Prairie Town. Enjoy tulips, lush gardens, and an old-fashioned cream soda.  Open 9 am – 6 pm.
  • Tulip Time Day at the Lake: Bring family and friends to the Ted Ensley Gardens for Tulip Time Day at the Lake! Celebrate the 8th annual Tulip Time Festival with a day filled with activities, performances, food trucks, vendors and fun. No admission will be charged for the day, including the gardening and photography classes.

Enhance the Experiencetulipomania

The library has a variety of books about this beautiful flower. They cover everything such as how to garden with  them, the different varieties, and the history of the tulip and the tulip market. One of the most intriguing to me is Tulipomania, which covers the tulip from its origins in central Asia to it’s introduction to Europe by Ottoman Turks. The centerpiece of the book is his description of the 17th century tulip bulb trading craze in Holland. During this brief tulip bulb bubble market, one tulip bulb could be traded for the price of a well appointed town house. Fortunately for us, prices stabilized and we can now enjoy this beautiful flower without breaking the bank.

Disco Musical

  • Saturday Night Fever: The Musical
  • Tuesday, April 5th; 7:30 pm
  • Topeka Performing Arts Center
  • Tickets: $25 – $70, group discounts available. Tickets available at the box office, by phone at  1-800-745-3000 and online.

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER – THE MUSICAL, the iconic story of Tony — the kid from Brooklyn USA — who wants to dance his way to a better life is back! And back in an all-new production that shares Tony’s love for dancing in spectacular new ways. Fueled by the vintage Bee Gee hits, this contemporary retelling of the classic story captures the energy, passion and life-changing moments that have thrilled movie audiences since 1977. Now, a new generation of dancers meets a new generation of playgoers to explore the soaring sounds and pulsating rhythms of this coming-of-age Disco fantasy.

Enhance the Experience

Of course you can watch the original movie – but there are many other items related to Saturday Night Fever in the Library’s collection. For example, you could read a biography of the Bee Gees, watch a documentary about the musicals of the 1970’s, or watch a movie about a Tony Manero impersonator turned serial criminal. More below.

History Lecturewar fare

Food unites us, divides us, and is one of the most effective weapons in war. Lora Vogt of the National World War I Museum and Memorial addresses an often overlooked aspect of the war: the control of food. In addition to reviewing the effects of food on World War I, we’ll explore photographs and delicious vintage recipes. Take a culinary exploration and learn more about war fare. This free lecture is held in conjunction with the special exhibit What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?

Enhance the Experience

Explore more about the subject of food during wartime with books like Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food Love and War by Annia Ciezadlo which describes her efforts to cook and live a normal life in war torn Beirut. Then there is Leningrad: State of Siege by Michael Jones which explores the physical and psychological effects of the 872 day siege of Leningrad during WWII. On a lighter note, Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen and Grandma’s Wartime Baking Book by Joanne Lamb Hayes explore cooking on the home front during WWII with recipes, anecdotes, and advice from the period. See more below.