Big 12 hoopla sets the pace for a HOT week in Downtown

Downtown KC will be rocking this week when thousands of basketball fans pour into the Big Town for the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament and Big 12 Run at Sprint Center.

Big 12 basketball fever and a remarkable mix of visual and performing arts – including concerts Ben Folds, The Elders and John Prine – have the set the stage for a wild and memorable week in Downtown Kansas City. Here is the highlight reel for what’s happening in Downtown – Monday to Sunday, March 6-12:

Big 12 Basketball Championship – featuring the nation’s No. 1 ranked Kansas Jayhawks – returns to Downtown KC at 6 p.m.Wednesday with men’s hoops action continuing to the finals at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sprint Center. Throngs of fans will flood the Power & Light District, decked out in a rainbow of colors, from burnt orange to Cyclone red and Jayhawk blue. Meanwhile, 10 teams face off inside Sprint Center in a showcase of athletic talent and competition that serves as a prelude to the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. Click here to discover more about Big 12 week preparation and street closings.

Big 12 Run – Join in the spirit of March Madness by participating in Kansas City’s annual family-friendly run(s).  The course begins and ends in the heart of Downtown with two distances to choose from, a 12K or 5K, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. Everyone who crosses the finish line for either distance will receive a finisher’s medal. Visit to register.

The Lyric Opera production of ‘Dead Man Walking’ continues through Sunday at the Kauffman Center.

Dead Man Walking – The Lyric Opera of Kansas City presents one of the most frequently performed contemporary operas in recent years. It is the story of a profound spiritual journey taken by a nun and a convicted killer about to face the ultimate sentence. Performances continue through Sunday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The Elders – the KC-based Irish American folk rock band – prepare us for St. Patrick’s Day with their 15th annual Hoolie at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Knuckleheads.

John Prine – the songwriting legend from the suburbs of Chicago and a star of counter-culture country and Americana – will light up Downtown KC beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Midland Theatre. Amanda Shires will open for the music icon.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature eight powerhouse performances over five days this week, including:

  • National Geographic Live presents mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill and the story of her harrowing journey to the summit of Burma’s Hkakabo Razi to determine if it is Southeast Asia’s highest point. The presentation is set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
  • Dead Man Walking –  This amazing Lyric Opera production continues this week with three performances in Kauffman Theatre. See above for details.
  • National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine – Patrons of the Harriman Jewell Series have come to expect the best orchestras, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine upholds that standard. This special engagement is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Ben Folds – the multi-platinum-selling singer/songwriter/producer returns to join forces with the Kansas City Symphony at 8 p.m. Saturday in Helzberg Hall.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature these four performances this week:

  • Constellations: This spellbinding, heartbreaking love story removes the boundaries of time and space, delving into the infinite possibilities of a couple’s relationship to reveal how the slightest change in conversation might send you down an entirely different path. Star-filled performances continue through April 2 at the Copaken Stage at the KC Rep.
  • No Talking – It’s boys vs. girls when the noisiest, most talkative fifth graders in history create a contest to see who really can talk the least. This new family show runs through Sunday, March 19 at The Coterie.
  • Unchained Melody – Take a romantic trip down memory lane in this cabaret revue featuring the melodies of the 1950s and the unique American sound known as “doo-wop”. The melodies begin on Saturday and continue through April 9 at the Quality Hill Playhouse.

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.