March Madness reaches a ‘Beautiful’ crescendo this week

Kansas guard Frank Mason, right, stands his ground after being bumped by Michigan State’s Miles Bridges during Sunday’s NCAA Tournament game in Tulsa. Photo courtesy of The Kansas City Star.

The NCAA Midwest Regional – featuring No. 1 seed Kansas; the championship round of the NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship on Tuesday; and next week’s Kansas City debut of a Beautiful smash-hit musical top the list of a wild crazy and inspiring stretch ahead in Downtown Kansas City. Here is the highlight reel for what’s happening in Downtown – Monday to Sunday, March 20-26:

Dianne Reeves – this four-time GRAMMY winner considered one of the pre-eminent female jazz vocalists in the world will perform in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District for this year’s celebration of Women in Jazz. With a repertoire that ranges from jazz to soul and include R&B, Latin, and pop, Reeves will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Gem Theater.

Dianne Reeves, the Grammy-winning jazz vocalist, will light up the Gem Theater with a much-anticipated concert on Saturday.

Heartland Men’s Chorus presents its spring concert Identify this week. Part choral concert, part Ted Talk, Identify celebrates living lives of authenticity. Joined by special guests, Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus, TedTalk sensation Morgana Bailey and Jane Clementi, mother of the late Tyler Clementi, HMC will lift up the importance of being you. Performances are set for 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Folly Theater.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature seven performances over four days this week, including:

  • The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra performs By George! The Pops Play GershwinLed by charismatic conductor Keith Lockhart, the Boston Pops has become a national treasure. Making its first return to the Harriman Jewell Series and Kansas City since 2002, the famed orchestra will celebrate the music of America’s most original composer, George Gershwin, at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
  • Kansas City Symphony Classical Series presents Hope Springs Eternal: Sibelius’ Secondfeaturing violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.
  • The Oak Ridge Boys – Their four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have spawned dozens of country hits and a No. 1 pop smash. Every time they step before an audience, the Oaks bring four decades of charted singles and 50 years of tradition to a stage show that fuses the group’s gospel roots with contemporary country and rock. Their magic will come to life at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Kauffman Theatre. 

The Oak Ridge Boys – featuring one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in the music industry – will perform on Sunday at the Kauffman Center.

NAIA Men’s National Basketball Championship – The 53rd annual tournament is led by No. 1 seed LSU Alexandria (La.) was ranked No. 1 in each of the last six Top 25 Coaches’ Polls – is the only undefeated team with a 31-0 mark. The NAIA field of 32 teams continues to the national championship showdown at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Municipal Auditorium.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Midwest Regional – The Big 12 Conference plays host to the hottest tickets in town for the Midwest Regional. Kansas is the No. 1 seed in the Midwest, and will be battling to advance to the Final Four next weekend in Phoenix. The Jayhawks will take on No. 4 seed Purdue on Thursday at Sprint Center. For tickets and more information, visit the Sprint Center.

Beautiful – the Carole King Musical – arrives right on time next Tuesday, March 28 at the Music Hall.

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

  • Beautiful – The Carole King Musical tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Presented by Broadway Across America, Beautiful opens Tuesday, March 28, and runs through Sunday, April 2 at the Music Hall.
  • 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 Sunday, April 2 at the KC Rep’s Copaken Stage.
  • She Loves Me – With music by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof), this classic 1964 Broadway, was revived in 2016 Broadway and earned eight Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical! She Loves Me is widely considered the most charming musical ever written, and it opens Thursday at MTH Theater at Crown Center.
  • 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 continue through Sunday, 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

Public Parking Maps of Downtown KC are available at