Nation’s eyes turn to KC for WWI Centennial Commemoration


The National World War I Museum and Memorial will play host to the National Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. entry in WWI on Thursday morning.The national ceremony, In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry in World War I, not only tops the list of special events and attracts this week in Downtown KC, but also places the National World I Museum and Memorial at the top of the nation’s must-see events.

Here is the highlight reel for that and the rest of what’s happening in Downtown KC – including amazing performances by the Kansas City Ballet, Jon Batiste and Radiohead – from today (Monday) to Sunday, April 3-9:

Jon Batiste will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Jazz Museum at 8 p.m. Friday at the Gem Theater. Batiste, currently the house bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, will receive the award and perform during this special evening. Click here for ticket information.

Comedy’s Most Wanted – Armed and Dangerously Funny – features five of today’s hottest comedians, including J.J. Williamson, Lavell Crawford, Dominique, Corey Holcomb and D.C. Young Fly, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Midland.

First Friday – one of the Kansas City’ coolest and hottest events – returns for the April edition of First Friday with visual and performing arts bursting throughout the Crossroads Arts District and the 18th & Vine Jazz District from 5-9 p.m. Friday; beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Central Library; beginning at 7:30 p.m. at MTC Theater at Crown Center; and along with one of the most complete vintage marketplaces in the country in the West Bottoms through the Friday through Sunday weekend.

Folly Theater will light up Downtown this with week with three memorable performances, including:

  • Lawrence Brownlee and Eric Owens – two of today’s greatest American voices will join together for a recital of art songs, arias, and spirituals. The Harriman Jewell Series performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
  • Donny McCaslin Trio will light up Downtown in this special Folly Jazz Series performance at 8 p.m. Friday. McCaslin has recorded 11 solo albums. In 2014, he played tenor and soprano saxophone on David Bowie’s single Sue (Or in a Season of Crime). Subsequently he would play saxophone on Bowie’s 2016 album Blackstar.
  • Tomer Gerwirtzman – A tradition of recognizing and nurturing emerging talent will continue with a free Harriman Jewell Series Discovery Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Israeli pianist also won First Prize of the 2015 Young Concert Artists International Auditions.


National WWI Centennial CommemorationThe National World War I Museum and Memorial will play host to America’s national ceremony commemorating the centennial of the United States’ entry into the Great War. Produced by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission, the ceremony, In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I, will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Museum. Visit for complete details on tickets.

Radiohead is coming to Downtown KC this week, as part of its nine-city tuneup tour for the band’s headlining gig at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival later this month. The band is touring in support of its ninth studio LP, A Moon Shaped Pool, which came out last May and debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard albums chart. Radiohead will rock Downtown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Sprint Center.

The Sleeping Beauty – This romantic and tender tale makes its Kansas City debut with glittering dances, vibrant storybook characters and one of the most beloved grand pas de deux in all of ballet. The Kansas City Ballet presents the Tchaikovsky masterpiece with five more performances this week that continue through Sunday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center.

Things Come ApartThis traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution exposes the inner workings of many of our everyday possessions, disassembling them and artfully illustrating that even the most intricate of modern technologies can be broken down and understood. The exhibit continues through June 25 at the Central Library.

Worship Night in America – presented by GRAMMY winner Chris Tomlin will feature Big Daddy Weave, Phil Wickham, Zach Williams, Mosaic MSC and Jason Barton. Worship Night gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sprint Center.

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

  • Avenue Q – featuring multiple puppets interacting with a few human characters, it is an unique musical comedy that won the 2004 Tony Award. The Music Theatre Kansas City production is now showing at the City Stage at Union Station,
  • 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. It continues through Sunday 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 continue through Sunday at the Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • We Are in a Play! –  Adapted by Mo Willems from his wildly popular book series, this lively musical features Elephant Gerald and Piggie and their delightfully nutty back-up singers, the Squirrelles, discovering the fun of being in a play. This interactive production opens Tuesday and runs through May 21 at The Coterie at Crown Center.

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