Joyce DiDonato, NAIA hoops, Elders’ Hoolie to rule the week ahead

March Madness continues to take the Big Town by storm this week, as the NAIA National Men’s Basketball Tournament returns Wednesday for a seven-day run.

The return of hometown opera queen Joyce DiDonato, the NAIA National Championship Tournament, The Elders’ Hoolie and Riverdance – along with a rich background of arts and entertainment – lay the groundwork for a memorable week ahead, Monday to Sunday, March 12-18, including:

Festival of Laughs featuring a hilarious evening with Sommore, Earthquake, Don ‘DC’ Curry and George Wallace will take center stage at 8 p.m. Friday at the Music Hall.

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

  • All That Jazz – The Kansas City Women’s Chorus will perform music by the great women of jazz, especially those with KC roots. You will experience improvisation and scat singing – two musical elements that are rarely bound by the strictures of time – in two performances beginning at 8 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Special guests will include Millie Edwards and Kelley Hunt.
  • The Staatskapelle Weimar Orchestra of Germany – complete with an illustrious history dating back to 1482 will perform an all-Beethoven program including the Coriolan Overture and the iconic Symphony No. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. This special engagement is presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series.

Hallmark Visitors Center presents Pop Art – Then & Nowa free exhibit that features artists who were key figures in the 1960s, along with artists who were influenced by them, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Keith Haring, now through June 16.

KC Public Library is featuring the popular exhibit Cattle, Cowboys and Culture for just a few more days. It explores a time, roughly a century and a half ago, as trains hauling cattle and cowboys brought the real west from Amarillo, Texas, to Kansas City. Return trips carried a trove of materials to Amarillo – canned and dry goods, chemicals, furniture, and fashionable clothing – and Kansas City’s influence there ultimately extended to banking, education, architecture, and art. The exhibit – which has attracted nearly 25,000 visitors since its opening in September – continues through Sunday at the Central Library.

Kauffman Center for the Performing will feature nine blazing performances this week, four that will feature Kansas City’s own operatic superstar Joyce DiDonato, including:

  • Sounds Relaxing – Prepare to unwind at 6 p.m. Wednesday, as certified Relax and Renew® trainer Anita Bailey coaches you through various breathing and meditation techniques, while Kansas City Symphony musicians perform selections to assist in your relaxation in Helzberg Hall.
  • Joyce DiDonato – Helzberg Hall will fill with song as the international superstar mezzo-soprano shares insights into performance, technique, auditioning and more at this free Inside Music Series event at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
  • Sara Evans – The country singer-songwriter brings her All The Love Tour, in partnership with CMT’s Next Women of Country, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.. The concert will also feature rising country music stars and Next Women of Country inductees RaeLynn and Kalie Shorr.
Riverdance returns to KC on this St. Patrick’s Day weekend with three performances at the Kauffman Center.
  • Riverdance returns for its 20th anniversary world tour at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Kauffman Theatre. Drawing on Irish traditions, the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music into the present day, capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures in an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song.
  • A Century of Bernstein – Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato joins music director Michael Stern and the Kansas City Symphony to present works by Berlioz and Bernstein for three monumental performances at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall.
The Elders will be celebrating the band’s 20th anniversary this week, as they perform a sold-out Hoolie at Knuckleheads this Saturday for St. Patrick’s Day.  The Elders are (from left) Brent Hoad, Diana Ladio, Kian Byrne, Steve Phillips, Ian Byrne and Norm Dahlor.

Knuckleheads Saloon – the hottest honky tonk in town – features 13 shows this week, including Samantha Fish at 8:30 p.m. Friday; Nace Brothers St. Patrick’s Parade and Show at 6 p.m. Saturday; and The Elders Hoolie which is already sold out for the 8:25 p.m. legendary performance.

Midland Theatre will be spinning with three concerts this week, including:

  • Above & Beyond – these British DJs are the first DJs from anywhere in the world to sell out both the legendary Madison Square Garden in New York and The Forum in Los Angeles. They’ll bring their red hot dance tour to Downtown at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Excision “… shows are like no other- a virtual apocalypse of twisting and morphing sounds turn massive crowds into a frenzy, as virtual walls of bass are relentlessly impaled time and time again upon their fragile bodies and ears.” Well, we’ve been warned. Excision will crank it up at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Bad Bunny burrows his way into KC at 8 p.m. Saturday on his first major tour of his Latin trap sound, a  relatively new subgenre, and only in the past year have tracks consistently populated the Billboard charts.

NAIA Men’s Basketball Championship returns to Downtown KC this week, as the 81st Division I Men’s National Championship begins Wednesday at Municipal Auditorium, Tournament action get under way at 9 a.m. Wednesday and will feature eight match-ups on opening day. NAIA play continues until next Tuesday, March 20 with the National Championship game set to tip-off at 7 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit the NAIA.

Shamrocks & Shenanigans – The Power & Light District will be bathed in green for St. Patrick’s Day, featuring free admission, live music and Irish specials at all 12 district bars. The fun begins at 2 p.m. Saturday with DJ Danny Maloney; following by the Patrick Lentz Band at 4 p.m.; Wonderfuzz at  7 p.m.; and the Travis Gibson Band at 10 p.m. Buckle up!


PINK will raise the roof of the Sprint Center on Thursday.

Sprint Center is serving as the epicenter of big-time entertainment this week with four HUGE performances, including:

  • Gloria Trevi & Alejandra Guzman – These Latin music legends will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday in their VERSUS World Tour, considered to be the most innovative and unexpected tour in recent memory.
  • PINK – Known for her incredible and entertaining live show, this international pop icon brings her Beautiful Trauma World Tour to town at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
  • Winter Jam Tour Spectacular – Continuing an unprecedented reign as one of the world’s largest tours and Christian music’s biggest annual tour, the Winter Jam will take flight at 7 p.m. Friday. No tickets are required for the event with $15 admission at the door.
  • Miranda Lambert – The GRAMMY Award winner brings her Livin’ Like Hippies tour to Downtown at 7 p.m. Saturday. Special guests include Joe Pardi and Ashley McBryde.

Stanfords Comedy Club brings the laughs to Downtown from its new location at 831 Walnut. Comedienne April Biggerstaff will headline an 18 & older show this week – beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. And, Open Mic is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sundays. For ticket information, visit Stanfords.

The Truman will be pounding with three shows this week, including:

Glen Hansard returns to KC this week for a gig at The Truman KC.

  • SuicideGirls present Blackheart Burlesque – the national tour of the the sexiest, smartest, geekiest, and most fun definitive pop-culture burlesque show – at 9 p.m. Monday
  • They Might Be Giants are on a national tour showcasing all-time favorites, fresh rarities, and spur-of-the-moment improvisations that will delight even their exhausted road crew. The Giants will run beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
  • Glen Hansard – the celebrated songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for the influential Irish group The Frames – has garnered a reputation (and an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly” off the Once soundtrack) as an unparalleled frontman. He’ll make his long awaited return to KC at 8 p.m. Thursday.
John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece ‘Gassed’ is on exhibit now June 3 at the National WWI Museum.

WWI Museum – John Singer Sargent’s incredible masterpiece Gassed is truly one of the giants of the art world at more than nine feet tall by 21 feet long. The landmark painting is the focal point in this special centennial exhibition – that is on exhibition through June 3 in the Wylie Gallery – that also includes reproductions of many of his study drawings and historical and contemporary objects on detection and protection from chemical warfare.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature four productions this week, including:

  • Broadway’s Golden Age – Beginning with Oklahoma and ending with The Sound of Music, the 1940s & 50’s was Broadway’s Golden Age. Never was there a time when so many great composers contributed to the American Musical, and they will be celebrated in this special presentation that runs through Sunday at the MTH Theater at Crown Center.
  • It’s Delovely – De-Lightful, De-Licious, De-Lovely lyrics abound in this original cabaret tribute to two of the wittiest songwriters of all time – Cole Porter and Noel Coward – which continues through March 31 at the Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Sex with Strangers – Desire, intellect, and secret agendas collide in this smart, tantalizing take on modern love and the double-edged quest for artistic validation in the digital age. This KC Rep production continues through March 25 at the Copaken Stage at H&R Block.
  • Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbitt’s popular novel comes to life on stage contemplating the benefits and burdens of never growing older will run through April 5 at The Coterie at Crown Center.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

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