Downtown A&E scene is red hot … even in the middle of winter

From Star Wars at the Symphony to the artists at First Friday; from a Modern Night at the Folly to Panic! at the Disco at Sprint Center; and from the comedy of Iliza Schlesinger at the Midland to the drama of Storling Underground at the Kauffman Center, the Downtown creative scene will be at its best this week. Roll the highlight reel for the week ahead in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Jan. 28-Feb. 3:

First Friday – KC’s hippest night of the new year – is set for Friday with a sizzling collection arts and cultural experiences throughout Downtown, including:

  • The Box Gallery will feature Recycled Art by artist Allan Winkler beginning Friday though Feb. 22. The exhibit focuses on work created from found and discarded materials recycled in unexpected ways. The show is free and open to the public. Opening receptions are set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. on First Friday in the Commerce Bank Arcade, 1000 Walnut St., Suite 211.
  • Crossroads Arts District featuring arts organizations, galleries, studios, and a wide variety of local businesses in a celebration of local, regional and national artists and live entertainment from 5-9 p.m.
  • On the Vine is a cultural experience of music, art, food, and shopping on First Fridays year ’round. Shop local artists and a diverse array of food trucks from 4-9 p.m. in the Museums of 18th & Vine Atrium … to keep First Friday hot even if the weather is cool.
  • First Friday Warehouse Weekends – one of the finest vintage marketplaces in the country – flourishes every First Friday weekend (Friday through Sunday) in the West Bottoms.

Folly Theater will celebrate the 16th anniversary of A Modern Night at the Folly at 8 p.m. Saturday. The City in Motion Dance Theater presents Kansas City’s only adjudicated choreographers’ showcase will feature 12 of the region’s most talented choreographers, as well as celebrate modern and contemporary dance in KC.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will light up the KC arts scene with five performances this week, including:

  • Star Wars & The Symphony – Journey back to 1977 and a galaxy far, far away for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hopethe classic first film of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, written and directed by George Lucas and starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. You’ll watch the Rebel Alliance attempt to destroy the Death Star on a huge screen in Helzberg Hall while the Kansas City Symphony performs the thrilling John Williams score live. May the Force be with you over four performances at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

  • UndergroundThe story of the Underground Railroad is performed to original music, beautiful costumes and a pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Don’t miss out on this 12th anniversary, world-class performance by Storling Dance Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Whether you’re celebrating Black History Month, American history or the story that binds us all together, see the show that has become a Kansas City tradition.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 8 blazin’ shows this week, including Walter Trout with Eric Gales with the Brandon Miller Band at 8 p.m. Friday, and Jeremiah Johnson Band at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Midland Theatre will feature Iliza Schlesinger at 7 p.m. Friday. She is one of today’s leading comedians with a fan base who show their loyalty by creating their own Iliza inspired swag to wear to her shows.  Iliza recently premiered Elder Millennial, her fourth Netflix stand up special for the streaming service.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with 6 nights of live music this week, including DeVotchKa with Neyla Pekarek of The Lumineers at 7 p.m. Thursday, and Jeff Harshbarger’s Alt-Jazz Series at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Sprint Center will feature Panic! At The Disco on its Pray for the Wicked Tour, featuring Two Feet and Betty Who beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Truman will be aglow this week with two red-hot concerts, including:

  • Peter Murphy – celebrating 40 years of Bauhaus – featuring David J beginning at 8 p.m. Monday
  • Cherub – the electro, pop, funk, dance, indie band from Nashville – will shake it up at 9 p.m. Friday.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including three productions this week:

  • Secret Soldiers: Heroines in Disguise – The secret history of women who fought as men in the civil war is revealed in this engrossing production that opens Tuesday at The Coterie at Crown Center. Stories are uncovered in an interlocking set of true tales of battlefront women, with a focus on the solider Private Lyons Wakeman whose letters were discovered by her nephew in an attic years after her death.
  • Songbook of the 40s – Join the Quality Hill Playhouse troupe for a sentimental journey through America’s songbook of the 1940s, featuring hits made popular by the likes of Bing Crosby, Glenn Miller, the Andrews Sisters, and Dinah Shore. Performances continue through Feb. 17.
  • The Toughest Kid in the World –  This Theater for Young America musical is about a boy named TK, short for Tough Kid, his peaceful friend Serena and their brave discoveries about ways to get along in today’s world with love and respect and without violence or bullying opens Tuesday and runs through Saturday at the City Stage at Union Station.

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