Roll the highlight reel for a spellbinding week with the Kansas City Ballet, violin virtuoso Itzak Perlman, entertainment legends Steve Martin and Martin Short, eight different theatrical productions, a free Mother’s Day performance with the Kauffman Center’s grand organ, and more in Arts & Entertainment in Downtown KC from Monday to Sunday, May 6-12:
Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. – This week, Transfigured Nights featuring four outstanding musicians – Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Sergey Khachatryan, violin; Inon Barnatan, piano; and Colin Currie, persussion – in a transformational performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
KC Public Library, 14 W. 10th St., This week, America Meets the Middle East will be the featured program at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Central Library. Brian Steed, a military historian at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and a Middle East foreign area officer, discusses the evolution of America’s role as protector in the region—and its ramifications.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway. This week, featuring six transformational performances, including:
- Spring Choral Concert featuring more than 200 vocalists in the Rockhurst High School choral program will perform in this annual event at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Helzberg Hall.
- Kansas City Ballet presents its must-see event of the year – Tharp / Parsons / Forsythe the works of three of America’s most recognized and acclaimed choreographers brought together on stage at the Kauffman Center! Six performances will unfold between Friday, May 10 and Sunday, May 19 – including three this week – on the Muriel Kauffman Theatre stage.
- Itzhak Perlman – Over the years, the virtuoso has shared his love of music with everyone, from connoisseurs to Oscar the Grouch. His warm personality and the rich, burnished tone of his violin have made him a favorite performer across the globe. Pianist Rohan de Silva will join Perlman for an evening of stories and music, presented by the Harriman-Jewell Series at 7 p.m. Saturday in Helzberg Hall.
- Music from the Heart – This special, free Mother’s Day Pipe Organ Concert, featuring music from the heart and performed by Jan Kraybill on the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875. Tickets are free for his Mother’s Day performance at 4 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall, but reservations are required. Click here to learn more.
Knucklehead’s – the hottest honky tonk in greater Downtown feature 13 live performances this week, including two nights with Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real at 8 p.m. Tuesday with Lily B. Moonflower, and at 8 p.m. Wednesday with Gangstagrass; Danielle Nicole Band at 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and The Cactus Blossoms with Jack Klatt at 8 p.m. Sunday.
The Midland, 1228 Main – This week, a blockbuster week ahead with three performances, including:
- Damien Escobar, the world renowned violinist, author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist brings his Elements of Love Tour to the Big Town at 8 p.m. Wednesday;
- Steve Martin and Martin Short – The legendary performers will light up the Midland with their Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t show at 8 p.m. Thursday;
- Derek Hough – The Emmy-award winner brings first-ever solo tour to KC at 8 p.m. Saturday. The dancing dynamo will explores styles ranging from ballroom and tap to salsa and hop-hop and everything in between.
Power & Light District – This week, two hot nights of live music, featuring:
- Rockin’ for Dreams, a benefit for the Dream Factory of Greater Kansas City, featuring Gypsies, Doves & Dreams (Stevie Nicks Tribute); Poison Overdose (tribute to Poison); Elton Dan & The Rocket Band (Elton John tribute); and KC/DC (AC/DC tribute), at 6 p.m. Friday in the KC Live Block; and
- The Struts will headline this week’s Coors Light Block Party series with a performance at 7 p.m. Thursday in KC Live! The Brit band hs opened for The Rolling Stones, The Who, Guns N’ Roses and The Foo Fighters.
AND, LIVE MUSIC is on tap most nights at these Downtown clubs and joints: Blue Room Jazz Club, Black Dolphin, The Brick, Green Lady Lounge, Hush, The Majestic Jazz Club, Mutual Musicians Foundation, The Phoenix, Prohibition Hall, The Record Bar, The Ship, and throughout the Power & Light District.
LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including eight productions this week:
- The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe – This witty and gleefully ridiculous musical comedy won a Best of Fringe designation in 2015, packed houses in its 2017 run, and last year won several awards including Best of the Fest at the Chicago Musical Theater Festival. Performances run through Sunday at The Living Room Theatre in the Crossroads.
- Beat Bugs: A Musical Adventure – Five insect pals explore the world and pick up life lessons along the way in this new musical, based on the Netflix animated series that incorporates songs of The Beatles. Performances begin Tuesday and continue through Sunday, May 19 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
- Frida … A Self Portrait – Frida Kahlo’s life is explored in this astonishing play by KCRep Fox Fellowship Resident Actor Vanessa Severo. Through beautiful physicality and raw honesty, the triumphs and challenges of the now-celebrated painter and wife of the equally-renowned artist, Diego Rivera, is unearthed in the brave new work. Frida continues through Sunday, May 19 at the Copaken Stage at H&R Block.
- Funnyhouse of a Negro, a one-act play by Adrienne Kennedy, opened off-Broadway in 1964. The winner of the Obie Award for Distinguished Play runs through Saturday, May 18 at the Just Off-Broadway Theatre in Penn Valley Park.
- Go, Dog, Go! – P.D. Eastman’s classic book is the foundation for this Theatre for Young America production that features highly mobile dogs careening around in cars, scooters and anything that rolls fast. The fun rolls on through Saturday at City Stage at Union Station.
- Honky – a dark comedy about race, rhetoric and basketball shows. Presented by the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City, it runs through Sunday at the Gem Theater.
- Songbook of the 60s and 70s – Celebrate the era of Broadway when traditional musicals lived alongside innovative ones, while the jazz world evolved to reflect an eclectic culture. This nostalgic celebration continues through Sunday, May 26 at the Quality Hill Playhouse.
- Unreliable – Playwright Dipika Guha looks at the slippery slope regarding culpability and expectations, using absurdist humor as a powerful tool in this provocative KC Rep production runs through Sunday, May 19 at the Copaken Stage at H&R Block.