From the world premiere of a play about MLK to an exhibition of the best photos of the year; from Todd Rungren to Tanya Tucker; and from Samantha Fish to RuPaul; and from an operatic West Side Story to a taste of Hamilton … Downtown Kansas City will be soaring all week long. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Sept. 17-23:
Central Library presents Pictures of the Year International – a special exhibition of 50 arresting images by the world’s leading photographers – that runs through Oct. 28. Administered by the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri’s Missouri School of Journalism, it focuses on pivotal events of the past year and ranges from spot news to feature photos.
Crossroads KC will rock the East Crossroads with two memorable concerts this weekend,, including:
- Samantha Fish, the local blues phenom, returns to KC with special guests Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Shaw Davis for an 8 p.m. blowout show on Friday;
- Todd Rungren returns to Downtown KC for an “Unpredictable Evening” at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Dinosaurs Revealed – Travel back 252 million years to discover dinosaurs that inhabited what is now North America. Your hands-on trek will bring you face-to-face with 26 life-size dinosaurs. The world premiere of Dinosaurs Revealed is on exhibit through Jan. 6 at Union Station.
Folly Theater will light up Downtown with four hot ‘n spicy events this week, including:
- SuicideGirls: Blackheart Burlesque – the sexiest, smartest, geekiest, and most fun definitive pop-culture burlesque show – will light up the Folly at 9 p.m. Monday. The show has been performed hundreds of times, delighted millions of fans in over six countries, and has been touring since 2003.
- RuPaul’s Drag Race – The official RuPaul’s World Tour, featuring performances by Season 10 finalists, will bring the house down beginning at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
- Late Night Theatre presents its Las Vegas Legends Show, a benefit for the campy theater troupe, beginning at 8 p.m. Friday. Entertainers will span the many eras of Vegas – opening with retro (’60s) acts, and closing with modern Vegas.
- Alyson Cambridge, one of the most diverse and compelling vocal artists on the scene today, will perform in a free recital at 7 p.m. Saturday, courtesy of the Harriman Jewell Series.
Haunted Houses – With Edge of Hell, The Beast and Macabre Cinema, all set in multi-storied commercial buildings built around 1900, the West Bottoms is home to three of the Midwest top attractions. For tickets and schedules, visit Full Moon Productions.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature four breathtaking performances this week, including:
- Leslie Odom Jr. – Broadway’s Hamilton star comes to Kansas City! From his Tony® Award-winning role as Aaron Burr in Broadway’s hottest hit, Leslie Odom Jr. joins the Kansas City Symphony for an evening of music that will lift you up beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday.
- West Side Story – Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. The Lyric Opera presents this Broadway and film classic with the original symphonic score and Jerome Robbins choreography in five performances beginning at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and continuing until Sunday, Sept. 30 in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
- Conservatory Artist Series presents the Conservatory Wind Symphony in concert at 7 p.m. Sunday in Helzberg Hall. This performance is part of “Remembering WWI: The Conservatory Commemorates Armistice Day.” Featured repertoire includes works by composers and musicians who lived through, and even fought in the Great War.
Knuckleheads Saloon– the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 11 smokin’ shows this week, including two of the biggest of the year featuring Tanya Tucker with Jamie Wyatt at 8:30 p.m. Friday, and Ronnie Millsap at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. Yep, that’s smokin’, all right.
Open Spaces is transforming Kansas City’s parks, urban spaces, galleries, performance halls and outdoor stages over the next six weeks with an all-new citywide festival based in Swope Park. The complete Open Spaces calendar for this week is located at openspaces.com.
Sprint Center will be smokin’ hot this week with two long-awaited performances, including:
- J. Cole with special guests Young Thug, Jaden Smith and EarthGang roll into Downtown for a 7:30 p.m. show on Tuesday – part of a 34-city tour in support of his chart-topping album, KOD.
- Fall Out Boy brings its red-hot M A N I A tour to the Big Town at 7 p.m. Friday, featuring Machine Gun Kelly and Nothing Nowhere.
LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including these three productions this week:
- Becoming Martin – This world premiere centers on the mentorship Martin Luther King, Jr., receives when he enters Morehouse College at age 15. Through debate over civil disobedience concepts, Morehouse College President, Dr. Benjamin Mays, sets young MLK on a path towards fighting for civil rights. This play is a Coterie commissioned work by noted filmmaker, screenwriter, director, and playwright, Kevin Willmott. Performances begin Tuesday and continue through Oct. 21 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
- A Moon for the Misbegotten – Eugene O’Neill’s final play, a rare sympathetic turn from the Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner, this play offers powerful reflections on desire, family and sacrifice. This Kansas City Actors Theatre production runs through Sept. 30 at the City Stage at Union Station.
- My Fair Lady – When Lerner and Loewe’s production opened on Broadway, it collected six Tony Awards (including Best Musical) while the film version took home eight Oscars, including Best Picture. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, this is that rare musical by which all others are measured. My Fair Lady runs through Sept. 30 at the MTH Theater at Crown Center.
ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:
- ArtsKCGo is the new, online guide to arts and cultural events in greater Kansas City – including Art in the Loop, Charlotte Street, First Fridays, the City’s all-new arts festival, Open Spaces, plus all other Downtown-centric arts events.
LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:
- Angel’s Rock Bar in the Power & Light District
- The Black Dolphin in the Crossroads
- Blue Room in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Brewery Emperial in the Crossroads Arts District
- The Brick in the Crossroads Arts District
- The Dubliner in the Power & Light District
- Garment House in the Downtown Loop
- Gem Theater in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Green Lady Lounge in the Crossroads
- Howl at the Moon in the Power & Light District
- KC Live Block! in the Power & Light District
- Kill Devil Club in the Power & Light District
- Knuckleheads Saloon in the East Bottoms
- Leinenkugel’s Kansas City in the Power & Light District
- The Majestic in the Downtown Loop
- The Midland in the Downtown Loop
- Mosaic Ultra Lounge in the Power & Light District
- Mutual Musicians Foundation in the 18th & Vine Jazz District
- The Phoenix in the Downtown Loop
- PBR Big Sky in the Power & Light District
- Prohibition Hall in the Downtown Loop
- Record Bar in the Crossroads
- The Ship in the West Bottoms
- Stockyards Brewing Company in the West Bottoms
- The Truman in the East Crossroads – Coming soon!
MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:
- Airline History Museum in Hangar 9 at the Downtown Airport
- American Jazz Museum in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- American Royal Museum in the West Bottoms
- Arabia Steamboat Museum in the City Market
- Black Archives of Mid-America in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Hallmark Visitors Center at Crown Center
- Historic Garment District Museum in the Downtown Loop at 801 Broadway
- Kansas City Museum in northeast KC at 3218 Gladstone Blvd.
- Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
- National Archives of Kansas City, west of Union Station
- National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame at the Sprint Center
- The National WWI Museum and Memorial at Liberty Memorial
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Science City at Union Station
- TWA Museum at the Downtown Airport
- Union Station Gallery at Union Station
For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com