Downtown continues to Dazzle thru NY Eve

Trans-Siberian Orchestra returns to Sprint Center for two soaring performances on Wednesday. The shows are part of TSO’s 20th anniversary tour.

From the WWI Truce Tournament to the Broadway tour of Book of Mormons; from the City-Wide Celebration of Kwanzaa to New Year’s Eve revelry in multiple locations; and from Noon Year’s Eve fun for families at Science City to the Soulfest at Municipal Auditorium … Downtown will be simply Dazzling this week from Christmas Eve to NYE! Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Monday, Dec. 24-31:

City-Wide Kwanzaa Celebration – Celebrate Kwanzaa in the Gem Theater from Wednesday through Tuesday (Jan. 1) evenings. Each night begins with an African market featuring local vendors at 6 p.m. The program begins at 7 p.m.  Each night features a different program or performance hosted by a local organization., including The Kwanzaa Ball on New Year’s Eve. The American Jazz Museum, in partnership with the National Black United Front- KC, presents the 37th annual celebration. For more information, call 816-866-3025; e-mail nbufkc@gmail.com; or visit the celebration Facebook page.

Downtown Dazzle will reach its holiday climax this week throughout the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives. 

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 10 rockin’ shows this week, including Rainmakers with Blue False Indigo at 9 p.m. Friday; Samantha Fish at 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and the New Year’s Eve Party featuring 5 bands on 3 stages, including Outlaw Jim & The Whiskey Benders with The Ben Miller Band, The M 80’s, The Instmatics and The Kris Lager Band beginning at 9 p.m. Monday, New Year’s Eve.

The Midland will light up Downtown this week with one performance of the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Featuring world class Russian artists, hand-painted sets, Russian Snow Maidens, and jubilant Nesting Dolls. this remarkable version of the Nutcracker is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

New Year’s Eve Weekend Soulfest featuring The Isley Brothers with Glenn Jones, The Whispers, hosted by Joe Torry and featuring DJ Foots beginning at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30 at Municipal Auditorium.

Downtown prepares to welcome the New Year with New Year’s Eve merriment throughout the neighborhoods on Monday night.

New Year’s Eve will be a celebration through Downtown KC with fun, games, parties and live music throughout the urban core, such as Knuckleheads’s (above) and Record Bar (next), The Truman KC (below), Quality Hill Playhouse (Live Theater below) along with a Noon Year’s Eve event for families (Downtown Dazzle above) and three HUGE NYE parties, including:

  • Crossroads Hotel will celebrate its first New Year’s Eve beginning at 9 p.m. on NY Eve with a transformative night featuring round-the-clock music and performances programmed by Quixotic, open bar and craft cocktails, champagne and small bites for every appetite. Click here for tickets and more information.
  • Power & Light District– For more than 10 years, NYE Live! has been treating party-goers to exclusive access to up to 12 bars and nightclubs, all-inclusive packages, great entertainment, NYE-themed party favors, confetti cannons, Champagne toasts and the city’s most anticipated countdown to Midnight – complete with a “Times Square” ball drop! The fun begins at 8 p.m. on NY Eve.
  • Union Station – Dance in the New Year with the hottest, swinging band – Dave Stephens and the KCJO 7 at New Year’s Swingin’ Eve. Your ticket gets it all – admission, live music, party favors, drinks, hot appetizers and midnight champagne toast, and the party begins at 8 p.m. on NY Eve.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with six nights of live music this week, including New Year’s Eve Eve with Not A Planet, Me Likes Bees and Rubeo at 8 p.m. Sunday, and a rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Murder By Death at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31.

Sprint Center will smokin’ this week with the return of three red-hot performances, including:

  • Trans Siberian Orchestra returns to Sprint Center two spectacular shows at 3 and 8 p.m. Wednesday. This year’s 20th-anniversary tour, a presentation of TSO’s unforgettable “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” will feature founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill’s timeless story of a runaway who finds her way into a mysterious abandoned theater.
  • Jeff Dunham brings his Passively Aggressive tour to the Big Town at 5 p.m. Saturday, along with his delightfully twisted cohorts; Peanut, Walter, José Jalapeño, Bubba J, and of course, Achmed the Dead Terroristo.

Truce Tournament – The Kansas City soccer community will take part in the sixth annual tournament commemorating the Christmas Truce in World War I. On Wednesday, teams will compete in The Truce 3v3 soccer tournament played on Memorial Hill with the Kansas City skyline providing an unmistakable backdrop. Activities begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday. For complete details – including a free British pub-themed English Premier League Boxing Day Watch Party inside the Museum – visit the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The Truman is happy to welcome local psych-rockers Making Movies in to help ring in 2019!

The Truman will light up the Big Town with a New Year’s Eve masterpiece featuring Making Movies performing The Talking Heads’ Remain in Light album, plus performances by Calvin Arsenia and Reptil. The show begins at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31.

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

  • Book of Mormon – The nine-time Tony® Award-winning Best Musical returns to Downtown KC for one week only. This outrageous musical comedy follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. The touring production opens Wednesday and continues through Sunday at the Music Hall.
  • Milking Christmas – Driven by a mission to keep the holiday perfect, Macey Maid-a-Milking finds herself in a lot of trouble as the future of Christmas hangs in the balance. Directed by Missy Koonce & Rusty Sneary, the hit musical runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
  • NYE Cabaret – Swing in the New Year as J. Kent Barnhart welcomes back Christina Burton and LeShea Wright plus the boys in the band (Ken Remmert on drums and Ben Tervort on bass) for a sizzling evening of jazz standards, 1960s hits, power ballads, and more at 6:30 and 10:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Sunday 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 VisitKC.com

Crossroads bar nabs national attention for its holiday spirit(s)

The Miracle at Rockhill, on the second floor of The Rockhill Grille in the Crossroads, tops the list of holiday pop-up bars that recently received national attention in The Daily Beast.

A Downtown Kansas City holiday pop-up bar is featured in a national story featuring “Bars that really get into the holiday spirit.”

The Daily Beast pointed its national spotlight last week on festive pop-up bars, which “have officially taken over America.” The Miracle at Rockhill on the second floor of The Rockhill Grille, 2000 Grand, topped the list of The Daily Beast’s story on the best, brightest, and most enthusiastic spots.

The Daily Beast reported:

“From tinsel and twinkling garlands to life-size reindeer and towering nutcrackers, the last few years have seen an influx of holiday themed bars—and to be honest every year they keep getting better and better.

Whether you’re into festive cocktails with a hint of the beach, or want to go full candy cane and Santa Claus, there’s a holiday bar just for you. But there are only a few weeks left to get your fill of holiday cheer before the season comes to a close, so slip on your favorite ugly sweater and visit one of these bedecked bars tonight.

Miracle at The Rockhill Grille, Kansas City, Missouri

Back for its fifth year in a row, more than 80 bars around the country have signed up for a festive Miracle makeover, which includes signature drinks and seasonal glassware. For the first time, The Rockhill Grille in Kansas City, Missouri, is participating in the Miracle program, and the bar team has injected plenty of merriment into the experience. Along with the standard drinks menu, including the Christmapolitan and the Snowball Old-Fashioned that are featured at all of the participating Miracle locations, the bar is also serving a roster of its own recipes using products from local distiller, J. Rieger & Co. The pop-up will run through December 31. Find a list of all of this year’s Miracle locations here.

Erica Verges

Mele Kalikimaka at SOS Tiki, Atlanta, Georgia

At first blush, tiki drinks and the holiday spirit may not seem to go together at all, but for a second year in a row SOS Tiki’s Mele Kalikimaka is proving that it’s actually a match made in heaven. The name of the pop up is, of course, a Hawaiian phrase meaning “Merry Christmas.” (It’s also the title of a Bing Crosby tune popularized in the 1950s.) SOS Tiki, which is pictured above, has 10 Christmas-y cocktails to choose from, including a frozen, rum-spiked Eggnog, and the Jack Frost that combines rums, vanilla, coconut, pineapple, and lemon.

Craft & Commerce and False Idol, San Diego, California

Celebrating the holidays in balmy San Diego means you can have all the holiday cheer you want without having to bundle up. Local bar Craft & Commerce has turned itself into Whoville Winter Wonderland and the nearby False Idol is temporarily The Grinch’s Lair. That means after you’ve enjoyed a Reindeer Games cocktail (apple brandy, aquavit, chile liqueur, apple cider) or any of the other eight holiday-themed cocktails in Whoville, you can then drink a Holiday Mouth Feels (Angostura Bitters, pot still rum, lemon, falernum, orgeat) with the Grinch. Be sure to stop in before January 1, which is the last day for both pop ups.

Santa Baby, Chicago, Illinois

If you’re obsessed with tinsel, taken by wreaths, and blown away by a perfectly bedazzled tree, this immersive Chicago Christmas bar is where you need to celebrate the holidays. Not only will Santa Baby be decked out in over-the-top decorations, but it will also feature multiple bars slinging drinks that Kris Kringle would certainly enjoy. If you’re going with a group, try the oversized Jingle Juice, which blends a base of spiced rum, Grand Marnier and amaretto with a bright, bubbly blend of pineapple, Sprite, citrus and cranberry. And don’t forget to try the Atomic Yule Log (Flamin’ Hot Cheeto, cheddar, Sriracha dust) or a few Lumps of Coal (puffed rice, marshmallow, chocolate cookie dust).

Donn’s Depot, Austin, Texas

For more than two decades, Donn’s Depot in Austin has gotten gussied up for the holidays—and each year the decorations have gotten more intricate. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, more than 40 staff members work together to transform the bar and music venue into what it calls a “magical winter wonderland.” Snowflake ornaments hang from the ceiling and nutcrackers, mini-trees, and rows of stockings cover just about every possible surface. Visitors can sip on boozy and non-alcoholic holiday cocktails, including the Little Drummer Boy (tequila, allspice, pear, lemon), Mazel Tov (rum, chocolate, gelt), and warming hot chocolate.

Winter Chalet at Industry Kitchen, New York

Through the end of January, when you walk into the South Street Seaport’s Industry Kitchen you’ll be greeted by a canopy of twinkling lights, life-size reindeer and a swath of holiday greenery that transforms the space into a cozy getaway. But the wintry chalet experience is not complete without a festive cocktail in hand. Luckily, you’ll have plenty of options when deciding what to pair with your Gingernut Pizza—a pie made with a ginger crust, Eggnog frosting and candy canes. Go for The Flurry, a simple sour that mixes gin, St-Germain and lemon, or gather a group of friends and order the crowd-friendly Frozen Peppermint Slide (Baileys, candy canes, peppermint bark).

Sleyenda at Leyenda, Brooklyn, New York

Last year, Leyenda’s co-owners and bartenders extraordinaire, Julie Reiner and Ivy Mix, debuted their holiday pop-up bar Sleyenda—and this year, it’s back! Celebrating strong women the world over, the award-winning watering hole will donate $1 from each holiday drink sold to different charities, including the Global Fund for Women, New York Women’s Foundation, Outsmart NYC, and the Me Too Movement. That means no matter what Christmas or Hanukkah-themed drink you choose, from the Coquito Ho Ho Ho (reposado tequila, Oloroso sherry, coconut, Braulio, cinnamon) to the Chutzpah Spritzah (Aperol, Campari, gin, Manischewitz, Amaro Angostura, brut rosé), you can be sure you’re contributing to a good cause while spreading a bit of holiday cheer.”

The Miracle at Rockhill is open nightly through New Year’s Eve. Ho, ho, ho…

 

Holiday arts and lights shine bright in Downtown this week

Downtown KC will be dazzling this week, as holiday magic lights up Crown Center and every neighborhood. Hop aboard the KC Streetcar one evening this week and see for yourself. Ho, ho, ho!

From the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train at Union Station to the final week of the Kansas City Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker; from the Kansas City Symphony’s Christmas Festival to The Elders at Knucklehead;s; and from Harry Connick Jr. at the Midland to, well, could it get any better than that?… Downtown will be Dazzling this week. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Dec. 17-23:

Downtown Dazzlenow in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives, including…

The Kansas City Ballet presents its traditional holiday treat, ‘The Nutcracker’ over seven final performances this week at the Kauffman Center.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature 12 holiday-inspired performances this week, including:

  • Christmas Festival – Kansas City’s favorite Christmas concert tradition returns with the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus. Cherished Christmas carols and Yuletide songs, talented special guests and one jolly visitor from the North Pole are sure to fill you with holiday spirit over the final two (of seven) performances at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • Handel’s Messiah – The Spire Chamber Ensemble and Baroque Orchestra returns to the Kauffman Center just in time for the holidays to perform this masterpiece with period instruments like you have never heard before…inspiring, dazzling, joyous. The performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • The Nutcracker concludes its holiday run of 20 unforgettable performances this week in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The Kansas City Ballet presents this magical, Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman complete with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. The Nutcracker will be performed seven times this week with shows on Thursday through Sunday, with the finale beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.
  • It’s A Wonderful Life – The holiday classic film comes to life with Dimitri Timokin’s timeless score performed by a live symphony orchestra, while the full film is shown on the big screen at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Helzberg Hall.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 14 rockin’ shows this week, including The Elders in a sold-out performance at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the Garage; three performances by Danielle Nicole at 8 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 p.m. Friday and  7 p.m. Saturday in the Gospel Lounge; and the Katy Guillen & The Girls Farewell Show at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Harry Connick Jr. returns to KC this week to rejoice in New Orleans’ Tricentennial Celebration with a holiday concert at the Midland.

The Midland will light up Downtown this week with two inspired performances, including:

  • Harry Connick Jr. celebrates New Orleans’ 300th birthday and the influences that shaped his career with this very special holiday performance at 8 p.m. Wednesday; and
  • Jackyl returns to Downtown KC to share its wild, untamed and uncouth approach to rock ‘n’ roll with equal parts hard rock, heavy metal and Southern rock, Jackyl will rock this town at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with five nights of live music this week, including DJ Lee and Friends Annual Holiday Show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; and Radkey with Drop A Grand and Bad Ideas at 8 p.m. Friday.

For King & Country will perform ‘Little Drummer Boy – The Christmas Tour’ on Friday at Sprint Center.

Sprint Center will smokin’ this week with two inspirational evenings of (a) holiday classics and (b) college hoops, including:

  • For King & Country – The Grammy-winning duo, featuring Cory Asbury, presents Little Drummer Boy, The Christmas Tour at 7 p.m. Friday. The Tour features favorite Christmas carols and music from their new album, ‘burn the ships’.
  • K-State – Vanderbilt will square off in a men’s collegiate basketball showdown at 6 p.m. Saturday. The 16th ranked Wildcats will be considered as the home team on the friendly KC court.

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

  • Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun continues through Sunday at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Jingle Bells, Batman Smells – Theatre for Young America presents this glittering holiday favorite, which is runs through Saturday at the City Stage at Union Station.
  • Milking Christmas – Driven by a mission to keep the holiday perfect, Macey Maid-a-Milking finds herself in a lot of trouble as the future of Christmas hangs in the balance. Directed by Missy Koonce & Rusty Sneary, the hit musical runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
  • A Spectacular Christmas Show – Singing • Dancing • Show Tunes • Christmas: These are a few of our favorite things! Holiday tunes from musical theater, innovative arrangements of Holiday classics continue through Sunday at MTH Theater 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 VisitKC.com

All aboard for a dazzling holiday season in Downtown KC

Downtown Dazzle will feature the annual return of the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train this week exclusively at Union Station.

From the Fairy Princess to the Symphony’s Christmas Festival; from The Nutcracker to the KC Southern Holiday Express; and from Jim Brickman to the homecoming of Joyce DiDonato … Downtown will be Dazzling this week. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Dec. 10-16

Downtown Dazzlenow in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives, including…

The Fairy Princess will being her holiday gifts to area children this weekend at the Garment District Museum, on behalf of the Kansas City Museum.

The Fairy Princess – The holiday season isn’t just about visits with Santa Claus. The Fairy Princess, a tradition at the Kansas City Museum, will relocate to the museum’s Downtown satellite location – the Garment District Museum – while Corinthian Hall is under renovation. The white-gowned Fair Princess debuted in 1935 at Kline’s Department Store, where she waved her wand and a surprise gift appeared for each child. The princess will work her magic from 3-7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For ticket information, click here.

Folly Theater will have ’em dancing in the aisles this week with three huge shows, including:

  • Jim Brickman Be part of the holiday concert tradition of the season as Grammy nominated songwriter and piano sensation returns to Kansas City for A Joyful Christmas at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
  • Joyce DiDonato – Whether she’s singing in one of the world’s top concert halls or performing for refugees in Greece, this Prairie Village native represents the best of the human spirit. The Harriman-Jewell Series is proud to bring our hometown heroine back at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. This time, she will perform with one of today’s brightest stars, Yannick Nézet-Séquin, who will prove he plays the piano as superbly as he conducts.
  • Central Standard, the Kansas City men’s a cappella group will perform Holiday Harmonies at 7 p.m. Saturday. CS just returned from the Barbershop Harmony Society’s annual convention, where the 55-member ensemble earned a 3rd place ranking in the world!

The Kansas City Symphony presents its Christmas Festival, the season’s most popular holiday concert, beginning Friday at the Kauffman Center.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature 13 holiday-inspired performances this week, including:

  • George Winston – One of the most recognized solo pianists in the world, Winston will light up Helzberg Hall at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Inspired by the seasons and topographies, his performances feature a variety of styles including melodic folk piano, New Orleans R&B piano, and stride piano.
  • The Nutcracker continues its holiday run of 20 unforgettable performances in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The Kansas City Ballet presents this magical, Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman complete with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. The Nutcracker will be performed six times this week with shows on Thursday through Sunday … and running through Dec. 22.
  • Christmas Festival – Kansas City’s favorite Christmas concert tradition returns for seven joyous performances with the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus. Cherished Christmas carols and Yuletide songs, talented special guests and one jolly visitor from the North Pole are sure to fill you with holiday spirit over seven performances beginning at 7 p.m. Friday and running through Tuesday, Dec. 18 in Helzberg Hall.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 15 rockin’ shows this week, including Flow Tribe at 8 p.m. Thursday; and the Tab Benoit Review featuring Damon Fowler and Eric Johanson at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Steel Panthers, the world’s premiere party band, will light up the Midland on Tuesday by melding hard rock virtuosity with parody and criminally good looks.

The Midland will be rockin’ around the Christmas tree this week with three giant shows, including:

  • Steel Panthers – the world’s premier party band – intend to Lower the Bar when they rock the big town at 8 p.m. Tuesday;
  • Snails with Svdden Death and Hekler will tear up the Midland at 8 p.m. Thursday;
  • Brett Youngthe former college baseball pitcher and current ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year uses his competitive edge to create music that critics, radio and fans cannot stop raving about. He is due to shake things up at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Opening acts will be Tyler Rich and Rachel Wammack.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with four nights of live music this week, including Big Bad Hats with Rachel Mallin & The Wild Typeand Belle & The Vertigo Waves at 8 p.m. Friday.

The Truman will feature LANco at 7 p.m. Monday, as the band travels the country via the T Mobile + Pandora tour.

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

  • Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun continues through Dec. 23 at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Jingle Bells, Batman Smells – Theatre for Young America presents this glittering holiday favorite, which is now showing through Dec. 22 at the City Stage at Union Station.
  • Milking Christmas – Driven by a mission to keep the holiday perfect, Macey Maid-a-Milking finds herself in a lot of trouble as the future of Christmas hangs in the balance. Directed by Missy Koonce & Rusty Sneary, the hit musical runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
  • Nutcracker: All Jazz’d Up puts a jazzy spin on this holiday classic during two sold-out performances at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the City Stage at Union Station
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
  • A Spectacular Christmas Show – Singing • Dancing • Show Tunes • Christmas: These are a few of our favorite things! Holiday tunes from musical theater, innovative arrangements of Holiday classics continue through Dec. 23 at MTH Theater 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 VisitKC.com

Christmas tree at Crown Center rates of one of nation’s finest

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center is receiving media accolades as being one of the finest public Christmas trees in the nation.

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center is receiving national attention this season, as one of the finest public holiday trees in the land.

USAToday.com with 36.8 million unique monthly visitors (UVM) ranks the Crown Center holiday tree as one of 10 travel-worthy trees across the USA:

“Christmas trees draw communities and travelers together,” Tim O’Connor, executive director of the National Christmas Tree Association, told USA Today. Towering and elaborately decorated public trees allow visitors to join in local holiday traditions and gatherings. “They really symbolize Christmas so well, and attract tens of thousands of people.”

He shares some favorites with USA Today, including the Mayor’s Christmas Tree in Kansas City:

“One of the nation’s largest Christmas trees shines above Kansas City every holiday season,” USA Today reported. “A 100-foot Oregon Douglas fir lords over the city’s Crown Center, which welcomes Christmas with an ice-skating rink, a gingerbread village and holiday train. At the end of each season, wood from the tree is made into ornaments. Proceeds from sales benefit a holiday charity fund for needy city residents.”

More media kudos for the Crown Center beauty have been reported at least three more national media outlets, including:

  • CountryLiving.com (11.5 million UVM) – “The Most Iconic Christmas Tree in Every State”
  • Yahoo.com (10 million UVM) – Syndication of Country Living’s “The Most Iconic Christmas Tree in Every State”
  • BellaNYC.com (14.9 million UVM) – “Spread the Festive Cheer by Visiting These Must-See Spectacular Christmas Trees”

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Crown Center will be on public view through year-end. And, it is a sight to behold.

 

Symphony to attempt Guinness World Record for TubaChristmas

The Kansas City Symphony is aiming for tuba glory at noon on Friday, Dec. 7 in the Municipal Arena at Municipal Auditorium with its annual holiday tradition TubaChristmas.

Since 2008, the Symphony has hosted hundreds of tuba and euphonium players for TubaChristmas, most recently in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for two performances each year. For 2018, the Symphony was ready to up the ante by combining all players into one date at the Municipal Arena and go for a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt.

The free, one-hour concert on Friday, Dec. 7 will feature traditional holiday carols arranged for tuba and euphoniums, and the concerts draw packed houses. The 2018 concert also will feature the world premiere of a new composition for tubas and euphoniums by James Barnes, noted composer and University of Kansas professor emeritus of music composition. University of Kansas professor of tuba-euphonium, Scott Watson, will conduct the concert.

The tradition of TubaChristmas began in 1974 in New York City by renowned tuba player and teacher Harvey Phillips. Today there are hundreds of TubaChristmas events around the nation and world, making it the perfect event for a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS official attempt.

The current record was achieved on December 21, 2007, in Anaheim, California, with 502 performers.

“We can absolutely break the current GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title,” said Kansas City Symphony Executive Director Frank Byrne, himself a tuba player. “This event has such wonderful spirit, is so much fun, and we have had incredible response each year. For 2018 we want to have the biggest and best TubaChristmas in the world, and to break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title. It will be a source of pride for Kansas City and great fun for performers and audience.”

The Symphony is taking no chances. A GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS Adjudicator will attend, so everyone at the concert will know if the Kansas City Symphony’s TubaChristmas achieves a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.

Tuba and euphonium players may register to perform here.

Audience members who wish to witness the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt can secure free tickets right here.

Natl Geographic Traveler names KC one of the world’s ‘best trips’

Courtesy, The Kansas City Star

“One may wonder what Kansas City has in common with Dakar, Senegal, or Perth, Australia.

It seems they are among must-see destinations for travelers in 2019. That’s according to National Geographic Traveler magazine, which published the list last week in the December-January issue.

Why go now? To “revel in the revival,” the magazine says.

“Most visitors to the Midwestern city come for the barbecue and all that jazz but soon find themselves caught up in an urban renaissance,” according to the piece.

It goes on to tout the “reinvention of the historic Savoy Hotel and Grill as the 21cMuseum Hotel Kansas City and the free downtown streetcar.

The article also encourages visitors to check out the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. It touts the “retro-cool retailers and clubs” of the industrial West Bottoms.

“To me, West Bottoms speaks to the history of Kansas City: the stockyards and trains and commerce moving through the middle of the country,” Chris Goode, CEO and founder of Ruby Jean’s Juicery, told the magazine. “But no matter where you go in Kansas City, it will feel like home. “The city just has soul.”

National Geographic Traveler editor-in-chief George Stone said the Best Trips issue “features 28 destinations and experiences that can inspire us, change our perspectives and connect us with cultures, places and ideas that matter in the world.”

National Geographic travel editors and explorers selected their top destinations in four categories: cities, nature, culture and adventure.

Kansas City is the only American destination on the cities list, which includes Dakar; Perth; Salvador, Brazil; Toronto, Canada; Matera, Italy; and Mexico City. (The magazine specified that it is referring to Kansas City, Mo.)”

Click here to read the complete story.

Lights, camera, action! Holidays light up Downtown all week long

From the Kansas City Ballet and The Nutcracker to the Kansas City Symphony and TubaChristmas; from Downtown Dazzle’s Urban Homes Tour to Martina McBride’s Joys of Christmas; and from the Symphony’s Handel’s Messiah to the Kansas Jayhawks returning to the hoops of Sprint Center … Downtown will be Dazzling this week. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Dec. 3-9:

Downtown Dazzlenow in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives, including…

  • Crown Center will be all aglow this week with Santa’s Gingerbread Station and EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas open daily during Crown Center Shops hours now through Dec. 31; Holiday Choirs performing daily from today (Monday) through Dec. 21; plus the illuminated cheer from the 100-foot-tall Mayor Christmas Tree; the magic of the Ice Terrace (open daily); and two holiday stage shows (see below under Live Theater).
  • KC Streetcar presents its second annual Holiday Jam of free musical performances on-board the streetcars. The coming week will feature three Jams, including Ernest James Zydeco from 5-7 p.m. Friday; Christopher “CNote” Nickens from noon-2 p.m. Saturday; and 2Cellos KC from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Power & Light District will feature a host of holiday movie parties at the Alamo Drafthouse, including The Greatest Showman at 8 p.m. Monday; Love Actually at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; and Elf at 8 p.m. Sunday and next Monday, Dec. 10.
  • Union StationHolidays Come Alive features 25,000 lights on the indoor Grand Hall Tree alone! “The holidays at Union Station are more than lights… they are about creating holiday experiences you can’t find anywhere else.
  • Urban Homes Tour – Downtown’s trendiest residential properties – from the Crossroads Arts District to the River Market – will open for free, public tours during the most popular event of Downtown Dazzle. Participants are invited to explore at their leisure from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday while traveling from one property to the next by using the KC Streetcar, walking or driving. To register or to learn more, click here.

The Fairy Princess – The holiday season isn’t just about visits with Santa Claus. The Fairy Princess, a tradition at the Kansas City Museum, will relocate to the museum’s Downtown satellite location – the Garment District Museum – while Corinthian Hall is under renovation. The white-gowned Fair Princess debuted in 1935 at Kline’s Department Store, where she waved her wand and a surprise gift appeared for each child. The princess will work her magic from this weekend and next – from 3-7 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For ticket information, click here.

First Friday – KC’s hippest night of the holiday season – returns this Friday with a sizzling collection arts and cultural experiences throughout Downtown via the:

  • City Market will be showcasing artists who want to explore their painting skills during an Art Experience Paint Night class from 7-9:30 p.m. in City Market Square OR to demonstrate their techniques and exhibit their works during Be Part of the Art from 6-10 p.m. in Pavilion 1.
  • 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.
  • First Friday on the Vine is a cultural experience of music, art, food, and shopping on every First Friday year round. Shop local artists and a diverse array of food trucks from 5-9 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 have ’em dancing in the aisles this week with two performances that thrives at the opposite ends of the artistic spectrum, including:

  • A Drag Queen Christmas -presented by Murray & Peter – hosted by Miz Cracker and Monet X Change at 8 p.m. Wednesday; and…
  • Bach Collegium Japan – presented by Friends of Chamber Music – an ensemble consisting of performers of original instruments and a choir formed in 1990 by Masaaki Suzuki, the internationally renowned and highly reputed Bach performer, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Kansas City Public Library will revel in the holiday spirit this week, as it presents four public programs on back-to-back days at the Central Library, including:

  • All Because of a Mormon Cow – Eli Paul, former manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, recounts a Wyoming standoff in 1855-1856, where a rash young officer and 28 of his soldiers were killed in what became known as the Grattan Massacre, instigating the First Sioux War and unleashing a generation of fighting on the Great Plains. The program is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. RSVP here.
  • Backstage Pass – This special exhibit feature works from Baron Wolman, the first chief photographer of Rolling Stone magazine, including 35 photographs, contact sheets, and original magazine covers. It opens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. RSVP here, man.
  • A Winter’s Tale in Word and Song – Combine scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest plays with the works of Bach, Mozart, and Vivaldi and a couple of beloved, centuries-old carols, and … it’s reason to welcome winter. This performance of Bach Aria Soloists and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday. RSVP at once.
  • Holiday Open House – Guests of all ages are invited to step into the holiday season with an afternoon of creative art, music, performance, and refreshments beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday. Ho RSVP ho.

Kansas City TubaChristmas – The Kansas City Symphony will present the region’s largest TubaChristmas event EVER. All area tuba and euphonium players are invited to join in the festivities that begin at noon Friday at Municipal Auditorium. Friends, family and the general public are invited to attend the lunch hour concert to listen to the sounds of the season, tuba-style! Tickets are free, however advanced registration is required. Click here to register, and join a potential world’s largest audience for TubaChristmas!

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature 10 holiday-inspired performances this week, including:

  • Winter Wonderland – The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra gets its Jingle Bell groove on with some extra hip renditions of holiday tunes featuring Hammond B3 organist, Chris Hazelton. The party is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
  • The Nutcracker continues its holiday run of 20 unforgettable performances in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The Kansas City Ballet presents this magical, Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman complete with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. The Nutcracker will be performed six times this week with shows on Thursday through Sunday … and running through Dec. 22.
  • Handel’s Messiah – Nearly 200 amazing musicians and powerful voices bring this choral masterpiece to life with the return of Aram Demirjian as guest conductor. From the “Passion of the Christ” to the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Handel’s glorious Messiah is bigger and better than ever in the acoustically marvelous Helzberg Hall. Performances are set for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 14 rockin’ shows this week, including Maria the Mexican at 7 p.m. Friday; Steve Earle and the Dukes with The Mastersons 30th Anniversary of Copperhead Road at 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and the Fish Fry Holiday Extravaganza with the Funky Butt Brass Band at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Country icon Martina McBride will celebrate songs of the season, when she performs on Thursday at the Midland Theatre.

The Midland will be rockin’ around the Christmas tree this week with four huge shows, including:

  • Chvrches featuring The Moth and The Flame, and Royal Teeth at 7 p.m. Tuesday;
  • Martina McBride returns to Downtown KC to celebrate with her Joys of Christmas Tour at 8 p.m. Thursday;
  • Lewis Black – the comedic king of the rant – will ignite the stage at 8 p.m. Saturday;
  • Thom Yorke, featuring Oliver Coates, will light up the Midland with his Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with five nights of live music this week, including The Barclay Martin Ensemble at 8 p.m. Wednesday and the Hooligan Holiday Punk Rock Prom featuring Slapshot, The Press, Unruly Boys, Boss Holligan Sound System and DJ Maladjusted beginning at 8 p.m. Friday.

Sprint Center will feature NCAA men’s basketball with the Jayhawk Shootout, as the 2018 Big 12 Champion Kansas Jayhawks take on the New Mexico State Aggies in non-conference action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Jayhawks are currently ranked as the No. 2 team nationally by ESPN.

The Truman will be soaring with two performances this week, including San Holo with Chet Porter, Taska Black and Beaudamian beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday and Tom Morello and the Atlas Underground Experience at 8 p.m. Saturday.

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

  • Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun continues through Dec. 23 at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Milking Christmas – Driven by a mission to keep the holiday perfect, Macey Maid-a-Milking finds herself in a lot of trouble as the future of Christmas hangs in the balance. Directed by Missy Koonce & Rusty Sneary, the hit musical opens Thursday and runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
  • A Spectacular Christmas Show – Singing • Dancing • Show Tunes • Christmas: These are a few of our favorite things! Holiday tunes from musical theater, innovative arrangements of Holiday classics and more will open Thursday and continue through Dec. 23 at MTH Theater 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 VisitKC.com

‘The Nutcracker’ raises the bar for a Dazzling week ahead

‘The Nutcracker’ marks the beginning of the holiday season in Kansas City, as the Kansas City Ballet brings this timeless classic to the Kauffman Center beginning this weekend.

Downtown will be Dazzling this week, as The Nutcracker and a stocking full of holiday celebrations light up the Big Town. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Nov. 26-Dec. 2:

Crown Center Ice Terrace – Kansas City’s only public outdoor ice skating rink – is open daily – including Thanksgiving – for its 46th season of great skating fun. The Ice Terrace is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays now through January.

Downtown Dazzlenow in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives. Dazzle in full stride this week with a focus on:

  • City Market will be serving an all-new menu of holiday treats this year, including Breakfast with the Fairy Princess from 8-10 a.m. Saturday. Click here to learn more.
  • Crown Center will be all aglow this week with Santa’s Gingerbread Station and EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas open daily during Crown Center Shops hours now through Dec. 31; Holiday Choirs performing daily from today (Monday) through Dec. 21; plus the illuminated cheer from the 100-foot-tall Mayor Christmas Tree; and Rudolph on stage (see below under Live Theater).
  • KC Streetcar presents its second annual Holiday Jam of free musical performances on  board the streetcar. The coming week will feature Jams, including AJ Young from 5-7 p.m. Friday; and four performances on Saturday with The Center State from noon-2 p.m.; Ayllu from 1-3 p.m.; Cowtown Country Club from 3-5 p.m.; and Ernest James Zydeco from 5-7 p.m.
  • Power & Light District Make plans now for the second annual Brunch with Santa – beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday in the historic Midland Theatre – featuring brunch from Chris Cakes, a hot chocolate bar, games, crafts, stories with Mrs. Claus and cookie decorating, benefiting the Phoenix Family. Click here for ticket info.
  • Union StationHolidays Come Alive features 25,000 lights on the indoor Grand Hall Tree alone! “The holidays at Union Station are more than lights… they are about creating holiday experiences you can’t find anywhere else.

Folly Theater will be in the holiday spirit for Sleigh!, as the Heartland Men’s Chorus will be dashing through the snow with your favorite classic carols and some big choral masterpieces. Buckle up for two holiday performances at 8 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday.

Kansas City’s Celtic rock stars will perform a Hometown Holiday Concert for Kauffman Center members on Monday in Helzberg Hall.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will welcome the beginning of a month-long run of The Nutcracker this week, along with two holiday concerts, including:

  • The Elders present a Hometown Holiday Concert & Reception – an exclusive offer for Spotlight members of the Kauffman Center – at 7 p.m. Monday in Helzberg Hall. The Elders will perform a Celtic concert, one of therir final shows after 20 years together. Click here for more information on the concert and on Spotlight program.
  • The Nutcracker begins its holiday run of 20 unforgettable performances this weekend in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The Kansas City Ballet presents this classic, Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman featuring Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, Dr. Drosselmeier and the Sugar Plum Fairy is a magical theatrical experience wrapped with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. The Nutcracker begins this weekend with shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday … and running through Dec. 22.
  • The Texas Tenors – The Emmy® Award-winners and Billboard No. 1 recording artists sleigh ride into town this week to join the Kansas City Symphony for a heart-warming holiday concert “Deep in the Heart of Christmas” at 8 p.m. Friday in Helzberg Hall.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 12 rockin’ shows this week, including Shemekia Copeland with Kevin Burt in the Garage at 8:30 p.m. Friday, and Sara Morgan in the Gospel Lounge at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Celebrate the holiday season with a new holiday smash – an urban dance retelling of the timeless fairy tale. ‘The Hip Hop Nutcracker’ resets Tchaikovsky’s classic score to explosive hip-hop choreography on Thursday at the Midland.

The Midland will be soaring this week with four huge shows, including:

  • Tash Sultana – a global sensation who is selling out massive theaters globally and playing at the world’s biggest festivals, even though his debut album was released in late summer – will light up Downtown at 8 p.m. Monday.
  • Underoath – riding the wave of a comeback, following eight years of silence – rides its Erase Me Tour to KC at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Featured guests include Dance Gavin Dance, Crown the Empire, and The Plot In You.
  • Good Charlotte – one of the most popular and influential pop-punk bands of all time – rolls into Downtown with special guests Knuckle Puck, Sleeping with Sirens and The Dose to rock the Midland at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.
  • The Hip Hop Nutcracker with special guest MC the Legendary Kurtis Blow with ignite the holidays at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with five nights of live music this week, including Justin Courtney Pierre (of Motion City Soundtrack) with Thin Lips and Jean Claude & The Eclairs at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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

  • Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun continues through Dec. 23 at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 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 VisitKC.com

Downtown flips on the holiday Dazzle this week

Downtown will be Dazzling this week, as holiday season celebrations begin to light up the Big Town. Roll the highlight reel for Thanksgiving week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Nov. 19-25:

Crown Center Ice Terrace – Kansas City’s only public outdoor ice skating rink – is open daily – including Thanksgiving – for its 46th season of great skating fun. The Ice Terrace is open from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays now through January. And, it will be open from 3-10 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

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.

Downtown Dazzlenow in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz DistrictUnion Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives. Dazzle hits its full stride this week with a focus on:

.Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature three Symphony performances this week, including:

Danielle Nicole will headline a Thanksgiving eve party on Wednesday night at Knuckleheads.

Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 10 rockin’ performances this week, including the Danielle Nicole Band performing its 3rd annual Thanksgiving Eve Show American Music Experience and a very special tribute to Etta James and Aretha Franklin at 8 p.m. Wednesday; and The Jeremiah Johnson Band will rock the Gospel Lounge at 9 p.m. Friday.

The Midland will celebrating the Irish spirit this week with a KC encore performance by Celtic Thunder. The band is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a 75-city tour of the U.S. and Canada, including a stop in Downtown KC at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with six nights of live music this week, including Ha Ha Tonka at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and two gigs with The Rainmakers at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Sprint Center will be soaring this week with four giant nights, including:

  • Hall of Fame Classic – featuring two nights of NCAA men’s basketball action at 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The game will feature Texas Tech, Nebraska, Missouri State and USC.
  • Twenty One Pilots will perform a Downtown flyover at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Special guests including AWOLNATION and Max Frost.
  • Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – After a career that has spanned more than 50 years, Bob Seger will hit the road one last time on their final tour with a stop at Sprint Center at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The Truman will feature Kasbo, the Swedish-born electronic music producer, with special guest Vancouver Sleep Clinic at 8 p.m. Friday.

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

  • Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun begins on Friday at Quality Hill Playhouse.
  • Musical Monday & Tuesday – Only nine musicals have ever been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and this production will feature them all! From George Gershwin to Stephen Sondheim to Lin Manuel Miranda, this show pays tribute to the landmark musicals that redefined how musicals impact the world. Showtimes are at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the MTH Theater in Crown Center.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 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 VisitKC.com

Holidays Come Alive beginning Saturday at Union Station

The holiday season officially returns to Downtown this weekend, as the Holidays Come Alive at Union Station beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The event is a day-long, free celebration packed with festive entertainment and family activities. It will conclude with a spectacular holiday lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. featuring Kansas City’s largest indoor Christmas tree and a breathtaking performance by Quixotic. All events will be held inside Union Station so there’s no need to bundle up the kids!

“The holidays at Union Station are more than lights,” said George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station. “What Union Station does for the holidays is what it’s done for over 100 years; Union Station creates memories. We do that by creating holiday experiences you can’t find anywhere else.”

But, never fear, there will be lots of lights at Union Station. There are 25,000 lights on the gorgeous indoor Grand Hall Tree alone! Yards and yards of garland, mammoth wreaths, 70 Christmas trees and more will all be lit inside the Station on Saturday night.

The holiday will really come to life beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with a ceremony that leads into a magical performance designed by the creative genius of Kansas City’s own Quixotic. Inside Grand Plaza, aerialists will fly through the air while magical reindeer, standing eight feet tall, will roam through the crowd leading them on a magical trip to the North Pole. Throughout the performance the interior will be lit in waves, ending with the Union Station ablaze in its holiday glory.

The exterior of the Station will also come alive in a dazzling holiday light show every evening on the half hour. This choreographed display will not only entertain, but also add to the festive illumination of the Downtown skyline.

In addition, there will be plenty of family photo opportunities (think holiday cards!) with larger-than life holiday props and décor, and concessions sold throughout the day. Kiss Under the Clock, a Union Station holiday tradition, returns this year from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with Kelly Urich from 94.9 KCMO Radio and holiday favorite,

National Lampoon’s, Christmas Vacation, will be running on the Regnier Extreme Screen throughout the day for only $3 per person. 

DAY OF ACTIVITIES – Saturday

All located in Grand Plaza, unless otherwise notated.

10:00 am – 4:00 pm:  Hands on Activities: Maker Studio & Strawberry Swing Holiday Activity

10:00 am – 4:00 pm:  Mesner Puppets Holiday Activity

10:00 am – 8:00 pm:  Letters to Santa (in Model Rail)

1:00 – 4:30 pm:  Balloon Artist & Sister Act Face Painters

6:00  – 6:30 pm:  Candy Cane Stop with 94.9 
7:00  – 8:30 PM Free Mini Train Rides

7:00 – 9:00 pm:  Holiday Model Rail

Stage Performances

*All located in Grand Plaza, unless otherwise notated.

10 – 10:45 am:  Mrs. Claus Holiday Stories

11:00 – 11:45 am:  KC Ballet 2 Performance

11:30 am – 12:30 pm:  Salvation Army Band

12:30 – 1:15 pm:  Quite Frankly the Band

2:00 – 2:45 pm:  Dan Riggs Big Band

3:15 – 3:30 pm:  Starlight Stars

4:00 – 4:45 pm:  Miller Marley Youth Ballet

5:00 – 6:00 pm:  HARMONIUM

6:30 – 7:00 pm:  Holiday Lighting Ceremony Featuring Quixotic

7:00 – 7:30 pm:  HARMONIUM

Event parking rate of $10 applies.

For a complete list of family friendly events that last all season long, visit www.unionstation.org/holidays

Construction to proceed on Downtown YMCA / Community Center

The Downtown YMCA/Kirk Family Community Center will celebrate the beginning of construction of the former Lyric Theatre building on Friday.

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City will host a Construction Kickoff Celebration for the new Downtown YMCA/Kirk Family Community Center this Friday.

Donors, volunteers, members and the community are invited to gather at a special celebration at 11:15 a.m. Friday on the front steps of the former Lyric Theatre building at 1029 Central St.

The event will include a ceremony to commemorate the redevelopment of the 92-year-old building and illustrate bringing healthy living, youth and community programs to Downtown Kansas City. The new Y will bring important programs to the families and commuters in the heart of Downtown for the first time, including a medical clinic, swim lessons, healthy living classes for children and adults, community events, and opportunities for people of all ages to improve quality of life.

“The new Y builds on the success of Kansas City’s Downtown revitalization, and will bring much-needed community programs to this diverse and growing community,” said David Byrd, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. “This is a new chapter in history for our Y and for Kansas City as we transform the historic Lyric Theatre building into a community center that will benefit generations for years to come. We are so grateful to all of our donors and partners for their support to make this project possible.”

The $35-million renovation and reconstruction project is expected to be completed by spring of 2021. It’s funded by $16.9 million from the 11th Street Corridor Tax Increment Financing District, additional funding from the Missouri Development Finance Board, as well as charitable gifts from foundations and individual donors.

The Y will be named the Kirk Family Community Center. The Kirks are longtime YMCA of Greater Kansas City donors and supporters of the new Downtown Y. The family includes the late Phil Kirk, the former chairman of DST Realty, now part of SS&C Technologies. He played a key role in Kansas City’s Downtown revitalization and was instrumental in bringing the new Y to the former Lyric Theatre.

The Downtown Council honors Kirk’s strength and leadership each year by awarding its Philip J. Kirk Jr. Award to a community leader in recognition of community vision and Downtown stewardship. The Kirk Award will be presented to former Mayor Kay Barnes at the next DTC Annual Luncheon on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019.

Other donors to the Downtown Y/Kirk Family Community Center include the Sunderland Foundation; Tom and Jean McDonnell; Illig Family Foundation; William T. Kemper Foundation, Commerce Bank, Trustee; The Kirk Foundation Trust; SS&C Technologies; Victor Speas Foundation, US Trust, Bank of America Corporation; Gary Dickinson Family Charitable Foundation; Kansas City Southern; Mabee Foundation; Dunn Family Foundation; UMB Trusts & Foundations: Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation; Jim and Annabelle Nutter Family; Sherman Foundation; KCP&L; Frank and Nancy Kirk; Mark One Electric; Tom and Jill McGee; Natalie Kirk Welch and J.C. Welch; Allen and Libby Blair; Charles and Judy Kahn; and Ron and Nancy Jones.

Features of the 62,000-square-foot Downtown YMCA/Kirk Family Community Center:

  • Preservation of the facade and lobby of the historic building including the original marble floors, ceiling tiles and more to become the new Y entrance.
  • A 42,000-square-foot section of new construction built on the north side of the lobby featuring a contemporary design. Behind the building, there will be a small green space for events and youth sports.
  • Dramatic two-story windows will be inserted into the new limestone walls along Central bringing natural light into the space and creating a contemporary, eye-catching look to the building’s exterior. The limestone will come from the same quarry that provided the limestone for the original Lyric building.\

Amenities inside the new Downtown YMCA/Kirk Family Community Center:

  • Three community rooms to give members and the community the opportunity to host meetings, celebrations of family and friends, and more. One of the community rooms will feature a teaching kitchen for healthy eating, nutrition and cooking classes.
  • A Kids Zone constructed near the entrance that will provide a safe and fun place for kids to learn and play.
  • An indoor family pool and lap pool to bring year-round life-saving swim lessons, exercise and recreational opportunities to families downtown for the first time.
  • An enclosed wood-floor gymnasium that can be used for basketball, volleyball, and other youth and adult sports.
  • A large health and wellness area offers a space for guests to improve their health through cardiovascular exercise and strength training featuring the latest state-of-the-art equipment.
  • Three studios for group exercise.
  • A suspended indoor walking and jogging track that will offer views of the lower levels of the center.

Truman Medical Center to offer a medical clinic at the new Downtown Y

The YMCA and Truman Medical Center will team up to offer a medical clinic at the Downtown Y. The two organizations first partnered to open TMC’s University Health Clinic adjoining the Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center in February 2018.
The Linwood Y partnership has already proven that working together toward a common vision and mission can improve community health at a time when chronic disease is rising and access to quality health care remains a challenge for many.
The Downtown clinic will make health care more accessible to Y members, as well as those in the surrounding area.
“It is part of our mission to get out of the four walls of the hospital and bring health care where it’s needed,” said Charlie Shields, president and CEO of Truman Medical Center. “We are excited about the construction of this new University Health clinic, because it’s in the right place, at the right time. The power of our combined services will make a great impact on the area’s health and wellness.”
TMC’s University Health Clinic is planned for the lower levels of the building. TMC also will partner with Cerner to bring advanced technology to the patient experience at the clinic.
“Bringing this Y and medical clinic to Downtown is truly a game changer and an important milestone for the Kansas City community,” said CiCi Rojas, chief volunteer officer for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.
“We look forward to the completion of this project so that the Y may impact more lives for the better,” Rojas said. “There are still opportunities to give. The new Y will allow us to meet the changing needs of the community as more young professionals, families and empty-nesters call Downtown home, and will serve as a destination for the entire metro.”
Design and construction partners include BNIM Architects, JE Dunn Construction, Structural Engineering Associates, Henderson Engineers, Antella, Taliaferro & Browne, New Horizons, Land3 Studio, Larkin and FSC.
Development partners include Broadway Square Partners, the Downtown Council and MC Realty.
Financing partners include Sun Trust Bank, Industrial Development Authority of the City of Kansas City Missouri, and Missouri Health and Educational Facilities Authority.
To read more about the Downtown Y/Kirk Community Center announcement, visit CityScene KC.