What's happening in south Johnson County.

Lights Shine from Broadway to KC

The glitz, glamour and drama of Broadway come to Kansas City Oct. 2 when individual tickets for six blockbuster shows go on sale. With individual tickets starting at just $25, experience the thrill of the dynamic theatrics packed in every 2011-2012 Kansas City Broadway Series show for cheap. Tickets for “Blue Man Group,” “An Evening With Pattie Lupone and Mandy Patinkin,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” and “Next to Normal” along with special presentations of “Riverdance” and “Cirque Dreams: Pop Goes the Rock” will be available online at, and will be performed at either one of two spectacular theatres; both the Kaufman Center for Performing Arts as well as The Music Hall play host to Broadway’s greatest hits. The Broadway Series kicks off with Broadway Across America’s presentation of “Blue Man Group” at the Music Hall Dec. 13-18, where audience members can escape the ordinary and surround themselves in an explosion of comedy, music, technology and blue paint. Tony Award-and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Next to Normal” will wrap up the year’s best June 5-10, and will invite viewers to step into the world of an American family that is anything but normal. Brave and evocative, the heart-wrenching score and emotional performances will have audience members on the edge of their seats. To book tickets and to find out more about the KC Broadway Series, visit


Inside Out

Are you an Innie, an Outie or both? On Nov. 6, The Great Inside Out Race offers runners, walkers and racers a unique opportunity to choose a run or walk to suit their tastes. Sponsored by Interfaith Hospitality Network, Kansas City’s only two-race outside/inside event benefits homeless children and families in the greater KC area. Runners, head to the Great Mall of the Great Plains’ southwest parking lot in the a.m. of Nov. 6 and pick your poison: a timed one-mile run outside, and/or a timed 5K run/walk outside, or a one- mile loop inside. Both one-mile races begin at 9 a.m., while racers must be at their marks at 9:30 for the 5K. Post race, all participants receive a long-sleeved t-shirt and awards will be given for all one-mile run/5K winners (Overall, Master, Age Groups, Male/Female) and to all finishers. Results will be posted online to Register online at


Battle of the Brains

Science City’s Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains might just make flying cars and tornado-powered electricity a reality. The competition invites the next generation of movers and shakers in technology and curiosity to design the next great exhibit for Science City. Open to all students K-12 in the greater Kansas City metro area, local schools can earn a piece of a $130,000-plus grant, all while participating in some healthy competition. The Battle of the Brains encourages a focus on STEM (science, technology, math and engineering) education, a vital piece in maintaining America’s tradition of ingenuity and inspiration. Winners in each division of the competition will earn a $50,000 grant to support STEM education in their schools. Two runners-up in each division will earn $5,000 each, while the remaining 14 honorable mention winners will be given $1,000. One group of innovators will win the grand prize and see their exhibit built in Science City. Educators can sign up student groups at in the elementary or secondary division and download the competition packet. School groups must submit exhibit design concepts by Oct. 31, 2011, and the judging process will culminate in a public vote from November 11-18. More information is available at

The Titanic Lives on in Song

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the unsinkable ship’s tragic demise, The Leawood Stage Company will present a production of “Titanic: The Musical” April 13-15, 2012. Directed by Shelly Stewart with music direction by Kevin Hershberger, the musical is based on the true story of the Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England to its sinking in the Atlantic by an iceberg. The five-time Tony Award-winning production examines the lives of the passengers and crew dealing with class issues, immigration and vulnerability in the face of catastrophe. The Leawood Stage Company will hold auditions for “Titanic” from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6 in the Oak Room of the Community Center, on the lower level of Leawood City Hall, with call backs held Sunday, Nov. 13 by appointment. Be prepared to sing 32 measures from any musical with live accompaniment; bring sheet music in your key and a photo and resume if available. No appointment time is necessary. For more information contact the Cultural Art Coordinator at the City of Leawood, (913) 339-6700 x157 or go to


Guide to Good Giving

Women have begun to emerge as a bold and visible presence on the philanthropic landscape. The G-3 Summit: A Woman’s Guide to Good Giving is an event that targets all of the multi-tasking women of Johnson County devoted to giving their time, talent and treasure for the greater good and shows them how best to spend their valuable energy. Sponsored by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater KC, and Women’s Division, Jewish Federation of Greater KC, the event aims to inspire, empower and influence women’s views on the power of philanthropy. From 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30, guests will enjoy a lovely brunch at the Jewish Community Campus while listening to Andrea Pactor, associate director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the University of Indiana, help her audience understand how to align their giving of time and money to their own unique values. The Summit will point women in the right direction, providing the necessary tools to help them continue on their path of philanthropic influence. To learn more visit


Kicking Cancer to the Curb

The Kansas City Cancer Center-Southwest is offering three free events for patients and survivors of cancer who want to improve their health in body and mind. “Wellness 101,” a four-week series for those on a cancer journey, focuses on providing effective tools to build strength, minimize side effects and fight disease. This free community workshop will hold its first session on Oct. 10 from 1-2 p.m. “Get Energized! An Intro to Wellness for the Cancer Survivor” is designed for people tired of feeling, well, tired. Kick fatigue to the curb from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on Oct. 12 by learning how to address cancer-related exhaustion and increase daily energy output. The skills for managing the stress and changes that accompany cancer or other illnesses will be outlined in the “Resilience Workshop” Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to noon. Identifying the key factors of resilience can help enhance a quick recovery from setbacks. The workshop is offered by Kansas City Cancer Center in partnership with Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing. For more information and/or to make the required reservation, call Sami Papacek at (913) 577-5834 or visit and click on the green-box title information.


Jam out Under the Apple Tree

Families with children aged five and under are invited to attend the First Annual BV Apple Tree Jamboree Jan. 29 at Timber Creek Elementary. From 9:30-11:30 a.m., kids and parents alike can get their groove on with live musical performances by Anne Meeker Miller and Rockin’ Rob, an educational entertainer, and enjoy other hands-on activities and games. Between concerts, families are invited to explore the rooms that have been designed to engage children in various play activities based on songs from the Apple Tree Web site. The BV Apple Tree Web site,, is a collaborative effort between Blue Valley and Parents as Teachers (PAT) designed to provide the support and resources young families need to create teachable moments at home through original music and activities that children and parents can enjoy together. For more information about The BV Apple Tree Jamboree, please contact the Communications Department, at (913) 239-4043 or


Pretty (Tough) in Pink

The 5th Annual Real Bikers Wear Pink Motorcycle Ride for Breast Cancer Research, benefitting Susan G. Komen for the Cure, was held on Sunday, August 14. While breast cancer is more prevalent in females, it is an “equal opportunity” disease — and so was this ride; both men and woman helped cycle to a better tomorrow. With over 140 riders, the 90-mile trip through southern Johnson County and northern Miami County was the biggest yet, incorporating some of the most interesting roads in the area. As in past years, participants enjoyed pink pancakes from Chris Cakes at the Overland Park Sam’s Club and smoothies from Robek’s. This year also featured a professional motorcade escort from T.A.P.S. of KC . The ride ended at Coach’s Bar & Grill in Overland Park, where they donated 20 percent of their lunch sales to the Susan G. Komen foundation. Currently, net proceeds are over $5,000 with donations still coming in. Details and information about this year’s ride and future rides can be found at


Ghost Dance

After Ghostcatching may sound like a sequel to a “Ghostbusters” movie, but don’t be fooled, the only glimmers of an otherworldly presence found in this video are the traces of ephemeral color and light that flash and dance across the screen; a ghostly after-image of a live dancer. This 13-minute video at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a prime example of the symbiotic relationship between dance, sound, and computer technology. It is a collaboration between Bill T. Jones, one of the greatest living dancers and choreographers and founder and artistic director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and OpenEnded Group. Evoking a dark and moody tone, a dancing, disembodied figure mimics ghostlike movements, while a computer translates his actions into fluid, 3D ribbons of streaming color and light. Reinterpreting Ghostcatching (1999), the 2010 version is enhanced by advances in stereoscopic illusion, otherwise known as 3D technology. To create Ghostcatching, OpenEnded Group used motion capture, a technology that tracks sensors attached to Jones’ body as he danced. The digital technology records only the dancer’s movements without retaining the solidity of the figural form, leaving only movements. Jones’ dance sequence relates to a series of characters and begins with Ancestral Figure who moves in relation to a vertical, rectangular box. Others are Athlete, recognized for his robust, aggressive movements and Sculptor, named for Jones’ penchant for sculpting his body into fixed poses. Experience the video’s groundbreaking 3D technology and eerie display of movement through Dec. 31. To learn more visit


Playing Footsy

Whether it’s football or footsy, women know the winner of any competition is determined by who has the most gusto. Learn to master the field, and maybe the game of football will become more than just a chance to cook game-day treats for the boys or check out which team has the cutest players. Join former Kansas City Chiefs All Pro guard Will Shields for an evening of fun and football Oct. 4 for his Women’s 101 Football Camp. From 7-9 p.m., it’s ladies night at 68 Inside Sports performance facility. Women will study the ins and outs of the game with Will in a hands-on, down and dirty football camp, and attend an after party at Crowne Plaza Hotel to celebrate their excellent sportsmanship. Suggested attire is comfortable clothing/work-out attire and athletic shoes. A $10 donation is suggested to cover the camp; all proceeds go to the Will to Succeed Foundation that facilitates programs and gives direct assistance and resources to individuals, families, and other charitable organizations. To register for Will Shields 101 Women’s Football Camp send an e-mail to Registration will also take place the evening of the camp. For more information, visit


Network, Learn and Grow

Charities comprise 13 percent of Greater Kansas City’s economy. That percentage includes more than 3,400 nonprofit organizations. Hundreds of them will be sending staff, board members and volunteers to the 19th Annual Philanthropy Midwest Conference (PMC), presented by Nonprofit Connect and UMKC’s Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership on Oct. 17-18 at the Kansas City Convention Center. Some big “wows” are expected at this year’s conference from keynote speakers, workshops, exhibits, and Philly Awards Luncheon Honoring Excellence in Nonprofit Communications. Carol Cone, considered the “mother of cause marketing,” will share tricks of the trade from her book on Oct. 17 at the Opening Keynote Luncheon, “Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding: Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results.” Cone’s focus at New York City-based Edelman—the world’s largest independent PR firm—is corporate social responsibility. Throughout the day on Monday, the Exhibit Hall of the Convention Center will be filled with more than 75 businesses that want nonprofits as their customers. Also participating in conference activities on Monday will be attendees of the Kansas City Society of Association Executives’ Relevance Conference. On Oct. 18, the fast-paced Breakfast Keynote will feature three founders of 501 Mission Place, an online home for people leading social change, in a frank discussion about the impact organizational culture, openness and the “human side” can have on growth and success. Lisa Qualls, chairwoman of the board of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, will present the keynote, “Best of Kansas City–A Social Media Tour.” For conference registration and details, visit


Across the Spectrum, Across a Lifetime

Families with autistic children understand that it takes a team to raise a child with autism. One conference, “Beyond the Diagnosis: Autism Across the Life Span,” will examine how autism spectrum disorders, and the kids who deal with them, grow and change throughout a lifetime. Co-sponsored by Johnson County Community College (JCCC) and the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (K-CART) at the University of Kansas, the Oct. 7-8 conference will include a full two days of speakers and workshops designed to put the latest research in the hands of both professionals who work with people with autism and families whose lives have been touched by the disorder. Conference sessions are grouped into six program strands, behavior supports/social skills, early childhood, employment, community living, transition, and research, allowing participants to examine the topic with both breadth and depth. Eustacia Cutler, whose daughter was the subject of the HBO movie, “Temple Grandin,” will deliver the keynote speech titled “Yes, Your Child is Autistic. Who is Your Child? Who are You?” Cutler knows firsthand the joys and frustrations of raising an autistic kid; her 2006 book, A Thorn in My Pocket, vividly describes raising her daughter in the conformity-loving ‘50s. Encouraging listeners to examine four key stumbling blocks that affect children with autism, Cutler will also be available for “Conversation and Cocktails with Cutler,” from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 7. Conference events will be held in the Regnier Center on the east side of the JCCC campus, 12345 College Boulevard, Overland Park, Kan. Conference registration is available online at For more information about the conference, contact (913) 469-8500, ext. 4327.


Breakfast of Champions

On Wednesday, August 31, the Blue Valley Educational Foundation celebrated student and staff successes and champions of character at its 21st annual Community Breakfast. Nearly 1,000 business leaders, community members, and Blue Valley parents attended the event, which was hosted by John Holt of Fox 4 News. The theme for the event was the Blue Valley Virtues: compassion, courage, honesty, perseverance, respect, responsibility and self-discipline. The foundation raised more than $185,000, which will help support educational excellence in Blue Valley schools. Anne Blessing, BVEF executive director, and Connie Aversman, BVEF president, thanked sponsors for their generous support, and honored 34 staff and 34 student Sunflower Ambassadors. Sunflower Ambassadors are nominated in an essay by their peers for exemplifying the Blue Valley Virtues. Superintendent Tom Trigg’s State of the District address highlighted the district’s many accomplishments, including 2011 assessment data and AYP results.



Even Simon Cowell couldn’t have argued with the results of KC SuperStar, the “American Idol”-style competition that selects the best high school singer in the area. Produced by the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Greater Kansas City, a sell-out crowd of more than 1,200 witnessed Blue Springs native Michaelah Burns’ awe-inspiring performance that won her a $5,000 scholarship, $1,000 for her school’s performing arts department and the title of KC SuperStar. Chloe McFadden, graduate of Shawnee Mission North and daughter of tap legend Lonnie McFadden, won second place. The event raised more than $420,000 that will be used to underwrite scholarships for children and families to participate in early childhood, camping and wellness programs at the JCC. More than 200 high school students representing 58 different schools auditioned in the initial round for KC SuperStar during two weekend sessions in March. The field was narrowed down to a final 12 performers who took the stage at Yardley Hall, where each performer sang a solo as well as several group numbers. A four-judge panel of entertainment professionals made the first cut down to three singers: Richard Carrothers, co-owner of the New Theatre Restaurant; David Cohn, former Hollywood casting agent and industry executive; Shannon Durig, Broadway performer who played the lead character, Tracy Turnblad, in “Hairspray” on Broadway; and Julia Othmer, professional singer-songwriter who performs across the country. The audience took the judges’ critiques into consideration, ultimately deciding the winner of KC SuperStar. The Johnson County finalists include:

Jillian Jamison: Junior, Olathe East (finalist in 2010 competition)

Christian Owen: Shawnee Mission West graduate

Erika Christiansen: Senior, Blue Valley Northwest

Rachael Feeley: Senior, Home schooled-Spring Hill

Monica Sigler: Junior, Olathe East (finalist in 2010 competition)

Chloe McFadden: Shawnee Mission North graduate; (second place winner; finalist in 2010 competition)

Kendall Schoenekase: Senior, Blue Valley West

Gersom Ibarra: Shawnee Mission North graduate

Categories: KC Happenings, People & Places