Kansas City Fall Arts & Culture Preview

Fall in Kansas City isn’t just a season; it’s a tradition. With the changing of the leaves comes the awakening of our city, bursting with a brilliant lineup of events, from concerts and fests, to all the rest. In the following pages we’ve rustled up a preview of scintillating arts and culture highlights to take you through the month of December — from a major Thomas Hart Benton exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins and a Taylor Swift concert at the Sprint Center to a Jonathan Franzen author talk, noir film festival and the debut of Kansas City Ballet’s brand-new version of The Nutcracker.


Flowers to Frost: Four Seasons in East Asian Art


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo.

In an exhibit of rarely seen paintings, prints and textiles ranging from the 12th to the 19th century, the Nelson explores East Asian culture and honors the art of seasons by Chinese, Japanese and Korean artists. Featured artists include Zha Shibiao, Lee Lee-nam and Ando Hiroshige. Free. nelson-atkins.org


Modest Mouse

Sept. 1, 8 p.m.

Liberty Hall, Lawrence

“Float On” and “Dramamine” indie rockers are back and better than ever, embarking on a lengthy trek across the U.S. in support of their long-awaited new album Strangers to Ourselves, which took eight years to make. $45 to $65. libertyhall.net


La Fonda Allstars

Sept. 5, 9 p.m.

The Phoenix, Kansas City, Mo.

Dance your cares away as jazz pianist Mark Lowrey collaborates with Kansas City’s Afro-Latin band Making Movies for a night of hip-swaying afro-cuban jazz that’ll light up your life. $5. thephoenixkc.com


Art Westport

Sept. 11-13

Westport, Kansas City, Mo.

Westport’s annual arts fair, boasted as KC’s only outdoor art festival exclusively for local artists, gears up for its 36th year. Celebrating more than 100 of the city’s talented artists, browse the festive atmosphere that showcases original artworks, jewelry, fine crafts, photography and more. artwestport.net


cirque eloize id

Cirque Éloize iD

Sept. 8-13, 8 p.m.

Starlight Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

Set in the heart of a city, Cirque Éloize’s ninth creation blends circus acts and urban dance to create a daringly spectacular show about a group of people who seek refuge and through expression forge their own identities. $13 to $137. kcstarlight.com


itzhak perlman

Itzhak Perlman and Emanuel Ax, violinist and pianist in duo recital

Sept. 8, 7 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

The Harriman-Jewell Series begins its 51st season with an awe-inspiring duo recital featuring the undeniably talented virtuoso Itzhak Perlman and renowned pianist Emanuel Ax as they execute sonatas by Mozart, Fauré, Strauss and more. $30 to $80. hjseries.org


Take 6 & The Manhattan Transfer

Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

In a double-bill a capella experience you won’t want to miss, Grammy Award-winning group The Manhattan Transfer, now in its second manifestation, pays tribute to founder Tim Hauser with a career-spanning musical journey. Gospel sextet Take 6 lends its crystal clear harmonies and funky grooves, plus a few unexpected twists. $29 to $89. kauffmancenter.org


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Legends

Sept. 10-13

Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.

Hurry, hurry, step right up and see a show of legendary proportions, featuring mythical creatures and circus greats performing their classic daredevil feats. The creators of the “Greatest Show on Earth” prove they still know how to enthrall children of all ages. $12 to $77. sprintcenter.com


Buckwheat Zydeco

Sept. 10, 8 p.m.

Knuckleheads Saloon, Kansas City, Mo.

The Louisiana-based accordionist, hailed as one the few zydeco artists to find mainstream success, revisits his catalogue of more than 20 albums and hits like “Hey Good Lookin’” and “On a Night Like This.” $22.50. kunckleheadshonkytonk.com


Sunday in the Park with George

Kansas City Repertory Theatre

Sept. 11- Oct. 4

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo.

Inspired by the life of Georges Seurat and his famous pointillist painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” this Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine merges past and present to reveal the truths about life, love and art. Kansas City Repertory Theatre brings its colorful production to the Nelson while its venue undergoes a major remodeling.  $30 to $55. kcrep.org


Prairie Village JazzFest honoring the McFadden Brothers

Sept. 12, 2:30 p.m.

Harmon Park, Prairie Village

Prairie Village celebrates Kansas City’s rich jazz culture with a daylong fest featuring finger-licking good food, fun, art, and a music lineup of artists that are sure to soothe. Local singing, playing and tap dancing treasures Lonnie and Ronals McFadden will perform with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra at 9:15 p.m..  Free to $5. pvkansas.com


Jay Leno

Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

After decades behind The Tonight Show desk, the Television Hall of Famer returns to his stand-up comedy roots bringing new material to remind fans why he’s a household name. $49 to $149. kauffmancenter.org




Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

A year after the explosive success of his song “Take Me to Church,” the moody Irish indie rocker preaches to congregations worldwide, bringing a set list of songs from his self-titled debut album, plus a few surprise covers. $39.50 to $55. kcstarlight.com


Night in Vienna: The Music of Fritz Kreisler w/ Bach Aria Soloists and Ensemble Ibérica

Sept. 14

Grünauer Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

Indulge in the tastes and sounds of Austria as Grünauer pays homage to its roots with an evening of Old-World cuisine and the music of famed Viennese violinist/composer Fritz Kreisler as performed by Ensemble Ibérica in collaboration with the Bach Aria Soloists. $30 to $35. grunauerkc.com


purity jonathan franzen

Jonathan Franzen

Presented by Rainy Day Books

Sept. 16, 7 p.m.

Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.

New York Times bestselling author, essayist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Jonathan Franzen (author of The Corrections) signs books; answers audience questions; and discusses his newest novel, Purity. $28. rainydaybooks.com


Ravel’s Bolero and Symphonic Soloists

The Kansas City Symphony

Sept. 18-20, times vary

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

Lead by music director Michael Stern, the Symphony concert opener welcomes fall with Shostakovich’s Festive Overture, F.J. Haydn’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello, Oboe, and Bassoon,” Schumann’s “Konzertstück for Four Horns,” Piston’s Suite from The Incredible Flutist, and of course, Ravel’s Boléro. $30 to $80. kauffmancenter.org


Lisa Grossman

Sept. 18-Oct. 30

Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, Mo.

A prominent painter and printmaker of eastern Kansas’ prairie-scapes and river valleys, the Lawrence artist presents her collection of oil and watercolor paintings created en plein air. hawcontemporary.com


Bobby Watson

Sept. 18, 8 p.m.

Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City’s iconic jazz saxophonist, who has collaborated with the likes of Carlos Santana, Max Roach and Rufus and Chaka Khan, comes home with his quartet to perform a collection of songs such as “Time Will Tell” and “In Case You Missed It” that have made him a household name. Curtis Lundy joins on bass. $20 to $50. follytheater.org


taylor swift

Taylor Swift

Sept. 21 and 22

Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.

After shaking up the charts with her multi-platinum album 1989, which spawned a string of hits including “Shake It Off,” and “Blank Space,” the “Bad Blood” pop star excites with an electric world tour featuring enough costume changes, surprises and life-changing anthems to send any Swifty into a frenzy. $39.50 to $119.50. sprintcenter.com



Sept. 22, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

Britain’s funkiest reggae/pop trio from the 1980s — in its original lineup of Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue — rocks the states in their first tour in eight years. Expect a plethora of hits including “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love with You,” “One in Ten,” the career-catapulting hit “Red, Red Wine,” and tracks from last year’s release Silhouette. $27.50 to $57.50. midlandkc.com


The Miracle Worker

Sept. 22-Oct. 25

Coterie Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

Experience the well-known story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan like never before as the Coterie Theatre cast presents William Gibson’s four-time Tony Award-winning play based on Keller’s life. Each performance includes an American Sign Language (ASL) shadow performance. $11 to $15. thecoterie.org  


Plaza Art Fair

Sept. 25-27

Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.

Celebrate KC’s thriving art scene and its talented artists at the Country Club Plaza’s annual art fair, now in its 84th year. A showcase of more than 240 local and regional artists, this weekend-long fest will have you itching to break out the paint. In addition to art, the fair offers three live music stages, food booths from Plaza restaurants and a kids’ art workshop. countryclubplaza.com


New Dance Partners: The Ultimate Collaboration

Sept. 25-26, 8 p.m.

Johnson County Community College, Overland Park

Local dance companies Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance and Owen/Cox Dance Group — with newcomer Oklahoma City Ballet — collaborate with commissioned choreographers Brian Enos, Gregory Dawson and Kate Skarpetowska to bring an enthralling display of original works. $21 to $25. jccc.edu


Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival

Sept. 25-27

Stephens Lake Park, Columbia, Mo.

For a fall getaway that won’t break the bank, mosey on east for Columbia’s celebration of roots ‘n’ blues that packs music, food and culture into three fun-filled days. First launched in 2007, this year’s fest brings names like Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams, Robert Cray, Dwight Yoakam, Dr. John, G. Love & Special Sauce and more. $49.50 to $550. rootsnbluesnbbq.com


Audra McDonald, Broadway star in concert

Sept. 26, 7 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

The six-time Tony Award and two-time Grammy Award-winning actress and singer uses her luminous soprano voice to perform her favorite show tunes from American standards to original pieces written for the singer herself. $25 to $80. hjseries.org


Don Giovanni

Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Sept. 26 and 30, Oct. 2 and 4

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

One of the most-performed operas worldwide gets reimagined in the Lyric Opera’s season opener. Based on the legends of Don Juan, Seville is replaced by the mean streets and speakeasies of the big city as it follows the Don, his womanizing ways and his end at the cold hand of destiny. $39 to $169. kcopera.org


Stan Kessler

Sept. 26, 8 p.m.

Hotel Phillips, Kansas City, Mo.

Enjoy live jazz in the beauty of the historical Hotel Phillips as lead trumpet of Brazilian jazz sextet The Sons of Brasil, Stan Kessler, shows off his brass in a solo appearance. Free. hotelphillips.com



Russell Peters

Sept. 27, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

Last Comic Standing judge, actor and “Canada’s no. 1 stand-up export” delights the Midland audience with his observational and lightning-fast styles of improv. Expect him to touch on a few of his favorite things, including cellphones, dating, jobs he can understand and his childhood. $39.50 to $55. midlandkc.com


An Evening with Mark Knopfler and Band

Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

The Dire Straits rocker, hailed by Rolling Stone as one of its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” celebrates his March release, Tracker, with a tour of old favorites and new cuts. $49.50 to $137.50. midlandkc.com


Paul Taylor Dance Company

Sept. 29, 7:30 p.m.

Lied Center, Lawrence

Paul Taylor’s world-renowned contemporary dance company from New York City entrances audiences with vibrant pieces from its 2015 repertoire. $11 to $35. lied.ku.edu




compania flamenca jose porcel

Compañia Flamenca José Porcel

Oct. 2, 7 p.m.

Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

Via sensual choreography, elaborate costumes and engulfing music, this Spanish dance company pays tribute to the purity and authenticity of the golden age of flamenco. $25 to $70. follytheater.org



Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Lied Center, Lawrence

In celebration of its 150th birthday, the University of Kansas enlists the talents of the legendary 1970s rockers to help them ring in the next 50 years. $19 to $45. lied.ku.edu


dark days, bright nights

Dark Days, Bright Nights: Contemporary Paintings from Finland

Starting Oct. 2

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Mo.

The line between reality and dreams becomes blurred in this group exhibition, featuring a collection of recent paintings, sculptures and projected video installations from 13 artists who were born in or who currently live and work in Finland. “Dark Days” examines the history of Finnish painting that bridges the 20th and 21st centuries. Free. kemperart.org


A Night at the Cotton Club

KC Jazz Orchestra

Oct. 2, 8 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

The KCJO will feature the music of the great musicians, singers and orchestras who performed at New York’s legendary night club, The Cotton Club, during the 1920s and 1930s. Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Lester Young, Cab Calloway and KC’s Count Basie are among the artists highlighted. $20 to $55. kauffmancenter.org


kristen chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth with the Kansas City Symphony

Oct. 3, 8 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

In a concert benefiting the Kansas City Young Audiences, Emmy Award-winning actress and recording artist Kristin Chenoweth (Glee, Pushing Daisies) joins the Kansas City Symphony and performs country, gospel and Broadway songs from her 2014 release, Coming Home$49 to $119. kauffmancenter.org


gone girl gillian flynn

Gillian Flynn

Oct. 3

Library Lovers Gala: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff

KC native and author of the darkly enthralling novel-turned-movie Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn headlines the Mid-Continent Public Library’s 50th anniversary gala. Enjoy cocktails, dinner and featured speaker Flynn at this black-tie-optional soiree. $100. mymcpl.org/gala


WaterFire Kansas City

Oct. 3, 7 p.m.

Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.

Brush Creek once again ignites in celebration of the ninth year of installation artist Barnaby Evan’s WaterFire. The nighttime spectacle features countless fires glowing on the surface of Brush Creek, live entertainment, and a bevy of food and fun. Free. waterfirekc.com


Roma: Music of the Gypsies

Ensemble Ibérica

Oct. 5

RecordBar, Kansas City, Mo.

Through a program of music from Turkey, Romania, Spain and France, this local music collective explores the enthralling world of the Roma. The Roma are a historically nomadic people — dubbed gypsies — who are now largely settled and have long survived as entertainers and tradespeople. $20 to $25. therecordbar.com



Oct. 7-18

Kansas City Music Hall, Kansas City, Mo.

Back by demand, this wickedly wonderful reimagining of The Wizard of Oz tells the untold story of Elphaba before she becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. A cautionary tale about love, friendship and trust, this three-time Tony Award-winning play will change your mind about the land of Oz. $48 to $161. theaterleague.com


Ailey II

Oct. 8-10

Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

The NYC-based modern dance troupe (with a second home in KC) is renowned for showcasing young talent and entrancing choreography. For this program, they will present edgy new pieces by emerging choreographers. Streams is “an abstract exploration of bodies in space,” while Wings is “an unabashedly emotional portrayal of the interactions between angels and humans.”  $25 to $100. follytheater.org




Oct. 9, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

Germany’s pioneers of electronic music in the 1970s and 1980s, widely recognized for their “sound paintings” and musical experimentation, invite audiences to experience an electronic art-rave. Expect a perfectly synchronized audio-visual spectacle complete with pristine digital sound and 3-D projections. $59.50 to $79.50. midlandkc.com


The National Circus and Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China: Peking Dreams

Oct. 9, 8 p.m.

Johnson County Community College, Overland Park

Beijing’s circus may lack animals, but it does not lack in thrills with acrobatics, mind-blowing feats of endurance, global motorcycling, aerial bungee tumbling and more. Having mastered the art of the “wow” factor over several decades, this family-fun event is sure to amaze. $17 to $30. jccc.edu


the three musketeers

The Three Musketeers

The Kansas City Ballet

Oct. 9-11 and 16-18

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

The swashbuckling ballet by André Prokovsky makes its debut in Kansas City with the Kansas City Ballet. Based on the tale by Alexandre Dumas, this “rollicking fast-paced production” follows Athos, Porthos and Aramis as they set out to protect the honor of Queen Anne. $35 to $125. kcballet.org


Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

Oct. 10, 8 p.m.

Johnson County Community College, Overland Park

In a display of its immaculate technique, dramatic power and impressive skill, the U.K.-based Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble executes compositions by Mozart, Strauss, Franz Hasenöhrl and concludes with Schubert’s “Octet in F major for Winds and Strings.” $25 to $30. jccc.edu


thomas hart benton

American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood

Starting October 10

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo.

Through nearly 100 vibrant paintings, murals, drawings, prints and illustrated books by this epic Missouri artist, this blockbuster exhibit reveals the overlooked relationship between Benton’s narrative art and the movies of Hollywood, where the artist worked for a stint. Free to $12. nelson-atkins.org


Kansas City Jewish Film Festival

Oct. 10-18

Various Locations

Celebrate the best of Jewish culture and film at the Jewish Community Center’s annual film fest. Exploring issues of culture, identity and history, the fest highlights great national and international films with a Jewish perspective or contribution. $36. thejkc.org


Kansas City 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival

Oct. 10, 11 a.m.

18th & Vine streets, Kansas City, Mo.

The historic 18th & Vine Jazz District pays homage to KC’s lush jazz history with more than 22 artists and groups on multiple stages, a food and arts court, jazz film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, a kids’ zone and more, It’s a party that’ll please Bird himself. Free to $70. festival.americanjazzmuseum.org


Rhiannon Giddens

Oct. 11, 8 p.m.

Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

After finding success as part of the Grammy Award-winning old-time band The Carolina Chocolate Drops, the singer and banjo/fiddle player flies solo. Using her glorious voice, she wows audiences with songs from her debut release Tomorrow Is My Turn. $25 to $50. follytheater.org


Symphony Happy Hour: Brasstacular

Oct. 14, 6 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

Get over the midweek hump with a free hour-long program of chamber music by KC Symphony musicians. Come early, but stay late and sip cocktails as you take in the brass sounds of Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture for horn quartet, Dahl’s “Sextet for Brass,” Poulnec’s “Sonata for Brass Trio,” and Böhme’s “Sextet for Brass.” Free. kauffmancenter.org


The Brothers Size

Oct. 14-Nov. 8

Unicorn Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

The second installment in Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister trilogy brings a hot-blooded but lyrical tale of brotherly love in the Louisiana bayou. Loosely based on West African myths, the play chronicles the lives of contrasting brothers Ogun and Oshoosi Size as they experience and endure different forms of brotherhood. "Pay what you can" price. unicorntheatre.org


Dr. John

Oct. 15, 8 p.m.

VooDoo Lounge, Kansas City, Mo.

“Right Place Wrong Time” Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John gets bodies swaying with cuts from his latest album, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch, a tribute to jazz master Louis Armstrong that features reimagined versions of his classics.  $28 to $58. voodookc.com


Kathleen Madigan: Madigan Again

Oct. 16, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

This St. Louis native and the only comedian in NBC’s Last Comic Standing to go unchallenged returns to KC with her quick wit, hilarity and unapologetically honest observations. Described as “the real deal,” Madigan’s stories of growing up Irish Catholic in the Midwest, touring in Afghanistan and the Lunesta butterfly are sure to entertain. $29.50 to $36.50. midlandkc.com


Blueprints to Freedom: An Ode to Bayard Rustin

Oct. 16-Nov. 15

Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

An ode to non-violence activist Bayard Rustin, this dramatic play is set during the political and racial tensions of 1963. It follows Rustin after he was assigned to orchestrate the March on Washington for jobs and freedom. After being exiled from the Civil Rights Movement, the march might be his only shot at professional and spiritual redemption. $25 to $59. kcrep.org


Passion Pit

Oct. 20, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

Touring in support of its April effort Kindred, the infectious Massachusetts indie-electronica band continues its purpose of making friends feel good with a set list of tracks spanning from “Sleepyhead” to “Lifted Up (1985).” $29.50 to $33. midlandkc.com


Jesse Cook

Oct. 20, 8 p.m.

Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

Considered one of the most influential figures in the “nuevo flamenco” genre, Jesse Cook’s entrancing sound has wowed audiences for more than 20 years. This special evening brings a set of songs from his April release, One World, which unites the sounds of flamenco, classical, rumba, world beat, pop, blues and jazz. $32.50 to $45. follytheater.org


Artist Talk: Emmet Gowin in Conversation

Oct. 22, 6 p.m.

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo.

Get insight into a creative mind as famed photographer Emmet Gowin chats with curator Keith F. Davis to discuss the mystery and poetic resonance of the everyday that influenced his work throughout his career. Free. nelson-atkins.org


An Acoustic Evening with Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt

Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m.

Lied Center, Lawrence

In an intimate, acoustic experience with a livingroom feel, veteran singer/songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt revisit songs from their respective repertoires. Filled with banter and stories from their careers, it’s a night fans won’t want to miss. Together, they hit multiple music genres: rock, new wave, blues, alt-country and folk.  $19 to $55. lied.ku.edu


Spirit of India

Oct. 23, 8 p.m.

Johnson County Community College, Overland Park

With the Bollywood Masala Orchestra and Dancers of India as your guide, embark on a musical journey from Rajasthan to Mumbai, India. A thrilling adventure without having to leave home, Spirit of India is a visual and sonic feast of Indian culture. $25 to $40. jccc.edu


Festa Italiana

The Kansas City Symphony

Oct. 23-25

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

Enjoy a night at the opera as the Kansas City Symphony performs excerpts from famous Italian operas such as Madama Butterfly and Aida. Be swept off your feet with the sounds of the joining 160-voice chorus as they execute compositions by Rossini, Puccini, Verdi and more. $23 to $76. kauffmancenter.org


janet jackson

Janet Jackson

Oct. 27, 8:30 p.m.

Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.

Janet, Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty, returns to the stage after four years to wow audiences with her highly anticipated tour. Dubbed the “Unbreakable World Tour,” the music icon’s visit is in support of her 11th studio album, which spawned the sultry “No Sleeep.” $39.50 to $125. sprintcenter.com


Classical Mystery Tour: Music of The Beatles

KC Symphony Pops

Oct. 30-31, 8 p.m.

Kauffman Center, Kansas City, Mo.

Re-live the British invasion with an authentic concert experience of the Fab Four’s well-known hits as part of KC Symphony’s Pop Series. Hear faves like “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “I Am the Walrus” and “Let It Be,” all in their original arrangements. $40 to $80. kcsymphony.org



Rich Bowman: Balance

Nov. 1-30

Blue Gallery, Kansas City, Mo.

Through his signature works of dramatic oil paintings depicting traditional landscapes, skyscapes and cloudscapes, artist Rich Bowman conveys his love of light and its hypnotic effect. bluegalleryonline.com



Noir City Film Festival

Oct. 2-4

Alamo Drafthouse, Kansas City, Mo.

The 13th annual Noir City film fest kicked off in San Francisco in January of this year. If SF’s program is any indication of what’s to come in KC this fall, expect 25 titles depicting the darker side of marriage, including Born to Be Bad, Hitchcock's Suspicion and Ida Lupino's The Bigamist — all starring Joan Fontaine. Also on the program a disturbing double feature: the 1966 hallucinatory sci-fi noir Seconds, starring Rock Hudson, and the brutal and blackly comedic Honeymoon Killers (1969). The fest also pays homage to two of film noir's biggest stars, Robert Ryan and Barbara Stanwyck. In The Set-Up, Ryan plays an embittered projectionist chasing after his best friend's wife, an equally embittered Barbara Stanwyck. In Clash by Night. Stanywck turned murderous cop's wife in Crime of Passion. noircitykc.com and noircity.com



The Second Battlefield: Nurses in the First World War

Nov. 3

National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.

Explore the crucial roles nurses played during World War I in this insightful display honoring the soldiers of the second battlefield. Through documents, drawings and semi-romanticized depictions of nurses as heroines and brides, this exhibit interprets the daunting and sometimes dangerous tasks performed by nurses in military hospitals and the front lines. Free to $14. theworldwar.org


In Memoriam: Songs of the Great War

Nov. 11

National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.

In observance of Veteran’s Day and the World War I centennial, the Brooklyn Art Song Society pays tribute to composers who lost their lives during The Great War with a program of compositions from the likes of George Butterworth, W. Denis Browne, Ivor Gurney and more. Free to $12. theworldwar.org


REO Speedwagon

Nov. 5, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

“Keep On Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” Illinois rockers who got their start as a cover band show they still know how to command an audience. Expect career-spanning hits including “Ridin’ the Storm Out” and “Keep Pushin’.” $39.50 to $119.50. midlandkc.com


Kansas International Film Festival

Nov. 6-12

Glenwood Arts Theatre, Overland Park

A must-go for the true cineaste, this annual six-day celebration of independent film showcases noted documentary, narrative and animated works of filmmakers from near and far.

$50 to $70. kansasfilm.com




Kansas City Lyric Opera

Nov. 7, 11, 13 & 15

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

Based on the same Hans Christian Andersen fable as The Little Mermaid, this dark, haunting libretto by Antonín Dvorák tells the story of a beautiful, lovelorn mermaid who learns that her yearning to become human might also be the very thing that destroys her. $39 to $169. kcopera.org


star trek

Screenland at the Symphony: Star Trek (2009)

Nov. 12 & 14

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

Experience space, the final frontier, like never before as the Kansas City Symphony brings J.J. Abrams’ stunning 2009 blockbuster to life. You’ll reach warp speed as the symphony performs Michael Giacchino’s thrilling original score live, accompanying the film on the massive Helzberg Hall screen. $25 to $80. kauffmancenter.org


Classic Albums Live: The Dark Side of the Moon

Nov. 14, 8 p.m.

Johnson County Community College, Overland Park

Pink Floyd’s 1973 masterpiece is given new life as 12 of the world’s greatest musicians re-create the best-selling album track by track. Revisit the pivotal album, which spawned classics such as “Money,” “Brain Damage” and “Time,” and fall in love again. $21 to $35. jccc.edu


Isabel Allende

Presented by Rainy Day Books

Nov. 17, 7 p.m.

Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.

Internationally best-selling author Isabel Allende, known for her “magic realist” works, discusses in conversation her latest novel, The Japanese Lover. A multi-generational love story, the novel explores questions of identity, environment, redemption and more while sweeping from present- day San Francisco to Poland and U.S. during World War II. $28. rainydaybooks.com


Vienna Boys Choir

Nov. 20, 7 p.m.

Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

The historical, world-renowned all-boys choir from Vienna use angelic voices to make spirits bright this holiday season with an uplifting and festive program of holiday classics. $30 to $80. hjseries.org


A Christmas Carol

Nov. 20- Dec. 24

Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

No holiday season would be complete without the Rep’s production of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic. Filled with lively musical numbers, detailed Victorian costumes and sets, and special effects, this telling of Ebenezer Scrooge and his redemption will leave you basking in the Christmas spirit. $29 to $61. kcrep.org


diana krall

Diana Krall

Nov. 21, 8 p.m.

Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, Kansas City, Mo.

The five-time Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and vocalist known for her contralto vocals ensnares with tracks from her February release, Wallflower. A collection of songs spanning the ‘60s to the present, the album features classics such as “California Dreamin’” and “Desperado,” plus original works like the Bob Dylan-inspired title track. $45 to $115. midlandkc.com


young the giant

Young the Giant

Nov. 12, 8 p.m.

Liberty Hall, Lawrence

The “Cough Syrup,” and “My Body,” California rockers, whose music has been covered on Glee, and remixed by bands like Two Door Cinema Club and Ra Ra Riot, take over Liberty Hall as part of their winter tour in support of their 2014 release, Mind Over Matter. $25 to $28. libertyhall.net


mamma mia

Mamma Mia!

Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Lied Center, Lawrence

Mamma Mia! Here we go again. The Lied Center presents Catherine Johnson’s sunny and funny hit musical about Sophie, a young bride on a search to find her father before her wedding. Told through the timeless and upbeat songs of ABBA, it’s a feel-good adventure that’s sure to have you dancing in your seats. $21 to $55. lied.ku.edu


One Touch of Nature: The Four Seasons

Presented by Bach Aria Soloists with Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

Nov. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Kansas City Central Library, Kansas City, Mo.

With the help of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City’s Bach Aria Soloists weave an emotionally compelling program as they pair Shakespeare’s poetry with Vivaldi’s iconic Four Seasons. The result is a can’t-miss experience that will rekindle your love for nature and its beauty. Free. bachariasoloists.com


Spanish Nights and Prokofiev’s Fifth

The Kansas City Symphony

Nov. 27-29, times vary

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

The Kansas City Symphony celebrates the beauty and mystery of Spain with a program featuring excerpts of Albéniz’s masterpiece Ibéria, de Falla’s Nights in the Gardens of Spain and Prokofiev’s  “Symphony No.5,” described as a “symphony of the greatest human spirit.” Guest conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto and pianist virtuoso Benjamin Hochman join. $23 to $76. kauffmancenter.org



Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play

Dec. 2-27

Unicorn Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

In Anne Washburn’s dark comedy, the importance of mass culture is explored via a group of post-apocalypse survivors attempting to preserve Western culture (and pop culture) after a nuclear catastrophe. "Pay what you can." unicorntheatre.org


The Santaland Diaries

Dec. 3-24

Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

Famed humorist David Sedaris’ fictional essay of elfin woe during his stint as a department store Christmas elf gets a hilarious adaptation. A refreshingly disenchanted take on the holidays and its misfortunes, you won’t be able to look at Christmas the same way. $25 to $49. kcrep.org


Handel’s “Messiah”

The Kansas City Symphony and the Independence Messiah Choir

Dec. 3-6

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

Let the heavenly sound of more than 250 ethereal voices fill you with holiday cheer as the Independence Messiah Choir joins the Kansas City Symphony to continue the 99-year tradition of performing George Frideric Handel’s choral masterpiece. $25 to $60. kauffmancenter.org


the nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Dec. 5, 6, 10-13, and 16-24

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

Witness the exquisite costumes, grand sets and stunning special effects as the Kansas City Ballet reimagines E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original work, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Filled with imagination and all-new choreography, this darker version follows Marie, a little girl enamored with a broken nutcracker. Adventure and more ensues when the nutcracker unexpectedly comes to life. kauffmancenter.org


the who

The Who Hits 50!

Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.

After postponing their KC concert in May, The Who returns to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Dubbed the “long goodbye” tour, the set list is described as “hits, picks, mixes and misses,” with a wide range of songs from “Who Are You” to “Be Lucky.” Special guests include 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. $39.50 to $139.50. sprintcenter.com


Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage

Dec. 8-13

Kansas City Music Hall, Kansas City, Mo.

Have “the time of your life” and revisit the heart-pounding rhythms, quotable lines and infectious dancing of the ‘80s pop-culture classic. Complete with your favorite scenes from the film, songs and more, the story of Baby, Johnny and their unforgettable summer comes to life like never before. $35 to $80. theaterleague.com


Buyer & Cellar

Dec. 9-27

Unicorn Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.

Off-Broadway playwright Jonathan Tolins imagines what it would be like to hold the oddest of odd jobs — an attendant in Barbra Streisand’s cellar village — in his hilarious play. Will out-of-work actor Alex More get his break by surveying Babs’ mini mall-style collection of dolls, antiques and gifts, or will the diva jeopardize his love life and his sanity? "Pay what you can." unicorntheatre.org


Doc Severinsen with the Kansas City Symphony

Dec. 11, 8 p.m.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City, Mo.

The “Key of E” trumpet legend and former The Tonight Show bandleader brings his talent and flashy fashion as he teams up with the KC Symphony and Chorus for a swinging evening of seasonal favorites and timeless classics. $49 to $89. kauffmancenter.org


jim brickman

Jim Brickman: Comfort & Joy

Dec. 12, 8 p.m.

Johnson County Community College, Overland Park

The two-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter, pianist and talk show host previews new music from his upcoming album, Pure Romance, as well as a few holiday favorites for an evening filled with cheer. $34 to $50. jccc.edu


julian vaughn

Christmas Season Concert featuring Julian Vaughn

Dec. 12, 8 p.m.

American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Mo.

The Limitless smooth jazz bassist Julian Vaughn evokes the spirit of Christmas in an electrifying Christmas show as the season finale in Gem Theater’s Jammin’ at the Gem series. $35 to $55. americanjazzmuseum.org


David Benoit Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown

Dec. 18, 8 p.m.

Folly Theater, Kansas City, Mo.

After collaborating on their June release, 2 In Love, David Benoit, one of contemporary jazz’s founding fathers, and cool-toned chanteuse Jane Monheit reunite for a beautiful Christmas jazz tribute to Charlie Brown. $20 to $50. follytheater.org


Kansas City Festivals


Kansas City Irish Fest

Sept. 4-6

Crown Center Square, Kansas City, Mo.

This Labor Day weekend get lost in a sea of green at Kansas City’s largest celebration of its Celtic heritage. Feel a wee bit Irish with live entertainment, contests, comedy, heritage exhibits and more. $5 to $30. kcirishfest.com


Kansas City Renaissance Festival

Sept. 5-Oct. 18

633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs, Kan.

Give a mighty huzzah for the return of Kansas City’s favorite medieval tradition. A staple since 1977, travel back in time to middle earth and enjoy jousting, roaming the village shops, comedy, music, magic and more. New additions include a wizard’s flight school zip line and a craft beer pub and daily tastings. $10.45 to $214.95. kcrenfest.com


kc beer fest

KC Beer Fest

Sept. 19, 3 p.m.

Kansas City Power & Light district, Kansas City, Mo.

This fall, find your hoppy place. Founded in 2007, Flying Saucer’s Midwestern beer oasis features more than 200 handpicked craft beers from here and far, plus rare keg tappings. Get your fill of unlimited samples, stop by gourmet food booths and trucks, enjoy live music and more. $35 to $60. kc-beerfest.com


Powell Gardens Harvest Celebrations

Sept. 20 and Oct. 3-4

Powell Gardens, Kingsville, Mo.

Powell Gardens welcomes the harvest season with two events. On Sept. 20, the Gardens invite you to dine under the eaves of the Missouri Barn for its Under the Harvest Moon: A Farm-to-Table Dinner event. Chef Ryan Brazeal of Novel delights with a mouthwatering menu featuring produce grown in the Heartland Harvest Garden. On Oct. 3-4, return to the Gardens for the Harvest Celebration and Antique Tractor and Equipment Show. Fun for the whole family, the two-day affair features cooking demonstrations, a scarecrow exhibit, pumpkin painting, hay ride, a parade, live music and more. $50 to $5,000 and $5 to $15. powellgardens.org


Louisburg Ciderfest

Sept. 26-27 & Oct. 3-4

Louisburg Cider Mill, Louisburg, Kan.

The official first day of fall starts with the Louisburg Cider Mill’s annual ciderfest. Enjoy old-fashioned apple cider fun with a cup of fresh hot or cold cider, made-fresh cider doughuts, live bluegrass and country music, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, arts and crafts booths and more! Free. louisburgcidermill.com


overland park fall festival

Overland Park Fall Festival

Sept. 26

Santa Fe Commons Park, Overland Park

Overland Park’s annual community celebration evokes hometown pride with a parade featuring local schools, bands and businesses; an extended farmer’s market; free music performances; an arts and craft fair; fall time foods and more. Free. opkansas.org


27th Annual Weston Applefest Celebration

Oct. 3-4

Downtown Weston, Weston, Mo.

Honeycrisps and Red Delicious and Granny Smiths, oh my! Shop ‘til you drop, browse arts and crafts booths, hear live music, enjoy the downtown atmosphere and more at Weston’s annual fest. Be sure to satisfy your sweet tooth with their famous apple dumplings, apple pies and cookies. You’ll thank us. Free to $1. westonmo.com


Heritage Craft Festival

Oct. 10-11, 10 a.m.

The Village of Arrow Rock, Arrow Rock, Mo.

Soak up the history of Arrow Rock as you enjoy old-world fun. Step back in time and try your hand at lost-arts crafts; enjoy early American music, antiques and vintage tractors; learn about rural and stainable living and more. $2. arrowrock.org


Lenexa Chili Challenge

Oct. 16-17

Old Town Lenexa, Lenexa

Boasting 200 teams, each competing for top honors in two divisions, this flavorful fest is sure to spark your appetite. Go for the chili samples, but stay for the live music and fireworks. Kids can get in on the action, too, with their own Kids Kornbread Kontest. Free. lenexa.com


Categories: Art, Arts & Entertainment, Best of KC, Best of KC 2019, Dance, Music, People, Theatre