BEST OF FALL: Some must-see events from now through December

By Paul Horsley



Through August 21: Musical Theater Heritage; Next to Normal; The multiple Tony and Pulitzer-winning musical by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey stars Ashley Pankow and Ben Gulley, among others. Crown Center. 816-221-6987 or

Through August 28: Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral; Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception; Summer Music at the Cathedrals; August’s best classical music in KC. (August 7: KC VITAs; August 14: Anne Marie Brown, violin, and Lawrence Figg, cello; August 21: Summer Singers of KC; August 28: A French Organ Festival.) 816-474-8260 or

10-28: Kansas City Actors Theatre; I’m Not Rappaport; Two octogenarians meet regularly under a bridge and hold forth. Granvile O’Neal and Victor Raider-Wexler star in Herb Gardner’s Tony Award-winning play. H&R Block City Stage at Union Station. 816-235-6222 or

11-28: Spinning Tree Theatre; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill; Nedra Dixon stars as Billie Holiday in Lanie Robertson’s reminiscence of the final months before the singer’s death. The Living Room. 816-235-6222 or

27: Kansas City Chamber Orchestra; Beethoven Triple! KC’s finest small instrumental ensemble opens its 30th season with a performance of Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto, featuring award-winning faculty members of Park University’s International Center for Music: founding KCCO concertmaster Ben Sayevich, cellist Daniel Veis and pianist Lolita Lisovskaya. Helberg Hall. 816-235-6222 or



7-25: Kansas City Actors Theatre; A Streetcar Named Desire; Sidonie Garrett directs. H&R Block City Stage at Union Station. 816-235-6222 or

7-October 2: Unicorn Theatre; Hand to God; A sock puppet says profane things that its teenaged master can’t in Robert Askins’ witty play. Also November 30-December 26 An Octoroon; Damron Russel Armstrong directs Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ subversive plantation meta-comedy. 816-531-7529 or

8-24: Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre; Picasso at the Lapin Agile; Einstein and Picasso meet in a bar; hijinks ensue. The New York Times called Steve Martin’s 1993 show “very good fun.” 816-569-3226 or

9-October 2: Kansas City Repertory Theatre; Evita; Eric Rosen directs the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice classic about Eva Perón’s angst. Spencer Theatre. 816-235-2700 or

17-25: Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Hansel and Gretel; Doug Varone directs this delicious family drama, which includes a cast of top singers and Doug’s own legendary dancers. Kauffman Center. 816-471-7344 or

Sphinx Virtuosi / Photo by Kevin Kennedy

Sphinx Virtuosi / Photo by Kevin Kennedy

24: Harriman-Jewell Series; Sphinx Virtuosi; KC’s world-renowned presenter opens its season with a free Discovery Concert by the adventurous chamber group made up of America’s top Black and Latino classical soloists. Folly Theater. Reserve tickets at 816-415-5025 or

29-October 1: Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey; Ailey II; The gifted dancers of this fresh ensemble present works by Alvin and others. Folly Theater. 816-471-6003 or

30-October 2: Kansas City Symphony; Stefan Jackiw, violin; The most compelling violinist of his generation opens the season with the radiant Korngold Concerto. Not to be missed! 816-471-0400 or

30-October 30: Quality Hill Playhouse; Barry, Bette & Broadway; Enjoy classics of the 1970’s and ’80s by Manilow, Midler and others. 816-421-1700 or



1: Harriman-Jewell Series; Jessica Lang Dance; In 2011, former Tharp dancer Jessica Lang created a company that has been praised worldwide. Dance Magazine called her “a master of visual composition.” Kauffman Center. 816-415-5025 or

7-16: Kansas City Ballet; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Bruce Wells’ 1985 version of the Shakespeare comedy has become one of the most durable. It will include some 50 KC Ballet School students. Kauffman Center. 816-931-8993 or

9: Performing Arts Series at JCCC; Basetrack Live; This gripping piece of documentary theater, a partnership with JCCC’s Veteran & Military Student Resource Center, tells a real-life story of a wounded Marine and his return home from Afghanistan. Yardley Hall. 913-469-4445 or

14-November 13: Kansas City Repertory Theatre; The Invisible Hand; Ayad Akhtar’s play tells of two captors and their American hostage chatting about the stock market in a holding cell (and revealing universal truths). Copaken Stage. 816-235-2700 or

15: Harriman-Jewell Series; Renée Fleming, soprano; The most beloved soprano of our time (Grammy Awards, a National Medal of Arts, you name it) sings a rare recital of songs and arias. Helzberg Hall. 816-415-5025 or

15: Performing Arts Series at JCCC: Wichita Grand Opera: La Bohème; The Little Opera Company that Could celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2015. Kansas native Samuel Ramey stars, with Zvetelina Vassileva as Mimì. Yardley Hall. 913-469-4445 or

20-November 5: Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre; Deathtrap; Ira Levin’s stylish 1978 thriller is filled with twists. 816-569-3226 or

20-23: Kansas City Symphony; Mozart’s Requiem; Top soloists join the Symphony Chorus; organist Paul Jacobs also performs in Guilmant’s Symphony No. 1. Kauffman Center. 816-471-0400 or

Ben Bliss_Photo by Dario Acosta_IMG Artists

Ben Bliss / Photo by Dario Acosta, IMG Artists

22: Harriman-Jewell Series; Ben Bliss, tenor; The rising star from Our Town joins a line of greats (among them Pavarotti) who have made debuts on the Series. Free Discovery Concert. Folly Theater. Reserve tickets at 816-415-5025 or

29: Performing Arts Series at JCCC; Ginger Shankar; Telling the true story of the lives of the women from India’s musical family. Polsky Theatre. 913-469-4445 or

30 and November 1: Kansas City Chorale; Brahms: German Requiem; A performance of this glorious piece is rare enough: Rarer still is one of Brahms’ own version with two pianos. Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral (October 30th) and Asbury United Methodist Church (November 1st). 816-235-6222 or



3-20: Spinning Tree Theatre; Nine; Michael Grayman directs Arthur Kopit’s and Maury Yeston’s playful musical spin on Fellini’s film 8 ½. The Living Room. 816-235-6222 or

4: Friends of Chamber Music; Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; David Finckel is joined by friends for a program called Destination Vienna. Folly Theater. 816-561-9999 or

5-13: Lyric Opera of Kansas City; The Marriage of Figaro; Legendary director Stephen Lawless makes his Lyric debut with a brand-new production of Mozart’s gem, a co-production with Opera Philadelphia and San Diego Opera. Adam Lau sings the title role. Kauffman Center. 816-471-7344 or

12: Bach Aria Soloists; Notes and Letters; Chamber music and more. Kansas City Public Library.

18: Friends of Chamber Music; Sequentia: The Monk Sings Pagan: Medieval Songs of Gods, Heroes and Strong Women; Classical text-settings from the middle ages, made into something remarkably compelling. Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. 816-561-9999 or

18-December 24: Kansas City Repertory Theatre; A Christmas Carol; The holiday favorite is freshened every year with new twists, new actors. Jerry Genochio directs. Spencer Theatre. 816-235-2700 or

25-27: Kansas City Symphony; Robert Levin, piano; One of the leading authorities on the Classical period, Levin performs Beethoven’s Concerto No. 3. Bernard Labadie conducts. Kauffman Center. 816-471-0400 or

J. Kent Barnhart / Photo courtesy Quality Hill Playhouse

J. Kent Barnhart / Photo courtesy Quality Hill Playhouse

25-December 24: Quality Hill Playhouse; Christmas in Song; J. Kent Barnhart is joined by leading soloists for this always-fresh holiday favorite. 816-421-1700 or



1: Harriman-Jewell Series; Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis: Big Band Holidays; Vocalist Catherine Russell joins Wynton and the ensemble. Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland. 816-415-5025 or

3-24: Kansas City Ballet: The Nutcracker; Devon Carney’s lavishly redesigned new production, unveiled last season, is reprised. Kauffman Center. 816-931-8993 or

7: Harriman-Jewell Series: Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano, with Il Pomo d’Oro: In War and Peace: Harmony through Music; America’s favorite mezzo-soprano from Our Town joins one of the top early-music groups. Folly Theater. 816-415-5025 or

To reach Paul Horsley, performing arts editor; send an email to or find him on Facebook (paul.horsley.501) or Twitter (@phorsleycritic).

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