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Best of Fall 2021: Our picks

Many of the shows we are highlighting this fall are actually indoors! But always confirm your event a day or two ahead.



August 27-September 19 Kansas City Repertory Theater; Mary’s Wedding; First love strikes at the outbreak of World War I in Stephen Massicotte’s drama; National World War I Museum and Memorial south lawn. Contact: 816-235-2700 or kcrep.org.

7-12 Starlight Theatre; On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan; Gifted Cuban immigrants find love while rising to the top of the Latin music world in this rousing jukebox musical; Starlight Theatre. Contact: 816-363-7827 or kcstarlight.com.

Kenny Broberg / Photo courtesy of ICM at Park University


14 International Center for Music at Park University and Kansas City Chamber Orchestra; Kenny Broberg, piano; The 2021 American Pianists Awards Winner performs solo works and Chopin’s Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Contact: 816-994-7222 or kauffmancenter.org (or kcchamberorchestra.org).

John Rensenhouse stars as Prospero in the Bard’s The Tempest / Photo by Brian Collins

16-25 UMKC Conservatory Division of Theatre/Heart of America Shakespeare Festival; The Tempest; This unique co-production features John Rensenhouse as Prospero; Spencer Theatre. Contact: kcshakes.org.

16-October 31 Coterie Theatre; Electric Poe; Actor R.H. Wilhoit recounts skin-crawling stories of Edgar Allan Poe in this outdoor collaboration with Union Cemetery Historical Society; Union Cemetery. Contact: 816-474-6552 or thecoterie.org.

17-18 Midwest Trust Center Series; New Dance Partners; Four local companies present new works by renowned choreographers; Midwest Trust Center. Contact: 913-469-4445 or jccc.edu/midwest-trust-center.

17-25 KC MeltingPot Theatre; Baybra’s Tulips; Kansas City playwright Lewis Morrow’s new drama tells of a Black father’s struggle to rebuild family life after prison; Just Off Broadway Theatre. Contact: kcmeltingpot.com.

Te Deum was founded in 2008 by Matthew Shepard and quickly became one of the finest choral ensembles in the Midwest.


18-19 Te Deum; The Heart Cries Out; Solace is the theme in music by J.S. Bach amd composer-in-residence James Eakin III; Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral (September 18) and Village Presbyterian Church (September 19). Contact: te-deum.org.

28-October 9: Theatre for Young America; Fair Ball: Negro Leagues in America; This original musical drama recounts real-life stories of the men and women who founded Negro Leagues Baseball: right here in Kansas City, exactly 100 years ago; H&R Block City Stage at Union Station. Contact: tya.org or tickets.unionstation.org.



2 Charlotte Street Foundation; New Music Composition Competition Winners; The chamber group Mother Russia Industries presents winners of the Foundation’s first annual new-music contest; Stern Theater at Charlotte Street. Contact: 816-221-5115 or charlottestreet.org.

8 Ensemble Ibérica; Güzel: Songs of Turkey; Ezgi Karakus curates a program from the rich, ancient musical traditions of Turkey; Howard’s Farm and Kitchen. Contact: ensembleiberica.org.

Kansas City Jazz Orchestra was founded in 2003 and is currently led by trumpeter Clint Ashlock.

8 Kansas City Jazz Orchestra; Bird Lives!; This tribute to Charlie Parker features three exquisite saxophonists: Jaleel Shaw, David Valdez, and Bobby Watson; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Contact: 816-994-7222 or kauffmancenter.org.

9 Folly Jazz Series; Karrin Allyson; Performances by the legendary jazz vocalist-pianist from Great Bend, Kansas, are always an “event”; Folly Theater. Contact: 816-474-4444 or follytheater.org.

9-10 Owen/Cox Dance Group; Collaboration with the International Center for Music at Park University; Kansas City top dancers join with its best musicians; Midwest Trust Center. Contact: 913-469-4445 or jccc.edu/midwest-trust-center.

9 and 15 Kansas City Chorale; German Romantics; The Grammy Award-winning chorus sings Brahms, Mendelssohn, and Rheinberger; 1900 Building (October 9) and Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral (October 15).Contact: 816-444-7150 or kcchorale.org.

15-24 Kansas City Ballet; Celts; Balanchine’s Serenade provides context for works by Lila York and Edwaard Liang; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Contact: 816-931-8993 or kcballet.org.

Chioma Anyanwu, a favorite of Kansas City stages for years, stars in Dominque Morisseau’s Pipeline.
Dominque Morisseau has established herself as one of today’s leading playwrights. / Photo by Jenny Graham

20-November 7 Unicorn Theatre; Pipeline; Dominque Morisseau’s 2017 play about living with the odds stacked against you receives its local premiere; Unicorn Theatre. Contact: 816-531-7529 or unicorntheatre.org.

24 Midwest Chamber Ensemble; New Sounds for Strings; The Lyric for Strings by the late George Walker, one of America’s most significant Black composers, joins a new work by Kansas City-based Robert Hagenbuch; Lutheran Church of the Resurrection. Contact: midwestchamberensemble.org.

Black Violin consists of violist Wil B and violinist Kev Marcus, who blend hip-hop, classical, and a whole host of other styles toward a synthesis that is fresh and fun.


27 Kauffman Center Presents; Black Violin: Impossible Tour; Two gifted Black string players present multimediaprograms of highly eclectic appeal; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Contact: 816-994-7222 or kauffmancenter.org.

Benjamin Bagby blends music and poetry in an engaging retelling of the Beowulf legends.

29 Friends of Chamber Music; Beowulf; Singer-troubadour Benjamin Bagby spins ancient tales of love and valor, accompanying himself on a six-stringed harp; Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Contact: 816-561-9999 or chambermusic.org.

29-31 Kansas City Symphony; Brahms’ First, Bruch’s Violin Concerto; Michael Stern is joined by up-and-coming Violinist Randall Goosby; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Contact: 816-471-0400 or kcsymphony.org.



Opus 76 Quartet, named the Midwest Trust Center’s Quartet in Residence, consists of Daniel Ketter, Keith Stanfield, Ashley Stanfield, and Zsolt Eder. / Gary Rohman Photography


3 Opus 76; Eat, Drink, Play: Schubert and Bartók; Kansas City’s premier string quartet delves into Bartók’s thorny world for the first time (Quartet No. 1, in a digital-only performance sponsored by Midwest Trust Center. Contact: 913-469-4445 or jccc.edu/midwest-trust-center.

4 and 7 KC Molière: 400 in 2022 and Jewell Theatre Company; The Learned Ladies; The great French playwright’s quadricentennial is jump-started with one of his wittiest plays; venue TBA. Contact: kcmoliere400in2022.com.

4-21 Musical Theater Heritage at Crown Center; Company; Sondheim’s brainy, durable classic gets a new take; MTH Theater atCrown Center. Contact: 816-221-6987 or musicaltheaterheritage.com.

6-22 White Theatre at the J; Something Rotten; Two Elizabethan playwrights struggle to compete with Shakespeare by writing the world’s first musical; White Theatre, Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City. Contact: 913-327-8054 or thejkc.org

William Baker Festival Singers was founded in 1998 and presents world premieres and major choral works.

7 William Baker Festival Singers; 24th Season Opening Concert; The program includes I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes by the American master Adolphus Hailstork; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Contact: festivalsingers.org.

11-21 Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre; Oliver!; Dickens himself might have enjoyed Lionel Bart’s Tony Award-winning adaptation; Warwick Theatre. Contact: 816-569-3226 or metkc.org.

12 Midwest Trust Center; The Romeros; The Spanish guitar ensemble was formed in 1960 and still consists of family members; Midwest Trust Center. Contact: 913-469-4445 or jccc.edu/midwest-trust-center.

12 1900 Building; Aeolus Quartet; Founded at the Cleveland Institute, this ensemble has become one of America’s most dynamic quartets; 1900 Building. Contact: 913-730-1905 or 1900bldg.com.

Bach Aria Soloists’ core ensemble is soprano Sarah Anderson, organist/harpsichordist Elisa Bickers, violinist Elizabeth Suh Lane, and cellist Hannah Collins. / Photo by Dan White


13 Bach Aria Soloists; Bach Inspired; Music of Kansas City-trained Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen is featured in this program of Bach, Mozart, and Britten; Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch. Contact: 816-820-1473 or bachariasoloists.com.

13-14 Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Lyric Opera Goes to Hollywood; Operatic hits that appear in popular movies are presented live by four gifted vocalists; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Contact: 816-471-7344 or kcopera.org.

17-January 30 New Theatre Restaurant; Always … Patsy Cline; Cathy Barnett stars as Louise, one of Patsy’s dearest friends; New Theatre Restaurant. Contact: 913-649-7469 or newtheatre.com.

Renée Fleming has made a regular habit of performing in Kansas City, thanks largely to the Harriman-Jewell Series. / Photo by Andrew Eccles
Spire Chamber Ensemble performs music of composer Reena Esmail, and Bach’s Magnificat. / Photo by Rachel Garcia

18 Harriman-Jewell Series; Renée Fleming; The world’s foremost soprano performs with Pianist Rob Ainsley; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Contact: 816-415-5025 or hjseries.org.

19 International Center for Music at Park University: Stanislav Ioudenitch Students in Concert; Pupils of the Van Cliburn Gold Medalist play so well you might mistake them for professionals (some already are!); 1900 Building. Contact: 1900bldg.com.

20 Spire Chamber Ensemble; This Love Between Us + Bach Magnificat; A new work by Indian-American composer Reena Esmail is juxtaposed with Bach’s masterpiece; Country Club Christian Church. Contact: spirechamberensemble.org.

23-28 Kansas City Broadway Series/Broadway Across America; Tootsie: The Comedy Musical; A man dressing as a woman proves surprisingly effective in exposing sexism; Music Hall, Municipal Auditorium. Contact: 816-421-7500 or broadwayinkc.com.

Cover image: Violinist Randall Goosby has quickly risen to the top of the string world with stellar technique and limpid sonority. / Photo by Kaupo Kikkas

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


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