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Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán | October 10th

Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

Saturday, October 10th | 8:00 PM
Helzberg Hall

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Mariachi legends Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán will perform on Saturday, October 10th in Helzberg Hall. Ticket prices range from $29 to $79.

Reduced Size

The first incarnation of the group Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán began in 1898 as a quartet, and over the decades (and into the 21st century) the ensemble would become one of the most important in Mexican music history. For five generations Mariachi Vargas has endured as the quintessential mariachi, appearing in more than 200 films and making numerous recordings.

Mariachi Vargas became renowned as the definitive mariachi ensemble, and its classic sound has won the group numerous awards and accolades, including the title of “World’s Best Mariachi” since the 1950s. The band actively participates in international mariachi festivals in order to promote the pride of the genre and encourage young mariachis to pursue lifelong careers.

Mariachi Vargas’ appearance on Linda Rondstadt’s well-received Canciones de Mi Padre won the vocalist a Grammy in 1987; she would later go on to tour with the group, exposing international audiences to the Mexican mariachi sound.

Recently, the Houston Grand Opera turned to the ensemble’s legendary leader, Jose “Pepe” Martinez, to write the score and collaborate with librettist Leonard Foglia in creating the world’s first mariachi opera, “Cruzar la Cara de la Luna” (“To Cross the Face of the Moon”), which premiered to sold-out houses in Paris, Houston, Chicago and San Diego!

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Reinventing Radio: An Evening With Ira Glass | October 24th

Reinventing Radio: An Evening With Ira Glass

Saturday, October 24th | 7:30 PM
Muriel Kauffman Theatre

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Host and producer of the radio and television show This American Life, Ira Glass will perform Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass on Saturday, October 24 in Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Ticket prices range from $39 to $69.

Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass is sponsored by Lawrence and Donna Gould Cohen and Martha Gershun and Don Goldman in memory of Gloria P. Gershun, a professional librarian and passionate booklover with deep ties to the Jewish community.

The event is supported in partnership with KCUR 89.3 FM.

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Ira Glass started working in public radio in 1978, when he was 19, as an intern at NPR’s headquarters in Washington D.C. Over the next 17 years, he worked on nearly every NPR news show and did nearly every production job they had: tape-cutter, desk assistant, newscast writer, editor, producer, reporter, and substitute host. He spent a year in a high school for NPR, and a year in an elementary school, filing stories for All Things Considered. He moved to Chicago in 1989 and put This American Life on the air in 1995.

In Reinventing Radio: An Evening with Ira Glass, the creator of the public radio show This American Life talks about his program and how it’s put together: what makes a compelling story, where they find the amazing stories for their show, how he and his staff are trying to push broadcast journalism to do things it doesn’t usually do. As part of this, Glass mixes stories from the show, live onstage, combining his narration with pre-taped quotes and music, recreating the sound of the show as the audience watches. And he plays funny and memorable moments from the show, and talks about what was behind their creation.

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Jake Shimabukuro | October 18th

Jake Shimabukuro

Sunday, October 18th | 7:00 PM
Helzberg Hall

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Ukulele virtuoso and composer, Jake Shimabukuro, will perform on Sunday, October 18 in Helzberg Hall.  Ticket prices range from $21 to $59.


Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro has taken the four-string, two-octave instrument to places no one has gone before, performing awesome music that ranges from jazz, blues, and rock to bluegrass, classical, and folk. His live concerts are an out-of-the-box blend of stunning virtuosity, deep musicality and a natural entertainer’s flair. Shimabukuro got his start at age four, when his mother gave him his first ukulele lesson. Fascinated by the instrument, he eventually began playing regularly at a local café, where his talent and reputation blossomed. Fast-forward several years and Shimabukuro now has his own record label, and tours extensively in the U.S. and Japan. Shimabukuro has completely rewritten the book on the possibilities of the ukulele — and is adding new chapters with every CD he records.

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Kauffman Center Invites You to FREE Second Annual Future Stages Festival on Sunday, June 28th


A FREE Community Event for ALL Ages

Celebrate the Future of the Arts at the Kauffman Center

Sunday, June 28th

11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Celebrating diversity in the arts, Future Stages Festival showcases youth in the performing arts. You’re invited to attend the FREE community event which will include family-friendly interactive activities and a diverse range of arts experiences for the whole family.

To receive updates, performance information and more


This is a rain or shine event.

The one day-festival is an extension of the Kauffman Center’s Spotlight on Youth program which provides opportunities for youth and community arts organizations to perform on stage at Kauffman Center.

ParkingThe most convenient parking for Future Stages Festival will be available in the Arts District Garage, directly attached to the Kauffman Center just south of the building with multiple access points to surrounding streets. Parking will cost $8. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early and park early. Click here to view a PDF map of surrounding parking options, provided by the Downtown Council of Kansas City.

View Full Performance Schedule

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is proud to welcome

5 Star Jazz Band
AileyCamp the Group
Allegro Choirs of Kansas City
Culture House Academy of Performing Arts
Defy Dance Project
DNC – United Dance Trio
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival – Team Shakespeare
Heart of America Youth Ballet
Dr. Jan Kraybill
Kansas City Ballet’s ROAD Program Interactive Dance Class with Sean Duus & Ken Lovern
The Kansas City Boys Choir and The Kansas City Girls Choir
Kansas City Symphony Chamber Ensemble
Kansas City Young Audiences Community School of the Arts Dance Students
Legacy School of the Arts Ballet and Jazz Companies
Lyric Opera of Kansas City – Kids in Opera
Metropolitan Strings Academy’s “Advanced Chamber Strings Orchestra”
Nevada Crimson Sound Symphonic Band
O’Riada Manning Academy of Irish Dance
Ottawa Suzuki Strings
The School of Rock – Parkville, MO
Silk Road Dance Academy and Zhang Li Dance Academy
Sinag-Tala Performing Arts Troupe of the Filipino Association of Greater Kansas City
Starlight STARS of Tomorrow
TMS African Dance Youth Ensemble
The Trouble Clefs: “KC’s Kings of Swing”
Voices of Change
Youth Symphony of Kansas City Summer String Program


American Institute of Architects Kansas City – Arts Activity – Add to the Kansas City Skyline
Kansas City Kite Club – Demonstration and Make Your Own Kites
Kansas City Chalk and Walk – Sidewalk Chalking
Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Symphony – Instrument Petting Zoo (open 1:30pm – 3:30pm)
Lyric Opera of Kansas City – Prop-a-Palooza with Prop Master, Debbie Morgan
Mattie Rhodes Center – Arts Activity – Create Mexican Paper Flowers or a Jaguar Mask
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art – Arts Activity – Build Your Own Collections Gallery
Pianos on Parade by 4/4Kids and KCMTA
Quixotic School of Performing Arts
StoneLion Puppets
Theater League
UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance

Support provided by:

Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts – Commerce Bank Trustee

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Take 6 & The Manhattan Transfer | September 10th

Take 6 & The Manhattan Transfer

Thursday, September 10th | 7:30 PM
Muriel Kauffman Theatre

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Combining forces for the first time, The Manhattan Transfer and Take 6 – two of the most acclaimed, award-winning groups in pop music will perform on Thursday, September 10 in Muriel Kauffman Theatre.  Ticket prices range from $29 to $89 and will go on sale Monday, May 11.

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Take 6 (Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley), heralded by Quincy Jones as the “baddest vocal cats on the planet!” is the quintessential a cappella group and model for vocal genius.  Six virtuosic voices united in crystal clear harmony, against a backdrop of syncopated rhythms, innovative arrangements and funky grooves continue to perform  an intoxicating brew of gospel, jazz, R&B and pop music. With praise from such luminaries as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald and Whitney Houston, the multi-platinum selling sextet has toured across the globe, collaborated across genres, and is recognized as the pre-eminent a cappella group in the world.  Their self-titled debut CD won over jazz and pop critics, scored two 1988 GRAMMY Awards, landed in the Top Ten Billboard Contemporary Jazz and Contemporary Christian Charts, and they’ve never slowed down.


In 1974, The Manhattan Transfer began performing regularly throughout New York City. By the end of the year they were the number one live attraction, prompting Newsweek to send a writer to their show at Reno Sweeney’s in Greenwich Village to report on this growing phenomenon.

The group released their self-titled debut in 1975. The second single from the album, a remake of the Friendly Brothers gospel classic “Operator,” took radio stations by storm, eventually peaking in the Top 20.  As “Operator” rose up the charts, the group was invited to make guest appearances on variety shows and television specials. Hollywood took notice, and the band was soon tapped to helm a weekly hour-long summer replacement comedy-variety show. The Manhattan Transfer show premiered on August 10, 1975, broadcast in CBS’ old Ed Sullivan time slot, Sunday nights at 8:00PM.In 1981, they became the first group ever to win GRAMMY Awards in both Pop and Jazz categories in the same year.  In 1982 and 1983, the group won consecutive GRAMMY Awards in the Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group category for “Route 66” and “Why Not!”The critical praise and commercial success of the group’s first seven studio albums could hardly have prepared them for the monumental 12 GRAMMY nominations they received in 1985 for the album Vocalese. Those 12 nominations made Vocalese the single greatest GRAMMY nominated album in one year, and cemented the group’s status as one of the most important and innovative vocal groups in the history of popular music.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get more details about upcoming performances at the Kauffman Center and behind-the-scenes access.

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