Blondie and Garbage to Perform July 18

Blondie & Garbage

Tuesday, July 18 | 7:00 PM

Muriel Kauffman Theatre

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The Kauffman Center for Performing Arts is proud to kick off the 2017 – 2018 Kauffman Center Presents series with Blondie and Garbage: The Rage & Rapture Tour on July 18.

Blondie

Blondie emerged in the late 1970s as one of the most successful punk bands of the era. Known for blending different styles of music, the group combined a pop base with disco, rock and hip-hop to make a sound all their own. In a career that spans decades, Blondie is known for hits including “Call Me,” “Heart of Glass” and “Rapture.” The band celebrated its 30th anniversary and were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Garbage

The rock group Garbage found its beginnings as a duo of Butch Vig and Steve Marker, before quickly adding Duke Erikson and lead singer Shirley Manson. Recognized for their distinct electronic pop sound, the group reached platinum status with hits such as “Only Happy When it Rains” and “Stupid Girl.” In the years to come, Garbage would release five more albums with their most recent, Strange Little Birds debuting in 2016.

Check out Blondie’s latest single, “Fun,” below, and get ready to rock when Blondie & Garbage: The Rage and Rapture Tour comes to the Kauffman Center on Tuesday, July 18.

Blondie and Garbage band photos are courtesy of artist management.

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The Oak Ridge Boys Bring ‘Celebration Tour’ to the Kauffman Center on March 26

The Oak Ridge Boys

Sunday, March 26 | 7:30 PM

Muriel Kauffman Theatre

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The Kauffman Center for Performing Arts is proud to welcome The Oak Ridge Boys as part of the Kauffman Center Presents series on Sunday, March 26. Known for their four-part harmonies, this legendary country music group has delighted audiences for generations. Tickets range from $39 to $69, and are available here.

The Oak Ridge Boys began as the Oak Ridge Quartet in Knoxville, Tenn., during World War II. The group took its name from the nearby town of Oak Ridge, Tenn. They began as a gospel group, but by the early 1970s had gone through more than 30 members and needed to refocus. It was then that the band’s current lineup – Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban – joined the Oak Ridge Boys and decided on a new direction: country.

Photo Credit: Jarrett Gaza

The years to follow have brought great critical acclaim and commercial success. After winning numerous awards including a GRAMMY and honors from the Country Music Association, the group was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015. Today, the Oak Ridge Boys continue to tour, bringing chart-topping hits such as “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue” and “American Made” across the country.

Join the Oak Ridge Boys for a night of country classics on Sunday, March 26 in Muriel Kauffman Theatre.

Oak Ridge Boys photo by Jarrett Gaza

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Patti LaBelle Returns to the Kauffman Center on March 17

Patti LaBelle

Friday, March 17 | 8:00 PM

Muriel Kauffman Theatre

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The Kauffman Center for Performing Arts is proud to welcome GRAMMY award winning vocalist Patti LaBelle for a night of soulful music in Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Friday, March 17. LaBelle last performed at the Kauffman Center in July 2015.

LaBelle is an accomplished singer, best known for songs such as “Lady Marmalade,” “When You Talk About Love,” and “New Attitude,” among others.

Photp Credit: Derek Blanks

Patti LaBelle began her singing career in 1959 as a member of the musical group the Bluebelles and later, Labelle. She shot to solo fame with the release of her highly acclaimed album, I’m In Love Again in 1981. In the years to follow, LaBelle would take home two GRAMMY awards, the first Burnin’ and the second Live! One Night Only.

Today, LaBelle is both a performer and an entrepreneur. In 2004 she was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame, and has gone on to star on Broadway and on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” LaBelle continues to tour the country, and has written five cookbooks as well as recently developed a line of home goods.

Tickets for the show range from $49 to $129. Tickets are available online here, or by calling the Kauffman Center Box Office at (816) 994-7222.

Here’s LaBelle performing her hit “Lady Marmalade” as part of PBS’s “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” in 2014:

Patti LaBelle photo by Derek Blanks

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Charlie Hamilton James Engages Kansas City Youth in a Discussion about Conservation, Kindness, and Photography

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The Kauffman Center’s 2017 National Geographic Live series is off to a great start! Besides boasting a sold-out theater for the evening lecture of I Bought a Rainforest, the Kauffman Center hosted more than 2,000 Kansas City students for two of Charlie Hamilton James’s matinee performances.

The award-winning conservation photojournalist took to the stage with only stories to tell, photos to share, and a mission to show his audience that caring more makes the world a better place. James recounted his misadventures to an enraptured audience that squealed with wonder every time the captivating picture on the screen changed. Featuring photos of bloodied vultures in Tanzania, playful otters in Yellowstone National Park, and the local people of Peru’s Manu National Park, James kept his young audience intrigued throughout the presentation. His sense of humor and British accent only added to the lecture.

“The stories and photos were spectacular, and Charlie was funny, very personable, and we just enjoyed it so much. When it was over I only wanted more!” gushed a very happy parent. “We are wildlife enthusiasts and photographers in our own backyard, and now we want to travel the world.”

The vultures and the otters were overwhelmingly popular with the young audience, and a number of James’s photos can be viewed here.

However, the human factor of the lecture seemed to hit home with everyone at the performance. James takes photos of amazing things, different cultures, and bizarre realities, but for him, “It’s how similar we all are that really interests me.”

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The underlying message of conservation and cultural awareness was shared with the most appropriate and promising of audiences. James’s feelings about compassion and understanding resonated with many of the students in attendance.

“She was intrigued by the speaker’s story,” added a chaperone observing her student. “ It gave us a chance to discuss the idea of empathy and being able to appreciate differing opinions, and still holding onto your own deeply held convictions. She was fascinated. Mr. James gave her lots to think about!”

The Kauffman Center hopes that students left feeling empowered and, perhaps, eager to discover more about the natural world around them.

An accompanying teacher recalled, “One of my students said as she exited, ‘That was fantastic. If I didn’t already want to be a Nat Geo photographer, then that speaker just solidified it for me.  Bring on lice, I’ll shave my hair.  Malaria, I’ll medicate. Cold weather, I’ll survive.’  That blew my mind!”

The National Geographic Live series at the Kauffman Center will feature monthly lectures from various professionals associated with the acclaimed magazine. Matinees like the ones featuring Charlie Hamilton James are available to students of the Kansas City area through the Open Doors program; the program provides schools and youth in the area with access to high-quality arts and performances.

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In expressing the impact these experiences have, an audience member from James’s lecture said, “The Open Doors Community Ticket program has expanded my children’s understanding of many important topics, giving them an experience not found in books or other materials. They are the highlight of our week (often highlight of the month), and we truly appreciate the opportunity.”

The next available matinee for the National Geographic Live series will be on April 4th when the Kauffman Center hosts Anand Varma, a photographer who specializes in the miniature world all around us. There are still plenty of seats available! Varma’s Beauty and the Bizarre will surely encourage students to find wonder in the seemingly-weird.

More information on the Open Doors program can be found here.

Photo Credit: Jillian Shoptaw


Ladysmith Black Mambazo to Perform Today at the Kauffman Center

The Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts is proud to host Ladysmith Black Mambazo for a high energy night of music on Wednesday, February 8. More information and tickets are available here.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a premiere Grammy award winning a cappella group, hailing from South Africa. Over the past 50 years, the group has toured all over the world, captivating audiences with the intricate rhythms and harmonies derived from their native South African musical tradition.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

The group was first assembled in the early 1960s by Joseph Shambalala, a young farmer turned factory worker who gave the group its unique name. Ladysmith is the name of Joseph’s hometown; Black is a reference to the oxen, the strongest of all farm animals, and Mambazo is the Zulu word for chopping axe, a symbol for the group’s ability to “chop down” any singing rival who might challenge them.

The group borrows heavily from a traditional music called isicathamiya (is-cot-a-ME-Ya), which developed in the mines of South Africa. Poorly housed and paid worse, the mine workers would entertain themselves after a six-day week by singing songs into the wee hours of the morning. When the miners returned to the homelands, this musical tradition returned with them.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s latest tour features songs from their newest Grammy nominated album, Walking in the Footsteps of Our Fathers, as well as many classic favorites.

Below, watch Ladysmith Black Mambazo perform their song “Homeless” at the KEXP studios in Seattle.

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