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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.

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Jay Leno | September 13th

Jay Leno

Sunday, September 13th | 7:30 PM
Muriel Kauffman Theatre


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Comedian, author and former host of “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno will perform on Sunday, September 13 in Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Opening for his performance will be the musical maverick Emily West who was recently featured on the hit show “America’s Got Talent.” Ticket prices range from $49 to $149 and will go on sale Monday, May 11.

The Jay Leno Show


Acclaimed TV late night show host, admired stand-up comedian, best-selling children’s book author, lovable TV and movie voice-over artist, pioneering car builder and mechanic, and philanthropist…it’s no wonder that Jay Leno is widely characterized as “the hardest working man in show business.”

Jay Leno’s late night television ratings domination included more than two decades of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” winning every consecutive quarter of his hosting over the past nineteen years. After resuming hosting the 11:35 pm program following its one-time interruption, he made it once again the consistent and uninterrupted ratings leader for late night.

Leno has been honored by the Television Academy with an Emmy for “Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series.” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” has also taken home the trophy for “Favorite Late Night Show” in the annual TV Guide Awards determined by voting viewers, and he was recently installed in the Television Academy’s Broadcast Hall of Fame.

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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Matthew Lees | Kauffman Center Dining Experience Maître d’hôtel and Sommelier

DSC_0549 (2)Meet Matthew Lees, the current Maître d’hôtel and Sommelier of the Kauffman Center Dining Experience. As Maître d’, Matthew is responsible for coordinating the guest experience. Matthew manages a variety of responsibilities from staffing the restaurant to selecting the custom wine list offered to guests.

As Sommelier, Matthew procures customized wine, beer and spirits specifically with the Kauffman Center’s Dining Experience meal palate in mind. He has a well versed knowledge of wine and spirits and is passionate about curating a varied and inclusive beverage menu that caters to all guests. Matthew takes time to teach his staff about the selection and pairing process and shares “a good Sommelier and Maître d’s primary role is to serve the guest – inquiring about likes, dislikes and preferences.  I take pride in creating a welcoming environment and strive to create the best guest experience from start to finish.”

Matthew has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years. His passion for food, wine and a top-notch customer experience is what drives him to go to work each day. Matthew has had the opportunity to work with many amazing chefs, several of whom have been featured on culinary shows such as “Chopped,”  “Top Chef Masters”  and “The Next Iron Chef,”  among others.

Matthew Lees was recently interviewed by Crushed, the creators of a new social wine app for a new generation of wine drinkers. Matthew gives several wine tips and speaks about his role as Sommelier of the Kauffman Center Dining Experience.

Matthew states that “being a part of The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is truly amazing.  I feel like being here as the Maître d’ and Sommelier is a part of history in the making.”

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to Receive National Endowment for the Arts Grant


The NEA Award, among 1,023 granted nationally, will support the Kauffman Center’s 2nd annual Future Stages Festival to be held on Sunday, June 28th.

Through its grant-making to thousands of nonprofits each year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) promotes opportunities for people in communities across America to experience the arts and exercise their creativity.

In the second major grant announcement of fiscal year 2015, the NEA will make a $10,000 award to Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to support the second annual Future Stages Festival, a free event for the entire community that provides opportunities for future artists to take center stage at the Kauffman Center. The NEA will make 1,023 awards totaling $74.3 million nationwide in this funding round.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, “The NEA is committed to advancing learning, fueling creativity, and celebrating the arts in cities and towns across the United States. Funding these new projects like the one from Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts represents an investment in both local communities and our nation’s creative vitality.”  

“We are committed to shining a spotlight on the talented youth in our community and celebrating the diverse array of performing arts experiences available to both participants and audiences in Kansas City. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is deeply appreciative of the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, providing recognition of the value of nurturing and inspiring future artists and audiences,” stated Paul Schofer, President & CEO of Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

As proud mother Lisa Lala stated after the inaugural Future Stages Festival in 2014, seeing her 14-year-old daughter perform a silk solo with the Quixotic School of the Performing Arts at the Kauffman Center was “nothing short of heart-stopping.” When daughter, Gigi, was asked what it was like being on the Muriel Kauffman Theatre stage, she answered “This was something I’ve dreamed of all my life. It was amazing.”

Future Stages Festival will be held at the Kauffman Center on Sunday, June 28, 2015 from 11 am – 4 pm. The free one-day festival invites youth and families to experience a diverse range of performances and interactive arts activities. Future Stages Festival, an extension of the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors Spotlight on Youth program, also provides opportunities for youth and community arts organizations to perform on stage at Kauffman Center.

Future Stages Festival is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to register at to receive the latest event updates and schedule for performances and activities.


The Kauffman Center Open Doors program connects young people to the arts through three major components:

The Open Doors Spotlight on Youth program inspires and nurtures the next generation of artists by giving young performers the opportunity to perform on the stages of the Kauffman Center.

Kauffman Center is celebrating diversity in the arts with the second annual Future Stages Festival this June. Building on the success of the 2014 inaugural event during which Kauffman Center welcomed more than 6,000 guests and hosted 600 performers, the second annual Future Stages Festival is a free community event that showcases youth in the performing arts.

The Open Doors Community Ticket Fund offers access to programming at the Kauffman Center for youth and families through reduced price or free tickets.

The Open Doors Transportation Fund offers funding to schools in the metropolitan area so that bringing students to the Kauffman Center for school matinee performances is more affordable.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts would like to thank our official building sponsors, Aristocrat Motors and Mercedes-Benz of Kansas City.

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use#NEASpring2015. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Patti LaBelle | July 17th

Patti LaBelle

Friday, July 17th | 7:30 PM
Muriel Kauffman Theatre

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GRAMMY Award winning vocalist Patti LaBelle will perform on Friday, July 17 at 7:30 pm in Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Tickets range from $49 to $129. Patti LaBelle is widely regarded as the ‘Godmother of Soul. She has received acclaim for many of her songs, including “Lady Marmalade,” “When You Talk About Love” and “New Attitude.”

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Patti LaBelle began her career as part of the Ordettes in 1959, who became The Bluebelles in 1961.  Her success as a solo artist started in 1983 when she released her hit album I’m In Love Again.

In 1991, LaBelle released Burnin’, which hit gold status and landed the singer her first GRAMMY Award.  She was honored again for her work in 1993 when she was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Patti LaBelle continued releasing popular albums throughout the 90’s including Gems (1994), Flame (1997) and Live! One Night Only (1998) – which won LaBelle her second GRAMMY Award.

In 2009, she reunited with Sarah Dash and Nora Hendryx for the first time in 30 years for the critically acclaimed LaBelle reunion album, Back to Now.

In November 2008, Patti released her fifth book and third cookbook, Recipes for The Good Life, and an instructional cooking DVD, In the Kitchen with Miss Patti.  The cookbook features recipes and anecdotes that reflect Patti’s philosophy that good cooking and the love of entertaining come from the heart.  More recently, Patti introduced a line of signature sauces and marinades called Patti’s Good Life and launched a designer bedding collection, Patti LaBelle Home.

In addition to her amazing career as an entertainer and entrepreneurial success, Ms. LaBelle’s work as a humanitarian is just as legendary.  She remains an advocate for adoption, foster care, Big Sisters and the United Negro College Fund, among many other initiatives.

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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