The Indigo Girls Coming to Kauffman Center this November

Celebrated acoustic duo Indigo Girls will perform at the Kauffman Center on Thursday, November 19

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After 20 years of releasing hit records, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have done everything but slow down. The Indigo Girls have forged their own way in the music business, selling more than 14 million records and drawing crowds of fans spanning generations while touring across the U.S. and internationally.

Amy and Emily met in Atlanta, Georgia as fifth and sixth graders. They started singing together in high school and coined the name Indigo Girls as students at Emory University. The duo released Strange Fire in 1987, a self-produced full-length album. They signed with Epic Records in 1988 and released their acclaimed album Indigo Girls, which garnered them overnight fame. The album earned a double platinum status, won a GRAMMY for “Best Contemporary Folk Recording,” received a GRAMMY nomination for “Best New Artist” and remained on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 35 weeks.

With 14 studio albums, six GRAMMY nominations and tours with stars like Neil Young and Emmylou Harris, the Indigo Girls remain ranked among the top all-time great duos. Decades into their career, they continue to gain lasting respect and devotion from old and new fans alike.

The Indigo Girls aren’t just passionate about music. They are dedicated to supporting social causes including Black Lives Matter, LGBTQIA rights, the environment and voting rights, just to name a few. The duo helped establish Honor the Earth, an organization dedicated to creating support and education for native environmental issues. They were also a part of the True Colors Tour 2007 which benefited the Human Rights Campaign and other organizations that support the LGBTQIA community.

Tickets for the event range from $39 to $69, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Kauffman Center Box Office, by calling (816) 994-7222, or online at

New Backstage Intensive program Introduces Students to Careers in the Arts

Students learn about operating a sound board with Production Services Manager, Donna Miller Brown. Photo By Cassidy Zwart.

The Kauffman Center is always aiming to expand arts opportunities for students. Through a recent First Hand Foundation grant, the Backstage Intensive program now provides students with exclusive and unique experiences to ready them for a potential career in the arts.  This new Backstage Intensive program serves the Center’s Open Doors Spotlight on Youth initiative which provides access to youth artists and future arts professionals through a variety of performing arts experiences. The program is offered to high school and college students interested technical theatre and arts administration, and participants will engage in hands-on-activities, tours, and discussions with Kauffman Center production and administrative staff members.

Expanding this program would not have been possible without the support of Kansas City’s First Hand Foundation. First Hand believes that hands-on experiences and exposure to the business of operating a performing arts center will help introduce students to career options in technical theatre and arts administration.  With First Hand’s support, the Backstage Intensive program now focuses on the Center’s use of technology throughout various departments including theater operations, marketing and patron services.


Students learn about volunteer management and ticketing services in the Kauffman Center’s Brandmeyer Great Hall. Photo by Cassidy Zwart.

Invited high school and college participants  take part in activities ranging from hanging and focusing stage lighting equipment and operating a sound board, to selling tickets and developing a promotional social media campaign. Fifteen Hickman Mills Freshman Center students were the first Backstage Intensive participants in spring 2019. With First Hand’s support, the newly-expanded Backstage Intensive program will engage more than 120 youth throughout the 2020 school year.

Kauffman Center is passionate about providing opportunities for youth artists and future arts professionals to learn more about the thriving arts industry. Through the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors Spotlight on Youthinitiative, young people experience a diverse set of engagements and programs that connect tomorrow’s artists, arts patrons, and arts administrators with the Kauffman Center’s staff and stages.

To learn more about Backstage Intensive and other Open Doors programs, visit or email .

Michael Feinstein and Special Guest Storm Large Coming to the Kauffman Center this February

Shaken & Stirred: Michael Feinstein and Special Guest Storm Large

to Perform at the Kauffman Center in February

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Award-winning musician Michael Feinstein is coming to Muriel Kauffman Theatre with renowned vocalist Storm Large on February 9, 2020.

Michael Feinstein, known for being the Ambassador of the Great American Songbook, has dazzled audiences with his music for more than three decades. He has earned five GRAMMY nominations, an Emmy nomination for his PBS special, and has performed in the world’s most iconic venues, including The White House, Buckingham Palace and Carnegie Hall, just to name a few. His most recent award-winning album is A Michael Feinstein Christmas, which features GRAMMY- winning jazz pianist Alan Broadbent.

In addition to his music, Feinstein founded The Great American Songbook Foundation in 2007. The foundation is committed to the celebration and promotion of music through educational programs, master classes and the annual High School Songbook Academy. Feinstein is the artistic director of both the Palladium Center for the Performing Arts and Carnegie Hall’s “Standard Time with Michael Feinstein,” and also serves as the director of the Jazz and Popular Song series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Vocalist Storm Large gained national attention on CBS’s Rock Star Supernova in 2006. Her recent highlights include working with the New York Pops, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. In addition, Storm Large made her guest debut in 2011 as a vocalist in Pink Martini, singing four sold-out concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets for this must-see performance range from $49 to $109, plus applicable fees. They can be purchased at the Kauffman Center Box Office, by calling (816) 994-7222, or online at



Squirrel Nut Zippers and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band Coming to Kauffman Center this February

Two bands with New Orleans-inspired rhythms will perform a quirky mix of jazz, folk, punk rock and a “musical gumbo” of bebop jazz, funk and R&B

Squirrel Nut Zippers

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Squirrel Nut Zippers and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band will perform in Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Saturday, February 1, 2020. Squirrel Nut Zippers began their music journey in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the mid-1990s. The group started as a casual musical foray among family and friends and quickly began attracting a national following with their mix of jazz chords, folk music and punk rock sound. Between 1995 and 2000, the band sold three million albums. Their pivotal album Hot (1996) broke free of jazz stereotypes, taking their signature style of anti-establishment sound to commercial radio.

Years later, Squirrel Nut Zippers emerged from a lengthy recording hiatus, reinvigorated, reinvested and rejuvenated with an all-star cast of New Orleans musicians determined to reignite the band’s unique, enigmatic sound. The result was their first studio album in 18 years, Beasts of Burgundy. The album’s name is a handsome moniker referring to Burgundy Street in New Orleans. The album itself heralds the band’s mission while offering a fresh objective of its own – a hand-tailored thrift store suit of songs, stitched into one complete body of material.

In the past few years, Squirrel Nut Zippers have spent time on the road honing their sound and further developing the band’s chemistry.

“The Zippers have always been full of outlandish characters which provides great self-referential material for songs,” said co-founder Jimbo Mathus, whose motto to “let the music lead” still rings true 18 years later.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

In 1977, The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club began in honor of two antiquated traditions known to New Orleans: social and pleasure clubs; and brass bands. Dating back more than a century, social and pleasure clubs would offer funeral arrangements for black southerners who could rarely afford life insurance. Brass bands, early predecessors of jazz as we know it, would often follow the funeral procession playing somber dirges, then burst into jubilant tunes causing onlookers to dance in the streets. By the late 1970s, few social and pleasure clubs or brass bands existed. The Dirty Dozen Social and Pleasure Club decided to assemble as a house band, and eventually, the seven-member ensemble adopted the venue’s name – The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Known for their high-octane performances and genre-bending romps, the band is now celebrating more than 40 years of their unique “musical gumbo” sound – a  blend of funk, R&B and bebop jazz . They have toured in more than 30 countries across five continents and recorded 12 studio albums. Their nontraditional sound has led them to collaborate with many artists, including Modest Mouse and Norah Jones.

Tickets for the event range from $29 to $49, plus applicable fees,and can be found at the Kauffman Center Box Office, by calling (816) 994-7222 or online at

Napoleon Dynamite Screening and Q&A Featured Fun and Unique Experiences for Audience

Q & A with Napoleon Dynamite Cast Members moderated by Shawn Edwards

Photo by Abby Meyer of Do816

The Kauffman Center was delighted to welcome more than 1,200 guests for the Napoleon Dynamite live screening and Q&A event on June 28, 2019. More than 15 years after the film’s initial release, fans gathered at the Kauffman Center to celebrate its cult following and enjoy the many quote-able moments. After watching the film in Muriel Kauffman Theatre, guests enjoyed a Q&A with cast members Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Efren Ramirez (Pedro) and John Gries (Uncle Rico). The conversation was led and moderated by Shawn Edwards, an award-winning journalist and film critic for FOX 4 News in Kansas City, Missouri.

Fans were invited to enjoy many different fun film-inspired activities before the event, including a VIP meet and greet with the cast, free photos with an alpaca on the Arts District Garage Terrace, and a photo booth complete with “Vote for Pedro” signs.

A young Napoleon Dynamite enthusiast high-fives John Gries (Uncle Rico) prior to the movie.

Youth Greets John Gries with a High Five

Photo by Mark McDonald

Napoleon Dynamite fans know one of the most memorable characters is the family pet, Tina the Llama. To add to the fun (and pay homage to Tina) Kauffman Center guests were invited to snap some pictures with an alpaca, Will, prior to the movie screening. Will was brought to the Kauffman Center courtesy of Manna Meadows Alpacas in Bonner Springs, Kansas, and fans were so excited to give him a pat on the head and grab a memorable photo in front of the building.

Napoleon Dynamite Alpaca  Photo

Photo by Mark McDonald

Guests of all ages also had fun taking pictures in front of a “Glamour Shots by Deb” inspired backdrop in Brandmeyer Great Hall. They posed with a collection of Napoleon Dynamite themed props, posters and favorite quotes from the film.

Glamour Shots by Deb Photo Booth

Photo by Abby Meyer of Do816

Napoleon Dynamite super fans could also enjoy refreshments with references to the film. One of the specials, “Shots & Tots” came with a tasty side of the film’s iconic side, tater-tots.

Shots & Tots film-inspired Refreshments

Photo by Abby Meyer of Do816

The fun didn’t stop once the show started. Enthusiasts shouted their favorite quotes during the opening credits, including “Eat the food, Tina!”, “Give me some of your tots” and “My lips hurt real bad.” After the screening, Edwards introduced the actors by beat-boxing while they danced onto the stage. Guests loved the opportunity to hear from the hilarious cast members of this famous film. Through the various film-inspired activities, live screening and Q&A, the event allowed for more than 1,200 fans to engage with Napoleon Dynamite like never before.