The Kauffman Center had a record-breaking year. Here’s a look at some of these notable milestones.
Over the last year…
- 530,000+ guests visited the Kauffman Center – the highest annual attendance since the Center’s opening in 2011
- A record-breaking 350+ performances were shared on our stages by the Kauffman Center Presents series, our three resident companies, and more than 20 other arts organizations
- The Kauffman Center received the highest experience rating of Kansas City’s 10 major cultural institutions in Mid-America Regional Council’s Quality of Life Survey for the second consecutive year
- 99% of all survey participants responded favorably when asked if they would recommend the Kauffman Center to a friend
- Five Kauffman Center Presents performances brought more than 1,400 first-time patrons to the Kauffman Center
- 53,000+ students and educators attended nearly 50 school matinees
- 21,000+ students received Open Doors bus transportation assistance to attend school matinees
- 1,035 individuals received free tickets to attend Kauffman Center performances through the Community Tickets program
- 4,500 people have attended Future Stages Festival, a free annual event showcasing 750 youth performers
Kauffman Center Goes Global
In April, Kauffman Center was viewed around the world through Google Arts & Culture – an online exhibition that features collections, stories, and 360-degree tours from 15 renowned Kansas City institutions, including the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The exhibition highlights the history, people and culture that makes Kansas City the “Heart of America.” The project launched with a video highlighting Kansas City’s arts and culture scene. The platform has introduced Kansas City and its arts and culture to an international audience giving visitors around the world the opportunity to learn and experience Kansas City – and the Kauffman Center – in a new way. Learn more about the Kauffman Center’s involvement in Google Arts & Culture here.
New Accessibility Resources Allow More People to Enjoy the Kauffman Center
The Kauffman Center is dedicated to connecting Kansas City communities with live performing arts experiences. Through a partnership with Variety Children’s Charity of Greater Kansas City, the Center introduced new accessible amenities including Serenity Rooms and Sensory Kits. In October, the Kauffman Center held ribbon cutting event to celebrate the new amenities. The unveiling event was attended by 75 Variety KC families who were the first to explore the Kauffman Center’s new accessibility features. Families also attended the Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live! matinee. The new features will support the Center’s ongoing effort to ensure attending a performance is a positive experience for all. Learn more about the Kauffman Center’s partnership with Variety KC here.
Kauffman Center Hits National Airwaves
On January 12, an audience of approximately 2.6 million people – our largest audience yet – heard the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts mentioned numerous times during the American radio show Live from Here with Chris Thile. The show was produced and broadcast live from the Muriel Kauffman Theatre stage to more than 650 National Public Radio stations across the country, Sirius XM satellite radio, and the Armed Forces Network around the world. Learn more.
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Art installation features handprints by Kansas City Pre-K kids
Kansas City Pre-K kids and their families celebrated the addition of 129 new handprints on the PNC Grow Up Great Gallery at the Kauffman Center last week. The art installation in the Kauffman Center’s Plaza Lobby now showcases nearly 300 handprints created by local preschool students from four local early childhood centers: St. Mark Child and Family Development Center, Metro Early Learning Center, Growing Futures Early Education Center, and El Centro Academy for Children.
At a special event hosted by PNC Bank, the children proudly located their handprints in the colorful gallery setting that combines visual art and musical themes. Each child was photographed near their handprint on the wall and took home a framed photo as a memory of the evening at the Kauffman Center.
The November 12 event included dinner in Brandmeyer Great Hall and interactive performances by local groups StoneLion Puppet Theatre and Drum Safari. Planet Play engaged youngsters in creative building activities, and passport booklets guided families through the evening’s activities. Other memorabilia given to the children and their families included PNC-branded t-shirts and tote bags. The event drew attention of local media, resulting in coverage on KMBC Channel 9 News.
PNC Bank created the gallery in 2018 in partnership with the Kauffman Center and other early education centers as part of an effort to inspire great futures for local children through memorable arts experiences. The gallery exemplifies PNC’s 15-year-old flagship philanthropic program, PNC Grow Up Great, a bilingual initiative to prepare children from birth to age five for success in school and life.
“Early childhood education is about giving a child the right start to life. And that is something institutions like St. Mark Child and Family Development Center, Metro Early Learning Center, Growing Futures Early Education Center, and El Centro Academy for Children do so well,” said Dale Klose, regional president for PNC in Kansas City. “Our relationship with the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts allows us to showcase the work we do with these organizations.”
PNC Bank is the Kauffman Center’s exclusive bank sponsor and supports the Kauffman Center’s Ensemble business membership program and the PNC Grow Up Great Gallery. PNC is also a key sponsor of the Kauffman Center’s programming series, Kauffman Center Presents.
“The PNC Grow Up Great Gallery is a truly meaningful part of our relationship with PNC Bank,” says Paul Schofer, president and CEO of the Kauffman Center. “We love that this project connects so many youngsters with the Center in such a personal way. We are eager to have all of them come back to compare their growing hands with their colorful handprints and, of course, to attend a live performance.”
The PNC Grow Up Great Gallery is in the Level 2 Plaza Lobby of the Kauffman Center. The gallery is open for viewing by ticketholders 90 minutes prior to any performance. It’s also open to the public during box office hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Larry, Steve & Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers to Perform in Muriel Kauffman Theatre this January
Larry, Steve, and Rudy of the Gatlin Brothers continue to dazzle audiences with hits that span six decades. The three will bring their catalog of esteemed music to the Muriel Kauffman Theatre stage January 18, 2020.
With songs like “Broken Lady” and “All The Gold In California,” the Gatlin Brothers have garnered a collection of awards, including a GRAMMY Award for Best Country Song and three ACM awards for Single of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year. They have accumulated seven No. 1 singles, 32 Top 40 records, 24 studio albums and five BMI Million-Air. They have performed for the GRAMMY Awards, the American Music Awards, and the People’s Choice Awards. Television audiences saw them regularly on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Oprah, Hee-Haw, Love Boat, the Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack, the Merv Griffin Show, Solid Gold, the Barbara Mandrell Show, and their own variety special on ABC. Most recently, Larry was honored as a 2019 Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame Inductee.
The Gatlin Brothers began their career in Abilene, Texas, in 1955 when they were children. An outgoing young trio, they would sing gospel music for anyone who would listen and pore over recordings from artists like James Blackwood and the Blackwood Brothers and Hovie Lister and The Statesmen Quartet. The gregarious boys grew into skilled musicians, forming the revered Gatlin Brothers that we know today. By 1976, they were releasing fan favorites that quickly drove them to stardom.
In addition to their musical accolades, the Gatlin Brothers have hit the stage in some of the world’s most famous venues including the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, and Madison Square Garden. They’ve performed with legendary entertainers like Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill and numerous gospel artists. The trio has also proudly entertained U.S. troops in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Germany, and military bases in the United States. Additionally, they have appeared at famed sporting events, performing the national anthem at the 1985 and 1989 World Series, the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, the NHL All Star Hockey Game, and the 2008 Olympics in Bejing, China. Local fans may have special memories of the Gatlin Brothers because of their national anthem performance in St. Louis, Missouri, for the 1985 World Series won by the Kansas City Royals.
Five world-class illusionists bring magic show to Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Friday, April 3
The illusionists who make up Champions of Magic will share their mind-bending theatrical production with a Kauffman Center audience during their second North American tour, which launched this fall. Magicians Alex McAleer, Kayla Drescher, Fernando Velasco, and the group Young & Strange will amaze the audience with incredible mind reading, stunning close-up magic, and daring large-scale illusions. Following sold-out shows around the world, rave reviews from audiences of all ages, and a run in London’s West End, this incredible performance will leave the entire family astounded.
The group has more than 30 million online views, in addition to a live, worldwide audience reaching the hundreds of thousands. Aside from touring, they have made on-screen appearances on The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us, NBC’s Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon, The Today Show, and Access Hollywood Live. Each team member specializes in a different type of magic: illusionists Young & Strange, close-up magician Kayla Drescher, escapologist Fernando Velasco, and mind reader Alex McAleer.
Champions Of Magic shares incredible interactive magic, an impossible escape from Houdini’s water torture cell, a mind blowing prediction that must be seen to be believed, levitation high above the stage, and a finale beyond explanation. From unbelievable mind reading and stunning close-up tricks, to massive stage-filling illusions, these magicians were born to amaze.
“Spectacular family show… take a seat and prepare to be astounded, astonished and amazed.” – iHeart Radio
“You have to check them out! That was tremendous!” – Access Hollywood Live
World-class organist to perform in Helzberg Hall this March
With his unique performance style, Cameron Carpenter is smashing the stereotypes of organists and organ music worldwide. His repertoire is considered the most diverse of any organist, ranging from film scores to complete works of J.S. Bach, to hundreds of original arrangements.
Carpenter will bring his remarkable range of musical mastery to the Kauffman Center on March 4, performing on the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875. This custom-built instrument was commissioned to showcase incredible sound, elegant beauty, and perfect harmony, complementing the acoustic and visual design of Helzberg Hall.
Carpenter’s distinctive talent will emanate in this live accompaniment of Buster Keaton’s famous silent comedy The General. The historical film was inspired by the 1862 Great Locomotive Chase of the American Civil War. Carpenter will lend his unmatched skill to one of the greatest silent films of all time for an unforgettable musical and cinematic experience.
A former child prodigy, Carpenter trained at the American Boychoir School, the North Carolina School of the Arts. His youthful talent propelled him to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from The Juilliard School in New York City. Carpenter is now the first solo organist ever nominated for a GRAMMY Award for his debut album Revolutionary. He has appeared with many of the great orchestras around the world and holds the 2012 Leonard Bernstein Award. In 2014, Carpenter launched his International Touring Organ—a monumental cross-genre digital organ built by Marshall & Ogletree to his own design. Carpenter also released his latest album, Rachmaninoff & Poulenc, in April 2019 on Sony Classical. The album features a live recording with the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra.
Along with his musical endeavors, Carpenter also lends his creative eye to the design of his own onstage wardrobe. Applying thousands of sequins to his presentation attire, Carpenter’s performances are a treat for the eyes and ears. Additionally, his diverse talents have allowed him to speak and debate at think tanks and conferences including TED, IdeaCity, The Entertainment Gathering, and many more.
Tickets for the event range from $29 to $59, plus applicable fees.