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The Glenn Miller Orchestra Returns to Kansas City

The greatest big band of all time will perform its greatest hits show at the
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
— Saturday June 25, 2022 at 2:30 p.m. —

Tickets

The legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra from New York will perform at the Kauffman Center June 25, 2022, as part of their world-wide tour. The world-famous group will bring timeless classics like “In the Mood,” “Moonlight Serenade, ” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” “String of Pearls” and “Tuxedo Junction” back to the stage. Even 80 years after founding his famous orchestra, Glenn Miller’s music is alive and well.

During what promises to be a memorable matinee concert, 18 musicians and singers will bring the unforgettable Glenn Miller sound to Muriel Kauffman Theatre, performing timeless songs. Whether you’re a jazz and swing fan, or simply a romantic at heart, this evening will transport you back in time. The legendary Glenn Miller was the most successful dance bandleader of the 1930 and 1940s Swing era.

Producer Didier Morissonneau is proud to bring the most famous orchestra of all time to the Kansas City music scene to perform its classic two-hour greatest hits show!

The Glenn Miller Orchestra
The Greatest Hits Show
Saturday, June 25, 2022 at 2:30 p.m.
Muriel Kauffman Theatre

Tickets are on sale now at kauffmancenter.orgby phone at 816.994.7222 or at the Kauffman Center Box Office. Tickets range from $51 to $71 plus applicable fees.

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Pink Martini featuring China Forbes and Asleep at the Wheel Coming to the Kauffman Center this October

Kauffman Center Presents Pink Martini featuring China Forbes
and Asleep at the Wheel this fall
 

Featuring a dozen musicians, with songs in 25 languages, Pink Martini performs its multilingual repertoire on concert stages on six continents. After making its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 and its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony in 1998, the band has gone on to play with more than 50 orchestras around the world.

Drawing inspiration from music from all over the world and crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop,  Thomas Lauderdale founded the “little orchestra” Pink Martini in 1994 to provide more beautiful and inclusive musical soundtracks around issues of social change.

One year later, Lauderdale called China Forbes, a Harvard classmate who was living in New York City, and asked her to join the band. With Pink Martini, China has appeared on The Late Show with David LettermanLate Night with Conan O’BrienThe Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Later with Jools Holland. She has performed songs in over 20 languages and has sung duets with Rufus Wainwright, Michael Feinstein, Carol Channing and many others. 

Pink Martini has released 11 studio albums on its own independent label Heinz Records (named after Lauderdale’s dog), selling over 3 million albums worldwide. In 2019, the band released two EPs featuring the vocals of Pink Martini’s newest members Jimmie Herrod and Edna Vazquez. Both vocalists have toured with the band for the past year and are officially part of the group with the release of Herrod’s EP Tomorrow and Vaquez’s Besame Mucho, both of which were co-produced by Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes.

“We’re very much an American band, but we spend a lot of time abroad and therefore have the incredible diplomatic opportunity to represent a broader, more inclusive America… the America which remains the most heterogeneously populated country in the world… composed of people of every country, every language, every religion,” says Thomas Lauderdale.  

Tickets for Pink Martini featuring China Forbes range from $39 to $79 plus applicable fees. Tickets are available through the Kauffman Center Box Office at (816) 994-7222 or online at kauffmancenter.org.   

On Oct. 30, 2021, Asleep at the Wheel takes the Muriel Kauffman Theater stage for the evening. Inspired by Western swing and honky-tonk country, the band has accrued 10 Grammy Awards. 

Founded in 1970 by Ray Benson, Asleep at the Wheel has been part of the American roots music landscape for more than 50 years. Although the band got its start on a farm in Paw Paw, West Virginia, Asleep at the Wheel became a cornerstone of the Austin, Texas, scene upon its arrival in 1973.

This fall, a career retrospective recorded with the current lineup and a few special guests, will carry the band back onto the road, where they’ve remained a staple for five decades.

Fifty years in,  some of its members and audiences represent a new generation. That far-reaching appeal remains a testament to Benson’s initial vision.

“How do you keep this music going?” Benson asks. “Well, you’ve got to have some young people. If young people aren’t doing this, then we’re just a museum – and I don’t want to be a museum.”

Tickets for Asleep at the Wheel range from $39 to $59 plus applicable fees. Tickets are available through the Kauffman Center Box Office at (816) 994-7222 or online at kauffmancenter.org.  

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Black Violin and Champions Of Magic Are Must-Sees this Fall

Classical-meets-hip-hop duo and five world-class illusionists
take the Muriel Kauffman Theatre stage 

Classical-meets-hip-hop duo, Black Violin, returns to Muriel Kauffman Theatre for their Impossible Tour on Wednesday, October 27, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. 

Black Violin is led by classically trained string players Wil Baptiste (viola) and Kev Marcus (violin). The band uses their unique blend of classical and hip-hop music, often described as “classical boom,” to overcome stereotypes and encourage people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds to join together to break down cultural barriers.  

For 16 years, Kev Marcus and Wil Baptiste have been merging string arrangements with modern beats and vocals. The two were classically trained on the violin and viola through their high school and college careers. Post-college, they reconvened to produce beats for South Florida rappers, and began building an audience in local clubs. They later went on to win Showtime at the Apollo in 2005 and eventually sold-out headline performances at venues across the country, including a sold out two-night headline run at The Kennedy Center in 2018.  

Black Violin continues to inspire youth through their nonprofit organization The Black Violin Foundation. The organization is dedicated to empowering youth by working with them in their communities to provide access to quality music programs that encourage creativity. Each year the foundation’s inaugural program provides scholarships and grants to youth who would like to continue their musical education through a program of their liking that fosters musical creativity and innovation. Black Violin has spent the last year finding creative ways to share their music with fans during the pandemic lockdown, aiming to uplift spirits and connect with fans from afar during a time of uncertainty. 

Black Violin’s Impossible Tour will spread the message that anything is possible and there are no limits to what one can achieve, regardless of circumstance. Tickets for this event range from $29 to $59, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Kauffman Center Box Office, by calling 816.994.7222, or online at kauffmancenter.org. 

5 World Class Illusionists, 1 Incredible Show. Direct from London’s West End, Champions of Magic performs their dazzling show on the Muriel Kauffman Theater stage on Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 4 p.m. 

Champions Of Magic started touring in October 2013, and has since completed six U.K. tours, and a U.S. tour in 2017. Their skills have been featured on-screen worldwide, with appearances on The CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us, NBC’s Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon, The Today Show, and  Access Hollywood Live. 

The group has more than 30 million online views, in addition to a live, worldwide audience reaching the hundreds of thousands. 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. 

The Champions Of Magic team 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 bend minds. 

Tickets for this event range from $25 to $45, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Kauffman Center Box Office, by calling 816.994.7222, or online at kauffmancenter.org. 

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Top-Hit Artists Martina McBride, Madeline Peyroux & Paula Cole Take the Stage this August and September

Martina McBride, and Madeleine Peyroux and Paula Cole
to perform at the Kauffman Center this fall

Grammy-nominated Martina McBride has sung her way to the top of the charts with six No. 1 hits and has sold more than 18 million albums since her rise to fame began in 1993. McBride will bring her repertoire of country hits to the Kauffman Center on Aug. 29, 2021, on the Muriel Kauffman Theatre stage. 

In 2017, McBride celebrated her 25th year of touring, and she certainly has something to show for it. McBride has secured fourteen Gold, nine Platinum, three Double Platinum and two Triple Platinum certifications after she released hit albums such as Wild Angels and Evolution. McBride has been nominated for and received a multitude of awards including four wins from the Country Music Association and three Academy of Country Music Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year. She has also earned the honor of performing on some of the biggest stages in music, including at the Grammys and the Country Music Awards. 

McBride continued to make music over the years while expanding her reach into the world of food with two cookbooks: Around the Table and Martina’s Kitchen Mix: My Recipe Playlist for Real Life. McBride has inspired many as she developed her Team Music is Love charity initiative. This initiative focuses on fundraising and volunteer projects that support causes such as hunger relief, cancer research, combating domestic violence and helping children in need. McBride has been awarded the Covenant House Beacon of Hope Award and Music Business Association’s prestigious Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic efforts on behalf of domestic violence. 

Tickets for this must-see performance range from $39 to $119, plus applicable fees. Tickets can be purchased at the Kauffman Center Box Office, by calling 816.994.7222, or online at kauffmancenter.org. 

Next, join the Kauffman Center for an unforgettable evening featuring two legends performing hits from their illustrious albums. Paula Cole joins Madeleine Peyroux on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. on the Helzberg Hall stage in celebration of Peyroux’s breakthrough album, Careless Love, and Cole’s double-platinum album, This Fire 

Madeleine Peyroux brings her distinctive blend of swing-era jazz, country, blues, gospel and other acoustic forms to her hit Careless Love album. The album, which took only three months to create, debuted in 2004 and sold 500,000 copies within its first year. In contrast to her first album in 1996, Careless Love conveys a mature, emotional depth and highlights Peyroux’s rhythmic pliability.  

“2004…2005…the date stamp on any music performance can be a distracting thing. The more inspired and singular the music, the less that seems to matter. Timeless is what we call music that reaches the heart and stops the clock. Few are able to attain that, fewer with consistency. For the ones who do, it can take a while navigating one’s career path to get there, to make timeless happen. Madeleine Peyroux achieved it on her second album.” 
—Ashley Kahn, American Music Historian, January 2021  

In 1996, Paula Cole released her self-produced, second album, This Fire. It was incendiary, a double-platinum smash. The first single, Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? catapulted to the Top 10. Cole is a seven-time Grammy nominee and was the first woman to be nominated as Producer of the Year with no collaborators. Her second single, the anthemic I Don’t Want to Wait, dominated charts for a year and then lived again as the well- loved theme-song for Dawson’s Creek 

Cole pushes boundaries and touches hearts and minds with her songwriting. She has performed the world over, for the Troops in the Persian Gulf, to coffee houses in small towns across America, to stadiums with Peter Gabriel, to elegant theaters. Now, 25 years later, Cole will perform songs from her ground-breaking album, This Fire—a rare opportunity to witness her historical work.  

These two talented artists join forces on the Helzberg Hall stage this September. Tickets for this 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 kauffmancenter.org. 

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High School Students Go Behind the Scenes with Backstage Intensive Program

Students from William Chrisman High School are introduced
to audio design with a behind the scenes tour from
Audio Production Supervisor Palmer Jankens.
Photo by Sarah Milosevich.

Journey behind the curtain and witness the magic that goes into executing a live performance. Through the Backstage Intensive program, an Open Doors Spotlight on Youth initiative that is supported by a grant from Cerner Charitable Foundation, the Center bridges the gap between the arts and youth in communities throughout Kansas City. Now available virtually in addition to its traditional in-person format, Backstage Intensive educates students about the various careers open to them in the performing arts and non-profit industry. From arts administration to technical theater, the Backstage Intensive program shines a light on the real-world career opportunities at the Kauffman Center and other performing arts venues.

Now, students can engage with the program via the virtual portal launched in January 2021. With this portal, the Kauffman Center continued engaging students despite physical distance and widened accessibility for the program to reach more students. The virtual Backstage Intensive website portal contains four video demonstrations, each about 20 minutes in length, that explore various production elements and roles. Watch an expert demonstrate the art of sound engineering and lighting design through virtual video tours, which give students an up-close look at the technical elements of live theater. Learn how the scenic crews rig and fly scenery and hear staff explain the glamour—and challenges—of managing a complex theater production. Each video has several accompanying resources to further enhance and enrich the experience including vocabulary practice, discussion questions, classroom activities and more.

The virtual Backstage Intensive portal (pictured above) allows classrooms to explore all the videos and resources at their own pace, tailoring the experience to their students.

“Kauffman Center’s virtual Backstage Intensive was an invaluable resource to my Stagecraft classroom,” said a theater teacher at Lee’s Summit North High School whose students participated virtually in 2021. “The lessons and activities provided fit seamlessly into class. Students new to the area of lighting, audio and rigging gained useful information that they were able to put into practice. My experienced students learned new information about a different space and were able to start developing new ideas for our performance space. I intend on being involved in the Intensive in future years.”

Educators at William Chrisman High School, Olathe West High School, Lee’s Summit North High School, Raytown South High School and Grandview High School all opted to utilize the virtual Backstage Intensive program in their classrooms during the spring semester. The program has reached 48 students throughout the metro thus far in 2021.

In a video demonstration, Production Services Manager Eric Miller demonstrates the capabilities of different types of lighting instruments.

“The kids enjoyed the videos and they said they learned a lot from them,” said a theater teacher at Olathe West High School. “They didn’t feel like the work was overwhelming or super difficult – just right. I loved getting a chance for them to see backstage and learn from other theatre technicians!”

Additionally, the in-person Backstage Intensive program brings students to the Kauffman Center for a two-day experience. First, participating schools are introduced to the Center through a front-of-house experience where they attend a school matinee. On a second visit, students return to explore all the behind-the-scenes roles that exist within the venue and the technologies used by each. Students may go on a backstage tour, participate in technical theater demonstrations or engage in arts administration discussions with staff members.

Students dive into the staging aspect of technical theatre as
Theater Operations Manager Sara Beatty oversees their work.
Photo by Sarah Milosevich.

“I learned a lot about Kauffman [Center] history, jobs and jobs in theater in general,” an in-person student participant from Van Horn High School said. “I recommend this program to those who want to learn more about theatre and careers beyond acting.”

Theater is so much more than what the audience can see and, through the Backstage Intensive program, local high school students can be introduced to the many careers that are needed to execute a flawless performance. To learn more information about both the in-person and virtual Backstage Intensive programs, visit kauffmancenter.org/education or email opendoors@kauffmancenter.org.

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