Kauffman Center Welcomes Back Ensemble Business Members

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts was thrilled to open its doors this fall after a long-awaited intermission. The reopening included hosting the Ensemble business membership group at the Center for various networking and special events.

August 10: PNC Pop-Up Performance and Networking Reception

Historically, Ensemble business members are invited to the Kauffman Center three times each year to attend a PNC Pop-Up performance and networking reception. After nearly 16 months without attending in-person events, Ensemble members returned to the Kauffman Center for a surprise musical performance by Kansas City native Lauren Krum. The audience was seated on the Helzberg Hall stage and enjoyed an intimate concert as Lauren’s tender and unique voice warmed Helzberg Hall for a remarkable evening of music.

October 19: Ensemble Annual Member Reception

Julia Irene Kauffman, chairman of the Kauffman Center board of directors and Paul Schofer, president & CEO of the Kauffman Center, greeted members at the Ensemble Annual Member reception on Oct. 19, which was held in Brandmeyer Great Hall. Together, members raised a glass to the following Ensemble members celebrating five-year Ensemble membership anniversaries:

Imperial PFS
McCownGordon Construction Company
SpecChem LLC
Straub Construction Company, Inc.

November 2: Fall Chef’s Table Dinner sponsored by RSM US LLP

This dinner experience, which is uniquely curated three times each year for Ensemble members and guests, is sponsored by RSM US LLP. Kauffman Center Executive Chef Laura Comer created an autumnal seasonal menu for Ensemble members, who were treated to this three-course meal in Brandmeyer Great Hall. Chef Comer also shared her experience as a contestant and winner of Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games.

Thank you to PNC Bank for sponsoring Ensemble and this extraordinary group of business leaders.

The Ensemble business membership program brings together Kansas City area companies that value a thriving, creative and innovative economy. We connect members, their clients and employees to inspiring activities and performances at the Kauffman Center throughout the year. To learn more, visit kauffmancenter.org/ensemble or contact Tricia Farrar, manager of corporate giving, at 816.994.7914 or tfarrar@kauffmancenter.org.

Photo credit: Don Ipock

Three Kauffman Center Presents Shows in January You Won’t Want to Miss

The start of 2022 brings audiences three exciting Kauffman Center Presents performances. Whether you’re looking for awe-inspiring stories of adventure and discovery, hilarious movie-riffing robots or crooning vocals from a jazz icon, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Kauffman Center.

On Jan. 18, carnivore ecologist Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant kicks off the 2022 season of our National Geographic Live speaker series. This incredible presentation features Wynn-Grant’s work to protect and restore iconic wildlife populations—grizzly bears, bison, pronghorn, cougars and more—in a region once known for its great number of wild animals.

But when the wild lands of their habitat are crisscrossed by roads, fences and ranches, how can bears and humans coexist peacefully? Dr. Wynn-Grant studies the movements and behaviors of these animals to find ways to improve the relationship between local communities and the powerful wildlife that surround them.

Join this committed carnivore ecologist for a fascinating look inside the secret lives of bears and a report from the front lines of the mission to help humans and carnivores coexist peacefully.

National Geographic Live Tickets

National Geographic Live is made possible by the Teresa and Tom Walsh Family Foundation.

Then on Jan. 22, audiences can laugh along with “Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE: Time Bubble Tour.”

Originally airing for 11 seasons from 1988 to 1999, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” immediately won over fans and became one of the most beloved cult TV shows of all time, making a human mind experiment more entertaining than anyone could have predicted.

Fast forward to 2015 when fans of the show joined forces for a robust kickstarter campaign to revive the show for a brand new, 14-episode season that premiered on Netflix in 2017.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live” then took their hilarious act on the road. First with the “Watch Out for Snakes! Tour” in 2017, then “30th Anniversary Tour” in 2018 followed by “The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour” in 2019.

Now, you have the chance to see the world’s greatest – and only – movie-riffing robots live. Tom Servo (Conor McGiffin), Crow (Nate Begle) and GPC (Yvonne Freese) take you on an exhilarating rollercoaster ride through the film “Making Contact,” imposed by Mad Scientist, Mega-Synthia (Yvonne Freese).

“Making Contact” appears to be a send up – or at least heavily references  –  every Spielberg movie ever made, including notes of “E.T.,”  “Poltergeist,” “The Goonies,” “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and just a pinch of “Lincoln.” Featuring animated toys in an overcrowded childhood during the ’80s, complete with an evil ventriloquist dummy and heavily branded IP at almost every turn. You’ll have fun watching as Emily and the Bots try to make sense of it all.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE Tickets

To cap off the month, jazz singer and pianist Diana Krall joins us on the Helzberg Hall stage to wow audiences with her stunning vocals.

Diana Krall is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debut at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. To date, her albums have garnered two Grammy Awards, ten Juno Awards and have also earned nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums. Krall’s unique artistry transcends any single musical style and has made her one of the most recognizable artists of our time.

Born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, which is outside of Vancouver, Krall began playing the piano at age 4. As a teen, she performed locally and with the encouragement of her father, a stride pianist.

Krall was still a teenager when she was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. After two years in Boston, she moved to Los Angeles, where she met her first jazz heavyweights. In 1993, the Montreal-based Justin Time Records released her debut album, “Stepping Out.” The following year she signed with GRP Records and recorded “Only Trust Your Heart.”

Krall’s success continued with her subsequent releases “All for You” and “Love Scenes,” but her watershed moment came in 1999 with the release of “When I Look in Your Eyes.” The recording spent an unprecedented 52 weeks in the #1 position on Billboard’s Jazz chart, won two Grammy Awards and went platinum in the U.S. and Canada. Krall’s next album, “The Look of Love,” continued her international success and became a top 10 seller on Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts.

Diana Krall Tickets

Kauffman Center Presents is made possible by the John N. and Marilyn P. McConnell Foundation.

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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. —


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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