8 Must-See Events

Jazz, theatre, sports and more!

We are Kansas City’s university, and our hometown’s energy influences everything that happens here. We welcome our community to campus for an array of events, and we’re also happy to recommend opportunities on behalf of our alumni and friends. These activities are part of what give UMKC a vibrant campus life, and make UMKC an arts and culture powerhouse.


1. UMKC Jazz Night

The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance jazz bands perform in a lively collage concert featuring a variety of ensembles that represent the entirety of jazz studies at the Conservatory. It is directed by Bobby Watson and Dan Thomas.


The performance is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 19 at the Folly Theater, 300 W 12th St, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets can be purchased online.


2. UMKC Softball vs. CSU Bakersfield

Good to know:

UMKC is Kansas City’s Division I sports team.


UMKC Softball will play CSU Bakersfield at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Friday, April 20; and at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 21 at the Urban Youth Academy, 1622 E. 17th Terrace, Kansas City, Mo. Attendance is free.

3. UMKC Theatre: ‘(Against) Type’

This is a collection of work challenging the parameters of texts and what the audience expects of them. From Tennessee Williams to Yasmina Reza, to Shakespeare, these scenes and monologues will have you questioning our assumptions around “type” and tradition. It is directed and created by Darren Sextro.


Performances run now through April 29 in Studio 116 of the Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.


4. Unicorn Theatre: ‘Vietgone’

In Vietgone, award-winning pioneer playwright Qui Nguyen brilliantly chronicles the love story of his parents’ meeting in an Arkansas refugee center after fleeing Vietnam. It’s a buddy story, an all-American romance, and a motorcycle road-trip adventure that revisits how we think about the heroes and victims of the Vietnam War. Vietgone skips through time and roams the globe with snarky humor, hip-hop and lots of sex. It’s one ironic, foul-mouthed, bad-ass new play.

Good to know:

Three UMKC Theatre graduates started Unicorn Theatre.


The play will run now through May 13 on the Levin Stage, 3828 Main Street, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 816-531-PLAY (7529).


5. The Coterie: ‘Jack and the Bean Mágico!’

The classic fairytale, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is told with the audience’s help, who assist Jack as he climbs the beanstalk to the giant’s rich and fertile land. While there, Jack discovers the source of the trouble with his farmland, learning how to make it fertile again by understanding and balancing the life cycle. Young audiences will become tiny bugs in the giant’s garden. The giant loves the bugs because they help keep his soil and plants so healthy!

Good to know:

Two UMKC graduate theatre students founded The Coterie.


The performance runs through May 20 at The Coterie, Crown Center, 2450 Grand Ave., Suite 144, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 816-474-6552.


6. Jay McShann’s Kansas City

Jay McShann is recognized as one of the last great pianists fluent in the Kansas City jazz style, and his far-reaching influences as a musician, bandleader and mentor still impact the jazz world. His archives are housed in UMKC’s LaBudde Special Collections, and these documents give valuable insight into McShann’s musical life. This semester, a team of UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance graduate students has explored the collection to create an exhibit showcasing the diverse experiences and contributions that explain McShann’s life and legacy.


Experience the exhibit, rich in history and images, now through September in the LaBudde Special Collections Gallery, third floor, UMKC Miller Nichols Library. The exhibit is free and open during library hours.


7. A Look Inside Our Antique Bookplate Collection

As one of the more seemingly ephemeral works of graphic arts, bookplates nevertheless can wield a powerful visual presence in a small amount of space. Bookplates are printed labels that indicate ownership of a book, and are usually affixed to the inside cover of a volume. While the bookplates in this exhibit offer a cross-section of the collection, there are nearly 600 unique bookplates available for viewing in the LaBudde Special Collections.


This free exhibit is on display now and will run through the spring semester. It is on the Fourth Floor, Dean’s Gallery, Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st St.


8. Cindy Williams starring in ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Newlywed Corie wants everything about the new apartment to be perfect for her new husband Paul. But it has no furniture or heat, the skylight lets in the snow, the paint job’s all wrong and the bedroom is too small for a bed. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Corie’s mom and potential boyfriend show up. One of Neil Simon’s best comedies, “Barefoot” received an Oscar nomination and four Tony nominations including Best Play.

Good to know:

Co-owners Dennis Hennessy and Richard Carrothers are both UMKC graduates; the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences presented both honorary doctorates in 2012.


The production runs now through April 22 at New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster
Overland Park, Kan. Tickets can be purchased online.


Check the following for other upcoming events:

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