Must-See Events

Take your pick from music, arts, sports

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. Conservatory Wind Symphony

The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Wind Symphony, directed by Steven D. Davis and featuring new piano faculty Tom Rosenkranz, will perform at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Performance pieces include: R. STRAUSS: Festmusik der Stadt Wien; STRAVINSKY: Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments; and HINDEMITH: Mathis der Maler.


The performance will be at 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23 in Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. General public tickets are $25; and $10 for UMKC faculty, staff, and all students with UMKC or student ID. Tickets can be purchased online.


2. UMKC Men’s Soccer

Good to know:

UMKC is Kansas City’s Division I sports team.


Join UMKC Men’s Soccer when they take on Air Force at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 22. General admission tickets start at $8 and can be purchased online. UMKC students are free with a current student ID. UMKC faculty and staff can also get $5 admission with a current UMKC ID. Stay up-to-date with UMKC Athletics by downloading the UMKC Roos Athletic App.


3. 2018 Social Justice Book Discussion

Join Scott Curtis, book discussion leader, as attendees explore the book Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. Copies of the book by the author are available at the Miller Nichols Library Circulation Desk.


The book discussion will be from 3 – 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 26 in Room 325 at Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st St. Kansas City, Mo. This event is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested. Dunbar also will be the featured speaker at the Social Justice Book & Lecture, 6 p.m., Oct. 9, in Pierson Auditorium on the UMKC campus. Ticket prices and information for the Oct. 9 lecture can be found online.


4. ‘A Life In A Year’ Part 1: Developing Kansas City

Robert Barrett, a Kansas City-based photographer, recently donated his photographs to UMKC Libraries, giving everyone access to more than 100,000 images. They are the lasting representation of Barrett’s life and experiences, and a rich storehouse of our shared history and culture over the past four decades. Beginning this fall UMKC Libraries is embarking on “A Life In A Year,” a year-long retrospective of Barrett’s work in three parts:

Part 1: Developing Kansas City
Part 2: Focusing on Faces
Part 3: Exposing our Environment


“A Life In A Year” Part 1: Developing Kansas City will be on display through Dec. 14 in the Link Gallery on the Ground Floor of Miller Nichols Library. It is free and open to the public.


5. Unicorn Theatre: ‘The Effect’

Connie and Tristan are magnetically drawn to each other. Racing hearts, sleepless nights – they’ve fallen head over heels. But is their infatuation love or just a symptom of the new antidepressant they’re taking in a clinical trial? As two supervising doctors try to untangle the ethical quandaries of this illicit relationship, Connie and Tristan risk it all to be together. Consequences be damned.

Good to know:

Three UMKC Theatre graduates started Unicorn Theatre.


“The Effect” is by Lucy Prebble and directed by Sidonie Garrett. It runs through Sept. 30 at The Unicorn, 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Box Office at 816-531-PLAY (7529).


6. KCRep: ‘Last Days of Summer’

Based on the contemporary American classic novel by Steve Kluger, “Last Days of Summer” is the story of Joey Margolis, an imaginative and tenacious boy being raised by his mother and aunt in early 1940s Brooklyn. He and his best friend Craig Nakamura write letters to their hero, Charlie Banks, the all-star third basemen for the New York Giants, in hopes of his helping them impress and suppress the neighborhood bullies. An unlikely friendship is formed between the two boys and Charlie, and as the turbulent events of the dawn of the Second World War unfold, bonds are formed that will last forever. With music by Grammy winner Jason Howland (Broadway’s “Little Women”), directed by two-time Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun (last year’s “Between the Lines”), this new musical is a poignant and hilarious tale of baseball, hero worship, and the gift of true friendship.


This play runs through Sep. 30 at Spencer Theatre, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry, Kansas City, Mo. Tickets can be purchased online.


7. Federico Solmi: ‘The Great Farce’

This is the most recent chapter in New York-based Italian artist Federico Solmi’s unfolding investigation into the unspoken archetypal myths that provide the underpinning for nativist ideologies. Mining the contradictions and inaccuracies of historical narratives that the artist views as having lured their target audiences into a chaotic era of misinformation, Solmi takes particular aim at the society of the spectacle, whose bottomless thirst for glittering pageants of mind-numbing banality can be opportunistically used to purposefully deprive the citizenry of their right to the truth, in the process undermining their capacity to engage in critical reflection of the world around them.


The exhibit is part of the Open Spaces Arts Experience 2018. It runs through Oct. 25 at the UMKC Gallery of Art, Room 203 of the Fine Arts Building, 5015 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo.


8. The Coterie: ‘Becoming Martin’

This world premiere centers on the mentorship Martin Luther King, Jr., receives when he enters Morehouse College at age 15. Through debate over civil disobedience concepts, Morehouse College President, Dr. Benjamin Mays, sets young MLK on a path towards fighting for civil rights. This play is a Coterie commissioned work by noted filmmaker, screenwriter, director and playwright Kevin Willmott. He currently serves as a professor of film studies at the University of Kansas and is hailed as one of the most prolific independent filmmakers today, with films such as Ninth StreetC.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, and Chi-Raq, for which he was executive producer and co-writer with Spike Lee. A post-performance Question and Answer session will follow each performance.

Good to know:

Two UMKC graduate theatre students founded The Coterie.


The show runs through Oct. 21 at The Coterie, 2450 Grande Ave., Kansas City, Mo. Tickets can be purchased from The Coterie Box Office by calling 816-474-6552 or online.


9. ‘Always… Patsy Cline’

“Always…Patsy Cline” is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963. The show is based on a true story about Patsy’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and continued a correspondence with Patsy until her death. The musical play, complete with down home country humor, true emotion and even some audience participation, includes many of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Walking After Midnight.” The show’s title was inspired by Patsy’s letters to Louise, which were consistently signed “Love always… Patsy Cline.”

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 through Dec. 2 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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