Local performing arts groups ring in the season
Dancing and singing and tubas, oh my! The Christmas season might be full of shopping and obligatory office parties, but there are also opportunities for the young and the not-so-young to take in a show, watch a ballet, take a picture with Santa, and sip champagne with some of Kansas City’s most talented musicians.
While this is, by no means, a complete list of what the Kansas City art scene has to offer this season, it’s a small peek. Remember to check each website for more complete information.
Kansas City Repertory Theatre
The professional theatre in residence at UMKC, KC Rep offers two holiday shows: SantaLand Diaries and A Christmas Carol. This is the fourth and final season of SantaLand Diaries; Shana Jones will return for her fourth season as Harper Elf, and Claybourne Elder, will play Crumpet the Elf. Based on David Sedaris’ hilarious memoir of his time as a department store elf, this show is sure to make even the coldest grinch laugh.
A Christmas Carol, KC Rep’s most popular play of the season, is in its 36th year. The production includes richly textured sets, elaborate costumes, and breathtaking visual effects that transport the audience from present-day to the world of Ebenezer Scrooge. The goal, as always, is to remind us all of what’s truly worth celebrating at the holidays—or anytime. KCRep.org
Kansas City Ballet
The 30-member professional ballet company offers shows throughout the year that range from classics to contemporary ballets. In addition to shows at each of its two locations, one at Union Station and the other at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Ballet orchestrates community service programs and reaches more than 20,000 students and adults each year.
The Nutcracker, which launched in 2015 to great critical acclaim, returns in a completely reimagined telling of the classic tale, complete with grand sets, elaborate costumes, and captivating choreography. Show runs December 3-December 24. KCBallet.org
Kansas City Symphony
Formed in 1982 and now under the leadership of Music Director Michael Stern, the orchestra boasts 80 full-time musicians, all area residents. The holidays are a veritable bonanza for music lovers as the symphony offers five shows. One is sure to suit your musical palette. KCSymphony.org
Handel’s Messiah: The Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus join the Independence Messiah Choir to celebrate 100 years of performing Handel’s Messiah. Tickets start at $25; show runs from December 1 – December 4.
TubaChristmas: all area tuba and euphonium players are invited to play and family, friends, and the general public are encouraged to attend a lunch-hour concert. Advance registration and a small fee required to ensue performance participation; shows on December 2 and December 12.
Classics Uncorked: Vivaldi’s “Winter” and Greensleeves: Experience the icy thrill of winter through Mozart’s Divertimento in F Major, Vivaldi’s “Winter,” and Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Greensleeves. A complimentary glass of champagne or wine—and time to mingle with Symphony musicians—follows the performance. Most tickets $25; performance on December 7.
Jim Brickman with the Kansas City Symphony: hear new music, holiday favorites, and the hits that made Jim Brickman the most charted Billboard® Adult Contemporary artist and two-time Grammy® nominee. Tickets start at $40; performance on December 9.
Kansas City Symphony’s Christmas Festival: The grandest holiday concert of the season includes stunning arrangements of traditional Christmas carols, exciting guest vocalists and musicians, and an early visit from Santa. A jewelry prize from Helzberg Diamonds will be awarded at each performance (no purchase necessary). Tickets start at $30 for adults, $15 for children; performances on December 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20.
Founded in 1979 by University of Missouri-Kansas City graduate students Judith Yeckel and Vicky Lee, this children’s theatre is located at Crown Center and offers educational and community outreach programs, as well as a full season of live theatre. TheCoterie.org
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical is a colorful musical adventure that teaches us that what makes each of us different is what makes each of us special. Performances run until December 31.
Atkins-Johsnon Farm and Museum
Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum in Gladstone started as a two-story log cabin with a half-story sleeping loft and now offers a gorgeous trail to the historic Big Shoal Cemetery and an heirloom garden, apple orchard, and pumpkin patch. With a mission to encourage a greater awareness of and appreciation for local history and farm-to-table concepts, the Atkins-Johnson Farm and Museum collects and preserves cultural material for future generations and uses a multifaceted approach to sharing Clay County farm history with visitors. AtkinsJohnsonFarm.com
Cookies and Photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus: this annual event features an opportunity to take a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a traditionally decorated setting, complete with cider and cookies. Admission is free; each family photo is $5. December 10.
Holiday Night: A free night filled with music and carolers, crafts, spiced cider, vintage toy display, selfie stations, and a writing station with letters to Santa and vintage Christmas cards. Santa will make an appearance and the farmhouse will be decorated. Be sure to leave enough time to walk the holiday luminary trail. Event is free. December 10.