15 (mostly) very cool things to do in KC this December
Friday, Dec. 1, at the Riot Room
Broncho toured Europe as the opening act for heavy rock titans Queens of the Stone Age in November. Friday’s show at the Riot Room is Broncho’s second American club date since it appeared in vast halls like the O2 in London. The considerably lower profile of the power-pop band from Norman, Okla., on its home turf is baffling. New songs like “Get in My Car” and the 2014 cult favorite “Class Historian” are as instantly engaging as classic hits by the Monkees. With Holy White Hounds.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1. Riot Room. 816-442-8179. Tickets are $12 through theriotroom.com.
Heather Newman Band
Friday, Dec. 1, at Knuckleheads
The Heather Newman Band is poised to follow Samantha Fish and Trampled Under Foot as the next blues-oriented Kansas City act to achieve national prominence. After serving an instructional apprenticeship as a bassist and vocalist in a band led by Nick Schnebelen of Trampled Under Foot, Newman will celebrate the release of her band’s hard-rocking debut studio album, “Burn Me Alive,” on Friday. Newman says the memorable collection of original material is intended to “convey my feelings of love and loneliness, passion and pain.”
9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1. Knuckleheads. 816-483-1456. Tickets are $10 through knuckleheadskc.com.
“The Nativity,” Mesner Puppet Theater
Opens 10 a.m. Dec. 1 at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral
Back for the 30th holiday season, the Mesner Puppet Theater will bring the story of Christ’s birth to life using seven-foot puppets that move through the aisles of the historic cathedral. More than 40 puppeteers will perform with live musical and choral accompaniment under the guidance of Mesner artistic director Mike Horner. Also 7 p.m. Dec. 1, 2 and 5 p.m Dec. 2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 3. 816-235-6222. Tickets are $11-$17 through mesnerpuppets.org.
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear
Saturday, Dec. 2, at Yardley Hall
True to their generous natures, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear have played benefit concerts for locally based charities this year, but Saturday’s show at Yardley Hall is the mother-and-son duo’s sole headlining concert in the Kansas City area of 2017. The breakout success of Madisen and Ruth Ward was one of the feel-good music stories of 2015. The traditional folk styling and unaffected voices of the Independence duo remain a refreshing revelation. They’ll perform with a full band on Saturday.
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. Yardley Hall. 913-469-8500. Tickets are $20-$30 through jccc.edu/carlsen-center-presents.
Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
Phoenix’s new album, “Ti Amo,” is one of the most engaging Euro-pop albums since the 1970s heyday of ABBA. The opulent dance tracks are the sonic equivalent of the luxurious images on the pages of a glossy fashion magazine published in the band’s base in France. Phoenix doesn’t attempt anything as ambitious as its frenetic 2009 hit “Lisztomania” on “Ti Amo,” but the transition from youthful exuberance to mature decadence makes the album enormously satisfying. With Y God Y.
7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. Tickets are $29.65 through themidlandkc.com.
Monday, Dec. 4, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
The uncouth songs of Kodak Black, a legally embattled rapper from Florida, are artless. Yet the 20-year-old born Dieuson Octave has a knack for coining catchy couplets. His dismissive putdown of a rival’s sartorial choice on the hit “Roll in Peace” — “he don’t even believe in Jesus — why you got a Jesus piece?” — is one of the most memorable lines of 2017. The hook of the rudimentary hit “Tunnel Vision” — “they don’t like to see you winning — they want to see you in the penitentiary” — is almost as catchy.
8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. Tickets are $35 through themidlandkc.com.
Opens 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at Music Hall
Even if you have previously seen this epic story of love, courage and redemption based on Victor Hugo’s book, you might want to check out “Les Miz” again. The 25th anniversary production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s Tony Award-winning musical comes direct from a 2 1⁄2-year return to Broadway. Also, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6-8, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10. 816-421-7500. Tickets are $38-$207 through broadwayinkc.com.
Washington vs. Kansas
8 p.m. Dec. 6 at Sprint Center
Fresh off a game against Syracuse at the Hoophall Miami Invitational on Dec. 2, the highly ranked Kansas basketball team will meet the Washington Huskies in the Jayhawks’ only regular-season game in Kansas City. The Huskies will be looking to regain some national prestige after losing to Providence and Virginia Tech at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic in mid-November. 816-949-7100. Tickets are $34-$154 through sprintcenter.com.
Kansas City Ballet, “The Nutcracker”
Opens 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Muriel Kauffman Theatre
This will be the equivalent of a favorite sports team coming back home after a successful road trip. The Kansas City Ballet will return from seven shows over five days (Nov. 22-26) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, where the ballet premiered its new production of the holiday favorite. It is the 45th year the troupe has performed “The Nutcracker” locally. Runs through Dec. 24. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-931-8993. Tickets are $40.50-$140.50 through kcballet.org.
Chiefs vs. Oakland
Noon Dec. 10 at Arrowhead
Now that their midseason collapse has killed the Chiefs’ hopes of earning home-field advantage in the playoffs and a favorable path to the Super Bowl, they can focus on repeating as AFC West Division champs. The formula is simple: If they win their three remaining games against division rivals, starting with the Raiders, they will clinch the West title and a playoff spot. Also, vs. San Diego, Dec. 16, and vs. Miami, Dec. 24. 816-920-9300. Tickets are $70-$400 through chiefs.com.
NCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championships
6 and 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and 8 p.m. Dec. 16 at Sprint Center
When the NCAA women’s volleyball championships were in Kansas City for the first time in 2010, Penn State defeated California to win its fourth consecutive national title. The Nittany Lions, who also won national championships in 2013 and 2014, are among the top teams this season as well, along with Florida, Texas, Stanford and Kentucky. The semifinals will be Dec. 14, with the championship match Dec. 16. 816-949-7100. Tickets are $45-$75 through sprintcenter.com.
Kansas City Symphony, Christmas Festival
Opens 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Helzberg Hall
The symphony will present five holiday-themed events during December, including Handel’s “Messiah” (Dec. 8-10) and “Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’” (Dec. 22-23), but the Christmas Festival will keep the musicians the busiest with seven shows over five days. The Kansas City Symphony Chorus, the Allegro Choirs and the ReZound! Handbell Ensemble will join them for carols and other holiday fun. Also, 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 16, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 17 and 7 p.m. Dec. 18-19. Kauffman Center. 816-471-0400. Tickets are $15-$90 through kcsymphony.org.
Spire Chamber Ensemble, Handel’s “Messiah”
7 p.m. Dec. 20 at Helzberg Hall
Although there will be several productions of the nearly three-century-old “Messiah” performed around the region this holiday season, the Spire Chamber Ensemble’s version is perhaps the area’s most traditional. The Spire Baroque Orchestra will provide accompaniment on original period instruments. Spire also will present a “Messiah Sing-Along” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood. Kauffman Center. 816-944-0360. Tickets are $31.50-$51.50 through spirechamberensemble.org.
7:30 p.m. Dec. 22 and 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 at Music Hall
Shen Yun was created in 2006 when a group of elite Chinese artists came together in New York determined to revive their traditional culture and to share it with the world. Combining ancient legends and authentic costumes with technological innovations and animated backdrops, Shen Yun presents classical Chinese dance as a way to share ethnic and folk traditions. Tickets are $80-$150 through ticketmaster.com.
9 p.m. Dec. 31 at Sprint Center
Now that he’s definitely not running for the U.S. Senate in Michigan, Robert Ritchie has returned to being Kid Rock full time. Kansas City will be honored to have the rap/hip-hop/rock/country artist play host to what is being promoted as “The greatest New Year’s Eve bash on Earth,” which no doubt will give him ample opportunities to display his political incorrectness. Midland will open. 816-949-7000. Tickets are $18-$127 through sprintcenter.com.