May highlights: Martin Lawrence, Tiffany Haddish, Trevor Noah, James Comey
Kansas City Burlesque Festival
7 and 9:30 p.m. May 4 at Opera House and 7:30 p.m. May 5 at Folly
The three shows over two nights at two venues will bring the best of variety and burlesque to Kansas City. Spectacularly Burlesque at 7 p.m. Friday will feature an open category of performance, followed by the Late Night Stage Strut “sexy” show. The Burlesque & Variety Extravaganza and the Classic Performer Competition will highlight Saturday’s entertainment. Tickets are $25-$57 through kcburlesque.com.
LIT AF Tour hosted by Martin Lawrence
7:30 p.m. May 4 at Sprint Center
You can enjoy five comics for the price of one as Bruce Bruce, Jay Pharoah, Adele Givens and Benji Brown will join Martin Lawrence at this comedy extravaganza. Lawrence, who has starred in films (“Big Momma’s House,” “Bad Boys,” “Wild Hogs” and “Life”) and television (“Martin”), serves as the master of ceremonies for the 16-city tour that started March 31 in Atlantic City. 816-949-7000. Tickets are $35-$150 through sprintcenter.com.
Audra McDonald with Kansas City Symphony
8 p.m. May 5 at Helzberg Hall
Having earned a record six Tony Awards as well as two Grammy Awards and a National Medal of Arts in 2015, Audra McDonald is perhaps Broadway’s biggest star. But she also has performed dramatic roles on television (“Private Practice” and “The Good Fight”) and movies. She is now on a North American concert tour that will bring her here for a one-night-only performance with the Kansas City Symphony. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-0400. Tickets are $49-$69 through kcsymphony.org.
“The Lion King”
Opens 7:30 p.m. May 9 at Music Hall
Broadway Across America will stage Kansas City’s show of the year with its touring production of “The Lion King,” winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 1998. Featuring music by Elton John and Tim Rice, the Disney story of a young lion and his evil uncle features familiar songs and giant puppets. Although the run will include 23 shows, tickets are liable to be scarce. Runs through May 27. 816-421-7500. Tickets are $40-$435 through broadwayinkc.com.
Kansas City Ballet, “Peter Pan”
Opens 7:30 p.m. May 11 at Muriel Kauffman Theatre
The story might be familiar, but you haven’t seen the likes of this “Peter Pan.” With world premiere choreography by Kansas City Ballet artistic director Devon Carney and Carmon DeLeone’s score performed by the Kansas City Symphony, the classic family fantasy featuring the adventures of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Darling children and Captain Hook truly comes to life. Runs through May 20. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-931-8993. Tickets are $34-$134 through kcballet.org.
7 p.m. May 12 at Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
8 p.m. May 12 at Starlight Theatre
Unfortunately for comedy fans, they will have to choose between two huge stars in town on the same night. Tiffany Haddish has exploded in popularity in the past year, having stolen virtually every scene in the film “Girls Trip” and now co-starring in the TBS sitcom “The Last O.G.” She was named to Time magazine’s most recent 100 most influential people in the world. Trevor Noah was the biggest comedian in Africa before joining “The Daily Show” in 2014. The South African then took over as the show’s host when Jon Stewart retired in 2015.
Tiffany Haddish: 816-283-9921. Tickets are $35-$55 through midlandkc.com.
Trevor Noah: 816-363-7827. Tickets are $35-$85 through kcstarlight.com.
“On Your Feet! The Musical”
8 p.m. May 22-27 at Starlight
The husband-and-wife team of Gloria and Emilio Estefan rose from humble beginnings in Cuba to winning 26 Grammy Awards as pop stars in the United States. “On Your Feet!” tells the Estefans’ story and is filled with their music. The musical features choreography by Sergio Trujillo (“Jersey Boys”) and an original book by Academy Award winner Alexander Dinelaris (“Birdman”). 816-363-7827. Tickets are $14-$145 through kcstarlight.com.
7:30 p.m. May 25 at Uptown
Perhaps you’ve heard of James Comey and his book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” The former FBI director’s takedown of President Donald Trump, who fired him, became a runaway bestseller as soon as it was released April 17 and Comey has since been touring in support of the book. 913-384-3126. Tickets are $35 through rainydaybooks.com.
Kansas City Symphony, Celebration at the Station
8 p.m. May 27 at Union Station
The largest free Memorial Day weekend festival in the Midwest will include a flyover by the KC Flight Formation Team, as well as musical guests Airman First Class Melissa Edgmon from the U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America and operatic baritone John Brancy. As always, the Kansas City Symphony will provide the patriotic music, capped by a fireworks display. The event site will open at 3 p.m., with pre-concert musical acts, food trucks and other activities. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. Free.
Old Shawnee Days
May 31-June 3 in Shawnee
This will be the 52nd annual celebration in Shawnee, and the parade (10 a.m. June 2) has grown into one of the largest in Kansas. Other Old Shawnee Days highlights will be a carnival, vendors, children’s activities, a Bloody Mary party, a pie and baking contest and music on multiple stages featuring national and local acts. 913-631-5200. oldshawneedays.org. Free except for carnival.