The mega guide to KC-area summer theater, classical music, comedy shows and more
Kansas City can become an arts and entertainment desert during the summer, when the options for theater, classical music and the like tends to dwindle to a bare minimum.
Not so this summer.
Big names and big events will dot the local schedule from early June through Labor Day.
The biggest name, of course, will be Alexander Hamilton. “Hamilton,” the story of the nation’s first Treasury secretary as told by Lin-Manuel Miranda, took Broadway by storm in 2015 and will run June 18-July 7 at the Music Hall as part of the Kansas City Broadway Series.
Among other summer visitors will be Adam Sandler, Ed Asner, Theresa Caputo, Chita Rivera, Jane Fonda, Tom Segura, Tan France and John Cusack — and that’s not even counting the many big names who will be in town for Big Slick Celebrity Weekend.
After “Hamilton,” the Kansas City Broadway Series will take a break until October. Meanwhile, Starlight will bring in touring Broadway shows, highlighted by “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” and “Cats.” In addition, Starlight will present its own production of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Kansas City also will host three major sporting events during the summer: the Team USA Men’s Soccer Gold Cup, the International Champions Cup matching FC Bayern against AC Milan and the U.S. Gymnastics Championships.
They are among 20 events (plus a mega list of others) we present here for your summer entertainment planning.
June 4 at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
On the heels of his Netflix special, “100% Fresh,” last fall and his return to “Saturday Night Live” as a guest host this spring, Adam Sandler is embarking on “100% Fresher,” a 19-stop comedy tour across the United States this summer. 816-442-6100. Tickets are $79-$199 through silversteineyecentersarena.com.
Big Slick Celebrity Weekend
June 7-8 at Sprint Center and other venues
Celebrities galore – along with hosts Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis, Paul Rudd, Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner – will be on hand for the Big Slick celebrity softball game, 5 p.m. June 7 at Kauffman Stadium. On June 8 they’ll gather for the Block Party at Prairiefire, which will run 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Tickets to the Big Slick Party and Show that evening at the Sprint Center are available for $79. The event is a big fundraiser for Children’s Mercy Hospital. bigslickkc.org.
“The Wizard of Oz”
June 10-16 at Starlight
You’ve no doubt seen the movie about Dorothy and her friends. This Starlight Theatre production will celebrate its 80th anniversary. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $14-$145 through kcstarlight.com.
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, “Shakespeare in Love”
June 11-July 7 at Southmoreland Park
For the first time, the festival will present a play that wasn’t written by Shakespeare. Also, the season will expand from three weeks to four. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday and July 1; no show July 4. 816-531-7728. kcshakes.org. Free; reserved seating available for purchase.
June 15 at Arrowhead Stadium
Bad Company, Grave Digger, Raminator and Zombie are among the monster trucks scheduled to compete at Arrowhead, a first-time venue for the event. 800-653-8000. Tickets are $20-$100 through ticketmaster.com.
Symphony in the Flint Hills
June 15 at Chase County, Kansas
After other activities throughout the day, the Kansas City Symphony will perform at sunset in its annual summer concert set amid the last remaining expanse of tallgrass prairie in the world. Irma’s Pasture near Bazaar. 620-273-8955. Tickets are $50-$95 through symphonyintheflinthills.org.
Ed Asner, “A Man and His Prostate”
June 16 at White Theatre
The Kansas City, Kansas, native who gained fame playing Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” will star in a one-person play about a man visiting the hospital in preparation for surgery he doesn’t want. Jewish Community Center. 913-327-8054. Tickets are $17.50-$60 through thewhitetheatre.org.
June 17 at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
The star of TLC’s “Long Island Medium” since 2011 will share personal stories, explain how her gift works and deliver healing messages. 816-283-9921. Tickets are $39.50 through arvestbanktheatre.com.
June 18-July 7 at Music Hall
The play that catapulted playwright/composer/lyricist/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda to superstardom and won 11 Tony Awards will come to the Music Hall for 24 performances. 800-745-3000. broadwayinkc.com. Sold out; some tickets might be available through secondary market.
Team USA Men’s Soccer Gold Cup
June 26 at Children’s Mercy Park
Two matches will be played as part of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup: the U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Panama and Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guyana. Tickets are $45-$275 through ussoccer.com.
June 28 at Yardley Hall
The two-time Tony Award winner will be joined by Broadway stars Corey Cott and Telly Leung to perform hits from Broadway musicals. Johnson County Community College. 913-469-4445. Tickets are $19-$49 through jccc.edu/theseries.
Kansas City Air Show
July 6-7 at Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S Army Golden Knights will be among the stars during two days of world-class aerobatic performances and military jet demonstrations. Tickets are $8.50-$200 through kcairshow.org.
July 9-14 at Starlight
With the long-awaited movie version of this iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber musical expected to come out by the end of the year, this is your chance to see the Broadway version. 816-363-7827. Tickets are $14-$145 through kcstarlight.com.
July 9 at Muriel Kauffman Theatre
The two-time Academy Award winner and co-star of hit Netflix series “Grace and Frankie” will share anecdotes from a lifetime of film and activism. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-994-7222. Tickets are $56-$106 through kauffmancenter.org.
KC Fringe Festival
July 14-28 at multiple venues
The 15th annual 14-day celebration of the performing and visual arts will draw cutting-edge performers and creators from around the area, nation and world. Fringe Festival buttons ($5) and tickets will be available at kcfringe.org.
International Champions Cup: FC Bayern vs. AC Milan
July 23 at Arrowhead Stadium
European football (soccer to most of us Americans) will invade the home of the Chiefs when the legendary German side FC Bayern meets Italian foe AC Milan. 800-653-8000. Tickets are $35-$300 through ticketmaster.com.
Aug. 3 at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
After a screening of “Say Anything,” which helped make him a star, John Cusack will talk about his career and the making of the 1989 movie. 816-283-9921. Tickets are $35-$150 through arvestbanktheatre.com.
U.S. Gymnastics Championships
Aug. 8-11 at Sprint Center
Taking place almost exactly one year before the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the U.S. Gymnastics Championships will be a proving ground for our nation’s top gymnasts. One of the stars likely will be Simone Biles, who won her fifth all-around national title at the 2018 U.S. Championships. 816-949-7100. Tickets are $160-$550 through sprintcenter.com.
Aug. 23 at Muriel Kauffman Theatre
The spiritual teacher, author and television personality will return to the stage with her “Acts of Faith Remix Tour.” Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-994-7222. Tickets are $41.75-$86.75 through kauffmancenter.org.
KC SuperStar finals
Aug. 25 at Yardley Hall
Ten singers from area high schools will advance from the more than 200 who participated in the preliminaries to vie for first place and a $10,000 scholarship in a fundraiser for the Jewish Community of Greater Kansas City. 913-981-8895. kcsuperstar.org. Sponsorships start at $250.
Classical music and dance
Kinnor Philharmonic, June 2, White Theatre. thewhitetheatre.org
Spire Chamber Ensemble, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” June 2, Trinity Lutheran Church. spirechamberensemble.org
Kansas City Symphony, “Sounds Relaxing: Renew,” June 5, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
Amado Espinoza Trio, June 6, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. kemperart.org
Kansas City Symphony, “Symphonic Metamorphosis plus Bach and Brahms,” June 7-9, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
Heartland Men’s Chorus, “Rock You!” June 8-9, Folly. hmckc.org
Owen/Cox Dance Group, “Strung Through Time,” June 8-9, White Recital Hall. owencoxdance.org
Kansas City Symphony, Classics Uncorked: “Secrets Revealed,” June 13, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
William Baker Festival Singers, June 14, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. festivalsingers.org
Kansas City Symphony, “Pictures at an Exhibition,” June 21-23, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
Ensemble Iberica, “La Frontera,” July 16-17, MTH Theater at Crown Center. ensembleiberica.org
Heartland Chamber Music Festival, July 26-Aug. 3, Johnson County Community College. heartlandchambermusic.org
“The Revolutionists,” June 5-30, Unicorn Theatre. unicorntheatre.org
“Oklahoma!” June 6-30, MTH Theater at Crown Center. mthkc.com
“Annie,” June 7-15, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are In A Play!’” June 11-Aug. 4, Coterie Theatre. thecoterie.org
“The Shipwreck Show,” June 11-30, Mesner Puppet Theater. mesnerpuppets.org
“Pippin,” Music Theatre Kansas City, June 13-16, B&B Live. mtkc.org
“Broadway and All That Jazz: Songbook of the ’80s to the Present,” June 14-July 14, Quality Hill Playhouse. qualityhillplayhouse.com
Future Stages Festival, June 16, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org/futurestages
“City of Angels,” June 20-30, Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. metkc.org
Burlesque Downtown Underground, June 21, Opera House. kcburlesque.com
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” June 21-29, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
Daisy Buckët, June 22, Missie B’s. brownpapertickets.com/event/4244613
“Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” June 25-30, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
“The Music Man,” July 5-13, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“Peter Pan,” July 6-28, White Theatre. thewhitetheatre.org
“First Ladies of Country Music,” July 11-Aug. 25, Chestnut Fine Arts Center. chestnutfinearts.com
“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” July 11-Sept. 15, New Theatre Restaurant. newtheatre.com
“Kiss Me, Kate,” July 11-14, Ironwoods Amphitheater. leawoodstageco.org
“Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Kids,” Barn Players Jr., July 12-14, Bishop Miege High School. thebarnplayers.org
“Matilda, The Musical,” July 19-27, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“A Bronx Tale,” July 30-Aug. 4, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
“The Wizard of Oz,” Aug. 2-10, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“A Doll’s House,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, Aug. 7-25, City Stage. kcactors.org
“In The Heights,” Aug. 8-25, MTH Theater at Crown Center. mthkc.com
“We Live Here,” Aug. 8-10, White Theatre. thewhitetheatre.org
“Mamma Mia,” Barn Players, Aug. 22-Sept. 1, Arts Asylum. thebarnplayers.org
“Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy,” Sept. 6-8, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
“An Evening with Jeremy Jordan,” Sept. 6-7, MTH Theater at Crown Center. mthkc.com
Jon Schieszer and Lucas Hirl, June 2, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
The Loftus Party, June 4, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Emma Willmann, June 6-8, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Tony Roberts, June 6-8, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Christopher Titus, June 9, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Big Jay Oakerson, June 13-15, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Susanna Lee, June 13, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Andy Dick with Paris Dylan, June 14-15, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Louis Katz, June 20-22, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Kountry Wayne, June 21-22, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
The Try Guys, June 25, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Jackie Kashian, June 27-29, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Drew Lynch, June 28, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Faizon Love, June 28-29, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Tom Segura, June 29-30, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Benji Brown, July 5-7, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Eleanor Kerrigan, July 5-7, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Amanda Seales, July 10, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Chris Cope, July 11-13, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Tony Rock, July 11-14, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Felipe Esparza, July 12, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Lee Camp, July 13, Buffalo Room. brownpapertickets.com/event/4242598
Jeff Dye, July 18, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Raj Sharma, July 18-20, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Lavell Crawford, July 26-28, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Kansas City Improv Festival, Aug. 15-17 and 22-24, Kick Comedy Theater. kcimprovfestival.com
Matt Braunger, Aug. 22-24, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Katya, Aug. 26, Folly. follytheater.org
Jen Kober, Aug. 29-31, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Brian Regan, Sept. 6, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Teo Gonzalez, Sept. 6, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
“Palimpsest” interactive art, June 13-14, Capsule. eventbrite.ca/event/59295533537
“Paper Routes – Women to Watch 2020,” June 14-Sept. 15, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. kemperart.org
“Fashionable Luxuries: French and Italian Textiles,” June 19-Dec. 15, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. nelson-atkins.org
“Under the Big Top,” June 21-Oct. 13, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. nelson-atkins.org
Atrium Project: Angel Otero, Aug. 23-Aug. 2, 2020, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. kemperart.org
“California Gold Rush Daguerreotypes,” Sept. 6-Jan. 26, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. nelson-atkins.org
Rose Day, June 2, Laura Conyers Smith Rose Garden, Loose Park. kcparks.org/event/rose-day
KC SuperStar semifinals, June 3, White Theatre. kcsuperstar.org
Biological anthropologist Cheryl Knott and photographer Tim Laman, National Geographic Live, June 4, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
Invicta Fighting Championships 35, June 7, Memorial Hall. invictafc.com
Jazzoo, June 7, Kansas City Zoo. jazzookc.org
Tan France for “Naturally Tan,” June 7, Unity Temple on the Plaza. rainydaybooks.com
“Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog,” June 8-Sept. 22, Crown Center. crowncenter.com
Juneteenth Celebration, June 8, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. nelson-atkins.org
Korso, “A Man and his Dillusions: A Modern Magic Show,” June 8 and July 13, Culture House Stage. korsomagic.com
Game Grumps Live! June 10, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Ricky Tims, June 13-14, White Theatre. thewhitetheatre.org
Angel Fashion Show, June 15, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Breakfast & Blooms, June 22, Bingham-Waggoner Estate. bwestate.net
Men In Blazers, June 25, Madrid. madridtheatre.com
60th Anniversary Celebration, June 28, 1859 Jail and Marshal’s Home. jchs.org
The Liturgists with Michael Gungor and Science Mike, June 28, The Truman. thetrumankc.com
“Napoleon Dynamite” screening and discussion with cast members, June 28, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
Flags 4 Freedom, June 29, Merriam Marketplace. merriam.org
Global Family Reunion, June 29, Midwest Genealogy Center. mymcpl.org/events/50860/global-family-reunion
Hall of Game Induction Ceremony, June 29, Gem Theater. nlbm.com
“Clips and Conversation with Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker Kevin Willmott,” July 12, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. nelson-atkins.org
The Great Car Show, July 21, National WWI Museum and Memorial. thegreatcarshow.com
Rivalry Renewed MU-KU Alumni Charity Basketball, July 28, Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. silversteineyecentersarena.com
Romance GenreCon, Aug. 1-3, Woodneath Library Center. mymcpl.org/romance
Rock the Stockyards 5K, Aug. 10, Stockyards District. rockthestockyards.com
Shamrock FC 321, Aug. 10, Ameristar. ameristarkansascity.com
Mavis Staples will appear for her book “I’ll Take You There,” Aug. 21, Liberty Hall. libertyhall.net
Oddities & Curiosities Expo, Aug. 31, Bartle Hall. odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com