What’s it all about? Feel free to take your time with that one – like your whole life.
For those in more of a hurry, this weekend may provide a profound clue or two to the big picture, courtesy of the high drama of Shakespeare, the joyful pop music of ABBA and a celebrity softball game devoted to helping sick kids in our community.
Glean what you can in the search for deeper meaning. Remember, it’s a process. So you might as well have a good time while you’re at it!
The greatest play ever written, William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” tracks the tragic Prince of Denmark’s journey to self-enlightenment by way of insanity, homicide and vengeance. And don’t forget the portentous poetry: “To be, or not to be, that is the question.” Asking it in the title role of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s production of “Hamlet” is accomplished stage and screen actor Nathan Darrow, whose resume includes appearing in the hit Netflix series, “House of Cards,” with Kevin Spacey, who recently made the trip to KC to take in a performance of the Bard’s greatest classic. If only Hamlet could’ve had a friend like that.
Thursday through Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; Southmoreland Park, 4598 Oak St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.
2. ‘Mamma Mia!’
Plot? Oh, sure, there’s one in the smash Broadway musical, “Mamma Mia!” And it has to do with folks finding and losing love and then finding it again – you know, the usual stuff of romantic comedy. But it’s really the music that matters here, with more than a dozen songs by the 1970s and ’80s pop group ABBA fueling the ecstatic theatrical experience, including the profoundly catchy “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “The Name of the Game,” “SOS,” “The Winner Takes It All” and “Take a Chance on Me.” If you like ABBA, there’s no chance of not liking “Mamma Mia!”
Friday through Sunday, 8 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$117.
The eighth annual Big Slick Celebrity Weekend will again feature hometown funny men Rob Riggle, Jason Sudeikis, Paul Rudd, Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner utilizing their TV and movie fame to raise money for a profoundly good cause – Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital. As they do every year for Big Slick, the guys have invited a bunch of their Hollywood pals to be part the fundraising fun, including a bowling tournament and a party/auction. But the highest-profile event will be the Big Slick Celebrity softball game, which this year takes place on the official major league diamond at Kauffman Stadium. Root for your favorite celeb and know that $5 of every ticket goes to Big Slick.
Friday, 5 p.m.; Kauffman Stadium, One Royal Way, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free with ticket to Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays game (remaining tickets cost $22 and $34).
4. Joe Jackson
In the late 1970s, dynamic English new-wave rocker Joe Jackson was hailed by some as the next Elvis Costello. Instead of sagging under such pressure, Jackson focused on doing his own profound thing, which eventually encompassed big band swing and classical music. Still, it’s the earlier stuff that’ll for sure be on the minds of fans when they see him at the Uptown Theater, hoping to hear such gems as the romantically bummed out “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” and the totally cocky “I’m the Man.” Oh, he’s the man!
Friday, 8 p.m.; Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40-$75.
Engineers, artists, scientists and crafters of all ages share their creative dreams in progress at Maker Faire Kansas City. Featured exhibitors include the “Star Wars”-loving KC R2 Builders Club, whose members build their own versions of the sci-fi film franchise’s R2D2 and other droids. Other anticipated highlights: Souped-up “Power Wheel” kiddie car racing, the high-tech comedy of AudioBody, onstage science experiments, workshops on how to turn a hobby into a business, live mural painting and – oh, goody – futuristic candy making. Profundity, thy name is chocolate.
Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $13, $16.
6. Snakes Alive
In the story of Adam and Eve, the most infamous snake of all ends up having a profoundly negative influence on humanity, which could explain why so many people are scared to death of the slinking creatures. Live snakes will be shown and the myths and truths about them addressed at this learning event sponsored by the Ernie Miller Nature Center. Can you handle it? A snake, I mean. If you also want to get a grip on the meaning of life, go right ahead.
Friday, 7 p.m.; Ernie Miller Park Amphitheater, 909 N. K-7 Highway, Olathe, Kan.; admission: $3.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at email@example.com.