Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, the day that hearts are won with candy, flowers and other expressions of sweet love and enduring devotion.
Consider this weekend the lovely lead-up, when couples can engage in events that mean something special to them – even if one person might get a bit more out of a given activity than the other. Because isn’t sacrifice a part of being someone’s Valentine? It’s not like Cupid’s arrow doesn’t sting for a reason.
One more thing: Don’t forget the card. Then you might be sacrificed!
How do you get love? How do you keep it? If you know, then you know more than the tragic title character of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” Broadway’s longest running musical, in which a disfigured guy wearing a mask tries to win over a gal in the sewers under a European opera house. Did I mention that he won’t let her leave? Not exactly a foolproof plan. Still, the passions are sweeping and audiences may be left weeping.
Thursday, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 and 6:30 p.m.; Municipal Auditorium Music Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $58-$142.
Another way to hang on to what you want – if only for 8 seconds, tops – is on the professional-bull-riding circuit, where determined contestants literally hold the reins to their futures. So what if neither you nor yours could ever possibly stay on top of a real bucking bull? Think of it as a rough metaphor for romantic survival. Or simply make each wild ride you witness super fun by kissing your sweetheart for as long as each cowpoke manages to remain in the saddle. Bring plenty of lip balm.
Saturday, 6:45 p.m.; Sunday, 1:45 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$400.
The flip side of dearest love is devastating heartbreak, and hillbilly swing savant Wayne Hancock convincingly conveys the latter in one of his signature ditties, “87 Southbound.” The lyrics tell the story of a man who catches his woman in the act with another man. Yet the song’s perky melody and Hancock’s defiant vocal belie the sadness of his discovery, for it’s clear that this is one country fella who’ll press on in the ways of life and love no matter what. And you can dance to it!
Sunday, 8 p.m., Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15.
True love isn’t for sale. But might it be pawned? “Pawn Stars” TV star Rick Harrison might have a funny answer to that question – or, heaven help us, a serious one – when he visits with fans from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the 57th annual World of Wheels. Maybe ask him about his favorite set of wheels at this family friendly showcase for top hot rods, customs, trucks and motorcycles, including Jack Walker’s “Cavalcade of Customs” tribute to custom cars of the 1950s and 1960s. Speaking of vintage attractions, you can also chat with Ben Jones, who played “Cooter” on the original “Dukes of Hazzard” TV series, from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Anyone out there have a crush on Cooter? Don’t hold back your love.
Friday, 3-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Kansas City Convention Center, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $18, $6 for kids 6-12.
Keyboardist James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon were original teenage members of Pieces of a Dream back in the 1970s, and they’re carrying on the Philadelphia band’s easygoing blend of R&B and smooth jazz for modern audiences. Valentine couples attending Pieces of a Dream’s gig this weekend will want to keep their ears open for tender renditions of “Pillow Talk” and “Love’s Silhouette.” Remember to pull down the window shade when you get home.
Saturday, 8 p.m.; Gem Theater, 1615 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $45.
6. ‘First Date’
Blind dates are brave experiments in human relations. There’s simply no way of knowing ahead of time if they’ll take off and soar, just lay there or crash and burn. The musical comedy, “First Date,” tackles the topic with crowd-pleasing zest, when a woman who’s never been on a blind date meets up with a man who’s been on more than he can remember. When the could-be couple’s inner dialogues come out to play over drinks and dinner – and restaurant workers take on various singing-and-dancing roles – the meeting-cute meter might explode. Only you and your valentine can decide if the risk is worth taking.
Thursday, 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Cohen Community Stage House at Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $36-$70.
Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.