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Arts & Life

Kansas City Arts Groups Root For The Home Team

courtesy: Lyric Opera of Kansas City

Vying for attention with the red hot Royals this week, Kansas City arts organizations say the show must go on.

“There’s no reason you can’t love sports and art both – and I do,” Rocco Landesman, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts told KCURon a visit to Kansas City a few years ago.

Still, arts advocates understand that the Royals' first World Series bid in nearly 30 years has made the city a bit sports-crazy.

"No one is expecting to sell any big tickets," says Ellen McDonald, who handles public relations for the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Instead they’re "finding a way to honor civic pride."

A new play by Ayad Akhtar, The Who & The What, is in previews this week and opens at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s Copaken Stage on Friday. That's also Game Three of the World Series. And, if the Royals are on a winning streak like the American League Championship Series, it could be a game no one wants to miss.

In response, the Kansas City Rep is offering "pay what you can" for tickets on game nights throughout the run of the show, which is something they’ve done once before during another big sporting event: the Super Bowl. 

"I’ll certainly share our excitement of that night’s game at my curtain speech. And there will be an opportunity to watch the game during intermission for those interested in following," says the Rep’s artistic director, Eric Rosen. "That said, we will honor our patrons’ loyalty and commitment with a great production that night."

The Kansas City Symphony opens its classical concert season on Friday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts with works by Brahms, Wagner, Zemlinsky and Mendelssohn's "Scottish" Symphony as the finale. Music director Michael Stern said the program will break out of its usual format with some live banter from the stage.

"Everyone in Kansas City, along with the Kansas City Symphony organization, has Royals World Series fever," says Stern. "We have lots of Royals fans in the orchestra, so we are planning a variety of surprises and updates during this weekend’s Symphony concerts at the Kauffman Center."

Organizations like the Symphony are starting to offer challenges to their counterparts in San Francisco. If the Kansas City Royals win the World Series, the San Francisco Symphony's music director, Michael Tilson Thomas, has agreed to wear a Royals jersey for an encore when he conducts in Kansas City on November 12. 

Among other friendly wagers, Dustin Cates, artistic director of the Heartland Men's Chorus, issued this video challenge to the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: 

And the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus answered in kind: 

You can read the details of his counter wager here.

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is looking ahead to a Royals win. On Facebook, they issued a call for selfies with "Crying Giant," a bronze sculpture by Tom Otterness on the museum's front lawn.

"This sad fellow must already know the fate of his fellow Giants that open World Series play this week! Royals fans are challenged to pose with this Crying Giant just as the Kemper Museum staff did!" 

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