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Arts & Life

6 Rootsy Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

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Want to have a rootsy weekend? It might take some digging. Don’t worry — no tools are required, only the desire to drill down into your pleasure zone.

If you’re into rock music, why not experience a new take on the world’s first hippie rock musical? Is rhythm and blues your deal? Then one of its vital purveyors could be at your disposal. Or maybe you enjoy the sheer spectacle of expert female impersonation. There’s a way to make that happen, too.

Get to the root. The rest will take care of itself.

1. Hair: Retrospection

Need I say it? Hair taps the roots of the 1960s counterculture more persuasively than any other piece of popular musical theater, thanks in great part to such enduring anthems as "Good Morning Starshine," "Aquarius" and "Let the Sunshine In." Close to 50 years after its first staging, this historic rock musical gets the inventive Kansas City Repertory Theatre treatment as a “concert documentary event” (with interviews) and features six actors from the show’s original Broadway cast. Let’s just hope they still have enough hair. Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; 7 p.m. Sunday; Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Spencer Theatre, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets; $20-$54.

2. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

The core of rock ’n’ roll — rebellion, honesty and a back beat that won’t quit — came together in the 1970s to make Bob Seger a major draw for the young and the restless. But Seger wasn’t only about getting the kids up and dancing with such out-and-out rockers as "Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man," "Katmandu" and "Get Out of Denver." His words-and-music artistry grew to ponder the search for identity, the passage of time and the challenge to press on in such thoughtful classics as "Turn the Page," "Night Moves" and "Against the Wind." The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has a new album (Ride Out) that he’s touring behind, but the oldies should dominate onstage – including the bittersweet memories of youth’s promise in Like a Rock, which also sold a lot of Chevy trucks. Hey, a guy’s got to make a living. Friday, 8 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $43-$93.

3. Charlie Wilson

Charlie Wilson built up a lot of love as co-founder of the famous 1970s and ’80s r&b and funk group the Gap Band, and it’s only kept building during his successful solo career. With the formal retirement of the Gap Band a few years back, Wilson’s fundamental flair for showmanship and crafting hits continues to impress, as demonstrated by his latest album, Forever Charlie, which includes "Goodnight Kisses." The nine-time Grammy Award nominee will bring a full cache of other romantic r&b adult contemporary hits, such as “My Love Is All I Have” and “There Goes My Baby.” So-o-o-o smooth. Sunday, 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $49.50-$86.

4. Greater Kansas City Home Show

The post-World War II American Dream went hand in hand with buying a home. Realizing that goal today may be more elusive for many, but there are still plenty of homeowners (and dreamers) to make the 2015 Greater Kansas City Home Show — in its 67th year — a sustainable attraction. It’s a place where you can learn about home, lawn and garden improvements, and also compare calluses with such celebrity guests as Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s "Fixer Upper." Or you can just hang out in the show’s beer garden and toast low interest rates for as long as they last. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, March 22, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Bartle Hall, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $10; ages 12 and younger free.

5. RuPaul’s Drag Race: Battle of the Seasons

Guys have been dolling themselves up ever since some fellow way back when first put on a skirt, because — well, just because. While that original drag garment might have been made of leaves or grass, the amazing dresses worn by today’s drag queens are far flashier and merely the starting point for the gender-bending fun. The wonderful world of drag will be played to the glitzy hilt when the touring version of RuPaul’s hit TV series, "Drag Race," comes to town with such over-the-top entertainers as Adore Delano, Phi Phi O’Hara and Jinx Monsoon. I think it’s great that they’re using their real names, don’t you? Friday, 10 p.m., Uptown Theater, 3700 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40 to $60

6. Black Pearl Sings!

When she meets a singing female prisoner, a Depression-era song collector unearths a wealth of obscure yet culturally significant folk and gospel songs. The two women forge a mutually beneficial relationship while sharing a cappella versions of regional American tunes that otherwise might have been sadly forgotten. Written by Kansas City playwright Frank Higgins, Black Pearl Sings! is in its final weekend of performances produced by Spinning Tree Theatre. Compelling stuff and as rootsy as it gets. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. (talkback with playwright, director and actors following performance); Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m.; Off Broadway Theatre, 3051 Penn Valley Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25, $35; $15 for students.

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