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6 Revolutionary Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City

Kenneth Hagemeyer
The Beatles tribute band Fab Four take the stage in Kansas City this weekend.

As the Beatles posited in their pithy ditty, “Revolution”: “You say you want a revolution/Well, you know, we all want to change the world.”

Despite such lyrical caginess, John, Paul, George and Ringo couldn’t help but shake things up for all the world to see. That’s what revolutionaries do.

This weekend, the malleable ’60s mop-tops and other ground-breakers will be given their revolutionary due. Take to the streets! No, you can’t bring a torch. Nice try, though.

1. The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute

Forty-five years after breaking up, the Beatles are still the most beloved and influential rock band in history. Filling the void – besides Paul McCartney’s ongoing tours and the bands that he and his mates tremendously influenced – are such meticulously prepared copycat outfits as the Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute. These guys look and sound like the real thing, from their nifty costume changes to what really counts: spot-on renditions of masterful pop tunes that exemplify the Beatles entirely amazing career. Don’t be surprised if you want to hold the hand of the person sitting next to you.

Saturday, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St.; Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25.50-$40.50

2. ‘The Three Musketeers'

Is it ‘life imitates art’ or ‘art imitates life?’ I can never keep that straight, but either could apply to Alexander Dumas’ historical novel, The Three Musketeers. On the surface, it’s a rousing adventure about several close-knit swashbucklers set in 17th-century France, but the story’s underlying concerns with injustice may have both reflected and propelled events. Dumas’ popular tale was first published only a few years before the French Revolution of 1848, and it's since been embraced in many entertaining forms beyond the printed page – including this weekend’s performances of “The Three Musketeers” by the Kansas City Ballet. All for dance, and dance for all!

Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1602 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $49-$119.

3. Kraftwerk 3-D Concert

In the early 1970s, guitar, bass and drums were the conventional instruments for bands that wanted to make a name for themselves. Enter Kraftwerk, the ultramodern German ensemble that boldly embraced computerized keyboards and other new ways of making music to create a technology driven vision of the future. What was startling then is still strangely thrilling today, as audiences of Kraftwerk’s current 3-D concert tour can attest. It’s a dynamically digitized audio-visual treat, although you might not know it from looking at the band members passively pushing buttons behind podiums. Too cool.

Friday, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St.; Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $59.50-$79.50.

4. 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival

Did jazz and blues (and its progeny, r&b and rock) change the world? For the purposes of this explicitly themed column, absolutely. And, yes, also for the purposes of Kansas City’s historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, whose annual jazz and blues fest offers a variety of reasons to be blown away by the innovative folk music that gave rise to Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Muddy Waters, Little Richard and other contrasting yet related musicians. This year’s daylong fest delivers more than 20 acts encompassing the many nuances and outcomes of blues and jazz, including musical-stew headliner the Family Stone. A fun day for everyday people.  

Saturday, 1-11 p.m.; American Jazz Museum, 1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $10.

5. ‘The Miracle Worker’

Helen Keller – in the parlance of her day – was deaf and blind. Miraculously, that didn’t stop her from becoming one of the world’s most honored individuals as a stellar ambassador of the strength of the human spirit. The late 19th-century story of the hearty Keller and her invaluable teacher, Annie Sullivan, is told in this classic drama for all ages. American Sign Language and audio descriptions are delivered in every performance. Those who arrive an hour before show time on Saturday can also learn a bit of basic sign language.

Friday, 11:45 a.m. and 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.; Coterie Theatre at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $11-$15.

6. The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

The original Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra in London was instrumental in re-popularizing live performances of conductorless, baroque music in the early 1960s. The Academy’s Ensemble was later formed to play larger chamber works, although the attention it continues to pay to every nuance in the music remains infinitesimally intact. Listeners at the esteemed group’s local concert will be treated to Mozart, Schubert and Strauss. Revolutionary influences aside, if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it!

Saturday, 8 p.m. (pre-show talk 7 p.m.); Polsky Theatre at the Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $30.

Brian McTavish follows popular culture in the belief that the search for significance can lead anywhere. Brian explains, "I've written articles and reviews ... reviewed hundreds of concerts, films and plays. And the thing is, these high arts all sprang from the pop culture of their day. Don't forget: Shakespeare was once Spielberg."
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