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6 Nutty Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Julie Denesha
KCUR 89.3
The Kansas City Ballet's revamped production of 'The Nutcracker' offers brand-new choreography, sets and costumes, along with more kids than ever onstage.

How nutty is this weekend’s entertainment scene?

Pretty nutty, whether you’re attracted to a play about the influence of The Simpsons on post-apocalyptic America or the Kansas City Ballet’s revamped version of The Nutcracker – you knew that was coming, right?

Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a nutty ride.

1. ‘The Nutcracker’

Dreams are frequently nutty, including the one at the center of the holiday ballet, “The Nutcracker,” where life-size mice do battle with a larger-than-life Nutcracker. Thank goodness there’s refuge in the Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy. (I’d probably have more faith in Gen. George S. Patton, but everyone’s entitled to their own reverie.) The Kansas City Ballet’s revamped production of “The Nutcracker” offers brand-new choreography, sets and costumes, along with more kids than ever onstage. Despite such sweeping changes, the ballet has not forsaken the timeless music of Tchaikovsky, because that would be a nightmare.

Saturday, 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 and 5 p.m.; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $54-$129.

2. ‘Out of Order’

A stage farce, by definition, is an exercise in nuttiness, yet its expert execution can be a stunning achievement. Leave it to our friends at the New Theatre Restaurant to once again scale the heights of such silly territory with “Out of Order,” a frequently produced example of the door-slamming genre, penned by farce-happy English playwright Ray Cooney. In the show, a cadre of comedic characters has to deal with a dead body, which must be kept hidden, but continues to pop up at the most inopportune times. Not that there’s ever a good time. Haw!

Thursday and Friday, 7:35 p.m.; Saturday, 1 and 7:35 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30 and 7:35 p.m.; New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster St., Overland Park, Kan.; tickets: $43-$60.

​3. TubaChristmas 2015

The Kansas City Symphony presents its annual reason for Kansas City to say, “Merry TubaChristmas,” when who-knows-how-many tuba and euphonium players gather to perform tunes of the season. You might ask, ‘What’s nutty about that?’ And I might answer, “Everything.” Players pay $10 each to participate in a noon-hour concert, while the public gets in free, although ‘free’ is debatable. The potential earworm from hearing “Silent Night” interpreted by a bunch of tubas could be long term. Be brave.

Friday and Monday, noon; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

4. Heart

Two females fronting a hard rock band sounded nutty to most people, until sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson made it happen in a big way with Heart. The Seattle band’s heavy hits in the 1970s included “Magic Man,” “Crazy On You” and “Baraccuda,” and paved the way for the Wilsons’ eventual induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Heart’s local concert is a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Kansas City, dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

Friday, 8 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo; tickets: $39.50-$150.

5. ‘Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play’

With a quarter-century’s worth of episodes already in the can, it might not be that much of a stretch to imagine a post-apocalyptic America in which those trying to pick up the pieces wind up modeling their lives on the cartoon mythos of “The Simpsons.” After all, wilder things have happened, like when post-apocalyptic mutants worshiped a nuclear warhead in “Beneath the Planet of the Apes.” Unfortunately, that didn’t work out too well. So let’s wish better luck to the dark musical-comedy antics to be found in idolizing Homer Simpson and company in “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play.” All together now: Doh!

Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m.; Unicorn Theatre, 3828 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $27.50-$40.

6. Santa Dives with Penguins

It doesn’t get any nuttier than a scuba-diving St. Nick hanging out with underwater penguins for all to see. Call me a prude, but isn’t that something that should be done in private? Anyway, the Kansas City Zoo is offering up the holiday photo opportunity of a lifetime, at least until next year. One more question: How long does it take for Santa’s beard to dry out? Can you tell that I’m just not sure about this? OK, that was two questions.

Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.; Kansas City Zoo, 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; regular zoo admission: $10.50, $13.50.

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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