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7 Merry Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Julie Denesha
KCUR 89.3
The Nutcracker Prince (Charles Martin) does battle against an army of mice during a dress rehearsal of 'The Nutcracker.'

 It’s December and there’s no turning back: The holiday season is upon us – or if you’d prefer a friendlier image, it’s sharing space with us.

And there are plenty of related festivities to go around, too, including community friendly tuba carols, the balletic exploits of the Sugar Plum Fairy and heavy metal tidings of comfort and joy.

Tis the season for sharing the merry, however you and yours decide to go about it.


1. TubaChristmas 2016

Have yourself a merry little “oompah” at this annual gathering of tuba and euphonium players performing Christmas tunes for a lunch-hour crowd. Hundreds of ebullient embouchures will take their brassy shots at seasonal favorites to the delight and amusement of game listeners. So why not ClarinetChristmas or XylophoneChristmas? A local tradition since 1979, TubaChristmas got its start in New York City in 1974, when tuba true-believer Harvey Phillips wanted a melodic way to honor his tuba teacher William J. Bell, whose birthday just happened to fall on Christmas Day. Since then, TubaChristmas events have spread around the world. Lucky us!

Friday, noon; Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free. (TubaChristmas repeats at noon on Monday, Dec. 12.)


2. Rock the Red Kettle Concert

This is the time of year for element-braving Salvation Army bell ringers, bless their sturdy souls. The most entertaining way to make a donation to the Army’s red kettle? Make merry at the Rock the Red Kettle Concert. There you’ll find hit rockers the Fray (“How To Save A Life”) and Blue Springs’ own musical son David Cook, the 2008 winner of “American Idol,” along with the opportunity to give to others who are less fortunate.

Friday, 6:30 p.m.; Kansas City Live! Block, Kansas City Power & Light District, 1100 Walnut St., Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free (Salvation Army donations accepted).


3. Kansas City Ballet: ‘The Nutcracker’

Last year’s artistic overhaul of the Kansas City Ballet’s venerable production of “The Nutcracker” brought smiles to the faces of all ages with splendid new choreography, sets and costumes – plus more children onstage than ever. Be part of the happy magic as the Mouse King is vanquished, the Nutcracker is victorious and the Sugar Plum Fairy hosts a super-sweet party in her Candy Palace. Special treat: Audience members can have their photos taken with a “Nutcracker” character one hour before or right after each performance for $20 to benefit the Kansas City Ballet School. Hey, those kid dancers don’t get bouncy all by themselves.

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.


4. Heartland Men’s Chorus: ‘Kansas City Christmas!’

Promising a “Classy, Brassy and Sassy” celebration, the Heartland Men’s Chorus has Christmas covered from serious to silly – as if we’d expect anything less from Kansas City’s singularly engaging gay men’s vocal group. From “The First Noel” and “O Holy Night” to “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” the chorus’s 130 voices will present an entertainment package to make you want to come back for more. And since there’s more than one performance, why not? Just save room for musical dessert in the form of the chorus’s ode to fruitcake. Or is it a warning? Anyway, the traditional holiday loaf makes a great doorstop.  

Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 4 p.m.; Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$40. (Additional performance: Dec. 10, 8 p.m.; Yardley Hall, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.)


5. Trans-Siberian Orchestra: ‘The Ghosts of Christmas Eve’

Kerrang! Don’t be alarmed, those are just the ceremonially thunderous electric guitars of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. TSO’s stately rock opera approach to decking the halls includes an abundance of pyrotechnics, lights and lasers with multiple vocalists spinning out the story of a runaway girl who finds her way to an abandoned theater on Christmas Eve, where the spirits of the past come into play. Speaking of playing, do the guitars have to be so loud? Totally.

Saturday, 3:30 and 8 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $35.50-$72.


6.'A Christmas Carol’

The “Bah! Humbug!” stuff can last only so long in Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s 36th annual production of Charles Dickens’ enduring tale of Christmas-inspired redemption. By the end of Ebenezer Scrooge’s life-changing journey from bitter miser to heartfelt benefactor, the audience, too, feels transformed. For there is something that needs to be healed in all of us. Cheer up, folks, those are tears of joy!

Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, 1 and 5 p.m.; Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Spencer Theatre, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $40-$90.


7. ‘A Very Bedrock Christmas’

You’ll shout “Yabba Dabba Doo!” along with Fred Flintstone and the gang – at least if you’re 21 or older – at this R-rated holiday satire from Late Night Theatre inspired by the famous TV cartoon franchise, “The Flintstones.” Join Fred and Wilma, Barney and Betty, Pebbles and Bam-Bam – and pet Dino, too – as they traverse the hectic prehistoric holiday season. Not that smoking a Wooly Mammoth bong will help…but it just might!

Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 6 p.m.; Missie B’s, 805 W. 39th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20.

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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