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6 Magical Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Cody Newill
KCUR 89.3

Do you believe in magic? Great, now I’ll never get that Lovin’ Spoonful song out of my head.

Yet the question is more than apt this weekend, when a mix of magical experiences — including public memories of a magnetic young man shockingly no longer with us — may be able to transform the way we look at the world.

Brace yourself for magic. And maybe tears.


1. 2017 Royals FanFest

This will not be a typical Royals FanFest. As always, followers of the boys in blue will get to meet Kansas City Royals players, coaches, alumni and broadcasters in the lead-up to spring training and another season of the National Pastime. But the home team will also memorialize Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who died in a car crash on Sunday in the Dominican Republic. Fans are invited to leave their names on a signature wall in tribute to Ventura. And both days of FanFest will commence with a moment of silence in honor of the fiery hurler, although the cheers in our hearts will never fade. That’s called magic.

Friday, 2 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Kansas City Convention Center, 301 W. 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $11-$23.

2. ‘Side by Side by Sondheim’

Kansas City Repertory Theatre presents the famed musical revue of hit Broadway tunes composed by Stephen Sondheim. There’s the full-on show-biz dream of “Broadway Baby” from “Follies,” the pensive power of “Send in the Clowns” from “A Little Night Music” and the prophetic frivolity of “Comedy Tonight” from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” – plus more than 25 other songs that made musical theater magic. Prepare to be transported.

Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m.; Spencer Theatre at UMKC, 4949 Cherry St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25-$59.

3. Michael Carbonaro Live

Magician, prankster and star of truTV’s “The Carbonaro Effect” visits Kansas City to lose his head, or at least an approximation thereof, as originally witnessed on Carbonaro’s crazy TV show of unexpected spectacles unveiled to unwitting people on hidden camera. What exactly is the so-called Carbonaro effect? Nothing less than a look of total astonishment. I mean, how does a bowling ball suddenly appear from a totally flat mailing envelop. It can’t … or can it?

Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $39.50.

4. ‘Three Sisters: Grimm Fairytales’

A bewitching horde of divergent performers will take part in this fairytale-themed benefit show put on by and for Late Night Theatre. The typically cross-dressing acting troupe’s wacky and wonderful (and adults-only) winter fundraiser advertises singing, acrobatics, burlesque and “incantations.” We’ll have to wait and see what sort of magic will ultimately be revealed, but the real charm here might be just keeping up with the anticipated avalanche of adlibs. The evening’s entertainment will include contributions by strip-happy production company Bohemian Cult Revival and Kansas City rock band the Philistines.

Friday, 8 p.m.; Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $27.

5. Harlem Globetrotters

They’re not known as basketball wizards for nothing. Behold the latest world-touring edition of the one and only Harlem Globetrotters, whose ball-handling skills defy gravity and charismatic antics leave family audiences clamoring for more. Call it sport. Call it theater. Call it the Unabashed Brotherhood of the Round Ball, which very much wishes to include you. So stick around after the game to get a player autograph or two.

Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $20-$132.

6. Pure Prairie League

You can’t refer to Pure Prairie League as a one-hit wonder, because the veteran soft-rock serenaders had more than one hit. Still, the irresistibly catchy country lilt of the band’s by far best-known and highest-charting single, “Amie,” made 1975 a most magical year for PPL and its admirers, more than a few of whom will no doubt appear (presto!) from the mists of yesteryear to enjoy the ever-easygoing group’s concert at Knuckleheads. The sing-along chorus to “Amie” alone should be worth the price of admission. Good luck getting that one out of your head!

Friday, 8:30 p.m.; Knuckleheads Saloon, 2715 Rochester St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $25.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at brianmctavish@gmail.com.

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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