The best things to do in KC this month: January 2024

Pictured, left to right: Ethan Williams, Reyna Papotto, Jazmine Chappel, Jordan Crawford, Alyssa Holmes, Josh Howerton and Juliet Parker. Photography by John Clayton.

In her debut theatrical production, Ashli St. Armant presents North, a powerful new musical about a teenage boy and his mother who escape slavery through the Underground Railroad.

The story explores the complex reality of Black life and the tapestry of experiences enslaved freedom seekers had. The narrative and original music compositions, inspired by true accounts of escape, explore contrasting themes of optimism, bravery, suspense and mystery in the face of insurmountable difficulties.

The story begins in Vacherie, Louisiana, in the mid-1800s, where teenage boy Lawrence and his mother Minnie are enslaved on Mr. Newsome’s plantation—the only reality they’ve ever known. After learning that her son’s life may be in danger, the mother and son duo make the difficult decision to try to escape in hopes of a better life.

Playwright St. Armant’s own ancestors were enslaved in Vacherie, making the setting a natural jumping-off point for her play and place for her to research the lives of enslaved people. The set design came from her personal observations while visiting the area where the plantation was located. Many of her findings influenced her writing and were incorporated into the storyline, including characters like Tham the Brave, a real-life leader in a Maroons community who had been enslaved on the same plantation as St. Armant’s ancestors.

Go: School shows on January 25 & 26 at 10 am & 1 pm; public shows on January 27 at 2 & 7 pm. Yardley Hall

Kadesh Flow & Dino O’Dell

January 6. 11 am.

The MTC Kids Jam concert series is designed with families in mind, with art activities led by StoneLion Puppet Theatre followed by a music and storytelling show focused on the planet’s cultural diversity. Using geography as a guide, hosts Kadesh Flow and Dino O’Dell travel the world, experiencing food, language, games and other cultural phenomena. January 6. 11 am. Polsky Theatre.

Ella Al-Shamahi

January 9. 7:30 pm.

As part of Kauffman Center’s Trailblazing Talks, paleoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi shares her insights into evolutionary biology in “2% Neanderthal: Redrawing Our Family Tree.” Considered to be one of the most unconventional paleoanthropologists working today, Al-Shamahi leads expeditions into unstable places to unearth fossils. She’s also a TV host and stand-up comedian. Al-Shamahi will share her insight into humanity’s past and how we can create a more sustainable future. January 9. 7:30 pm. Kauffman Theatre.

Tyler Henry 

January 11. 7:30 pm. 

Although Hollywood clairvoyant medium Tyler Henry gained fame less than a decade ago, he has had special gifts since childhood. Henry reached fame after appearing on reality shows Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry and Life After Death with Tyler Henry, highlighting his otherworldly spiritual talents. Now you have a chance to see him in person. January 11. 7:30 pm. The Midland.

“Journey Home” Starring Joyce DiDonato

January 12–14.

The Kansas City Symphony presents “Journey Home” starring mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato with conductor Michael Stern. This classical concert’s theme is travel, and the pieces focus on the emotions that surround leaving, being lost and finding the way back home. There will also be souvenirs available, themed cocktails and personalized photo postcards to share with friends and family near or far. January 12–14. Times vary. Kauffman Theatre.

KC Restaurant Week

January 12-21.

Celebrate KC’s premier dining event at hundreds of restaurants throughout the metro. Show your support for KC’s restaurant industry and savor some of the best food the city has to offer, with special menu offerings throughout the week. A portion of all proceeds will go to local charities, too. January 12-21.

Monster Jam

January 13 & 14.

Sometimes you want to go to the opera. Sometimes you just need to watch oversized Matchbox cars tumble over each other in the dirt. And that’s okay. Life is about balance. January 13, 1 pm & 7 pm; January 14, 1 pm. T-Mobile Center.

Women of Note in Words and Song

January 13. 8 pm.

This collaborative performance brings together the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and the Bach Aria Soloists for an all-female program featuring riveting scenes from Shakespeare classics like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. January 13. 8 pm. Polsky Theatre.

The Devil Wears Prada 

January 16. 7 pm.

Ohio-based metal band The Devil Wears Prada reached widespread popularity, especially among millennials, in the mid-2000s thanks to their ironic name and brooding angry-emo sound. Now, with fellow early-aughts metal band Fit for a King, they’re on a tour aptly called Metalcore Dropouts. January 16. 7 pm. Uptown Theater.

Rumours: A Fleetwood Mac Tribute

January 19. 8 pm.

Formed in 2014, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac aims to provide a truly authentic recreation of live Fleetwood Mac shows. The band includes Mekenzie Zimmerman, who provides Stevie Nicks’ vocals; Adrienne Cottrell, who plays the keyboard and provides Christine McVie’s vocals; and Denny Hanson, who plays guitar and provides Lindsey Buckingham’s vocals. They pride themselves on being the most authentic Fleetwood Mac tribute without being a parody of the immensely celebrated rock icons. January 19. 8 pm. Yardley Hall.

Cirque Carmen: Troupe Vertigo

January 19–21.

The Kansas City Symphony presents Cirque Carmen: Troupe Vertigo set to the classic opera score by French composer Georges Bizet, with guest conductor maestro Jack Everly. Troupe Vertigo aims to create high-caliber cirque shows woven together with unique symphonic selections as physical feats are choreographed into works of art. January 19–21. Times vary. Helzberg Hall.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!: King for a Day

January 20. 2:30 pm.

The hugely popular Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live! is based on the No.1 PBS Kids show and Emmy Award-winning series that reimagines old-school favorite Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live!: King for a Day sees live characters like Daniel, O the Owl and Prince Wednesday embarking on a brand-new adventure in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where Daniel learns what it takes to be king. January 20. 2:30 pm. Kauffman Theatre.

Breath & Hammer: The Ties That Bind Us

January 20. 8 pm.

Widely considered to be one of the greatest clarinet players of all time, David Krakauer teams up with South African-born pianist, composer and producer Kathleen Tagg in “Breath & Hammer.”  In this musical performance, they fuse their disparate backgrounds into a new, eclectic and highly personal sound that is uniquely their own. January 20. 8 pm. Polsky Theatre.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Isata Kanneh-Mason

January 23. 7 pm.

The renowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra returns to KC with piano soloist Isata Kanneh-Mason, who made her Kansas City recital debut in 2022, and the orchestra’s new music director Vasily Petrenko as conductor. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is recognized as being the UK’s most popular orchestra and continues to be celebrated as one the world’s most open-minded, forward-thinking and accessible symphony orchestras. January 23. 7 pm. Helzberg Hall.

Girl from the North Country

January 23–28.

PNC Broadway in Kansas City presents Girl from the North Country, a Tony Award-winning musical written and directed by playwright Conor McPherson. Featuring orchestrations by Simon Hale, this musical reimagines 20 of Bob Dylan’s legendary songs as they’ve never been heard before, with classics like “Forever Young” and “Like a Rolling Stone.” January 23–28. Times vary. Kauffman Theatre.

Elvis Costello

January 25. 8 pm.

English songwriter and musician Elvis Costello comes to KC with his longtime band, The Imposters, and Charlie Sexton, who’s best known as a guitarist in Bob Dylan’s band.The artists will perform a selection of their most iconic songs, including the classics like “Pills & Soap” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding,” on the 7-0-7 Tour. January 25. 8 pm. Uptown Theater.

Disney On Ice: Into the Magic

January 25–28.

Beloved Disney icons Mickey and Minnie Mouse host the audience on their adventures across raging seas, snow-covered mountains and the marigold bridge in Disney On Ice’s “Into the Magic.” This live show features Disney characters from favorites like Moana, Frozen and Beauty and the Beast performing on ice skates. January 25–28. Times vary. T-Mobile Center.

Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5

January 26–28.

Kansas City Symphony presents Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, with celebrated guest conductor Kazem Abdullah and violinist Jun Iwasaki. In this program, Abdullah leads the orchestra in Erich Korngold’s only symphony, Symphony in F-sharp, a triumph that fuses melody with tradition. Concertmaster Iwasaki performs a solo in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, showcasing incredible artistry alongside Mozart’s incomparable classic. January 26–28. Times vary. Helzberg Hall.

Ira Glass

January 27. 7:30 pm.

Creator and host of now-iconic public radio’s This American Life, Ira Glass brings his insightful storytelling and soothing voice to Lawrence sponsored by Kansas Public Radio. Started in 1995, This American Life is widely considered to be one of the most influential radio shows of all time and is still heard each week by over five million listeners. Under Glass’ editorial direction, This American Life was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize for audio journalism. January 27. 7:30 pm. Lied Center.

Sonic Symphony 

January 27. 8 pm

Sonic Symphony is an immersive live experience that celebrates the nostalgia of 30-plus years of music from Sega’s iconic mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. From classic eight-bit and 16-bit tunes to rock bands and EDM, this concert is a musical journey through the colorful world of Sonic the Hedgehog, brought to life by a full symphony orchestra. January 27. 8 pm. Music Hall Kansas City.


January 28. 2 pm.

Vibrant chamber ensemble WindSync performs wind quintet masterworks, adapting beloved music to their unique style and performing new works by contemporary composers. Formed over a decade ago, the quintet often performs from memory, which helps to create an intimate connection between the musicians and the audience. This personal performance style goes hand in hand with their mission of artistry, education and community building through music. January 28. 2 pm. Polsky Theatre.

Mean Girls

January 31. 7:30 pm.

Direct from Broadway, Mean Girls is the hilarious hit musical from writer and SNL-alum Tina Fey and her husband, composer Jeff Richmond. The musical is based on the now-iconic film of the same name, also written by Fey, which follows Cady Heron as she learns important life lessons through the social hierarchy of high school popularity. That’s so fetch! January 31. 7:30 pm. Lied Center.

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