What you want to do this month in Kansas City: February 2024

Courtesy image.
Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. Photography by Eric Gray.

Two days of live jazz pulse through Yardley Hall and Polsky Theatre this month as part of the Winterlude Jazz Festival.

On day one, February 23, musician and educator Zak Pischnotte will be the guest band leader for the first jazz performance. Pianist Joseph Lafayette Cartwright leads a quartet in the second performance. 

Day two is jam-packed with jazz. Chuck Haddix, curator of the Marr Sound Archives—a collection of 450,000 historic sound recordings housed in the Miller Nichols Library at UMKC—begins the music-filled day with the “The Kansas City Sound” presentation. Performances by the Brad Gregory Septet are followed by the Earlie Braggs Quartet in Polsky Theatre. The Brian Ward Trio opens for Grammy Award-winning trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis and the Uptown Jazz Orchestra, who close out the weekend of jazz.

Featuring up to 18 musicians, the Uptown Jazz Orchestra’s mission is to foster an appreciation for jazz and its New Orleans roots through performances, education and community. Trombonist Marsalis formed the Uptown Jazz Orchestra and the orchestra’s children’s program, Swinging with the Cool School, which teaches thousands of students about jazz through African-American history, stories and sound.

Appreciators of all music, not just jazz, will relish in the weekend filled with the sights and sounds of one of America’s most beloved traditions. 

GO: February 23-24. Yardley Hall and Polsky Theatre, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park. jccc.edu.

1 & 2

Störling Dance Theater’s Underground

This is Störling Dance Theater’s 17th anniversary of presenting Underground in KC, this year with a special guest appearance by Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Israel Houghton. Just in time for Black History Month, this show fuses original music, dance and beautiful costuming to retell the story of the Underground Railroad and the brave people who helped bring freedom. February 1 & 2. 7:30 pm. Kauffman Center.


Kathy Griffin

Comedian and actress Kathy Griffin has been in the spotlight for over three decades, becoming a polarizing figure for her political beliefs and brash, raunchy comedy. Griffin is perhaps best known for her stand-up comedy, various cameos on sitcoms and stints on reality TV. February 4. 6:30 pm. Uptown Theater.


KC Lunar New Year Festival

The Kansas City Lunar New Year Festival is a rich evening celebrating cultural traditions, with regional food and performances by talented performers. Before the stage performances, there will be culture showcases and exhibitions, along with children’s activities, photo booths and food. The performances include Chinese folk dance and song, Chinese opera and musical performances with traditional Chinese instruments. February 4. 6:30 pm. Yardley Hall.


Explosions in the Sky

Texas-based post-rock quartet Explosions in the Sky stands out as being one of the few instrument-led bands with little vocals to reach commercial success in the 21st century. The band’s third album, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, became an instant classic and marked them as a favorite in the underground scene. They make a stop in KC for their aptly named The End Tour, after the band’s newest album, End. February 6. 8 pm. The Truman.


The Black Violin Experience

This experience features the two-time Grammy-nominated duo Black Violin, consisting of Kev Marcus on violin and Wil Baptiste on viola and vocals. The duo—along with support from drums, keys and a DJ—fuses elegant classical sounds with exciting hip-hop beats, from Mozart to Kendrick Lamar, to merge centuries of expansive music, transcending labels to unite messages of hope and possibility. February 7. 7:30 pm. Kauffman Center.


The Goonies in Concert

Director Richard Donner’s 1985’s fantasy classic The Goonies is projected on a giant screen while the Kansas City Symphony performs the memorable score alongside it. The now-cult classic follows some of Hollywood’s future stars as a band of misfit kids embarking on a wild adventure to find buried treasure and save their homes from destruction. February 8–10. 7 pm. Helzberg Hall.


Nate Bargatze

“The Nicest Man in Stand-Up,” comedian Nate Bargatze makes a stop in KC for his The Be Funny Tour. The comedian, podcaster, director and producer has steadily gained popularity in the past decade through streaming comedy specials, but he skyrocketed to fame after his successful debut appearance hosting Saturday Night Live this past fall. February 10. 3 & 7 pm. T-Mobile Center.


Little Women the Musical

The timeless, beloved classic by Louisa May Alcott is reimagined for the stage in this colorful musical. Little Women follows the lives and adventures of sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March, each bold and independent in her own way. The powerful musical score echoes the sentiment of young America—and the young women—finding their voice amid heartbreak, hope and strong bonds. There will also be a pre-show talk with Dr. Paul Laird, professor of musicology at KU, the hour before each performance. February 10. 4 & 8 pm. Yardley Hall.


Johnny Cash: The Official Concert Experience
Photography provided.

Johnny Cash: The Official Concert Experience, produced in collaboration with the Estate of Johnny Cash, is a multimedia celebration of a musical legend. Cash’s iconic baritone voice has been lifted from archival concert footage and recordings, allowing audiences to experience the Man in Black’s biggest hits like “I Walk the Line’’ and “Ring of Fire” with a live band once again. Along with never-before-seen footage and narration by Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, vocalists will perform even more of Cash’s illustrious repertoire. February 10. 2 & 7:30 pm. Kauffman Center.


Peter Pan

The classic family adventure by J.M. Barrie is reimagined for the stage by the Kansas City Ballet. Reexperience the magic of Peter Pan with old favorites like the Lost Boys, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and Wendy. Pan convinces the children—and audience alike—to join him on an unforgettable adventure to the enchanted Neverland, made all the more fantastical with the ballet’s astonishing moves. February 16–18 & 22–25. Times vary. Muriel Kauffman Theatre.


Enrique Iglesias 
Photography provided.

Arguably one of the most successful Spanish-English crossover acts of all time, Enrique Iglesias started his career in the mid-’90s, and by the new millennium, he was a worldwide superstar. Speaking of, Mr. Worldwide himself, Pitbull, will be joining the lineup, along with another ’90s/early-aughts Spanish-speaking sensation, Ricky Martin. February 17. 7 pm. T-Mobile Center.


The Peking Acrobats

For over 30 years, The Peking Acrobats have pushed the boundaries and redefined perceptions of acrobatics. They perform daring feats using props to show their technical abilities, like trick-cycling, juggling and gymnastics. The acrobats are part of a Chinese tradition that is historically and culturally rooted in centuries of Chinese art. They often perform alongside live musicians who play traditional Chinese instruments, melding folk-art tradition alongside contemporary technology. February 18. 2 pm. Yardley Hall.


Band of Horses

Seattle indie-rock group Band of Horses reached widespread fame in the mid-aughts with acclaimed album Everything All the Time. With the popular folksy-rock sound that was found everywhere in the 2010s, they can still be heard at least once every hour on 96.5 Not-the-Buzz. February 18. 7 pm. Uptown Theater.


National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

The Harriman-Jewell Series presents cellist Natalia Khoma with artistic director and chief conductor Volodymyr Sirenko with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. The NSO Ukraine is a world-renowned and historically distinguished European orchestra. They will perform a program of Ukrainian composers and Sibelius’ Third Symphony, a powerful symbol of war-torn perseverance through performances of selections from occupied nations. February 18. 7 pm. Helzberg Hall.


Symphonic Genesis and Phil Collins

Kansas City Symphony presents a celebration of Phil Collins’ legendary drums and his iconic band Genesis, featuring guest conductor Stuart Chafetz and vocalists Aaron C. Finley and Brook Wood. Collins’ legacy with Genesis in the ’70s and, later, his work as a soloist in the ’80s shaped and spanned music for decades, with hits like “One More Night” and “In the Air Tonight.” February 23–25. Times vary. Helzberg Hall.

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