“The Brothers Size”
Opens Wednesday at the Unicorn Theatre
The MacArthur Foundation in 2013 awarded Tarell McCraney with a fellowship that’s commonly known as a genius grant. The charitable organization suggested that McCraney is dedicated to “exploring the rich diversity of the African American experience in works that imbue the lives of ordinary people with epic significance.” In material including his acclaimed 2009 play “The Brothers Size,” the MacArthur Foundation noted that “the audience becomes an essential part of the story as the characters speak their stage directions and inner feelings directly to the viewers.” Damron Russel Armstrong, Teddy Trice and Donovan Woods star in the Kansas City premiere of McCraney’s play.
Wednesday, Oct. 14-Nov. 8. Unicorn Theatre. 816-531-7529. unicorntheatre.org. $30-$40. Discounts are available for seniors, people under 30 and students.
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“Vincent at Brixton”
Opens Thursday at the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre
Unrequited love can drive a person to madness. It’s also capable of inspiring artistic brilliance. “Vincent at Brixton,” a 2003 play by Nicholas Wright, infers that Vincent van Gogh’s experiences in London led to mental instability and informed his art. While much of Wright’s work is fictional, van Gogh did move to the Brixton district of London in 1873. Wright imagines that van Gogh was smitten by the daughter of his landlord and became entangled in a complex set of intertwining relationships in which he was unable to find happiness. “Vincent in Brixton” won the Laurence Olivier Award for best new play in 2003. In a review of an American production that year, a critic for the New York Times characterized “Vincent in Brixton” as an “earnestly sentimental biodrama.”
Thursday, Oct. 15-Nov. 1. Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre. 816-569-3226. metkc.org. $15-$32.
Thursday at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Forward-thinking administrators and the creative marketing staff of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art continue to dispel the traditional notion that the institution is the exclusive domain of society matrons and bookish academics. The popular Young Friends of Art initiative and populist-minded installations like Robert Morris’ “Glass Labyrinth” have provided welcoming introductions to thousands of the museum’s supporters. The free Third Thursday program is similarly beguiling. The museum will be filled with lively attractions including circus-style entertainers, a performance by indie-rock artist La Guerre, a coloring contest, guided tours, volunteer and shopping opportunities and a pair of happy hour parties.
6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 816-751-1278. nelson-atkins.org. Free.
Thursday at the Sprint Center
Theresa Caputo has upended the stereotypical conception of psychics. The notion that the ideal medium is a mysterious crone shrouded in scarves who practices her craft in a dimly lit and suffocatingly small room is outdated. The gregarious Caputo will demonstrate her alleged extra-sensory powers in a cavernous arena for thousands of admirers on Thursday. The television reality show “Long Island Medium” propelled Caputo to fame. She tells skeptics that “the only thing that’s fake are my nails and my hair color.” Whether or not she’s capable of communicating with the dead, there’s no doubt that Caputo’s performances have a profound effect on grieving relatives.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. sprintcenter.com. $39.75-$99.75.
BB’s Lawnside BBQ’s 25th Anniversary Celebration
Thursday through Sunday at BB’s Lawnside BBQ
A celebration is in order every time a restaurant manages to keep its doors open for 25 years. When the establishment specializes in barbecue in a city where the competition in the category is exceptionally fierce, the achievement is even more remarkable. BB’s Lawnside BBQ, a homey roadhouse in south Kansas City, is marking its silver anniversary by hosting a series of performances by three blues masters. Mark DuFresne, the former vocalist for Roomful of Blues, gets the party started on Thursday. Chicago blues veteran John Primer is featured on Friday. James Harman, long one of the blues’ most imaginative artists, will fill BB’s Lawnside BBQ with laughter and dancing on Saturday and Sunday.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. BB’s Lawnside BBQ. 816-822-7427. bbslawnsidebbq.com. $5 on Thursday, $10 on Friday, $12 on Saturday and Sunday.
ARCA Racing Series, NASCAR XFinity Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Friday through Sunday at Kansas Speedway
The action-packed weekend at the Kansas Speedway begins with a pair of bone-rattling and eardrum-punishing events on Friday. The 100-lap ARCA Racing Series stock car competition at the Full Throttle S’loonshine 98.9 will be followed by a concert by notoriously lurid rock band Jackyl. “The Lumberjack,” the group’s signature song, features a musical chainsaw. The Kansas Lottery 300, a NASCAR Xfinity Series race, begins at 3 p.m. Saturday. Much of the drama at the Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday centers on Jeff Gordon. The veteran driver is gunning for his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. His performance Sunday will factor into the outcome of his final full-time season.
Friday, Oct. 16, through Sunday, Oct. 18. Gates open at 8 a.m. each day. Kansas Speedway. 866-460-7223. kansasspeedway.com. $9.89 in advance for Friday, $15-$80 for Saturday, $29-$139 for Sunday.
Sir András Schiff
Friday at the Folly Theater
Long before Queen Elizabeth bestowed Sir András Schiff with honorary knighthood last year, the pianist had been considered musical royalty by legions of admirers. The Hungarian born son of Holocaust survivors is featured on more than 100 recordings. Some of Schiff’s interpretations of the classical repertoire are considered definitive. Schiff is also a distinguished theorist and instructor. His public master classes are filled with spirited humor and keen insights. Friday’s program includes works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert. A critic for The Independent suggested that “the emotion was restrained and the virtuosity was dazzling” during a Schiff performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall earlier this year.
8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16. Folly Theater. 816-561-9999. chambermusic.org. $15-35.
KC Brew Fest
Saturday at Union Station
Tom T. Hall’s “I Like Beer” may be the best of the countless odes that have been written about the virtues of the beverage. Beer, Hall’s simple ditty suggests, can help an imbiber “feel mellow.” Even taking the sedative effects of beer into account, it will be difficult to become overly serene in the throngs of people Saturday at Union Station. One of the best attended beer festivals in Kansas City, the loud and lively event is split into two three-hour sessions. More than 50 breweries will be represented, including regional favorites Kansas City Bier Co. and Free State Brewing Co. and breweries from around the country like Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing and Michigan’s New Holland Brewing.
Noon-3 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17. Union Station. kansascitybrewfest.com. $40 per session.
Kansas City Marathon
Saturday from downtown to Waldo
Participants in the Kansas City Marathon are doing their part to counter Kansas City’s reputation as a haven for people who are sedentary and out of shape. Runners in the marathon, half-marathon, 5K, relays and children’s events will demonstrate that there are plenty of athletic-minded people in the area. Even so, a free beer awaits adult runners at the finish lines on Saturday. Conscientious fitness buffs may opt to abstain, but music doesn’t contain empty calories. Rock band Kangaroo Knife Fight, country group Southern Vixen and Ironband, an ensemble made up of “amateur endurance athletes” that specializes in “racing and training-related” themed songs, will serenade the athletes.
7 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 17. Begins in the Crown Center area. 816-474-4652. sportkc.org/marathon. $130 for the marathon, $115 for the half-marathon, $45 for the 5K, $250 for the team relay and $20 for the kids marathon.
Brew at the Zoo & Wine Too
Saturday at the Kansas City Zoo
The region’s most famous fried chicken, an acclaimed area roots-rock band and a plethora of locally produced beers are among many compelling components of Brew at the Zoo & Wine Too. Patrons of the fundraiser for the conservation programs of the Kansas City Zoo can sample the chicken legs, wings and cinnamon rolls of Stroud’s. Twang-infused rock ensemble the Grisly Hand will entertain revelers. Boulevard Brewing Co., Cinder Block Brewery and McCoy’s Public House are among the more than two dozen breweries, distilleries and wineries that will pour samples. An outing by sleek Los Angeles-based indie-rock band In the Valley Below will add a slice of national flavor to the party.
6-9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17. Kansas City Zoo. 816-595-1234. kansascityzoo.org/Brew. $45.
Sunday at Yardley Hall
The marketing angle being used to promote Arlo Guthrie’s current tour is a bit of a stretch, but there’s nothing flimsy about the man who will entertain wistful flower children of all ages on Sunday. Many fans were introduced to Guthrie through the 18-minute saga “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre,” which was released in 1967. He’s celebrating the 50th anniversary of “the 1965 birth of his seminal song.” Guthrie has forged a career as a compelling storyteller and cherished troubadour. He continues to honor the legacy of his father, iconic songwriter and activist Woody Guthrie. Sunday’s concert will be augmented by a “multimedia presentation featuring previously unseen images from the Guthrie archives.”
7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. Yardley Hall. 913-469-4445. jccc.edu/theseries. $42-$125.
ADA at 25 with RJ Mitte of “Breaking Bad”
Tuesday at UMKC’s Pierson Auditorium
“Breaking Bad” holds a prominent position on most serious lists of exceptional TV series. The saga of a mild-mannered high school teacher transforming himself into a ruthlessly violent drug lord riveted viewers over the course of five seasons. RJ Mitte played one of the only “Breaking Bad” characters who wasn’t seduced by ill-gotten money. As the admirable Walter White Jr., Mitte served as the series’ moral compass. White, like the actor who portrayed him, has cerebral palsy. Mitte will deliver a lecture titled “Overcoming Adversity: Turning a Disadvantage to an Advantage” at an event that marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. Pierson Auditorium at UMKC. 816-235-1000. library.umkc.edu/blog. Free, registration encouraged.
Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star