“Buyer & Cellar”
Opens Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the Unicorn Theatre
Most theatergoers immediately know whether they intend to purchase tickets to “Buyer & Cellar” when they discover the outlandish premise of the one-man play. Playwright Jonathan Tolins wrote a script in which a man is delighted to find employment as the resident clerk in a retail galleria underneath Barbra Streisand’s home. In a rave review of a 2013 staging that starred Michael Urie, Ben Brantley of The New York Times suggested that “Buyer & Cellar” is “just about as profound as a seemingly light entertainment can be.” Seth Golay, one of Kansas City’s most recognizable actors, is featured in the Unicorn Theatre’s rendition of the insightful comedy.
Wednesday, Dec. 9-Sunday, Dec. 27. Unicorn Theatre. 816-531-7529. unicorntheatre.org. $27.50-$42.50.
Kansas City Chorale, “Hello, Holidays”
Friday, Dec. 11; Saturday, Dec. 12, and Sunday, Dec. 13, at various venues
The lighthearted tone of many Christmas carols is ideally suited to informal settings. Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” has entirely different intentions. Characterized by sublime intricacies, the extended work is aimed at reflecting the spiritual aspects of the holiday. “A Ceremony of Carols” is the centerpiece of the Kansas City Chorale’s “Hello, Holidays” concerts in three churches. The Grammy-winning ensemble will also acknowledge the September death of David Willcocks with a tribute to the famed conductor and composer.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Rolling Hills Church. $30, $25 for seniors, $10 for students.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. St. Paul’s Church. $30, $25 for seniors, $10 for students.
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Asbury Methodist Church. $30, $25 for seniors, $10 for students.
“Transformative Stories” with Jill Bolte Taylor and Carrie Newcomer
Thursday, Dec. 10, at Unity Temple on the Plaza
Most people know that the right and left hemispheres of the brain specialize in different aspects of human activity. The differences and connection between the logical left side and the creative right side will be explored in a unique presentation that pairs Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroanatomist and recovered stroke victim, and folk singer Carrie Newcomer. Taylor’s TED talk about her experiences is one of the most watched installments of the series. Newcomer’s recording career began in 1991. The pair’s “Transformative Stories” is billed as “an actual ‘performance’ of how the two hemispheres of the brain operate.”
7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. Unity Temple on the Plaza. 913-362-8951. festivaloffaithskc.org. $20 in advance or $25 at the door.
NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer College Cup
Friday, Dec. 11, and Sunday, Dec. 13, at Sporting Park
If college basketball induces March Madness in its legions of fans, perhaps the excitement generated by the college soccer tournament should be characterized as December Delirium. Almost every television broadcast of ranked men’s college basketball teams references the Final Four games that will be in Houston in April. The equivalent event in the substantially less prominent sport of college soccer is taking place in Kansas City, Kan., this weekend. The NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer College Cup will test the truthfulness of the marketing slogan that claims that Kansas City is “the soccer capital of America” as the home stadium of Sporting Kansas City hosts the sport’s hottest teams.
5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13. Sporting Park. 800-653-8000. ncaa.com/championships/soccer-men/d1. $17-$158.
Friday, Dec. 11, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
One of the most magical qualities of music is its ability to transport listeners to other times and places. During Friday’s concert at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the members of the audience won’t have difficulty imagining that they’re seated in a church in London during the Renaissance. The Tallis Scholars, one of the world’s most accomplished vocal ensembles, will perform two exquisite works by 16th century British composer John Sheppard. Although he’s still active, Arvo Pärt composes similarly ethereal music. The Tallis Scholars’ rendering of the Estonian’s works including “Seven Antiphons” and “I Am the True Vine” may spark further spiritually rewarding reveries.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. 816-561-9999. chambermusic.org. $35.
Doc Severinsen with the Kansas City Symphony
Friday, Dec. 11, at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
Doc Severinsen, 88, has outlived almost all of his contemporaries in the entertainment world. Johnny Carson, Severinsen’s co-conspirator on “The Tonight Show” for 30 years, died in 2005. Severinsen’s trumpet-playing colleagues like Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie have also passed away. Severinsen has remained committed to his craft: In addition to maintaining an active tour schedule, he has kept up his chops. His contribution to a big band album led by Alan Baylock last year was well received. He also knows his way around seasonal music. The lush 1991 album “Merry Christmas From Doc Severinsen and the Tonight Show Orchestra” is a swinging affair. Severinsen will perform holiday and secular material for his concert with the Kansas City Symphony.
8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. $49-$104.
Sweet Honey in the Rock
Friday, Dec. 11, at the Lied Center
Sweet Honey in the Rock’s extensive mission statement makes performances by the a cappella group sound as if they’re likely to be as much fun as attending health care enrollment seminars. One of the ensemble’s core values, for instance, is to “advocate for truth, justice and compassion while addressing the critical issues of democracy, freedom, racism, and economic and social justice.” Anyone who has attended a concert by the quintet, however, knows that Sweet Honey in the Rock achieves its lofty goals through sublime musicianship and its members’ considerable skills as entertainers. The group will perform “traditional American holiday spiritual songs and hymns” and seasonal material “from Africa to Israel” at its “Celebrating the Holydays” concert.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11. Lied Center in Lawrence. 785-864-2787. lied.ku.edu. $25-$40.
College basketball: Kansas vs. Oregon State
Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Sprint Center
A direct connection to one of the most powerful men in the world wasn’t enough to save Craig Robinson’s job. The older brother of first lady Michelle Obama was fired as the head coach of Oregon State’s men’s basketball team last year. Robinson’s replacement, Wayne Tinkle, faces a formidable task on Saturday. Playing in the arena that’s often considered the eastern extension of Allen Fieldhouse, the Beavers will take on the perennial powerhouse Kansas Jayhawks. Victories over UCLA and Vanderbilt at the Maui Invitational and the addition of the highly touted freshman Cheick Diallo to the eligible roster have heightened the expectations of the team and its fans.
7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Sprint Center. 816-949-7100. sprintcenter.com. $60-$125.
Saturday, Dec. 12, at Yardley Hall
Soothing tidings of comfort and joy await the audience at Yardley Hall. Jim Brickman, a popular purveyor of placid sounds, will perform material from his new Christmas album, “Comfort and Joy.” The recording contains the pianist’s signature reflective playing on renditions of familiar seasonal material like “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “Silver Bells.” Brickman’s tender arrangements are in keeping with his many adult contemporary hits like “Valentine,” a 1993 collaboration with vocalist Martina McBride. In a promotional video for Saturday’s concert, Brickman recalls that Johnson County Community College was “one of the first places I played” in the Kansas City area.
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Yardley Hall. 913-469-4445. jccc.edu/theseries. $40-$100.
Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Gem Theater
When people think of Kansas City jazz musicians, they’re likely to conjure an image of a black-and-white photograph of Charlie Parker or present-day members of the swing-oriented big band the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra. Julian Vaughn doesn’t fit into either mold. The 6-foot-7 bassist has stretched the boundaries of the form. Several of the selections on his new album, “Limitless,” wouldn’t sound out of place sandwiched between hits by Luther Vandross and Toni Braxton on the playlists of urban adult contemporary radio stations. Vaughn’s funky style has made him one of the most recognizable and top-selling Kansas City-based jazz artists of the last five years.
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Gem Theater. 816-474-8463. americanjazzmuseum.org. $45.
Saturday, Dec. 12, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
Millions of baseball fans recently saw Tech N9ne and his crew sitting in the front row directly behind home plate at Kauffman Stadium during the playoffs and the World Series. The rapper, who has long referred to himself as the Kansas City King, unveiled the rambunctious Royals-themed rally cry “KCMO Anthem” on the day of the team’s victory parade. Tech N9ne has since released “Strangeulation Vol. II,” his second album of 2015. The prolific rapper will celebrate the championship of the Royals and another extraordinarily successful year in his impressively protracted career at the Tech the Halls concert on Saturday.
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. Tickets to the sold-out show were $28.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego
Sunday, Dec. 13, at Arrowhead Stadium
A significant portion of the Kansas City Chiefs fan base has long been dissatisfied with the men who have helmed the team’s quarterback position. Rather than appreciating the reserved demeanor and precise short game of current quarterback Alex Smith, many boosters clamor for a quarterback with a cannon for an arm and an outsized personality. Philip Rivers, a controversial quarterback who meets those qualifications, will lead the San Diego Chargers in Sunday’s divisional rivalry game. While he’s prone to tantrums and interceptions, Rivers is a dynamic athlete. After getting a first-hand look at Rivers and Smith in action, fans at Arrowhead Stadium will be better able to determine which type of quarterback they actually prefer.
Noon Sunday, Dec. 13. Arrowhead Stadium. 816-920-9400. kcchiefs.com. $35-$290.
Wednesday, Dec. 16, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
The members of Steel Panther have never been accused of being subtle. The bawdy titles of many of the heavy metal parodists’ songs resemble the obscene graffiti of lusty 16-year-old boys. Even so, not everyone is in on the joke. The band’s send-up of sleazy rock is so meticulously rendered that some fans don’t entirely grasp that Steel Panther is a musical comedy act in the vein of Tenacious D and “Weird” Al Yankovic. The confusion is a tribute to the band’s perfect re-enactment of the look and sound of hair metal bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison. Wednesday’s budget-priced Twisted Xmas concert is radio station 98.9 the Rock’s annual gift to its dedicated listeners.
8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 16. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. $9.89.