Vinson Cole and Friends
Vinson Cole is one of the most respected behind-the-scenes players in Kansas City. In addition to appearing on many of the world’s greatest stages, the tenor has overseen the training of countless musicians. He’s currently an instructor at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Cole’s many contributions will be recognized at Sunday’s benefit concert for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11. Folly Theater. 816-474-4444. follytheater.org. $30-$125.
“Mrs. Wilson’s Deadly Surprise,” Kansas City Mystery Players
In the mood for murder? Valorie Phillips, the founder and owner of Kansas City Mystery Players, pledges that any one of “10 to 12 of our audience members might kill someone” during productions of “Mrs. Wilson’s Deadly Surprise.” Guided and abetted by the play’s two actors, the audience will be drawn into the action. Some will play suspects, while others will attempt to determine “whodunnit.” A recent addition to the area’s stable of dinner theater companies, the Kansas City Mystery Players is promoted with the cheerfully macabre motto “You’ll die laughing.”
6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, and 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17. Longview Mansion. 816-830-3886. kcmysteryplayers.com. $46.75.
Comedian Bruce Bruce coats his acerbic observations with honeyed humor. A big man, Bruce tells fat jokes without seeming mean-spirited. One of his amusing routines involves his powerlessness over discount promotions at fast-food establishments. The Atlanta native is loud but rarely vulgar as he riffs on differences between the races, his fear of doctors and the irresistible allure of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. His comedic skills have been featured in movies including “XXX: State of the Union” and “The Wash,” and music videos by Kem and OutKast.
8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11. Kansas City Improv. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $25.
From conventional swing to innovative explorations, immeasurable permutations of jazz are regularly performed in Kansas City. One of the most consistently entertaining and dependably fun variations of traditional Kansas City jazz is on tap every Friday afternoon at the Phoenix. Lonnie McFadden, a terrific showman known as half of the McFadden Brothers, entertains with voice, trumpet and tap-dancing. A winning combination of cabaret, R&B and jazz, McFadden’s show benefits from the support of sympathetic musicians, including versatile pianist Mark Lowrey.
4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9. The Phoenix 816-221-5299. thephoenixkc.com. $5.
Missouri Mavericks vs. Evansville IceMen
He may not be as well known as the Royals’ Sluggerrr or the Chiefs’ K.C. Wolf, but Mac, the equine cheerleader of the Missouri Mavericks, is no less lovable. He claimed the title of best mascot for the second consecutive season in the 2014 “Best of the Best” Awards in the Central Hockey League last year. Mac will celebrate his birthday at his team’s match against the Evansville IceMen at Independence Events Center on Friday. Bobbleheads of Mac, the Mavericks’ official director of fun and games, will be distributed to fans.
7:05 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9. Independence Events Center. 816-252-7825. missourimavericks.com. $16-$38.
In addition to the spiritual inspiration afforded by their faiths, many jazz musicians have benefited from their relationships with churches. Mary Lou Williams, who played an enormous role in Kansas City’s storied jazz heyday, later composed seminal religious works such as “Black Christ of the Andes.” The tradition continues with the new Kansas City Jazz Vespers series at First Baptist Church of Kansas City. The inaugural event features Book of Gaia, the vocal group that highlights the talents of Pamela Baskin-Watson, Nedra Dixon and Angela Hagenbach. The band will perform secular material in a conventional concert setting.
6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11. First Baptist Church of Kansas City. 816-942-1866. kcjazzvespers.com. Free.