It might as well be “The Year of the Woman” for Carlsen Center Presents.
The 2018-19 Johnson County Community College performing arts series’ new season highlights several female artists who have made an impact in their respective genres, like country singer Emmylou Harris, the “Queen of Ranchera Music” Aida Cuevas and Van Cliburn gold medal pianist Olga Kern.
Then there’s Chita Rivera, who starred in the original “West Side Story,” the one and only Marilyn Maye, and pop singer Lisa Loeb, who won a Grammy this year for her children’s music.
“This year it’s just been wonderful to have choices where women artists are concerned,” said Emily Behrmann, general manager of Carlsen Center Presents. “We want to be sure that we spotlight them and lift up their talent and emphasize what strong women can achieve. At the same time, they’re very integrated into the entire year.”
Maye, who recently turned 90, in many ways is at the top of her game, still giving a steady stream of cabaret concerts in New York and Europe. She’ll appear at the Carlsen Center with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra in a show called “90 At Last,” one of five shows in the Sunday evening jazz “Winterlude” series.
“She’s still going strong and is the quintessential example of how women in show business can persevere and continue to do good work over decades and really make an impact on the performing arts community,” Behrmann said. “The fact that she’s from Kansas City and spent a lot of years here honing what she does just makes it even more special.”
There are many classical offerings next season as well, from choral and chamber music to ballet.
For example, MOMIX, a company that combines mime and acrobatics with traditional dance technique, will make its four appearance with the series.
“Audiences love them. They’re all about bodies on stage, but with the lighting that they do, they recreate places on earth or elements in the universe,” Behrmann said. “This show is called ‘Opus Cactus,’ and it’s a tribute to the American Southwest.”
A highlight of the season is James Galway, aka “The Man with the Golden Flute.” The 78-year-old Irish flutist will be making his first appearance on the series in March, as a prelude to St. Patrick’s Day.
There will also be shows targeted at younger audiences.
The hipster music collective known as Postmodern Jukebox and the viral-video phenom OK Go are among the offerings.
Those with international tastes can explore the world with concerts by the Soweto Gospel Choir of South Africa, the Havana Cuba All-Stars and the Middle Eastern ensemble Niyaz, which will perform a program called “The Fourth Light Project” paying tribute to Rabia Basri, the woman who founded Sufism.
“There’ll be live music and a whirling dervish to show the way Sufis express their spirituality,” Behrmann said. “It’s multimedia, so the architecture, the written language and other images of Middle Eastern society, especially from the 12th and 13th and 14th centuries, are projected on stage and frame the music and dance.”
And uke fans should rejoice. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will make its fourth appearance on the series.
“They’re a favorite of our audience,” Behrmann said. “They’re quite humorous. We like to say they’re like Monty Python with ukuleles.”
All performances in Yardley Hall, unless otherwise noted. For more information, call 913-469-4445 or visit www.jccc.edu/carlsencenter.
Sept. 21-22: New Dance Partners
Sept. 29: MOMIX Opus Cactus (Dance)
Oct. 13: Emmylou Harris
Oct. 14: Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox
Oct. 14: 10 Hairy Legs (Dance) (Polsky Theatre)
Oct. 20: OK Go – The Live Video Tour
Oct. 26: Aida Cuevas, “Totalmente Juan Gabriel”
Nov. 4: The Fab Four – The Ultimate Tribute
Nov. 9: Soweto Gospel Choir: Celebration of Nelson Mandela
Nov. 10: Don Felder (formerly of The Eagles)
Nov. 11: Marilyn Maye “90 At Last” featuring The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra
Nov. 17: Stray Cat Lee Rocker
Nov. 18: The Priests, presented with the Irish Center of Kansas City
Dec. 1: Bel Canto Trio (Classical) (Polsky Theatre)
Dec. 2: Winterlude: Angela Hagenbach Quintet (Polsky Theatre)
Dec. 7: Bach Aria Soloists/Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival (Polsky Theatre)
Dec. 8: Under the Streetlamp, “Hip to the Holidays!”
Jan. 18, 2019: Broadway Princess Party featuring Laura Osnes of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Jan. 20: Winterlude: Eddie Moore and Pamela Baskin-Watson (Polsky Theatre)
Feb. 2: Lisa Loeb
Feb. 10: “We Shall Overcome,” a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. feat. Damien Sneed and the Kansas City Boys and Girls Choirs
Feb. 16-17: Steel Magnolias presented by LA Theatre Works (Polsky Theatre)
Feb. 22: American Brass with Seraphic Fire: A Spanish Pilgrimage (Classical)
Feb. 24: Winterlude: Hot Club KC (Polsky Theatre)
Feb. 28: Peg + Cat - LIVE!
March 2: KC Youth Symphony 60th Anniversary Gala
March 8: Niyaz, The Fourth Light Project (Polsky Theatre)
March 10: Sir James Galway, flute (Classical)
March 17: Winterlude: Cubanisms (Polsky Theatre)
March 22: Asere! A Fiesta Cubana with The Havana Cuba All-Stars
March 23: Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain
April 6: Chita and Friends
April 12: Dali Quartet with Olga Kern, pianist (classical)
May 18: Neil Berg’s 101 Years of Broadway
“Barber of Seville”
Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” served as the basis for the classic Bugs Bunny cartoon, “The Rabbit of Seville,” but the opera itself is a laugh-fest, the musical equivalent of a Looney Tunes cartoon.
The Lyric Opera of Kansas City will present “The Barber of Seville” for four performances at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, beginning April 28. It will conclude the Lyric Opera’s season in high spirits.
The production directed by Michael Shell takes its inspiration from the films of Pedro Almodovar and plays up the colorful, carnival-like atmosphere of Rossini’s opera buffa.
7:30 p.m. April 28, May 2 and May 4 and 2 p.m. May 6. Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $35.50-$195.50. 816-471-7344 or www.kcopera.org.
Soprano Julia Bullock
Julia Bullock is a perfect artist for Harriman-Jewell Series Discovery Concert. The soprano has been making waves in the opera world, garnering critical acclaim in New York, Los Angeles and around the world. She’s destined for a stellar career in opera, and you’ll have a chance to hear her in recital for free on April 28 at the Folly Theater.
The St. Louis native will perform songs by Schubert, Samuel Barber and Fauré, as well as selections from the American songbook.
7 p.m. April 28. Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. Free; up to four tickets per household. www.hjseries.org.
KC Chamber Orchestra & Park U
The Kansas City Chamber Orchestra is joining forces with artists from Park University’s International Center for Music in what promises to be a powerhouse concert at Helzberg Hall on April 27.
Bruce Sorrell will conduct works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky, showing off the award-winning talents of Park University’s cellist Mansur Kadirov, violinist Igor Khukhua and pianist Kenny Broberg, who won the silver medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
8 p.m. April 27. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $18-$40. www.kcchamberorchestra.org or 816-994-7222.
Timothy McDonald, conductor of Musica Sacra and a musical sleuth, will lead his ensemble in one of his discoveries, a Mass by Alessandro Grandi.
The concert is today, April 22, at Arrupe Auditorium on the campus of Rockhurst University. Also on the program is the lovely Requiem by Gabriel Fauré in a beautifully intimate chamber orchestration.
Come early for “Live Program Notes” at 6:15 p.m., when McDonald will share more insights into the music of Grandi and Faurè.
7 p.m. April 22. Arrupe Auditorium, Rockhurst University, 1100 Rockhurst Road. $12-$22. Tickets available at the door. For more information, visit https://tinyurl.com/yd3dekg8.