The Performing Arts Series’ 2017-18 season at Johnson County Community College is loaded with razzle-dazzle.
General manager Emily Behrmann has lined up an incredibly diverse range of artists to appeal to every taste. From “Monty Python” fans to dance aficionados, from jazz buffs to William Shatner groupies, everybody should find something that tickles his or her fancy.
For many, the highlight of the season will be the venerable John Cleese (Oct. 4). He’ll conduct a question-and-answer session after a screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” With prodding from the audience, Cleese will let the quips and puns fly as fast as an unladen swallow.
Dance is an important part of the new season, starting off with a New Dance Partners performance (Sept. 22-23). That program features four premieres by four of Kansas City’s finest dance ensembles: the Kansas City Ballet, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Group and Störling Dance Company.
Stretching the boundaries of dance is iLuminate (Oct. 13). The iLuminate dancers use glow-in-the-dark costumes and cutting-edge lighting techniques to create mind-blowing, futuristic ballet. Complexions, another contemporary dance group, will perform “Star Dust,” using recordings by David Bowie (Feb. 24).
Shatner has enough followers to start his own religion, and Yardley Hall will be his cathedral when he presents his one-man show, “Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It” (Oct. 28).
Jazz will also be a large component of the new season.
The series’ Winterlude concerts will warm up chilly nights with cool jazz provided by the all-star jazz band Hudson, comprising drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield (Oct. 15); the Hermon Mehari Quartet (Dec. 17); Deborah Brown (Jan. 28); Charles Williams Trio (Feb. 18); and Matt Otto Quintet (March 18).
Lovers of great American musicals will be treated to two big productions, Kander and Ebb’s “Cabaret” (Jan. 13) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” (April 21). “Cabaret” is based on the Roundabout Theatre’s Tony Award-winning production directed by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall.
Boomer icon Arlo Guthrie and his multi-generational clan are returning to Yardley Hall with the Re-Generation Tour (March 10). Guthrie is always a big hit with the Carlsen Center crowd, and although he won’t be performing “Alice’s Restaurant” on this tour, he will regale the audience with other tales from his colorful life.
There are many other felicities scattered throughout, like a Christmas concert by the Irish folk group Danú and the Kansas City Chorale (Dec. 9), the Russian String Orchestra (March 3) and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (March 11). It looks like next season the Carlsen Center will be one of the hottest venues in town.
July 30: Stephen Stills and Judy Collins
Sept. 22-23: New Dance Partners. Four premieres by the Kansas City Ballet, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company and Störling Dance Company
Sept 30: 2017 Cowboy Jubilee. An all-day celebration of cowboys with lectures, barbecue and music provided by the Quebe Sisters, Hot Club of Cowtown and Asleep at the Wheel
Oct 4: John Cleese Live onstage plus a full-length screening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”
Oct. 13: iLuminate
Oct. 15: Winterlude concert: Hudson with drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist John Scofield
Oct. 22: American Rhapsody: The Gershwin Songbook with the Gershwin Big Band led by Michael Andrew
Oct. 28: “Shatner’s World, We Just Live in It.” One-man show featuring William Shatner
Nov. 4: Festival of South African Dance featuring Gumboots and Pantsula Dance companies)
Nov. 10: Harlem Quartet with Cuban pianist Aldo López-Gavilán
Nov. 11: Mariachi Sol de México
Nov. 12: Illusionist Rick Thomas
Dec. 2: Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear perform soulful blues
Dec. 9: “A Christmas Gathering: Féile Na Nollag” with Danú and the Kansas City Chorale
Dec. 17: Winterlude concert: Hermon Mehari Quartet
Jan. 13, 2018: “Cabaret”
Jan. 20: Guitarist Todd Mosby and the New Horizons Ensemble
Jan. 28: Winterlude concert: Deborah Brown Quintet
Feb. 11: “Lavuta” with violinist Lara St. John and pianist Matt Herskowitz
Feb. 18: Winterlude concert: Charles Williams Trio
Feb. 24: Complexions Contemporary Ballet
March 3: “Musical Thrones — A Parody” (Rated R)
March 3: Russian String Orchestra
March 10: Arlo Guthrie Re:Generation Tour
March 11: Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
March 16: One Night of Queen performed by Gary Mullen and the Works
March 18: Winterlude concert: Matt Otto Quintet
March 24: Sirius Quartet with electric violinist Tracy Silverman
April 7 & 8: Tao: Seventeen Samurai percussion concert
April 21: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”
Shows at either Yardley Hall or Polsky Theatre. For more information, call 913-469-4445 or visit jccc.edu/theseries.
KC Chorale presents Irish tunes
Whether your mother is Irish or not, she’s certain to love a concert of Irish songs performed by the Kansas City Chorale.
The Grammy Award-winning Charles Bruffy and his ensemble present “Music of Ireland” for two concerts: May 14 at Visitation Church and May 16 at Leawood Methodist.
The concert will feature music by Michael McGlynn, including his “Pie Jesu,” “Jerusalem” and a particularly dreamy arrangement of “Danny Boy.”
2 p.m. May 14 at Visitation Catholic Church, 5141 Main St., and 7:30 p.m. May 16 at Leawood United Methodist, 2915 W. 95th St., Leawood. $10-$30. 816-235-6222 or kcchorale.org.
Te Deum Antiqua: Biber’s Requiem
Te Deum Antiqua will present its final concert of the season May 14 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The centerpiece of the concert is the Requiem by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber.
Biber’s sacred music is noted for its grandeur, written as it was for the immense cathedral in Salzburg, known as the Vatican of the north. His Requiem is an example of his sweeping music and is considered one of the finest Requiems written in the 17th century.
7 p.m. May 14. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 11 E. 40th St. $15. Tickets available at the door. For more information about Te Deum Antiqua, visit te-deum.org.