Kathy Reichs for “Speaking in Bones”
Thursday at Unity Temple on the Plaza
Television viewers who enjoy crime dramas that focus on the scientific examination of evidence are advised to put down their remote controls and pick up a book by Kathy Reichs. The author’s novels about the adventures of forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan are sure to resonate with fans of “CSI” and “Bones,” which is based on her books. “Speaking in Bones,” Reichs’ latest effort, tracks Brennan’s romantic troubles and examines a mysterious disappearance. The author and forensic anthropologist will discuss her dual careers on Thursday.
7 p.m. Thursday, July 23. Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. $28 plus tax, includes an autographed hardcover copy of “Speaking in Bones.”
Thursday through Sunday at Kansas City Improv
People amused by chatty barflies with dissociative issues are likely to appreciate Rocky LaPorte. A former truck driver and dock worker from Chicago, LaPorte rambles in musings that often resemble those of genial sports announcer Harry Caray. LaPorte’s TV appearances include “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and a fifth place finish on the 2014 season of “Last Comic Standing.” LaPorte pokes fun of his limited vocabulary in a popular routine. He relates that when a judge at a court hearing asks if he has counsel, he replies that he has “a stick shift.”
7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 23; 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, July 24; 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday, July 25; 7 p.m. Sunday, July 26. Kansas City Improv, 7260 N.W. 87th. 816-759-5233.improvkc.com. $16-$23.
Friday at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
Taylor Swift may have moved on to pop music, but her 2006 hit “Tim McGraw” remains a vivid testimony to the lasting power of the music of a man who remains rooted in country. Swift reportedly references McGraw’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’” when she recalls a song that “we danced to all night long.” McGraw’s song is just one of dozens of memorable selections in his extensive catalog. With more than 20 years of hits under his belt, McGraw shouldn’t have much trouble satisfying country fans in Bonner Springs on Friday. Billy Currington and Chase Bryant, two up-and-coming country artists, open the show.
7 p.m. Friday, July 24. Cricket Wireless Amphitheater. 913-825-3400. cricketwirelessamp.com. $31.25-$72.25.
Opens Friday at Starlight Theatre
“Mary Poppins,” the 1964 film adaption of P.L. Travers’ novels about a magical nanny, is so delightful that it seems impossible that its creation met with any objections. Yet as depicted in the 2013 movie “Saving Mr. Banks,” Travers was horrified by the work of Walt Disney’s production team. Travers’ opinion aside, songs like the chimney sweep’s theme “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” the wistful “Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)” and the cheerful “A Spoonful of Sugar” are endearing. Even without the presence of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, the production of “Mary Poppins” at Starlight Theatre should be “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
8 p.m. Friday, July 24-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2. Starlight Theatre. 816-363-7827. kcstarlight.com. $14-$146.
Kansas City Royals vs. Houston
Friday through Sunday at Kauffman Stadium
Fans of the Kansas City Royals and the Houston Astros have a lot in common. Supporters of each team watched in horror as the franchises fell into dismal slumps in which the teams lost more than 100 games a season. The Royals are finally reaping the rewards of an agonizing rebuilding program. The Astros have also rebounded. Led by diminutive second baseman José Altuve, powerful catcher Evan Gattis and a strong pitching staff, the Astros are playoff contenders in 2015 after six consecutive losing seasons. Although they can relate to the rekindled enthusiasm of Astros fans, most onlookers at Kauffman Stadium won’t be cheering for Houston during the three game series that begins Friday.
7:10 p.m. Friday, July 24, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, July 25, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, July 26. Kauffman Stadium. 816-921-8000. kansascity.royals.mlb.com. $13-$158.
Heartland Chamber Music Festival
Opens Friday at Johnson County Community College
A free outdoor concert by the “alternative string band” the Wires kicks off the Heartland Chamber Music Festival on Friday. The classical-based Kansas City duo of Sascha Groschang and Laurel Morgan is celebrated for its embrace of indie-rock and folk. True to its mission to “inspire young musicians through the study and performance of chamber music,” the festival also includes youth and faculty concerts. Students and longtime aficionados of chamber music will admire a performance by the internationally recognized Miami String Quartet on Wednesday, July 29.
Friday, July 24-Saturday, Aug. 1. Johnson County Community College. 913-735-4532. heartlandchambermusic.org. All concerts are free except for the July 29 appearance by the Miami String Quartet. Tickets for the concert are $10 and $50.
Kansas City Dance Festival
Friday and Saturday at the Folly Theater
Organizers of the third annual Kansas City Dance Festival pledge that this weekend’s event will be “bigger, better, brighter and even more invigorating.” The expanded offering should ensure that the festival succeeds in its mission to “collaborate with dancers from professional companies worldwide and provide Kansas City with cutting edge choreography during the summer.” The performances include works by Italian choreographer Davide Bombana, Kansas City’s Jennifer Owens, the legendary George Balanchine and the United States premiere of a piece by British choreographer Douglas Lee.
7:30 p.m. Friday, July 24, and Saturday, July 25. Folly Theater. 816-474-4444. follytheater.org. $25-$35.
Saturday at the Uptown Theater
Graham Nash delivered the keynote address at the Folk Alliance Conference at Crown Center and promoted his autobiography, “Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life” in a presentation at Unity Temple on the Plaza during his visit to Kansas City in 2014. Patient fans will hear Nash perform at the Uptown Theater on Saturday. His music is worth the wait. Nash is best known for his collaboration with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Neil Young on songs such as “Teach Your Children.” He also crafted pop songs like “Bus Stop” with the British Invasion band the Hollies. Nash’s classic 1971 “Songs for Beginners” is the first of five albums Nash recorded as a solo artist.
8 p.m. Saturday, July 25. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. uptowntheater.com. $36-$86.
Johnson County Fair
Opens Sunday at the Johnson County Fairgrounds in Gardner
Johnson County has a reputation as a suburban oasis, but until recent decades it was dominated by farmland. Johnson County’s agrarian roots are revived annually at the Johnson County Fair. Goat milking demonstrations, a calf scramble competition, a “barnyard Olympics” exhibition, a youth rodeo and a rabbit judging contest are among the activities at the six-day event. People who prefer to avoid animals can opt for concerts, motorcycle and car races and a demolition derby.
Sunday, July 26-Saturday, Aug. 1. The Johnson County Fairgrounds in Gardner. jocokansasfair.com. Various prices.
Move Live on Tour: Derek and Julianne Hough
Monday at the Music Hall
One of the most notable sets of sibling entertainers of the new millennium, Derek and Julianne Hough have parlayed their good looks and considerable talents as dancers into stardom. Their successes on the popular TV competition “Dancing With the Stars” allowed the Houghs to broaden their appeal. Both subsequently found success as actors. Julianne has also dabbled in country music. Move Live on Tour showcases their many talents. The duo will be joined by a troupe of dancers in a high-energy show that resembles an elaborate Las Vegas revue.
8 p.m. Monday, July 27. Music Hall. 800-653-8000. ticketmaster.com. $43-$77.50.
Tuesday at Arrowhead Stadium
The boy-band devotees attending Tuesday’s concert at Arrowhead Stadium will see a different version of One Direction than they cheered at the Sprint Center in 2013. The departure of Zayn Malik in March broke the hearts of millions of the group’s admirers. Recent news may be even more upsetting. Tabloids have reported that One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and his girlfriend are expecting a child. Renditions of massive hits like “What Makes You Beautiful” should help fans momentarily forget about the alarming distractions. Iconic Pop, the European duo behind the sassy hit “I Love It,” opens the concert.
7 p.m. Tuesday, July 28. Arrowhead Stadium. 800-653-8000. ticketmaster.com. $29.50-$99.50.
Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star