Kauffman Center announces Mavis Staples, Aretha and more

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has announced a schedule of a dozen performers and speakers in the coming year in several new series of programs beyond what's been announced by resident groups and other presenters.

An American Legends Series will present comedian Lily Tomlin (Nov. 20), gospel singer Mavis Staples (Dec. 8) and R legend Aretha Franklin (May 8, 2012). Franklin canceled a benefit appearance for the Kauffman last fall because of illness.

Avant-garde composers and performers Laurie Anderson (Oct. 9) and Philip Glass (April 3) will appear in the Kauffman's Vanguard Series.

Popular multi-cultural performers will make up a Destinations Series: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the a capella vocal group from South Africa (Jan. 24); Burn the Floor, a ballroom dance revue (Feb. 10-12); and veteran Irish band the Chieftains (March 7).

The Kauffman is planning a series of speakers by National Geographic explorers, photographers and film makers early next year: photographer Annie Griffiths Belt (Feb. 28); Kenny Broad, an underwater cave diver (March 20); photographer Mattias Klum (April 23) and Mireya Mayor, a primatologiest (May 21).

Tickets for the series and individual programs will go on sale Aug. 30 through the Kauffman Center box office (816-994-7222) or online:



The Kauffman Center will open with gala events Sept. 16-17 and a free public open house on Sept. 18.

Seasons of programs presented by the Kansas City Symphony, the Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City as well as various other performing arts groups and presenters were announced earlier, and more new programs are expected. Steve Paul: 816-234-4762, paul@kcstar.com, twitter.com/sbpaul.