This weekend in Kansas City: ‘Wicked,’ Lord Huron, Ailey II and Rhiannon Giddens

“Wicked” opens Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Music Hall.
“Wicked” opens Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Music Hall. Joan Marcus


Opens Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Music Hall

“Wicked,” an alternative telling of “The Wizard of Oz” that’s based on Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” is an examination of the roots of evil. The deliberation on popularity and fate struck a chord with the ticket-buying public: The musical has become a staple on Broadway since its New York debut in 2003. Part of the ongoing appeal lies with Stephen Schwartz’s songs. Songs like “The Wizard and I” and “I’m Not That Girl” aren’t merely devices to advance the plot. Schwartz’s compositions express universal fears, desires and dreams. The touring production of “Wicked” that’s returning to Kansas City promises to remind members of the audience of the humanity that resides in even the most treacherous villains.

Wednesday, Oct. 7-Sunday, Oct. 18. Music Hall. 800-653-8000. theaterleague.com/kansascity. $28-$148.

Lord Huron

Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Uptown Theater

When Lord Huron performed at Ink’s Middle of the Map festival in April, the songs from the band’s new album “Strange Trails” were unfamiliar to much of the audience. The members of the folk-based rock band from Michigan return to the Uptown Theater with increased momentum. The new recording peaked at the second slot on Billboard magazine’s Alternative Album chart. Spin magazine called “Strange Trails” “enchanting from start to finish,” and Paste touted the album’s “ability to transport audiences somewhere else.” The music of opening act José González is no less resonant. The Swede’s gloomy folk enhances the legacy of the late Nick Drake.

8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Uptown Theater. 816-753-8665. uptowntheater.com. $35.

Ailey II

Thursday, Oct. 8, through Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Folly

In a promotional video for his troupe, artistic director Troy Powell suggests that “Ailey II trains dancers to be able to work at a level where most major companies are working.” Powell adds that as the leader of the second company of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he nurtures young dancers “who are hungry, who are passionate.” Their dedication and youthful energy will be displayed in a three-dance program this week at the Folly Theater. “Revelations,” a 1960 piece by Alvin Ailey, is a company staple. Johann Sebastian Bach might not have known what to make of “Hissy Fits.” His compositions are sampled in Dwight Rhoden’s contemporary ballet. Jennifer Archibald’s “Wings” is an “unabashedly emotional portrayal of interactions between angels and humans.”

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, and Friday, Oct. 9, 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10. 816-474-4444. Folly Theater. follytheater.org. $25-$65.


Friday, Oct. 9, at the Midland

The members of Kraftwerk are seeking to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs. Pioneers of electronic music, the German band crafted visual and musical blueprints that have inspired groups ranging from Devo to Daft Punk. Formed in the late 1960s, Kraftwerk pioneered music that has since come to be known as Krautrock and synth-pop. The band is best known in the United States for its 22-minute opus “Autobahn.” Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hütter and his current collaborators remain stationary behind podiums during the current tour as they allow dazzling 3-D effects to command the audience’s attention.

8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. Midland theater. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. $59.50-$79.50.

Kansas City Ballet’s “The Three Musketeers”

Opening Friday, Oct. 9, at Muriel Kauffman Theatre

The first production of the Kansas City Ballet’s 2015-16 season acts as a welcoming reintroduction to the form for people who harbor an aversion to ballet. Tutus and displays of delicate pointe technique will be displaced by a form of drama that’s more closely associated with action movies. Not only is “every major role danced by men,” the company pledges that audiences will enjoy the “lighthearted production” that’s “a 90-minute, family-friendly ballet infused with swordplay, slapstick humor and bravura male dancing.” Set to the music of Giuseppe Verdi, choreographer André Prokovsky’s “The Three Musketeers” debuted in Australia in 1980 and is based on Alexandre Dumas’ 1844 novel.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, and Saturday, Oct. 10, 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, and Saturday, Oct. 17, 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. Muriel Kauffman Theatre. 816-931-8993. kcballet.org. $29-$119.

Krasnoyarsk National Dance Company of Siberia

Friday, Oct. 9, at Helzberg Hall

A performance by the Krasnoyarsk National Dance Company of Siberia may be perceived as an exercise in cultural glasnost by some members of Friday’s audience at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The aggressive actions overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin have renewed tensions between Cold War antagonists. Yet the dancers don’t intend to dissolve barriers by melding American and Russian forms. Instead, they will be cloaked in spectacular costumes while re-creating the traditional dancing of their homeland. Founded as the National Dance Company of Siberia in 1960, the 50-member troupe is said to convey “the spiritual wealth of Siberians by illuminating their feats of labor and telling of the wonderful nature of the land.”

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. Helzberg Hall. 816-415-5025. hjseries.org. $25-$70.

Weston Irish Festival

Friday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 11, at O’Malley’s in Weston

Revelers who didn’t sate their appetites for Irish music, beer and whiskey at last month’s Kansas City Irish Fest at Crown Center will feel entirely at home at the Weston Irish Festival. The annual event may have a smaller footprint, but it features a similarly ambitious lineup of performers on four stages. Locally based participants include angelic-voiced Connie Dover, beloved troubadour Eddie Delahunt and party band Flannigan’s Right Hook. Touring acts such as Philadelphia’s raucous Barleyjuice are also on the bill. Thirsty visitors can partake of one of three Irish whiskey tastings Saturday at the nearby St. George Hotel ($30 per person) or enjoy the ales of the Weston Brewing Co.

5 p.m.-midnight Friday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday, Oct. 10, noon-10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11. O’Malley’s, 500 Welt St., Weston. 816-640-5235. westonirish.com. $10 at the gate on Friday, $15 at the gate on Saturday and Sunday. Children 13 and under are free.

Shawnee Indian Mission Fall Festival

Friday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 11, at Shawnee Indian Mission

The Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway reminds visitors of a controversial aspect of American history. The facility housed Native American children from 1839 to 1862. The 29th edition of the Shawnee Indian Mission Fall Festival opens with a concert by folk ensemble Snorty Horse on Friday evening. The music continues on Saturday and Sunday. Living history demonstrations, puppet shows, children’s activities and appearances by the Haskell University Native American Dancers are among the additional offerings.

6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11. Shawnee Indian Mission, 3403 W. 53rd St., Fairway. 785-272-8681. kshs.org/shawnee_indian. Free.

Kansas City’s 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival

Saturday, Oct. 10, at the American Jazz Museum

Partly because it acknowledges that there’s nothing wrong with the idea of “different strokes for different folks,” Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People” would make a suitable theme song for the 18th & Vine Jazz and Blues Festival on Saturday. The Family Stone, an ensemble that includes musicians who are featured on the invigorating 1968 hit “Everyday People,” is the festival’s headlining act. Although the annual event is hosted by the American Jazz Museum, jazz represents just a portion of the offerings from national and locally based musicians. Dwele, Lee Langston and Charlotte Embrey are among the festival’s R&B bookings. Popa Chubby and Stone Cutters Union will play the blues. Jazz acts include ensembles led by Conrad Herwig and Dennis Winslett.

1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10. American Jazz Museum. 816-474-6262. americanjazzmuseum.org/events. $10 in advance or $15 at the gate.

Meyer Fest

Saturday, Oct. 10, at St. Peter’s Church

Many neighborhood block parties feature little more than an assortment of coolers and grills. Meyer Fest, on the other hand, is a big production. Food trucks, prominent musicians and a carnival are among the attractions of the Brookside event that acts as a fundraiser for the community activities of St. Peter’s Parish. Pie Hole’s meat pies and Plantain District’s Cuban sandwiches are among the delicacies available from food trucks. Venerable heartland-rock band the Rainmakers, dance ensemble Boogie Wonderland and a jazz ensemble led by bassist and vocalist Bryan Hicks will provide a celebratory soundtrack. Inflatable bounce tents, oversize hamster balls and a cake walk are among the diversions for children at a carnival earlier in the day.

Children’s carnival: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $10 for ages 14-18, $15 for ages 4-13, free for children under 4. Adults are free.

Block party: 5-11 p.m. $20.

Saturday, Oct. 10. St. Peter’s Church near the intersection of Meyer Boulevard and Holmes Street. meyerfestkc.com.

“American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood”

Opening Saturday, Oct. 10, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Completed in 1938, Thomas Hart Benton’s “Hollywood” is a simultaneously classical and strikingly contemporary painting. His large-scale rendering of a movie set includes a scantily clad actress posing for a camera, special effects mechanisms and the staging of a scene in which a man in formal wear seems to be protecting a woman from a culturally insensitive portrayal of a hostile Native American. Fifty of Benton’s paintings and murals and related materials will be displayed in “American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood,” a retrospective that’s billed as the “first major exhibition on Thomas Hart Benton in more than 25 years.” The Missouri native’s artworks were informed partly by his work as a painter of silent movie sets.

Saturday, Oct. 10-Jan. 3. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. 816-751-1278. nelson-atkins.org. $12; $10 for people 56 and over; $6 for students; members and children 11 and under are free. Free to all visitors 5-9 p.m. on Thursdays.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Chicago

Sunday, Oct. 11, at Arrowhead Stadium

The ferocious passion of many fans of the Kansas City Chiefs can turn barbarous when the team disappoints them. The Chiefs have provided fans with plenty of reasons to feel disgruntled in the first portion of the season. Head coach Andy Reid’s clock management, the offensive line’s inability to protect quarterback Alex Smith and several of Smith’s decisions have come under the intense scrutiny of the people who live and breathe for their hometown team. The Chicago Bears have also stumbled out of the gate. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010. It’s unlikely that the Bears will break that streak in 2015. Sunday’s game is an ideal opportunity for the Chiefs to convince their supporters that there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

Noon Sunday, Oct. 11. Arrowhead Stadium. 816-920-9400. kcchiefs.com. $115-$450.

Kansas City Chorale

Sunday, Oct. 11, at Congregation Beth Torah and Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Unity Temple on the Plaza

The Kansas City Chorale is one of the country’s most respected vocal ensembles in part because of its adventurous aesthetic. The Grammy Award-winning company’s 34th season opens with an unconventional program dedicated to “choral works by Jewish composers across the centuries.” A wide range of styles that spans centuries will be heard in the two performances of “Shirim Yehudim: Music of the Jewish Tradition.” The baroque choral works of 16th century Italian composer Salamone Rossi are gorgeous. Paul Schoenfield, a contemporary composer born in Detroit, has written works that recall Rossi’s innovations. Maurice Goldman’s arrangement of “Ya Ba Bom” is capable of rousing even the most recalcitrant members of the audience.

2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, at Congregation Beth Torah, 6100 W. 127th St., Overland Park, and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W. 47th St. 816-235-6222. tickets.cto.umkc.edu. $30, $25 for people 60 and older and $10 for students.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star