Entertainment

This weekend in Kansas City: Steve Hytner at Stanford’s, the Missouri Mavericks, First Friday in the Crossroads and the Missouri Comets

Ashley Pankow (from left), Christina Burton and Lauren Braton, performing here in the Quality Hill Playhouse production of “Judy, Barbra, Liza,” will reunite for the New Year’s Eve Cabaret, Thursday, Dec. 31, at Quality Hill.
Ashley Pankow (from left), Christina Burton and Lauren Braton, performing here in the Quality Hill Playhouse production of “Judy, Barbra, Liza,” will reunite for the New Year’s Eve Cabaret, Thursday, Dec. 31, at Quality Hill. rsugg@kcstar.com

Steve Hytner

Wednesday, Dec. 30; Thursday, Dec. 31; Friday, Jan. 1; Saturday, Jan. 2, at Stanford’s Comedy Club

Steve Hytner’s role as Kenny Bania on “Seinfeld” is a double-edged sword. His appearances on one of the most popular TV shows of all time made him famous, but playing an untalented, sycophantic comedian has almost certainly worked against him. Hytner is so convincing that many people are likely to have trouble making the distinction between Hytner and Bania. While he’s remembered for repeatedly exclaiming “It’s the best, Jerry! The best!” as Bania, Hytner’s routines include riffs on social media and the uncomplicated mentalities of men. The Mets supporter is likely to come in for playful ribbing from proud Royals fans during his appearances at Stanford’s Comedy Club.

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30; 8 and 10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31; 7:45 and 9:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1, and Saturday, Jan. 2. Stanford’s Comedy Club. 913-400-7500. stanfordscomedyclub.com. $19-$125 per couple.

New Year’s Eve Cabaret

Thursday, Dec. 31, at Quality Hill Playhouse

Hundreds of thousands of sports fans who watched Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Oct. 23 got a peek at Kansas City’s cabaret scene when Lauren Braton delivered a robust version of “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. Braton is one of the featured performers at Quality Hill Playhouse’s two performances of its “Swingin’ Auld Lang Syne!” shows on New Year’s Eve. She will be joined by vocalists Christina Burton and Ashley Pankow, pianist J. Kent Barnhart, bassist Brian Wilson and drummer Ken Remmert in a show featuring “jazz standards, Broadway hits, and New Year’s Eve favorites.”

6:30 and 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. Quality Hill Playhouse. 816-421-1700. qualityhillplayhouse.com. $40, $37 for students and seniors.

Missouri Mavericks vs. Wichita

Thursday, Dec. 31, and Friday, Jan. 1, at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena

The Missouri Mavericks’ next two home games are likely to have very different atmospheres. The match on New Year’s Eve will be filled with heightened anticipation, and the game on the afternoon of New Year’s Day may feel like a fresh beginning. Thursday’s match against the division cellar-dwellers the Wichita Thunder features multiple balloon drops, glow-in-the-dark giveaways and an opportunity to skate with Mavericks players after the game. The players aren’t likely to engage in excessive holiday celebrations in the locker room. The team takes on the Allen Americans on Friday afternoon. The Mavericks, the owners of one of the best records in the ECHL “AA” hockey league, will want to be in top form to sustain their winning form.

7:05 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, and 4:05 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1. Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. 800-745-3000. missourimavericks.com. $16-$38.

First Fridays in the Crossroads

Friday, Jan. 1, in the Crossroads Arts District

Rather than making New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or get in shape, some area residents might commit to immersing themselves in art in 2016. Instead of joining the throngs of people at a gym on New Year’s Day, this group will have fun in the Crossroads district on Friday. Two galleries feature particularly enticing shows. Representations of the winter months are part of Claudia García Peña’s “Cuatro Estaciones.” The exhibition at the Todd Weiner Gallery (115 W. 18th St., Suite 101) features the artist’s impressions of the four seasons. Gloria Feinstein’s “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” show at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center (2012 Baltimore Ave.) showcases the photographer’s striking black-and-white portraits.

Friday, Jan. 1. Crossroads Arts District. 816-994-7313. kccrossroads.org. Free.

“42nd Street”

Saturday, Jan. 2, and Sunday, Jan. 3, at White Recital Hall

One or two members of the casts of almost every high school musical impress audiences with their outsize talents. Music Theatre Kansas City, a company known until recently as Music Theatre for Young People, provides an additional showcase for these exceptional performers. Forty students from 26 high schools will be featured in “42nd Street” this weekend. The cast puts the show together in a single week during the holiday break with an ambitious schedule of 12-hour rehearsals. A 16-piece orchestra consisting of a blend of professional musicians and students will accompany vocalists on “42nd Street” favorites including “Lullaby of Broadway.”

2 and 7:30 p.m. Jan. 2; 2 p.m. Jan. 3. White Recital Hall. 816-235-6222. mtkc.org. $12-$18 in advance and $15-$20 at the door.

Kansas State vs. Arkansas at the Liberty Bowl

Saturday, Jan. 2, on ESPN

Although the regular season record of 6-6 disappointed fans of the Kansas State Wildcats, the football team’s debut appearance in the Liberty Bowl on Saturday gives the school’s most ardent supporters a great excuse to travel during the holidays. Thousands of fans are expected to make the trip to Memphis. In addition to watching the game at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, many Wildcats fans are likely to visit Graceland, frolic on Beale Street and indulge in Memphis barbecue. The Kansas State faithful unable to make the trek to Tennessee will congregate at almost every area tavern. Arkansas supporters will gather at Johnny’s Tavern downtown (1310 Grand Blvd.) and the Tilted Kilt in Overland Park (6700 W. 135th St.).

2:20 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2. ESPN. Details are available at kstatesports.com.

Missouri Comets vs. Milwaukee

Saturday, Jan. 2, at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena

In winning nine of its first 10 games, the Missouri Comets raced out of the gate in the 2015-16 season with the best record in the Central Division of the Major Arena Soccer League. The club hopes to continue its winning ways in its first match of 2016 against its division rivals the Milwaukee Wave. With a diverse roster of players from countries including Serbia, Jamaica, Liberia, Colombia, Canada, Haiti, France and Costa Rica, the members of the Comets are well on their way to besting the other clubs from the United States, Canada and Mexico for the championship of the international indoor soccer league.

7:35 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2. Silverstein Eye Centers Arena. 855-452-4625. cometsindoorsoccer.com. $15-$45.

Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

Sunday, Jan. 3, at Arrowhead Stadium

The Kansas City Chiefs conclude the regular season with a home game against one of their most bitter foes. The Oakland Raiders and faithful members of the team’s black-clad contingent of boorish supporters will attempt to act as spoilers. Although the Chiefs will be expected to win on Sunday, the outcome isn’t a foregone conclusion. Prior to a monstrous fourth quarter in which the team scored 20 points, the Chiefs appeared to be on track to fall to Oakland when the rivals met in Oakland on Dec. 6. Even the Chiefs fans who loathe the Raiders may temper their disdain to acknowledge the final Arrowhead Stadium appearance of Charles Woodson. The 39-year-old safety is retiring after Sunday’s game.

3:25 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3. Arrowhead Stadium. 816-920-9400. chiefs.com. $30-$290.

Shane Evans and Holly Robinson Peete for “My Brother Charlie”

Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Library

An internationally renowned actress and one of the area’s most accomplished artists will discuss their unique collaboration at the Plaza branch of the Kansas City Library on Tuesday. Robinson Peete and her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth, co-wrote “My Brother Charlie,” a children’s book that addresses the experience of having an autistic sibling. Robinson Peete is best known for her appearances on TV shows including “21 Jump Street” and “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.” The distinctive art of Shane Evans accompanies Robinson Peete’s text. Tuesday’s discussion about the 2010 book promises to provide fascinating insights into a challenging topic that affects many families.

3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5. 816-701-3400. kclibrary.org/event/my-brother-charlie-holly-robinson-peete-shane-evans. Free, registration recommended.

Closing Sunday

“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Laser Beatles” and “American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood” close on Sunday, Jan. 3

The detail-minded people who crossed every item off their holiday to-do lists may have been unable to take a break for their personal entertainment and private edification. There’s still time to catch three noteworthy attractions that close on Sunday, Jan. 3. The Coterie’s 60-minute production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is ideal for those who can’t get enough Christmas. A planetarium at Science City that regularly teaches visitors about celestial bodies features 15 classic songs by different types of stars in “Laser Beatles.” The “American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood” exhibition features almost 100 distinctive works by one of Kansas City’s most famous sons.

▪ “A Charlie Brown Christmas”: Closes Sunday, Jan. 3. The Coterie. 816-474-6552. thecoterie.org. $12-$17.

▪ “Laser Beatles”: Closes Sunday, Jan. 3. Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium at Union Station. 816-460-2020. unionstation.org/sciencecity/events/laser-beatles-0. $6.

▪ “American Epics: Thomas Hart Benton and Hollywood”: Closes Sunday, 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 12 and under are free.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star

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