Entertainment

This weekend in Kansas City: Royals FanFest at Bartle Hall, Margaret Cho, Country Unplugged at Kauffman Center and Sesame Street Live

Shemekia Copeland will perform Jan. 29 at the Lied Center.
Shemekia Copeland will perform Jan. 29 at the Lied Center. Courtesy of Sandrine Lee

Margaret Cho

Thursday, Jan. 28, Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30, at KC Improv

Margaret Cho will bring her “The PsyCho Tour: There’s No I in Team but There’s a Cho in PsyCho” to Kansas City this week. When she’s not honing her chops as a standup comic, Cho enhances her durable career by providing raunchy commentary to the E! television series “Fashion Police,” working as the producer and star of a new “dramedy” series titled “Highland,” and discussing her stances on social issues during frequent appearances on talk shows.

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, 7 and 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. Kansas City Improv. 816-759-5233. improvkc.com. $25

Country Unplugged Tour featuring Joe Diffie, Lorrie Morgan and Mark Chesnutt

Friday, Jan. 29, at Kauffman Center

Country singers born before Watergate must feel as if they’ve had the rug pulled out from under them. The landscape has changed so dramatically that former stars would be forgiven for taking early retirements. The three artists featured on the Country Unplugged Tour aren’t going down without a fight. Even during their commercial heydays in the 1990s, Joe Diffie and Mark Chesnutt were considered throwbacks to an earlier era. Diffie hits like “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” and Chesnutt favorites including “It Sure Is Monday” hewed to a fading tradition. As reflected by perky hits like “Something in Red,” Lorrie Morgan was slightly more amenable to modern sounds. The trio will share the stage of Kauffman Center’s Muriel Kauffman Theatre on Friday.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. 816-994-7200. kauffmancenter.org. $39-$69.

Shemekia Copeland

Friday, Jan. 29, at the Lied Center

Shemekia Copeland’s incendiary performance stunned an unsuspecting audience of several thousand people at the Paola Roots Festival last August. Opening for veteran vocalist Delbert McClinton, Copeland demonstrated that she’s a top-notch entertainer. The daughter of the blues journeyman Johnny Copeland, Shemekia has honed her craft over the course of more than 15 years of recording and touring. The strength of her latest album, “Outskirts of Love,” and her hard-won command of the stage make Copeland worthy of her moniker “The New Queen of the Blues.” Blind Boy Paxton, an exciting young acoustic bluesman, opens Friday’s show.

7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29. Lied Center, Lawrence. 785-864-2787. lied.ku.edu. $20-$30.

Air Supply

Friday, Jan. 29, at Ameristar Kansas City

Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell are having the last laugh. Critically derided for most of their careers as the primary members of Air Supply, the men have been vindicated by the enduring popularity of their soft rock. On the 40th anniversary of the release of the Australian ensemble’s debut album, Air Supply is still a box-office powerhouse. Friday’s concert at Ameristar Kansas City is sold out. Audiences continue to embrace theatrical love songs like “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” and “All Out of Love.”

8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29. Ameristar Kansas City. 816-414-7000. ameristar.com. $35-$50.

Kansas City Royals FanFest

Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30, at Bartle Hall

High fives and spontaneous chants of “Let’s go, Royals” will abound at the Kansas City Royals FanFest this weekend. The two-day event will give boosters another opportunity to celebrate the Royals’ first World Series victory since 1985. Dayton Moore, the general manager responsible for assembling the championship team, may be the most popular man at FanFest. World Series heroes Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez will be joined by former greats, including Dennis Leonard and Willie Mays Aikens. When they’re not obtaining autographs or listening to presentations, fans can attend hitting clinics, demonstrate their skill in batting cages and participate in a bunting challenge.

2-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. Bartle Hall. 800-676-9257. royals.com. $15 in advance or $17 at the door. Children 6-17 are $9 in advance or $11 at the door.

Sesame Street Live, “Make a New Friend”

Friday, Jan. 29, through Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Sprint Center

New episodes of revered children’s program “Sesame Street” have moved from their longtime home on public television to the subscription cable network HBO that’s associated with “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones.” The changes that have been unveiled on the new season of “Sesame Street” have left some critics unhappy. These alterations probably don’t bother the children who will flock to the Sprint Center for the production of “Make a New Friend.” The show invites audiences to “explore the universal fun of friendship.”

10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, 10:30 a.m., 2 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, 1 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31. Sprint Center. 816-949-7000. sprintcenter.com. $12-$65.

Kansas City Symphony, “Beethoven’s ‘Emperor,’ with Sibelius’ Seventh”

Friday, Jan. 29, through Sunday, Jan. 31, at Helzberg Hall

Michael Stern, the music director of the Kansas City Symphony, raves about Jean Sibelius’ Seventh Symphony in a promotional video for this weekend’s concerts. He suggests that the 1924 composition is “a piece of such mystical beauty, of such incredible otherworldly emotion” and is “arguably one of the most important pieces of the 20th century.” Stern’s enthusiasm is certain to be apparent as he guides the Symphony through the work. Eminent pianist Jeremy Denk, a MacArthur “genius” grant recipient in 2013, will contribute his talent to an interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto. Alexander Scriabin’s sublime “The Poem of Ecstasy” completes the program.

8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, and Saturday, Jan. 30, 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31. Helzberg Hall. 816-471-0400. kcsymphony.org. $23-$76.

“The Diary of Anne Frank”

Opens Friday, Jan. 29, at Spencer Theatre

Disturbing world events in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and our own backyard indicate that the lessons imparted by the fateful saga of Anne Frank must continue to be retold. The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s new production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” remains sadly necessary. The first rendition of Wendy Kasselman’s adaptation of the work starred a young Natalie Portman in 1997. Rachel Shapiro makes her Kansas City Rep debut in the role of the title character. Although the show by the consistently excellent troupe promises to be excellent, the play isn’t the only reason to visit Spencer Theatre. The traveling exhibition “Anne Frank: A History for Today” offers additional insights into her life.

Friday, Jan. 29-Sunday, Feb. 21. Spencer Theatre. 816-235-2700. kcrep.org. $25-$65.

2016 Polar Plunge

Saturday, Jan. 30, at Longview Lake

Unlike most endeavors in which participants solicit donations in advance in exchange for pledging to engage in activities such as charity walks, the daredevils who will immerse themselves in icy water on Saturday might find more success reaching out to enemies rather than to well-wishers. Friends and family members may be disinclined to encourage their loved ones to endanger their health. The prospect of adversaries risking their well-being could make even the most tight-fisted villain open his or her wallet. The funds raised by the men and women who race into Longview Lake on Saturday will benefit the sports and competition activities of Special Olympics Missouri.

Saturday, Jan. 30. Longview Lake. 573-635-1660. somo.org. Participants must raise a minimum of $75 before the event.

Winter Bridal Spectacular

Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Overland Park Convention Center

Lovestruck thoughts of long-term commitments will permeate the Overland Park Convention Center’s exhibition hall as couples plan for their big days at the Winter Bridal Spectacular. The grounds will be particularly treacherous for visitors who are intent on remaining unattached during bridal bouquet tosses at 12:45 and 3:45 p.m. Alluring designs will be on display at two bridal fashion shows. Representatives of almost 200 wedding-related companies will tout their wares. Vendors include caterers, florists, reception facilities, wedding planners, photographers and honeymoon destinations.

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. Overland Park Convention Center. kcweddings.com. $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

One Minute Play Festival

Saturday, Jan. 30, Sunday. Jan. 31, and Monday, Feb. 1, at the H&R Block City Stage at Union Station

The Kansas City edition of the One Minute Play Festival has a rather dry mission statement that insists that the three-day festival is a “social barometer project” that’s infused with a “spirit of radical inclusion.” The strong reputations of many of the participants suggest that the offerings won’t be dreary academic exercises. Directors include Katie Gilchrist, Sidonie Garrett and Bess Wallerstein. Ric Averill, Ry Kincaid, Teresa Leggard, Vanessa Severo and Vi Tran are among the playwrights.

8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1. H&R Block City Stage at Union Station. 816-460-2020. brownpapertickets.com/event/2484107. $20 per day.

Chinese New Year celebration

Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

A person with an average lifespan will live through six or seven cycles of the 12-part Chinese zodiac calendar. The outstanding Chinese collection at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art puts the concept of time in perspective. The oldest Chinese pieces at the museum are 5,000 years old, an age that might remind mortals to acknowledge each auspicious shift in the calendar with renewed appreciation. An enormous breadth of activities at Sunday’s free six-hour celebration will allow each visitor to design a distinct experience. Painting, calligraphy and origami demonstrations, an acrobatics display, music recitals, lectures, dance exhibitions and games are among the offerings.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31. Nelson-Atkins Museum. 816-751-1278. nelson-atkins.org. Free.

Ian Rankin for “Even Dogs in the Wild”

Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Unity Temple on the Plaza

Although the self-effacing author would strenuously object to the flattering comparison, Ian Rankin might rightfully be viewed as the Scottish equivalent of famed crime writer Elmore Leonard. Rankin returns to Kansas City on Tuesday to promote “Even Dogs in the Wild,” the 20th installment in his beloved series of novels about John Rebus. The venerable detective inspector is officially retired, but Rankin has found a way to place Rebus amid the action in a new case. Although Rankin is a dynamic speaker who’s sure to energetically advocate for “Even Dogs in the Wild,” he’s liable to get sidetracked by discussions of his many other interests, including popular music and adult beverages.

7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, Unity Temple on the Plaza. 913-384-3126. rainydaybooks.com. $26, includes a hardcover copy of “Even Dogs in the Wild” and an autograph admission ticket.

Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star

  Comments