September will start with a bang, as it always does in the Kansas City area, with the three-headed festival monster: the Kansas City Irish Fest (Sept. 4-6), the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival (Sept. 4-7) and the Kansas City Renaissance Festival (Sept. 5-Oct. 18).
Other annual festivals, highlighted by the Plaza Art Fair (Sept. 25-27), will run throughout the month and throughout the area.
What makes this September really special, however, are appearances by some of the biggest entertainment stars in their fields. Or in any field.
Start with superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman, who will perform with pianist Emanuel Ax on Sept. 8 at the Kauffman Center as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series.
Then comes comic Jay Leno, longtime host of “The Tonight Show,” who will perform Sept. 13, also at the Kauffman Center.
Taylor Swift, the pop-music idol of tweens everywhere, will take the Sprint Center stage Sept. 21 and 22.
And finally Audra McDonald, who has won a record six Tony Awards, will appear Sept. 26 at the Kauffman Center.
Throw in the season openers for the Chiefs, the Kansas City Symphony and the Lyric Opera, as well as the Royals’ continued quest for a pennant and the start of the American Royal, and you can see that September will be a month to remember.
Here then is our day-by-day listing of things to do in September.
Royals vs. Detroit (through Sept. 3): The “Franchise Four” — George Brett, Dan Quisenberry, Bret Saberhagen and Frank White — will be honored before the game. 7:10 p.m., Kauffman Stadium, 1 Royal Way.
Info: $11-$80; kansascity.royals.mlb.com, 816-921-8000
“West Side Story” (through Sept. 5): An all-local cast sing and dance to music by Leonard Bernstein in this Spinning Tree Theatre production. 7:30 p.m., Arts Asylum, 1000 E. Ninth.
Info: $30-$42.50; spinningtreetheatre.com, 816-569-5277
T-Bones vs. Laredo (also Aug. 31-Sept. 2): This game against the Lemurs will be the team’s final regular-season home appearance. 7:05 p.m., CommunityAmerica Ballpark, 1800 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan.
Info: $6.50-$16; tbonesbaseball.com, 913-328-5618
Kansas City Irish Fest (through Sept. 6): If you don’t have an Irish accent now, you will by the end of the day. Ticket prices are discounted on opening night. 5 p.m., Crown Center, 25th and Grand.
Info: $10; kcirishfest.com
Kansas City Renaissance Festival (through Oct. 18): This is the first day of the season at the 16-acre village with 20 stages of entertainment, armored jousting and lots of food. 10 a.m., 633 N. 130th, Bonner Springs.
Info: $10.45-$17.95; kcrenfest.com, 913-721-2110
Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival (runs Sept. 4-7): More than 300,000 people attended last year’s craft-and-entertainment-centered four-day event, which commemorates the origin of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon trails. Independence Square, Independence.
Info: Free; santacaligon.com, 816-252-4745
Kansas City Symphony: The Symphony’s annual “Pops in the Park” features tunes you can tap your toes to. 7 p.m., Theatre in the Park, Shawnee Mission Park, 7710 Renner, Shawnee.
Info: Free; kcsymphony.org, 816-471-1100
Itzhak Perlman and Emanuel Ax: Two of the world’s premier musicians will perform — on violin and piano, respectively — as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. 7 p.m., Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway.
Info: $30-$80; hjseries.org, 816-415-5025
“At Home at the Zoo” (through Sept. 27): Kansas City Actors Theatre will present the Edward Albee drama. 7:30 p.m., H&R Block City Stage Theater, Union Station, 30 W. Pershing.
Info: $15-$30; kcactors.org, 816-361-5228
American Royal (through Nov. 23): The first day of the two-months-plus extravaganza will feature the Quarter Horse Show. 8 a.m., Hale Arena, American Royal Complex, 1701 American Royal Court.
Info: Free; americanroyal.com, 816-221-9800
Dancefestopia Music Festival (through Sept. 13): You’ll be able to listen and dance to music from three stages all day, all night and into the morning. 1:30 p.m., Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 Riverfront.
Info: $184-$284 for all three days; dancefestopia.com
Dance in the Park: Local dance companies, headed by City in Motion Dance Theater, will perform virtually every type of dance, from ballet to West African and everything in between. 6:30 p.m., Roanoke Park, 3601 Roanoke.
Jay Leno: “The Tonight Show” has moved on without him, but he’s still a funny guy. 7:30 p.m., Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway.
Info: $49-$149; kauffmancenter.org, 816-994-7200
Hozier: The singer/songwriter is one of the hottest acts to come out of Ireland since U2. 7:30 p.m., Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road.
Info: $39.50-$55; kcstarlight.com, 816-363-7827
Citizen Cope: Memphis native Clarence Greenwood has generated his own style mixing blues, soul, rock, folk and hip-hop. 8 p.m., Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th.
Info: $26-$77.50; crossroadskc.com
“Sunday in the Park With George” (runs Sept. 11-Oct. 4): The Stephen Sondheim musical was inspired by the life of artist Georges Seurat. 7 p.m., Atkins Auditorium, Nelson-Atkins Museum, 4525 Oak.
Info: $30-$55; kcrep.org, 816-235-2700
Chiefs vs. Denver: A Thursday night game, national TV, Peyton Manning, the dreaded Broncos — this is no typical home opener. 7:25 p.m., Arrowhead Stadium, I-70 and I-435.
Info: $95-$450; kcchiefs.com, 816-920-9300
Kansas City Symphony (through Sept. 20): The opening-weekend concert will include Franz Schumann’s “Konzertstuck for Four Horns,” the suite from Walter Piston’s “The Incredible Flutist” and Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello, Oboe and Bassoon.” 8 p.m., Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway.
Info: $28-$78; kcsymphony.org, 816-471-0400
KC Improv Festival (runs Sept. 10-12 and 18-19): The headliner on the event’s closing night will be Baby Wants Candy — The Completely Improvised Musical. 7 p.m., Musical Theater Heritage, Crown Center, 2450 Grand.
Info: $18; kcimprovfestival.com, 816-221-6987
Whirling Dervishes of Rumi: Yes, there really is such a thing as a Whirling Dervish. The group also will perform Sept. 19 at the Music Hall. 6:30 p.m., Lied Center, 1600 Stewart, Lawrence.
Info: $15-$25; lied.ku.edu, 785-864-2787
Taylor Swift (also Sept. 22): Pop music’s biggest star (or is it Katy Perry?) arrives in town on her 1989 World Tour. 7:30 p.m., Sprint Center, 1407 Grand.
Info: $39.50-$119.50; sprintcenter.com, 816-949-7000
Twenty One Pilots: They aren’t pilots, and there aren’t 21 of them. They actually are two guys from Columbus, Ohio, who sing together. 7 p.m., Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road.
Info: $30; kcstarlight.com, 816-363-7827
“The Miracle Worker” (runs Sept. 22-Oct. 25): The Coterie’s season opener tells the inspirational story of Helen Keller. 9:45 a.m., the Coterie, 2450 Grand.
Info: $11-$15; thecoterie.org, 816-474-6552
“You Can’t Take It With You” (through Nov. 29): It’s opening night for a play that won a Pulitzer Prize in 1937 and was made into a movie that won the 1938 Oscar for best picture. 7:35 p.m., New Theatre Restaurant, 9229 Foster, Overland Park.
Info: $42-$56; newtheatre.com, 913-649-7469
Plaza Art Fair (through Sept. 27): The 84th annual event is one of the longest-running art festivals in the nation and attracts hundreds of thousands of patrons, not all of whom buy something. 5-10 p.m., Country Club Plaza.
Info: Free; countryclubplaza.com/event/plaza-art-fair
Audra McDonald: Perhaps Broadway’s biggest star, she will show off her voice as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. 7 p.m., Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway.
Info: $30-$80; hjseries.org, 816-415-5025
Sporting Kansas City vs. Seattle: The home team is making a push for first place in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. 4 p.m., Sporting Park, 1 Sporting Way, Kansas City, Kan.
Info: $27-$275; sportingkc.com, 913-387-3400
Mark Knopfler: The former lead singer for Dire Straits released his eighth solo album, “Tracker,” earlier this year. 7:30 p.m., Midland, 1228 Main.
Info: $49.50-$137.50; midlandkc.com, 816-283-9921
Zappa Plays Zappa: When you’re named Dweezil Zappa and your father was Frank Zappa, what else are you going to call your act? 8 p.m., Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th.
Info: $25-$66.50; crossroadskc.com
Lyric Opera (also Sept. 26 and Oct. 2 and 4): It will perform Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” based on the legend of the great lover, Don Juan. 7:30 p.m., Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway.
Info: $39-$149; kcopera.org, 816-471-7344