Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

The moment the first bow touched the strings, my spirit lifted to a new place, one filled with wonderment, beauty and joy.  It’s a place, I’m told, that is like no other in the world.

I’m not a music critic, nor an acoustician – a new word I learned – but I am the “everyman” for whom the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City was created.

exterior of the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City

Bruce N. Meyer photo

Moshe Safdie Design

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the twin exterior clam-like shells and south facing wall of glass have reshaped Kansas City’s skyline. It is the only performing arts center in North America, other than the Lincoln Center in New York, with two theatres. But Mr. Safdie told me it is more than a world-class facility.  It is the best in the world.

interior of Kauffman center for Performing Arts in Kansas CityAll in one center, you can hear jazz, classical, pop and other music along with modern dance, ballet and theatrical performances – two or more performances often underway at the same time. Special programs, like those from National Geographic or book signings featuring the world’s most accomplished authors, fill the stages and reception halls here. Tickets some times as low as $10. It’s a magnificent facility, open for the general public to walk in and experience on quiet days with no tickets, no obligation rather than to enjoy.

One of two theatres in Kauffman Center for Performing Arts

Interior of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Theatre

And don’t worry about what you’ll wear.  Wear blue jeans and a T-shirt.  Wear a Chiefs sweatshirt or a Royals hat. This is a place, said Mr. Safdie, where he looks forward to seeing people in blue jeans enjoying themselves right along with those in black tie.

Go there and you’ll find yourself in a place you’ve never been before.

Julia Irene Kauffman at the Performing Arts Center she financed.

Julia Irene Kauffman imagines her late mother dancing with happiness on this stage.

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