Kauffman Center newest addition to KC skyline


courtesy of Kauffmancenter.org

PERFORMING ARTS- The Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts, located at 16th Street and Broadway, opened the weekend of Sept. 16. Several students and faculty are participating in the inaugural season of the KCPA.

Andrea Johnson, Staff Writer

A place that is no stranger to world-class performers, Kansas City now has a world-class venue to match.

The new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (KCPA) opened the weekend of Sept. 16 with performances in the Center’s two main halls – the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall – on the 16 and 17 and a free open house Sept. 18.

The newest addition to the Kansas City skyline, the KCPA was designed by Moshe Safdi and Associates, in collaboration with acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota and has been lauded both for its superior acoustics and eye-catching design, according to the KCPA’s website.

And the performing arts center is accessible not only to those who can afford season tickets to the symphony or ballet – in fact, several Northtown students and faculty members will have the opportunity to participate in the KCPA’s inaugural season.

Senior Jordan Hollis, who studies dance six nights a week at the Kansas City Ballet (KCB), is excited to audition for KCB’s performance of The Nutcracker, a Kansas City favorite, which will be held in the KCPA rather than its normal home, the Music Hall.

“I just can’t wait to dance on a stage that means so much to the performing arts world,” Hollis said. “I heard there isn’t a bad seat in the house!”

She points to the Kauffman Center’s combination of Helzberg Hall and the Muriel Kauffman Theatre as a wonderful improvement to the city’s arts community.

“With the Kauffman Center we now have a central home for all of the performing arts, which will really bring the art forms together,” Hollis said.

Band teacher Carrie Epperson, who performed at the KCPA’s free open house with the Kansas City Wind Symphony, was looking forward to performing in a hall that equals the best performing arts centers across the globe.

“I performed at Carnegie Hall a few years ago and it was amazing. I’m really excited to get a similar experience here in Kansas City,” Epperson said.

Though they are not performing there, juniors Erika and Jessica Rambo are also participating in the opening of the KCPA by volunteering for the usher crew.

Erika Rambo has been impressed both the acoustics and the design of KCPA.

“It’s really hard not to be enticed by the shell shape and the acoustics surrounding you, almost like it’s reeling you in. It’s not like you’re watching someone [perform], you feel like you’re part of it,” Rambo said.

Jessica Rambo has also been impressed by the design of the KCPA and believes it fits right in with the setting of downtown Kansas City.

“The second you walk in the doors, the windows showcase the Liberty Memorial and it’s right next door to the Convention Center and Union Station. It’s a very distinct building that calls a very distinct city home,” Rambo said.

What show are the sisters particularly looking forward to attending at the KCPA? They both agree: Yo-Yo Ma.

“I’d love to hear the way his cello sounds in Helzberg Hall and it’s always been a dream of mine to see him in concert,” Erika Rambo said.

Though ticket prices are higher than usual for this season, students who would rather be in the audience than on stage or backstage can experience the KCPA in several ways.

For example, the Kansas City Youth Symphony’s spring concert on April 22 in Helzberg Hall will be free to the public and an opportunity to witness the fine-tuned acoustics.

Information on shows, ticket prices and volunteer opportunities are available at: http://www.kauffmancenter.org/.