Arts/Entertainment

Summer Sounds and Shows

Turn up the heat with these outdoor concerts and performances throughout the summer. 

Live at the Legends brings outdoor entertainment to the Legends Outlets Saturday evenings in June and July. The free shows take place 5-7 p.m. at the Civic Courtyard Fountain and include local talent performing popular pop, classic rock and country hits from the 70s, 80s, 90s and today.

Local and regional musicians are also the stars of the shows at Park Place’s Summer Sounds in the Park, a concert series 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays in June and July. Genres range from children’s music June 1 and alternative pop-rock June 22 to country July 13 and a Rat Pack tribute July 27 to wrap up the series. Each week will also feature a Park Place Play Zone, featuring crafts and activities from The Learning Tree along with face painters, balloon artists and more.

Summer Sounds in the Park at Park Place

Town Center’s Sunset Music Fest runs Thursdays in June, but while the duration is shorter, the names are bigger. The June 2nd show features Smashmouth, with KT Tunstall, Sister Hazel and Candlebox appearing later in the month. The free music, which includes local opening acts, starts at 7 p.m. in the north parking lot. Bring your blankets and chairs, but leave the coolers behind.

Of course there’s not always time to plan your schedule around enjoying live music. The Country Club Plaza’s Plaza Live! Concert Series makes it easy to take in performances while grabbing a bite or between shopping stops with concerts in beautiful Plaza courtyards 5-8 p.m. Thursdays, 6-9 p.m. Fridays, 2-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-3 p.m. Sundays now through the end of September.

Zona Rosa will also offer live music several nights each week.  Thursdays June 16-Aug. 18, soak up jazz in the town square 6:30-8:30 p.m., while Friday and Saturday performances range from classic rock, Irish rock, tributes, oldies, and more.

Feeling a little bit country? Check out Miller Lite’s Hot Country Nights performances every Thursday at Kansas City Live! The shows kick off with Montgomery Gentry June 9 and continue through Aug. 18, when the Eli Young Band takes the stage. Concerts start at 7 p.m. and are free to attend. In addition to other outdoor shows throughout the summer, Power & Light is bringing back Urbana. The first Wednesday of each month, visitors can eat and drink under the stars, hear live music and see public art displays 5-9 p.m. on 14th Street between Main and Walnut streets.

One of the city’s ultimate outdoor entertainment experiences continues to be the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. For its 24th season of Shakespeare in the Park, the festival will present “Twelfth Night,” Shakespeare’s gender-reversal romantic comedy. Performances run Tuesday-Sunday at 8:00 p.m.  June 14-July 3 at Southmoreland Park. Admission is free if you’re opting for open seating, which includes areas designation for lawn chairs and blankets. Reserved seats and blankets are also available.

Theatre in the Park opens its 2016 season with the musical “Cabaret” on June 3-11. Other entries into this summer’s series include “The Drowsy Chaperone” June 17-25; “A Chorus Line” July 1-9; “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” July 15-23; and “Marry Poppins” July 29-August 6. Tickets to musical productions at the outdoor amphitheater in Shawnee Mission Park are just $8 ($6 for kids). The venue also hosts Movies in the Park for $1 per person. The lineup includes a “Frozen” sing-a-long June 7, “Inside Out” July 19, and “E.T.” August 2, along with other family favorites.

Catching a summer show at Starlight Theatre is practically a necessity for Kansas Citians. This year’s Broadway series offers plenty of options: “Matilda the Musical” now through May 28; “The Bridges of Madison County” June 14-19; “Bullets Over Broadway” June 28-July 3; “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” July 13-19; “If/Then” July 26-31; “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” Aug. 9-14; and “The Rat Pack is Back” Sept. 9-11. A host of major musical names are also coming through, including Boston on June 5, Paul Simon June 11 and Bob Dylan June 21.