6 Colorful Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Jun 29, 2017

Powell Gardens will have fireworks and mythical creatures on display this weekend in Kansas City.
Credit Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Whatever hue you may be, being colorful is a whole other thing.

Offering colorful guidance this weekend are activities promoting the exciting, the interesting and the unusual, from sparkling Fourth of July fireworks to the attitude-drenched stage debut of a famously animated cat.

What if you don’t need assistance being colorful? Lucky you. Get out there and lead by example!

1. Booms & Blooms

Flowers and fireworks combine to serenade the senses at this annual Fourth of July event at Powell Gardens, where things will be decidedly colorful before a single skyrocket is ignited. In addition to hands-on art doings and games going on at Kansas City’s botanical garden, there’s the new exhibit, Gardens of Myth, that includes imaginative exemplifications of a goblin, a troll, a leprechaun, a unicorn, a minotaur, a dragon and even Bigfoot, who hopefully won’t mind that he’s being represented as fake news. Otherwise the huge galoot might rudely interrupt the Lee’s Summit Symphony’s pre-fireworks concert to put the lie to Bigfoot deniers once and for all. Well, he might.

Saturday, 2 p.m. (fireworks at 9 p.m.); Powell Gardens, 1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50, Kingsville, Mo.; admission: $5-$12.

2. Sheila E.

The Black/Brown Coalition in support of increased awareness of minority home ownership will gleam with a flamboyant purple, thanks to the presence of former Prince protégé Shelia E., a pivotal member of the late, great Purple One’s band back in the 1980s. Fireworks will follow a performance by the fantastic percussionist, whose new album of cover tunes, “Iconic,” features Prince’s “America.”

Monday, 7-10 p.m.; Paseo Boulevard from Truman Road to 18th Street, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: free.

3. Joel McHale

Funny man Joel McHale is best known as the quip-happy host of E!’s pop-culture train wreck, “The Soup” (2004-2015), and as one of the stars of NBC/Yahoo’s adult-education sitcom, “Community” (2009-2015). Expect some colorful stories involving the crazy celebrity game as long observed by McHale, as well as relatively relatable stuff about family life when he brings his stand-up comedy act to KC.

Friday, 8 p.m., Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland, 1228 Main St., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $27.50-$47.50.

4. ‘Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude

Created by Jim Davis, the “Garfield” newspaper comic strip about a sarcastic house cat with an attitude bigger than his ample belly has been getting laughs since 1978. Through the years, the colorful character’s all-ages fame has only grown by way of TV, movie, video game and internet appearances. Now it’s time for the world’s most famous fat cat to make his mark on stage with "Garfield: The Musical with Cattitude,” which finally takes our pampered protagonist into the outside world. Wait, where are the treats?

Friday, 11 a.m., 1 and 7 p.m. (meet cast members after evening show); Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m.; Coterie Theatre at Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $12-$17.

5. ‘Jersey Boys’

In 1964, the Four Seasons, led by the uniquely colorful falsetto of vocalist Frankie Valli, were enough of a big deal to warrant the classic, one-off album: “The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons,” featuring original tracks from both groups. Decades later, the irresistibly melodic, doo-wop-influenced hits of the Four Seasons stand on their own in the hit Broadway musical, “Jersey Boys.” Relive the thrill of “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man” and other timeless tunes, along with the story of how four lads from Jersey made it to the big time. Take that, Liverpool.

Thursday-Sunday, 8 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $16-$146.

6. Red, White & Zoo

The most colorful animal at the Kansas City Zoo? Take your pick. (I’m partial to the penguins, whose black-and-white tuxedos belie their cute-and-curious natures.) Make your choice for free if you’re an active or retired member of the U.S. military with valid ID during this year’s Red, White & Zoo Fourth of July weekend honoring those who serve our country in uniform. Attendant military family members also get $1 off their admissions, plus all guests can patriotically partake of Dollar Days hotdogs, chips, drinks and more at Helzberg Penguin Plaza. Yay, Penguins!

Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Kansas City Zoo, 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; admission: $11.50-$14.50, ages 2 and younger get in free.

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at brianmctavish@gmail.com