Thursday, March 23Welcome

What’s coming up for Kansas City entertainment in 2023

Taylor Swift will perform before sold-out Arrowhead Stadium crowds on July 7 and 8.

Taylor Swift will perform before sold-out Arrowhead Stadium crowds on July 7 and 8.

Invision/Associated Press

Five summer concerts at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium — highlighted by Taylor Swift’s two-day appearance — will headline Kansas City’s 2023 entertainment calendar.

Add the returns of “Hamilton,” Bruce Springsteen, Adam Sandler and Janet Jackson, and the new year is poised to be packed with major events.

Arrowhead will present Luke Combs (June 10), Ed Sheeran (Aug. 5) and Billy Joel teaming up with Stevie Nicks (Aug. 19), as well as Swift’s July 7-8 sellouts for the stadium’s busiest concert season in nearly 50 years.

Jeremy Slavens, vice president of Arrowhead Events, said the stadium has offered no more than three concerts in one year since putting a renewed emphasis on music acts after renovation was completed in 2010.

“I do believe some time back in the ’70s … there were more than four or five, maybe even seven at one point,” he said. “We may not have the most shows ever in one summer, but I would assume the attendance for these shows would probably be the largest ever.”

Last summer, Garth Brooks set Arrowhead’s single-concert attendance record with more than 78,000. Swift, who held the previous mark of more than 58,000 in 2018, won’t surpass Brooks — only about 55,000 seats were sold for each of her dates because the stage will take up one end.

The partial-stadium arrangement will be similar for Swift, Combs and Joel and Nicks, but Sheeran, like Brooks, will perform in a full 360-degree Arrowhead.

Meanwhile, Slavens doesn’t rule out the possibility that other acts might come to Arrowhead in 2023.

“Somebody could announce something,” he said. “I know there are bands out there that are still looking and considering and weighing their options. We’re always open to it, from our standpoint.”

Highlighting the rest of the 2023 entertainment calendar is a two-week run of “Hamiltion” as part of the PNC Broadway in Kansas City series. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, which took Broadway by storm in 2015 and won 11 Tony Awards, ran for three weeks at the Music Hall in 2019 to capacity audiences.

Springsteen’s T-Mobile Center concert is his first KC appearance since 2016. Sandler performed in 2019 at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena (now Cable Dahmer), and Jackson last appeared in Kansas City in 2017 at the Sprint Center (now T-Mobile), where she also played in 2008.

Outshining all of the above in terms of national interest, however, will be the NFL Draft at Union Station and the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Up to 500,000 visitors are expected April 27-29 for the annual player-selection process and other activities, which will be in Kansas City for the first time.

Another major addition to our entertainment landscape will come at the Kansas City Zoo, which plans to open its $75 million, 650,000-gallon aquarium in September. To grasp the project’s size, consider that SeaLife Kansas City’s aquarium is 260,000 gallons. More information at

Two notes about our preview of the coming year’s biggest events: Yet to be announced are the 2023-24 schedules for most theater, music and dance companies, and more big-name concerts will be added on an almost weekly basis after the first of the year. And, of course, it doesn’t include big non-entertainment events, most notably the spring opening of the new Kansas City International Airport terminal. But that’s a whole other story.

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen will bring the E Street Band to the T-Mobile Center on Feb. 18. Nabil K. Mark File photo

Top 13 of 2023

Adam Sandler: The movie star and former “Saturday Night Live” regular will take his standup act to only 11 cities early in 2023. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11, T-Mobile Center ($34.50-$164.50).

Kansas City Ballet, “Cinderella”: A classic fairy tale with a classic score by Sergei Prokofiev and world-premiere choreography by Devon Carney. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 17-18, 2 p.m. Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23-24, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25, 2 p.m. Feb. 26, Kauffman Center ($34-$134).

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band: The boss’s first tour in six years and his first KC appearance since 2016. 8 p.m. Feb. 18, T-Mobile Center ($63.50-$403.50).

Lyric Opera of Kansas City, “The Shining”: Based on Stephen King’s horror novel and filled with haunting music. 7:30 p.m. March 11 and 17, 2 p.m. March 19, Kauffman Center ($33.50-$188.50).

The hit musical “Hamilton” will make its second appearance in the Kansas City Broadway Series, running March 21-April 2 at the Music Hall. File photo

“Hamilton”: Tells the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton through a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway. 7:30 p.m. March 21-24, 2 and 8 p.m. March 25, 1 and 7 p.m. March 26, 7:30 p.m. March 28-31, 2 and 8 p.m. April 1, 1 and 7 p.m. April 2, Music Hall (single ticket sales start Jan. 17).

Cellist virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma will play March 31 at the Folly Theater as part of the Harriman-Jewell Series. Larry French TNS

Yo-Yo Ma: The world’s most famous cellist, with longtime collaborator, pianist Kathryn Stott; part of Harriman-Jewell Series. 7 p.m. March 31, Folly ($50-$125).

NFL Draft: A big part of the event for fans will be the NFL Draft Experience, an interactive football theme park. April 27-29, Union Station and the National WWI Museum and Memorial (activities and prices TBA).

Janet Jackson: The iconic pop singer will be celebrating her 50th anniversary in entertainment as well as the 25th anniversary of her “The Velvet Rope” album and the 30th of “Janet”; with Ludacris opening. 8 p.m. May 2, T-Mobile Center ($39.95-$499.95).

Luke Combs: The Country Music Association’s 2021 Entertainer of the Year, with Riley Green, Lainey Wilson, Flatland Cavalry and Brent Cobb. 5:45 p.m. June 10, Arrowhead ($54.50-$277).

Taylor Swift: The pop sensation who broke Ticketmaster will bring The Eras Tour to town after the release of her record-selling “Midnights” album. 6:30 p.m. July 7-8, Arrowhead (sold out).

“Jagged Little Pill”: This musical about a messy modern family is based on Alanis Morissette’s Grammy-winning album of the year from 1995. 8 p.m. Aug. 1-6, Starlight (single tickets not yet on sale).

Ed Sheeran: Guitar-wielding British crooner has become a worldwide superstar; with Khalid and Cat Burns. 6 p.m. Aug. 5, Arrowhead ($49-$149).

Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks: Two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers for the price of one. 7 p.m. Aug. 19, Arrowhead ($54.50-$354.50).

Other highlights

“Hadestown,” Jan. 17-22, Music Hall.

The Judds, Feb. 3, T-Mobile Center.

Kansas City Symphony, “Respect: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin,” Feb. 3-5, Kauffman Center.

“My Fair Lady,” Feb. 7-12, Kauffman Center.

Keillor & Company featuring Garrison Keillor, Feb. 8, Uptown.

Blue Man Group, Feb. 13-14, Lied Center.

Disney on Ice, “Let’s Celebrate,” Feb. 23-26, T-Mobile Center.

“Six,” Feb. 28-March 5, Music Hall.

Kenny G with Kansas City Symphony, March 13-15, Kauffman Center.

WWE Friday Night Smackdown, March 17, T-Mobile Center.

Blake Shelton with Carly Pearce and Jackson Dean, March 18, T-Mobile Center.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, March 24-25, Kauffman Center. and

Harlem Globetrotters, April 1, T-Mobile Center.

“Menopause The Musical,” April 2, Kauffman Center.

John Mellencamp, April 3-4, Midland.

“Annie,” April 18-23, Kauffman Center.

“Les Misérables,” May 2-7, Music Hall.

Lyric Opera of Kansas City, “Sondheim on Sondheim,” May 6-7, Kauffman Center.

Tenacious D, May 9, Starlight.

Kansas City Ballet, “Bliss Point,” May 17-21, Kauffman Center.

Kansas City Symphony, “The Princess Bride” in Concert,” May 19-21, Kauffman Center.

Thomas Rhett with Cole Swindell and Nate Smith, May 19, T-Mobile Center.

“Tootsie, May 19-21, Starlight.

Cirque du Soleil, “Corteo,” May 25-28, T-Mobile Center.

The Mavericks, May 25-27, Knuckleheads.

Chicago, May 26, Starlight.

“Disney’s Aladdin,” May 30-June 4, Music Hall.

Louis Tomlinson, June 10, Starlight.

Tyler Childers, June 15, Starlight.

“Madagascar — The Musical,” June 16, Music Hall.

Impractical Jokers, June 17, T-Mobile Center.

Matchbox Twenty, June 18, Starlight.

“Jesus Christ Superstar,” June 20-25, Starlight.

“Legally Blonde The Musical,” July 7-13, Starlight.

Foreigner with Loverboy, July 18, Starlight.

Shania Twain, July 19, T-Mobile Center.

“Rain — A Tribute to The Beatles,” July 21-23, Starlight.

“1776,” July 25-30, Starlight.

Dude Perfect, July 27, T-Mobile Center.

Goo Goo Dolls and O.A.R., Aug. 27, Starlight.

“Come From Away,” Aug. 29-Sept. 3, Starlight.

Annual events

Kansas City Restaurant Week, Jan. 13-22, multiple venues.

Planet Comicon, March 17-19, Bartle Hall.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 17, midtown.

Brookside Art Annual, May 5-7, Brookside district.

Kansas City Symphony, Celebration at the Station, May 28, Union Station.

Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, June 2-3, T-Mobile Center.

Boulevardia, June 16-17, Crown Center.

Riverfest, July 4, Berkley Riverfront Park.

Ethnic Enrichment Festival, Aug. 18-20, Swope Park.

Kansas City Air Show, Aug. 19-20, New Century.

Kansas City Irish Fest, Sept. 1-3, Crown Center.

Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival, Sept. 1-4, Independence Square.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Sept. 2-Oct. 15, Bonner Springs.

Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 22-24, Country Club Plaza.

Plaza Lighting Ceremony, Nov. 24, Country Club Plaza.

Dates TBA

Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, June-July, Southmoreland Park.

KC Fringe Festival, July, multiple venues.

Spotlight: Charlie Parker, August, citywide.

American Royal, August-December, American Royal Center.

West Bottoms Haunted Houses, September-November, West Bottoms.

American Royal World Series of Barbecue, September, Kansas Speedway.

Fiesta Hispana, September, Barney Allis Plaza.

“Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” November-December, Spencer Theatre.

Kansas City Ballet, “The Nutcracker,” December, Kauffman Center.

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Dan Kelly has been covering entertainment and arts news at The Star for 10 years. He previously worked at the Columbia Daily Tribune, The Miami Herald and The Louisville Courier-Journal. He also was on the University of Missouri School of Journalism faculty for six years, and he has written a historical novel, “Soaring with Vultures.”

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