Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
On Friday, September 16, 2011, the Grand Opening of the Muriel Kauffman Theatre featured The Kansas City Ballet, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and world-renowned opera singer Placido Domingo, joined by Kansas City’s own Lyric Opera Chorus. The evening also featured a series of “Showstoppers” hosted by multiple Tony Award-winning performer, director and choreographer Tommy Tune, as well as a special guest performance by star of stage and screen Patti LuPone. The Conservatory of Music and Dance at UMKC delivered one of the greatest Broadway Showstoppers of all time: the "Tonight" quintet from West Side Story. The Kansas City Symphony accompanied the entire performance at the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
The audience of 1,800 enjoyed a pre-concert reception in the lobby of the Kauffman Center and post performance dinner with a stunning view of the Kauffman Center's North facade through floor to ceiling windows at the Kansas City Convention Center's Bartle Hall.
To cap off the Friday evening event, Baruch-Gayton collaborated with Quixotic Fusion to create a post-concert outdoor multi-media extravaganza combining large-scale projections and live performers. They also reached out to Kansas City’sT2+BackAlley Films to create unique post-concert indoor visual projections for both Friday and Saturday evenings.
On Saturday, September 17, the Grand Opening of Helzberg Hall featured performances by world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman and Grammy Award-winning pianist/singer Diana Krall, both accompanied by the Kansas City Symphony. In addition, the 156-voice Kansas City Symphony Chorus performed both a capella and with the orchestra. And, in a stunning tribute to Kansas City’s jazz history, the symphony was joined by Kansas City's own internationally known jazz sax virtuoso Bobby Watson, who Baruch/Gayton commissioned to arrange an original work that was performed by a 17-piece American Jazz Museum jazz orchestra comprised of a diverse group of Kansas City musicians.
Patrons enjoyed a pre-concert reception in the lobby of the Kauffman Center and VIPs attended the post-concert dinner on stage in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre.
The Grand Opening weekend culminated with a Sunday free community open house with more than 40 of Kansas City’s finest performing arts groups comprised of approximately 450 individual artists. Performances ran from noon until 6 PM. on four outdoor stages, as well as in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall. More than 50,000 people attended, far exceeding expectations.