Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has become an architectural icon in Kansas City. Photo by Bdevero via Flickr.

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a center for music, opera, theater, and dance, opened in downtown Kansas City, Missouri in September 2011.

What began as a sketch on a napkin has become an architectural icon and home for the performing arts in Kansas City. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts has changed Kansas City’s skyline, as well as the experiences of artists and audiences throughout the region.

Designed by architect Moshe Safdie, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts presents a wide spectrum of entertainers and performances from around the world, including classical, pop, and jazz music, ballet and contemporary dance, Broadway productions, comedy shows and more. It is also the performance home to three of the region’s leading performing arts organizations—Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

The Kauffman Center is one of the most technically and architecturally advanced performing arts centers in the nation, allowing its resident companies and presenters to stage more sophisticated work, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and foster the cross-fertilization of the companies’ audiences. The 285,000 square-foot facility includes two separate halls: the 1,600 seat Helzberg Hall and the 1,800 seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre— both housed within a dramatic overarching shell featuring a glass roof and glass walls. The Brandmeyer Great Hall provides sweeping views of Kansas City.

Resident Companies

The Kauffman Center provides performance homes for three of Kansas City’s premier performing arts organizations and keeps them unified under one roof. The Kauffman Center's resident companies include: Kansas City BalletLyric Opera of Kansas City, and Kansas City Symphony.

Performance Halls

The Kauffman Center's performance venues, Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall, are two distinct structures, each existing in their own acoustical envelope. An overarching shell houses both venues and its glass roof creates a series of interior piazzas that serve as shared public spaces.

About the Architect

Moshe Safdie is a leading architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author. Embracing a comprehensive and humane design philosophy, Safdie has been influential in architecture and urban planning for over forty years.

More information on the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is available at kauffmancenter.org.

Performing Arts in KC

American Jazz Museum

The sights and sounds of a uniquely American art form come alive at the American Jazz Museum.

Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland

Historic beauty with modern amenities! Welcome to downtown Kansas City’s premier indoor venue for live music and special events. Located downtown in the Power & Light District, the original Midland Theatre opened in 1927 and hosted many well-known artists throughout its history.

City Stage

Enjoy dramas, comedies and musicals! Our day and nighttime performances are for theater lovers of all ages. And, every seat is a good one in this state-of-the-art theater. For current performances and showtimes, visit boxoffice.unionstation.org.

Copaken Stage

Founded in 1964, Kansas City Repertory Theatre is nearing its golden anniversary as one of the country's premier regional theatres. Serving as the professional theatre in residence at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), the Rep produces mainstage plays and special events at Spencer Theatre on the UMKC campus, located just east of the Country Club Plaza and at Copaken Stage in downtown Kansas City, adjacent to the Power & Light District.

Crossroads KC at Grinders

The Crossroads KC @ Grinders was born out of a deep passion for live music and the arts. It is no coincidence that our new venue is in the Crossroads Arts District just few blocks south of downtown KC. We have a long history and tradition of being an extremely fan-friendly promoter always fighting for affordable ticket prices and service charges. The Crossroads KC @ Grinders features a very diverse array of musical groups, from rock to reggae and bluegrass to hip hop. Our mission is to provide the very best live music experience in a festive and enjoyable outdoor environment.

Folly Theater

The historic Folly Theater, which is Kansas City's oldest theater, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the "Grand Lady of 12th street" presents and hosts a wide range of quality events for the community. Live theater, features world class jazz series, national touring shows for children and a variety of programming. Restored turn-of-the-century burlesque house, on National Register of Historic Places. Theater capacity: 1,078 ppl; private space: 120 ppl. Box office 816-474-4444.

Gem Theater

Originally named the Star Theater, the Gem was built in 1912 by the Shriner and Powellson Amusement Company as a silent movie palace serving Kansas City’s African American population. It was renamed the Gem in 1913, and by the time motion pictures could talk in 1929, it had become an established fixture on 18th Street. Unfortunately, its years as a movie theatre ended in 1960 and by the 1980s, it had faded into a shadow of its former glory.

Harriman-Jewell Series

The Harriman-Jewell Series is a nationally recognized presenting organization that brings the best from the worlds of music, dance and theatre to downtown Kansas City performance halls. Many know that the Series presented tenor Luciano Pavarotti in his professional recital debut in 1973, but the story of discovery neither begins nor ends here. Discovery -- along with the co-tenets of quality and variety -- run the full length of the Series' existence.

Kansas City Ballet

Kansas City Ballet has earned the respect of the national dance community and is a source of pride for our city and region. The versatility and depth of Kansas City Ballet takes center stage each year as the company continues to hone its reputation as one of the best mid-sized ballet organizations in the nation. Kansas City Ballet presents three repertory performances each year that pay homage to established masters of ballet while reaching out to explore contemporary works by emerging choreographers.

Kansas City Jazz Orchestra, The

The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra is one of the nation’s preeminent big bands, performing classic and original repertoire in a variety of settings. With the beautiful Kauffman Center For The Performing Arts as a home base, KCJO’s concert season puts forth engaging themed shows ranging from Duke Ellington’s early works to brand-new reimaginations of pop music, “celebrating the past, and embracing the future.” The Orchestra plays a variety of concerts, dances, and festivals, engaging audiences from Kansas City, Missouri to Hannover, Germany, and beyond.