Previous Special Events

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre premieres its eighth season of Script-in-Hand performances – a series of classic comedies called Exit Laughing – with Joseph Kesselring’s perennially popular Arsenic and Old Lace.

This 1941 Broadway black comedy centers on a New York theater critic who discovers his two spinster aunts have been poisoning “unhappy” men and burying them in the basement of their home in Brooklyn. Kesselring based the play’s setting on the boarding house in which he lived while teaching at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

The plays and poetry of William Shakespeare have had an immense impact on the English language, on theater, and on cinema. But the Bard’s words have also inspired some of the world’s most beautiful music.

This performance by members of the Bach Aria Soloists features the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, John Dowland, and George Frideric Handel.


Friday, November 22, 2013

On the 50th anniversary of one of America’s most traumatic events, historians from the University of Kansas – Theodore A. Wilson, Jonathan Hagel, Jennifer Weber, and Jeffrey P. Moran – take a fresh look at the impact and legacy of the death of President John F. Kennedy.

They will discuss the countless theories that have sprung up around the assassination, the event’s depiction in and impact on popular culture, the central “what if?” of the assassination (would Kennedy have escalated or reduced our involvement in Vietnam?), and the connections between Kennedy’s death and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.


Friday, November 22, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Have you read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules or Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days?

Whether you are an avid reader of the series or only recently discovered Greg, Rodrick, and Rowley in 2012’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, come out and celebrate the release of the eighth book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck.

Appropriate for all ages.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Agatha Award-winning author Hank Phillippi Ryan discusses her latest mystery, The Wrong Girl, about an investigation of a respected adoption agency that may be guilty of the ultimate betrayal: reuniting birth parents with the wrong children.

Ryan is the creator of the Charlotte McNally series of mysteries (Prime Time, Air Time, Face Time, and Drive Time) and has won 30 Emmys for her investigative reporting for Boston’s WHDH-TV. She is also the president of Sisters in Crime, which supports women who write mysteries.


Thursday, November 21, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

If George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are the saints in America’s civil religion, then the 29th president, Warren G. Harding, is our sinner, consistently judged a failure and ranked dead last among his peers.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was the greatest jazz composer of the 20th century – and an impenetrably enigmatic personality whom no one, not even his closest friends, claimed to understand. Biographer Terry Teachout sheds new light on this creative genius in a discussion of his new book about the grandson of a slave who wrote such classics as “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

Teachout, a Kansas City resident from 1975 to 1983, is the author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken, and the play Satchmo at the Waldorf. For The Wall Street Journal, he is drama critic and the author of “Sightings,” a column about the arts in America. He is the critic-at-large at Commentary, and writes the blog About Last Night.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013
6:30pm @ Plaza Branch

Join us for a screening of a new documentary by noted director Werner Herzog, From One Second to the Next, part of the “It Can Wait” campaign to stop texting and driving.

The film includes a variety of vignettes featuring texting-and-driving perpetrators and surviving victims and their relatives who recount traumatic accidents and explain how their lives were forever changed. The “It Can Wait” campaign was launched to educate the public about the dangerous practice and secure pledges to abstain from it.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Even for those of us unfamiliar with history, the very name “Gettysburg” suggests a monumental clash of armies. But beyond the chaos of the battle itself, what was the impact of Gettysburg on the greater Civil War?

Four historians from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth address the question in Gettysburg: The Most Important Event of 1863?

Participants include Ethan S. Rafuse, professor of military history, and associate professors Terry Beckenbaugh, Gregory S. Hospodor, and Randy Mullis.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

In the late 1940s and 1950s, Kansas City native Tommy Campbell won 50 professional fights and became the world’s No. 2 lightweight. But thanks to a run-in with organized crime, he is now all but forgotten in the town that nurtured him.

Phil S. Dixon, author of Tommy Campbell: A Boxing Bout with the Mob, relates how Campbell became the only fighter to testify in court about how mobsters attempted to seize control of the lightweight division, muscling him into throwing one fight.