The Warwick Theatre 3927 Main Street
The name, Warwick, is regal and steeped in tradition. Warwick, pronounced (WORR-ik) is a market town in England that has been continually inhabited since the 6th century A.D. The Warwick Castle, built during the Norman conquest of the 11th still it stands today. The University of Warwick in London is rated 10th in the world, with a prestigious business school.
Here in Missouri, we have our own Warwick. It is a theater, located where Main Street meets Westport Road, just a block south of 39th Street. It’s one of Kansas City’s busiest intersections, and there at 3927 Main stands the impressive Warwick Theatre.
The theatre opened to the public as a movie house in 1927 and closed its doors in 1953, serving Kansas City as a thousand seat movie theatre for more than 25 years. Now, it is a building thousands of people drive by every day, an abandoned theatre without a movie for decades.
The building was inhabited for a time by Soreal Design. In 2018, it became a performance space. The Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, producers of new plays, classic musicals, major masterworks, and contemporary classics, is working on creating anew the grandeur of this historic building. The renovation is well underway. The theatre has been a working theatre for the Met, since 2018 and the ensemble is excited to be opening their doors to jazz on Sunday nights.
Renovating this theatreis a long-term opportunity. There is construction of a major trolly route on Main Street, between Union Station and the Country Club Plaza that can deliver theater attendees to shows, and there is plenty of renovation going on inside the incredible Warwick building as well. It has a sensational façade, intricate stonework, and a grand movie house marquee. Inside, and best of all, there is plenty of room to create art in the form of musical performance and theater.
This could very well be an iconic new landmark for the arts.
The Warwick is the new home for the Metropolitan Ensemble Theatre, now in their 16th season, Artistic Director Karen Paisley has scheduled five shows for their 2021-2022 season. www.metkc.org
David Valdez curates the new Warwick series for Live Jazz KC.
Live Jazz KC will be hosting a regular Sunday series at the Warwick, beginning August 22nd. There will be a nominal fee for these events andfuture ticketed shows are planned. LiveKC Jazz will be partnering with the UMKC Department of Music and Dance, KC Jazz Alive, Jazz Ambassadors, and others, to present jam sessions and concerts on the first and third Sundays of the month, beginning with saxophonist Ariana Nemati on August 22nd.
Saxophonist Adam Larson is scheduled to host an All-Star-Charlie Parker evening for the second jam session. This event is a part of the Charlie Parker Festival. https://spotlightcharlieparker.org/ Other featured jam session hosts will be announced soon.
The Jim Lower Jazz Orchestra begins a regular Second Sunday performance on September 12th. On the 4th Sunday of each month, master-arranger and multi-instrumentalist Ray Keller will present his West Coast Jazz Octet.
If you’re familiar with Dave Pell, or the vintage West Coast Bebop of arranger Marty Paich, you realize how special this music is. The band includes Ray at the piano with Angela Carole Brown, a Los Angeles based vocalist newly located to Kansas City, plus David Valdez, Stanton Kessler, Steve Dekker, Alex Frank, bassist Jeff Harshbarger, and drummer John Kizilarmut.
Looking forward; on Wednesday, October 20th Live Jazz KC presents their own new big band, led by New York saxophonist Rob Scheps. And on October 31, Angela Carole Brown will be presenting her tribute to Nina Simone.
All Live Jazz KC shows begin at 6:30pm. The Warwick has plenty of parking with a large lot at the back of the theatre. They offer a full bar, a Kawai Baby Grand Piano, comfortable couches, and a hip vibe.