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Live jazz performance at the National Blues Museum

Missouri

Missouri Theater: 5 Show-Stopping Venues in the Show-Me State

By: Idoia Gkikas

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  • States:
    Missouri

True to its nickname, Missouri is a destination all about shows – theater shows, live music shows, comedy shows and more.

From intimate performances in historic theaters to award-winning productions in the big cities, Missouri’s performance venues are a theater-seeker’s delight.

Kansas City’s Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

The largest city in Missouri also boasts a very large, distinctive theater. The Kauffman Center is one of Kansas City’s most recognizable buildings and a treasure for the performing arts. Each of its two half-shell domes, comprised of massive concentric arcs, houses an independent venue that offers amazing acoustics. The Muriel Kauffman Theatre hosts the Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, as well as Broadway productions, musical shows and comedy acts. The adjacent Helzberg Hall presents international talent and the Kansas City Symphony.

The Kauffman Center’s unique architecture

The Kauffman Center’s unique architecture
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National Blues Museum in St. Louis

Since legendary songwriter W.C. Handy first sang “St. Louis Blues” in 1914, St. Louis and blues music have gone hand-in-hand. Get a lesson in blues history at the National Blues Museum in downtown St. Louis. The museum houses blues music memorabilia and interactive exhibits, featuring everyone from blues singer Robert Johnson to rock-legend Jimi Hendrix. Catch a live show at the museum’s on-site music venue to hear that unique St. Louis blues sound.

Blues history display at the National Blues Museum

Blues history display at the National Blues Museum
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Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock

For theatergoers with a love of historic venues, the Lyceum Theatre in Arrow Rock is a must-visit. Housed in a former church, the theater attracts Broadway productions in a true small-town venue: Arrow Rock claims fewer than 60 residents! After the show, explore this quaint, historic town that played a significant role in American westward expansion – it was a designated stop on the Santa Fe Trail and the entire village is a National Historic Landmark.  

Quaint exterior of the Lyceum Theater

Quaint exterior of the Lyceum Theater
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The Gillioz Theatre in Springfield

Sandwiched between two buildings in a narrow venue (its primary entrance is just 4.5 meters wide), the historic Gillioz opened in 1926 along Route 66. The theater closed its doors in 1980, but was carefully restored as a concert and entertainment venue in 2006. Along with comedy and concerts, you can see performances by the Springfield Regional Opera or the Emmy-award winning “The Mystery Hour.”

The Gillioz Theatre entrance, located on historic Route 66

Gillioz Theatre entrance, located on historic Route 66
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Columbia’s Missouri Theatre

Step back in time at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia, the only remaining pre-Depression era movie palace and vaudeville stage in central Missouri. Its ornate interior is modeled after the Paris Opera House, complete with marble and stained-glass details, and an impressive 800+ kilo chandelier. Enjoy a concert, ballet, family production or a performance by the Missouri Symphony Orchestra. Take some time to explore Columbia’s downtown and discover a big city with a neighborhood feel.

Box-seat view of The Missouri Theatre’s ornate interior

Box-seat view of The Missouri Theatre’s ornate interior
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Missouri Division of Tourism

Getting There

Visit Missouri from international destinations by flying into Kansas City International Airport (MCI) servicing the western side of the state, or St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) servicing the eastern side of the state. 

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