I’ve been to only two shows at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts prior to April 6.
Anyone that’s been knows the venue is breathtaking, the shows magnificent and the experience memorable in so many visual and auditory ways.
What I didn’t know was how high up those top-level seats really are. The term “nosebleed” section literally earns its name.
Addy and I accompanied the Beaudoin parents, sister Ann and Mike to watch the talented Stephen Beaudoin (my younger brother by six years) as he joined the Pink Martini performance that evening.
I’ll note that there isn’t a bad seat to be found at Kauffman. And I am certainly not knocking complimentary tickets to this outstanding event (thank you Stephen). As we made our way up, up, up, I was honestly more worried about my father than the possibility that Addy wouldn’t be comfortable in those highest of seats.
The mezzanine seats aren’t for the faint of heart or those uncomfortable with heights. And, usually, that isn’t the case with either my daughter or myself.
On this night, Addy looked a tad nervous as we maneuvered the narrow area and looked down to the crowd and stage below us. Settled in, lights go low. And then a nudge.
I spotted the drops of blood on her arm and looked up at her nose, which had a good bleed going.
I ushered Addy out of the row and the door to find the nearest restroom, which was just down a few flights of stairs.
This one was a whopper, though. Some 20 minutes later, still in the men’s room (but fortunately hearing the performance that was piped in from the speakers) we had a hard time getting the bleed to cease.
That’s when Addy, sweetly and gently, asked, “Dad, do we have to go back all the way up? Can we watch from down here?”
Stephen wasn’t on until after the intermission, so we certainly had time to find a new seat.
We tried a few doors, but with the performance roaring and ushers close by, I thought the teachable moment for my daughter probably shouldn’t include slipping into a seat we hadn’t paid for.
We found our way to the box office and explained the situation to a few workers. With the help of another Kauffman worker (and I am beyond disappointed now I do not recall his name) our situation was remedied with two new seats a little closer to the action. In fact, Addy and I found ourselves right behind the Kansas City Symphony and the Pink Martini players.
Upgrading in that way was never our plans, but the detour that night brought comfort to my Addy and helped her thoroughly enjoy her first of what will hopefully be many Kauffman experiences.
As Stephen took the stage in the second act, he introduced himself to the crowd and talked about the family he was visiting in Kansas City. He belted out some amazing numbers and duets and brought the crowd to their feet. And Addy couldn’t have been prouder of her uncle.
She danced near her seat and waved to our family above us, and the bloody nose of an hour ago was the furthest thing from her mind.
While I had some flustered moments, it should be noted that the Kauffman staff was incredibly kind, accommodating and understanding. I realize situations like this probably arise more than I know during these performances. It seems like these folks are trained to handle just about anything.
The professionalism and courtesy of these men and women parallel that of the venue itself – everything was world class because, honestly, I believe they genuinely want each patron to leave the Kauffman clamoring to come back for more.
They certainly accomplished this with Addy and me. And in the case of my 8-year-old, they earned a fan for life.
A sincere thank you to the staff that helped make sure my daughter had an amazing experience and showing flexibility and kindness. Those things shouldn’t go unnoticed and it made for a great talk on our way home.
Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.