Each May, the VP for Programming convenes a meeting of members of the Conference Committee with the Commissioners Steering Committee to schedule program sessions for the following year’s conference. During the day-long meeting, every session which has been proposed for the conference is reviewed and scheduled for a particular day and time in a specific room. This year’s meeting was held at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, which will be USITT’s headquarters hotel during the 2010 Kansas City Conference & Stage Expo.
The meeting kicked off with a look at the meeting space and ballrooms in the Marriott, a two-tower complex which includes the historic Muehlebach property. Just across Barney Allis Plaza, members toured the Kansas City Convention & Entertainment Facilities’ Bartle exhibit halls A, B, & C, plus the 2100 and 2200 meeting rooms directly below, which will be the hub of conference activity. Committee members also checked out the new 46,000 square foot Grand Ballroom with its wall of windows and LED lighting, took a quick look at the 10,000-plus seat arena, and admired the intimate Little Theatre, an octagonal 5,000 square foot marble room.
Afterward many members of the group visited the Power & Light Entertainment district, reminiscent of Louisville’s 4th Street Live, and built by the same developer. The 801 Steak and Chop House serves up an a la carte menu of USDA prime aged steaks, chops, and roasts with an award-winning wine list. At the Bristol Seafood Grill, the fresh catch is flown in daily from both coasts and the bar features hand-crafted signature cocktails. Beer aficionados rejoiced to find a Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, with 225 hand-crafted, unique, and quality beers from around the world with an eclectic menu of snacks and meals. There is even an upscale market, Cosentino’s, which features an 83 foot salad bar, gourmet cheese island, bakery, and sushi bar.
Everyone has their own favorite barbecue joint, whether it be the iconic Arthur Bryant’s, where a choice of slow-cooked meat comes piled high on white bread; Gates BBQ, where every customer receives a yelled “May I Help You?” greeting; or the more upscale Fiorella’s Jack Stack BBQ, recognized by Zagat’s as the country’s best BBQ.
A bit further a field, in Kansas City, Kansas, about 20 minutes’ drive, is one of the latest outposts of the Yard House, which debuted in Long Beach, California in 1996. Now located in 12 California locales and eight other states, each Yard House location features 100 to 250 taps of beer, modern American cuisine, and classic rock & roll. Going there is like visiting an old friend.
Committee members are already salivating at the prospect of trying more restaurants during the August and January meetings. Plan now to be in Kansas City March 29 through April 3 for the 50th Annual USITT Conference & Stage Expo and sample KCMO for yourself. For information about exhibiting at Stage Expo 2010, contact email@example.com.