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Summer Entertainment Takes Center Stage

SANTANA: The legendary guitarist brings his band to River Spirit’s Paradise Cove July 6.

How is your summer so far? I hope you’ve found some playtime to take in a concert or show. Along with what’s happening at the BOK Center, the casinos, the Brady and the Tulsa PAC, there is always an assortment of summertime events under the stars that you can check out along with so much music at Cain’s and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. If you like being outdoors, add “the big show” at Drillers stadium to your kick-back list. Baseball is its own fine art.

I’m very fond of baseball, dance and music in general. And I love theatre. It’s fun to mix things up. In recent weeks I danced in my seat at the Chainsmokers concert, caught some ballet and Broadway around town, and experienced four exhilarating days of classical piano at the Cliburn competition in Ft. Worth, where seat-dancing was not allowed. There aren’t any rules about how young or old you need to be to enjoy a certain type of entertainment. Healthy brains continually make new pathways.

Mixing the known with something new keeps life interesting. In the golden oldies column, there are three upcoming shows you might consider: Santana, Dionne Warwick and Peter Frampton. Santana has kept his career current with albums in 2009 and 2016. The winner of 10 Grammy awards, who gave us “Oye Como Va” and “Evil Ways,” brings his Transmogrify Tour to River Spirit’s Paradise Cove, July 6. That same night The Joint at the Hard Rock hosts singer Dionne Warwick. I was surprised to learn that she is a cousin of both opera singer Leontyne Price and Whitney Houston. Warwick is known mostly from her Burt Bacharach and Hal David songs like “Walk on By” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” and “”I Say a Little Prayer for You.” Also at the River Spirit is “Peter Frampton Raw: An Acoustic Tour,” July 28. His mega-selling “Frampton Comes Alive” double album celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

As mentioned, I’m a baseball fan. I admire how people can finely train their minds and bodies. Considering the extreme athleticism required of dancers, there’s no big leap from sports to dance. The BOK Center hosts “Dancing With the Stars Live,” July 19. Anyone who has watched the show appreciates the quick mind and precision of movement required to perform at that level. You can understand why four NFL players have won the DWTS mirror ball trophy over the course of the show. This season’s winner, former New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings, beat baseball’s David Ross for the prize. Jennings will be the special guest during the “Hot Summer Nights” tour.

To view athleticism that is unquestionably art, I hope you will attend one or more of Choregus Productions’ Summer Heat International Dance Festival events at the PAC, July 28-Aug. 6. This is the festival’s second year, and Ken Tracy has once again pulled together an incredible lineup. The festival begins July 28 with opening gala featuring “After the Rain,” a Christopher Wheeldon creation danced by Joffrey Ballet dancers. That is followed by “Concerto,” choreographed and danced by Josh Beamish. If you attended the spectacular Wendy Whelan “Restless Creature” performance a couple of years ago, you would have seen Beamish (and choreographer Brian Brooks) dance with Whelan. Beamish and the artists from Move The Company also will showcase an excerpt from “Masque of the Red Death.” The 100-year-old Swiss dance company Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève and a troupe that is returning from last year’s festival, 10 Hairy Legs, also will be featured in a thrilling Gala evening. On July 29, Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève will perform the sensual “Carmina Burana” in costumes designed by the Paris fashion house On Aura Tout Vu. That company also dances on Aug 1. The venerable Paul Taylor Dance Company performs July 30 — a fantastic opportunity for dance aficionados. The festival wraps on Aug. 6 with a performance by the extraordinary Brian Brooks. He will host a master class during the festival.

Also at the PAC in July are two family-friendly musicals from Theatre Tulsa. “Annie Jr.,” starring the Broadway Bootcamp group, plays July 13, 15 and 16. “In the Heights” will be sung and acted by the company’s Broadway bound students, July 14-16. You may have seen “In the Heights” on Broadway or at the Broken Arrow PAC. It features music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the genius behind “Hamilton.”

Cain’s Ballroom presents the wellRed Comedy Tour July 8, Asleep at the Wheel and Dale Watson July 22, and “That ‘90s Party,” July 29. Three guys from the South comprise wellRed, claiming to be “southern born and southern bred, standing proudly blue in a sea of red.” They’ve sold out in major cities like L.A. and Chicago. The “liberal redneck” antics of one member, Trae Crowder, have had 50 million views on You Tube.
Other events you might want to catch are comic Trevor Noah (from “The Daily Show”) at River Spirit’s Paradise Cove, July 14, Ronnie Milsap and Diamond Rio July 16 at the Hard Rock, and the raucous rock band Chevelle at the Brady July 23. Country music’s Florida Georgia Line, rapper Nelly and progressive pop artist Chris Lane appear together at the BOK Center July 27.

If you aren’t familiar with the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, please check out its offerings. Every Sunday at five p.m. there’s entertainment at the Jazz Depot with tickets available from $10 to $20. On July 3, the hall welcomes saxophonist Tom Braxton. On July 9, enjoy guitarist Pat Kelley and bass player extraordinaire Dean Demerritt. Composer and multi-instrumentalist David Amram entertains July 16, and closing the month, July 30, are two of my favorites, singer Stephanie Oliver and pianist Jon Glazer.

Updated 06-17-2017

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