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Live Entertainment Tops Holiday List


A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Actor Karl Krause brings warmth and humanity to Scrooge in American Theatre Company’s production of the Dickens classic.

Courtesy photo

Do you have your holiday list ready? That would be the schedule of shows you plan to enjoy before New Year’s Eve. Who couldn’t use some family-and-friends time, away from screens of all sizes, and a few leisurely hours set aside for live entertainment?

My December roster begins with Tulsa Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” I remember years ago when Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini announced that he was formulating a new “Nutcracker” ballet that would be set in Paris and have an Art Deco look and feel. That piece is now in its 15th season and has been tweaked to perfection. The next version will take advantage of the latest in technology and stagecraft, but you still have an opportunity to enjoy this glistening, sweet tale, along with the exquisite dancing that is a Tulsa Ballet hallmark. “The Nutcracker” plays at the Tulsa PAC through Dec. 23.

Early December can be filled with shopping tasks and parties, and then there’s a lull before Christmas. What to do for entertainment when out-of-town guests arrive? Like Tulsa Ballet, American Theatre Company has scheduled performances into late December, with “A Christmas Carol” slated to have its last show on Dec. 23. Actor Karl Krause brings warmth and humanity to the character of Scrooge, and he’s joined by a cast of 50. Ed Durnal directs. The Victorian-era set is a crowd-pleaser, as is the score, crafted by Bob Odle and Richard Averill. Also, I wanted to give you a head’s up about an Eddie and the Ecclectics New Year’s Eve gig at ATC’s 3rd and Lansing location. I know many long-time Tulsans feel a connection to this show’s music and characters.

If you are looking forward to holiday music in an intimate setting, Appassionata Duo performs the program “White Christmas,” Dec. 18-19 at Harwelden mansion, and the vocal group Sheridan Road sings a range of Christmas tunes in a cabaret setting at the Tulsa PAC, Dec. 21-22. Tulsa Symphony Orchestra musicians violist Jeff Cowen and harpist Jill Wiebe comprise Appassionata Duo. Sheridan Road, a total of six singers, is led by Dr. Barry Epperley. Performances by these two groups include refreshments that are covered in the ticket price.

Holiday season at the Cain’s includes the return of the Eli Young Band on Dec. 14. A Denton, Texas, country music group that has opened for Miranda Lambert, they had a major cross-over duet hit with Andy Grammer on “Honey, I’m Good.” Also at the Cain’s this month are Broken Arrow singer and songwriter J. D. McPherson, Dec. 16; country music band the Turnpike Troubadours, Dec. 30; and the Hangover Ball, Jan. 1.

You may have seen Tulsa’s Brian Nhira at the PAC last year and earlier on “The Voice.” This holiday season, he stages his Christmas show at TCC’s VanTrease Performing Arts Center for Education on Dec. 16.

Award-winning pop and country artist LeAnn Rimes brings her “Today is Christmas” tour to Paradise Cove at the River Spirit Casino. The 35-year-old performer will sing a mix a holiday songs and music from her 2016 “Remnants” album. A multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter, actress and writer, Rimes is often compared to vocalist Patsy Cline. Her Dec. 15 concert is one of only 16 concerts she will appear in across the U.S. in December.

Old Dominion plays at Paradise Cove Dec. 16 as part of its “Happy Endings” tour, with stops in Australia and Ireland. Lead singer Matthew Ramsey won “Songwriter-artist of the Year” at the ASCAP Country Music Awards in November. He’s written both for his band and for Sam Hunt (“Make You Miss Me”).

A much-anticipated concert by Styx rocks into Paradise Cove on Dec. 28. Styx has had a string of mega-selling albums since the band was formed in 1972. The group is best known for the songs “Lady” and “Come Sail Away” and still packs a hard-rock punch to complement their romantic ballads. This year they developed a concept album, “Mission,” that references a trip to Mars.

What a year it has been in the Tulsa area for music, dance, theatre and comedy. Next year is sure to be over the top with the announcement of U2 coming to the BOK Center in May and a continuation of that facility’s “10 for 10” anniversary celebration.
Congratulations to the BOK Center, owned by the City of Tulsa, and River Spirit Casino, which has made good on its promise to offer a steady stream of great shows after opening Paradise Cove. The Joint at the Hard Rock keeps things interesting, and Cain’s does an amazing job of booking established acts and worthwhile up-and-comers. The Tulsa PAC continues to reign as the area’s home to the biggest variety of entertainment, and the Broken Arrow PAC had a superb year with so much star appeal. I’m thankful that the Brady Theatre keeps truckin’. The building itself is an historical treasure. I hope you enjoy the many seasonal events our performance venues have to offer. ‘Happy Holidays’ and all the best for 2018!

Updated 12-15-2017

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