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Relaxing Summer Shows on Tap


Beijing Dance Theater: The globe-trotting troupe will perform its signature work, “Haze,” July 29 at the Tulsa PAC.

Courtesy Tulsa PAC

Summer fun. Something light. The hot months lend themselves to kick-back entertainment.

If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ve probably rocked out to the Fab Four’s “1964” homage show. Those early Beatles tunes comprise some the best that Lennon and McCartney ever wrote. Celebrity Attractions hosts the most enjoyable “1964 … The Tribute” at the Tulsa PAC, July 20.

There’s no dance desert during the summer months, thanks to the Summer Heat International Dance Festival, presented by Choregus Productions at the PAC. First up is Doug Varone and Dancers, July 28. Varone is a star dancer in his own right, having performed with the renowned Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. He also is a sought-after choreographer and director of dance, theatre, opera, fashion and film, fronting one of the leading contemporary dance companies in America. This will be its Oklahoma debut.

Presented in Chapman Music Hall, July 29, the Beijing Dance Theater has appeared in the world’s most prestigious venues. The troupe will perform its signature work “Haze,” which is danced on a mattress-like material that covers the stage. “Haze” is the work of Wang Yuanyuan, formerly the choreographer of the National Ballet of China and a celebrity in her home country.

I attended the Parsons Dance performance in 2015 when Choregus brought them to Tulsa, and it was riveting. For their July 31 show, the troupe will reprise the Miles Davis tribute number “Kind of Blue,” and the show-stopping “Caught.” The latter uses strobe-lighting to catch a dancer at the height of movement so that he appears to be suspended in air. It’s gasp-worthy! Four other selections will be featured. Parsons Dance also will offer a “relaxed, autism-friendly” performance on July 30.

The show “Lizzie” is about double axe murderer Lizzie Borden. That wouldn’t qualify for light summertime entertainment if it weren’t for the rock music, played by six-piece band, that gives levity to the piece. At the center of this production are two singers from Oklahoma City who share the title role. Tulsa Project Theatre presents “Lizzie” at the PAC, July 13-22.

For something lighter still, check out comic Gabriel Iglesias’ “One Show Fits All” show, July 20 at the River Spirit Casino Resort, and the forever-young Oak Ridge Boys, also at River Spirit, July 26. The group is known for their four-part harmonies and upbeat songs.

The Brady Theatre welcomes a show devoted to the rock band Queen titled “Killer Queen,” July 29. Then, relive the best moments of American Idol’s Season 16 when its top seven finalists stop in Tulsa on their 40-city American tour. Winner Maddie Poppe is a deserving winner, and she’ll be joined by Season 8 winner Kris Allen, Aug. 8.

The BOK Center continues to go big with some of the most popular names in entertainment. Singer Jennifer Nettles rejoins Kristian Bush for a Sugarland concert and songs from the country duo’s new “Bigger” album. Canadian country music singer Lindsay Ell and Frankie Ballard open the show, July 19.

Former member of the band One Direction Niall Horan brings his Flicker World Tour to the BOK Center, July 28. The Irishman is relishing a lot of airplay with his sexy “Slow Hands” hit. He’s also known to be the “other guy” Ed Sheeran alludes to in the song “Don’t,” concerning Sheeran’s romance missteps with singer Ellie Goulding. That aside, Horan has a dynamic voice and songwriting chops. His new release “Finally Free” is featured in the animated film “Smallfoot.” Texas-born Maren Morris opens the show.

The Las Vegas-based pop rock band Imagine Dragons had the breakout hit “Radioactive,” followed by “Demons,” “Whatever it Takes,” “Believer” and “Thunder.” Their Evolve Tour come to the BOK Center Aug. 1, followed on Aug. 5 by another group that originated in Las Vegas, Panic! At the Disco. Led by the hyper-talented Brendon Urie, the group will perform their hits and songs from their new “Pray for the Wicked” album. Their charismatic tenor Uri has a four-octave range. In 2017, he played the lead on Broadway in Cindy Lauper and Harvey Fierstein’s “Kinky Boots.” He’s theatric and fun to watch.

The Hard Rock Casino contributes to the summer scene with Hank Williams Jr., Blondie and Martina McBride. Country singer Williams has six platinum albums, 20 gold albums, 13 No. 1 albums and 10 No. 1 singles. His concert sold out the last time it played here, so get tickets soon for his July 20 show.

The eclectic band Blondie, featuring co-founder Debby Harry, released their eleventh studio album, “Pollinator” in 2017. Known for “Heart of Glass” and other global hits, Blondie continues to attract loyal fans who will be out in force on Aug. 9.

Singer/songwriter Martina McBride has been nominated 14 times for a Grammy but never won! That’s not deterred her interest in writing and performing. She’s released her 13th studio album, “Reckless.” McBride has been called the “Celine Dion” of country music due to her soprano range. Check out her latest work at the Hard Rock, Aug. 10.

For more easy-going summertime fare, catch up with humorist and singer Kinky Friedman at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Aug. 1. Never one to rest on his laurels, the 77-year-old Friedman is back in the saddle with a new album, all original work, called “Circus of Life.”

And so it goes: Much music, electrifying dance, a bit of theatre and a few nights of comedy. Relax and enjoy.

Updated 07-23-2018

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