By NANCY HERMANN
BLUE MAN GROUP: A combination of theatre, percussive music, comedy, art and high-tech stage effects, Blue Man Group, presented by Celebrity Attractions, comes to the Tulsa PAC Sept. 10-15.
Courtesy Tulsa PAC
It’s showtime! The performance season at the launches in September. Last season, 270,000 people attended the more than 500 events that were staged at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center! I’m always excited when someone tells me of a dawning interest in chamber music or opera; that they’ve seen a Broadway show for the first time or become hooked on dance. 2013-14 is going to be excellent for both theatre newbies and established fans.
One thing notable about the upcoming performance season is the abundance of theatre. Non-musical theatre has a good showing beginning in September with two plays: a drama and a comedy. First up, Sept. 5-7, is A Raisin in the Sun from a new group, Certain Curtain Theatre, which is staging its first show ever at the . This classic by Lorraine Hansberry is a theatre gem. (In fact, it’s coming back to Broadway in March 2014 with Denzel Washington opposite Diahann Carroll and will play at the Barrymore Theatre, where it opened 55 years ago.) This is the story of a family that loses a patriarch, inherits money and must address challenges related to race, gender and change.
Speaking of the Barrymore Theatre, named for distinguished actor John Barrymore, the award-winning Playhouse Theatre, which never has a misstep, stages I Hate Hamlet, Sept. 6-14. In this comedy, written by Paul Rudnick, a popular actor, Andrew, has landed the role of Hamlet and is experiencing paralyzing performance anxiety. When the ghost of the ultimate actor’s actor, John Barrymore, materializes to help out, Andrew’s problems grow when he attempts not only to rein in the super-sized ego of the ghost, but tries to manage his own demanding agent his virginal fiancé, and a former lover of Barrymore.
Tulsa Symphony begins its season with the music of Beethoven and Adler and two soloists. The 2009 Crescendo Music Awards winner, violinist Siwoo Kim, performs, along with soprano Sarah Coburn. She’s an Oklahoman and an amazing talent. That concert is Sept. 7, conducted by Philip Mann.
We’ve never had Blue Man Group at the , so it will be an experience for our theatre management. They fret over spilled pop! The people in the first three rows will be given ponchos, just so flying marshmallows and spewed paint and bananas won’t get on anyone’s clothes. But maybe the catapulted toilet paper will absorb some of that! The show, Sept. 10-15, is a riot of fun. Seriously, this is smart comedy. Creative and artsy, and the greater theme explored is that technology has a dual ability to connect people while simultaneously disconnecting them.
Theatre Tulsa’s season opener (Sept. 20-29) is the light comedy Legally Blonde: The Musical about a student and sorority president, Elle, who is rejected by her boyfriend for not being serious enough. Her quest to get him back takes her to great heights. She gets herself into Harvard, earns a law degree and learns a lot about herself, sans boy, to fulfill her. It’s a romp with satisfying music and a good message.
Here’s what the international culture and news magazine Vice had to say about the chamber music quartet Brooklyn Rider, “These guys are like motocross daredevils who never screw up a stunt. Eventually someone’s going to get carried away on a stretcher with a clavicle popping out of their chest, but until then we can all enjoy the show.” Yes, this is chamber music, and Brooklyn Rider puts on quite a display, employing their incredible musical gifts in non-traditional ways. On Sept. 22 they’ll play some Schubert, John Cage, Bartok, and works by quartet member Colin Jacobsen and Professor of Music Evan Ziporyn.
Also new for the this year is the Walking on Water Productions company. They stage a two-part drama about love, money, pain and friendship Sept. 21-22. It’s called Love Bank.
All hail the return of Tulsa Ballet! I do. Every year. This season Tulsa Ballet leads with a triple bill — meaning three different ballets in one program. With the retirement of the Ballet’s superstars, Alfonso Martin, Ma Cong and Alexandra Bergman, there will be some new legs on stage. I’m looking forward to seeing the newest dancers along with the fine company Artistic Director Marcello Angelini has assembled from around the world. Tulsa Ballet’s Rite of Spring plays Sept. 27-29, featuring the groundbreaking title work by Vaslav Nijinsky, the music and moves of the 1940s with Paul Taylor’s Company B and an Oklahoma premiere of Jorma Elo’s One/End/One.
It’s not too late to get a season subscription to shows staged at the . Perhaps you are already a season subscriber for one or more series, or maybe you wait to see what pops up on your radar and then plan your ticketing strategy from there. Whichever way you roll, your interest in the arts is valued and important. And the more of you, the better the arts scene in Tulsa can be. We’re saving you a seat!
Nancy C. Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.