This holiday season is likely to resonate in everyone’s memory for the rest of our lives, along with numerous special occasions from the last few months that we have celebrated alone, or not at all. It is painful to be apart when togetherness is what we need most. The Grinch would love 2020.
Each person has a comfort zone when it comes to social distancing. To accommodate all, here’s a roster of activities, virtual and otherwise, you might enjoy in relative safety.
Two hallowed Tulsa holiday traditions that I love writing about and attending are Tulsa Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” and American Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol.” I’m happy to share that neither Scrooge nor the Sugar Plum Fairy will be AWOL this December. A collaboration between the Admiral Twin Drive-In and American Theatre Company will bring a multi-camera, high-definition filming of ATC’s 2019 staged production of “A Christmas Carol” to the big outdoor screen. Showings are Dec. 18, 19, 22 and 23. Gates are open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. It is suggested that attendees bring an FM radio to hear the performance without draining car batteries.
It is not possible to safely stage a full “Nutcracker” production that includes a huge cast of dancers and children. But, instead of scrapping December performances entirely, Tulsa Ballet will present “The Lost Nutcracker” in the Grand Ballroom at the Cox Business Convention Center, December 17-20. The program comprises a trio of holiday-inspired works from three illustrious choreographers: “Holiday Boogie” created by Tulsa Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Ma Cong; Joshua Peugh’s “Little Story;” and world-renowned Italian choreographer Luciano Cannito’s “The Lost Nutcracker.” Seats will be positioned in twos, with six feet separating every pair.
Live orchestral music adds immensely to any kind of theatre or dance performance. I will miss Tulsa Symphony Orchestra’s always-excellent performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” score this season. There is an option to watch a festive TV presentation showcasing TSO on Dec. 19. “A Hometown Holiday” on Tulsa CW from 7 to 8 p.m. will feature the Orchestra and internationally renowned soprano (Tulsan) Sarah Coburn, along with her daughter Ruby. They will be joined by other special guests, including News On Six’s LeAnne Taylor. She really can sing! TSO’s Executive Director Keith Elder says, “Families and friends will have an opportunity to gather safely in their homes and enjoy the music that exudes all the warmth of the holiday season.”
More holiday music comes your way with Tulsa Signature Symphony on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. “Christmas in Tulsa” includes the Signature Chamber Orchestra, the 2020 Tulsa Sings winner Chiara Miller, and a bevy of entertainers. The show is available to view with a $10 fee; $5 for students. Check the Tulsa Signature Symphony website for details.
Tulsa Opera wants you to join the conversation this holiday season. Renowned composer Tobias Pickler will chat with Oklahoma-born opera star Leona Mitchell on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. This is a Zoom event with a limit of 50 people. Register early at TulsaOpera.com.
My husband and I rejoined the Tulsa Botanic Garden as patrons this year, and became members of the Tulsa Zoo for the first time. We enjoyed walking through the gardens during late summer. Now, with the holidays here, Tulsa Botanic Garden is presenting “Garden of Lights.” The decorated Garden will be open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Jan. 3, Thursdays through Sundays, plus Dec. 21-23. Activities include a hay maze, live piano music and a train ride. An array of holiday-inspired refreshments will be available. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance. There is so much land to explore at the Garden that I doubt you would be crowded, but the organization is taking extra precautions by spacing entrance times and controlling numbers.
Observing animals at the zoo combines a good walkabout with a chance to check up on some fascinating creatures. The rhinos at the Tulsa Zoo are very impressive, and the big cats are always a thrill. I encourage you to purchase a membership to some of Tulsa’s cultural gems, like the Zoo, the Botanic Garden, ahaa and the Oklahoma Aquarium. Memberships provide an extra boost for their operating budgets. With a membership, you are likely to go more often and not feel that you have to make a long visit on any one day.
Another Tulsa entertainment icon is the Circle Cinema. The building is an architectural treasure, and the programming is inspired. In January 2021, the Circle Cinema and local partners will screen the Sundance Film Festival —a real honor for Tulsa and Circle Cinema. Happy New Year to us!
Take a Winterfest spin around the ice rink at the BOK Center through Jan. 3 for some holiday cheer. Philbrook, too, is gorgeous in December as it is all year long. With thoughtful distancing and mask-wearing, we can all look forward to a time in 2021 when once again we can gather to enjoy live entertainment and each other’s precious company.