A Bounty of Holiday Shows and Stars Aplenty


ELF: Enjoy Broadway’s Matt Kopec, Kate Hennies and the cast of “Elf The Musical,” Nov. 15-20 at the PAC, presented by Celebrity Attractions.

Photo by Joan Marcus

The holidays are here. Again. While we begin to scour our attics or holiday closets for perky pumpkin decorations, cornucopias and wrapping paper, we realize and come to respect the passing of time.

That gives us even more reason to call up a friend, engage a loved one, or strike out on our own to sample some of the events and shows that are available to us. Live entertainment is unlike any other.

November begins at the with a free noontime Brown Bag It performance on Nov. 2 featuring Vintage Voices, and then American humorist Dave Barry, presented by Tulsa Town Hall, Nov. 4. You may know Barry from his 22 years writing for the Miami Herald. His column was syndicated in more than 500 newspapers. He’s won a Pulitzer and co-wrote the children’s novel “Peter and the Starcatcher,” along with numerous other fiction and non-fiction books. He’s a Town Hall favorite and for good reason. One of my favorite Dave Barry quotes: “Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.”

Theatre Tulsa’s staging of the musical “Cabaret” continues through Nov. 6. TT’s singers, dancers, sets, costumes and stage direction are always top-rate. Congratulations Theatre Tulsa, for being honored with a well-deserved Governor’s Award this year!

Tulsa Symphony returns to Chapman Music Hall Nov. 5 with a pops concert centering on the music of John Williams and the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Conductor Ron Spigelman leads the orchestra in a performance of this most rousing, recognizable score. The film is shown in its entirety with the orchestra providing live music.

At times when we’ve sat around our conference table at the trying to figure out what the gaps are in our programming, the conversation often circles back to comedy. And who doesn’t need more laughs? On Nov. 12, Cowboy Bill Martin and Chad Prather: Kings of Cowtown World Comedy Tour comes to the Williams Theatre. Martin is “raucous, rowdy and real,” and Prather has a comedy style more like Will Rogers. They are presented by TX Whiskey, which might say something about the suitability-for-kids question, though these two are heavily involved off-stage with children who have cancer as part of Cowboys Who Care Foundation.

Chamber Music Tulsa welcomes back the Modigliani Quartet on Nov. 13. Quartet members met in Paris, became close friends and formed an ensemble in 2003. In constant demand around the world, they toured Australia, Japan, Korea, Europe and the U.S. last year, including a stop in Tulsa. Responding to popular demand, Chamber Music Tulsa chose to bring them back for its 2016-17 season, but first violinist Philippe Bernhard sustained a painful injury and will not perform. Fortunately, the group’s friend and mentor Guillaume Sutre from the excellent Ysaye Quartet will join the group to play works by Beethoven, Brahms and Dvorák.

Family entertainment is a hit at holiday time, and the once again hosts a big Christmas-themed Broadway show in November. Celebrity Attractions presents “Elf the Musical,” Nov. 15-20. “Variety” said that “‘Elf’ is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids and plenty smart for adults.” This is the lighthearted story of Buddy, an orphan, who is unwittingly spirited off to the North Pole after being accidentally trapped in Santa’s bag. All ends happily when Buddy finds his birth father and helps New York rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.

One of the brightest stars on Broadway over the last five years is Oklahoma’s own Kelli O’Hara. She won the Tony in 2015 for “The King and I.” You can hear her sing, Nov. 20, not in a cavernous concert hall but in the ’s 430-seat Williams Theatre, presented by Choregus Productions. I’ve seen Kelli in a stunning “Bridges of Madison County” on Broadway, and the next year in a sensitive portrayal of Anna in “The King and I” at Lincoln Center. She’s the real deal.

Closing out the month at the , when everyone is welcoming an opportunity to get away from the refrigerator and football, Cirque Dreams Holidaze will dazzle you. This new family-friendly extravaganza has a holiday theme with plenty of Broadway pizzazz. Catch it Nov. 29-30, presented by Celebrity Attractions.

Star sightings abound in Tulsa in November. I suspect that Olivia Newton John can still belt out “You Are the One That I Want,” and croon “I’m Hopelessly Devoted to You” with the same conviction and cuteness she had years ago. She performs at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Nov. 3. Then, I’m looking forward to that white hot spotlight – that front page, bold type – experience when Billy Joel appears in concert at the Center, Nov. 12. I know Tulsa is excited that the piano man himself is headed this way for an electrifying sold-out show.

It’s good to live in Tulsa – great to be alive. Yes, I’m thankful.

Updated 10-24-2016

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