Broadway’s ‘Once’ Headlines a Packed January at the PAC


ONCE: Winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, “Once” is a story of love and music, featuring Dani de Waal and Stuart Ward. Presented by Celebrity Attractions, “Once” kicks off 2015 at the PAC Jan. 6-11.

Photo by Joan Marcus

My friend the late Larry Payton, founder of Celebrity Attractions, gave me a recommendation for a quiet little show that landed on Broadway in 2012. I may have been vaguely aware of the 2007 movie, “Once,” starring the real-life couple, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who wrote and performed all the songs in the film, including the Academy Award-winning “Falling Slowly.” I was not expecting, however, this beautiful piece of theater that stole a bit of my heart.

A perfect setting for “Once” would be an old theater with a sawdust floor somewhere in the middle of Ireland. It has that sort of feel about it, unvarnished and unassuming. While the Tulsa can’t convert Chapman Music Hall into a pub, we can encourage you to be part of this theater experience. Audience members will have a rare opportunity to go on stage before the show begins and also during intermission to purchase drinks on the set of an Irish pub. Cast members are also musicians who will be on stage at those times playing a range of Irish folk tunes.
“Once” won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including Best Musical. I’ve sampled video of Dani de Waal and Stuart Ward, who play the leads in the touring cast. Delightful. Begin your new year Jan. 6-11 with this tender love story, which has been called “a play with music.” It is the touring Broadway show I’m looking forward to most this season.

The play “August: Osage County” is a Broadway blockbuster that took top honors in 2008 for Tulsa playwright Tracy Letts and company. Presenting it is a monumental task for a community theater company. And, I should point out, this incredible Theatre Pops cast has been working in the shadow of company founder Randy Whalen’s recent passing. Randy was theatre. He gave us so many memorable performances, personally, as well as countless thoughtfully crafted, edgy productions, some controversial, before many in town were attempting risky work. I will be thinking about Randy when I see “August: Osage County,” Jan. 8-18. This cast, headed by the incomparable Lisa Wilson, is a stand-out.

“August:Osage County” is not for children, but there are several shows at the in January that young people will like. More than 30 members of Tulsa Youth Opera star in “The Giver,” Jan. 10-11, based on the bestselling novel by Lois Lowry and recommended for ages 10 and older. Tulsa Children’s Museum presents the six-member band Matuto, Jan. 18. Honored as “American Musical Ambassadors” by the U.S. State Department, Matuto blends Brazilian folk music with all-American bluegrass. Another children’s show is “David Gonzalez’s Sleeping Beauty,” Jan. 30. Gonzalez uses Dr. Suess-type rhyming and music inspired by Bach’s Goldberg Variations, along with projected images to enlarge the world view of the princess in “Sleeping Beauty.” This is not the usual telling of the fairytale and calls upon the imaginations of young audience members.

Tulsa Town Hall has put together a varied and terrific season of speakers. In a time when the world is on fire with conflict and uncertainty, Fareed Zakaria’s Jan. 16 talk for Tulsa Town Hall, “America in a New World” will be riveting. (For additional information, see page 27.) Along with being on the front line of foreign policy, he also has a good sense of humor.

Tulsa Symphony is “Simply Classical” Jan. 17 with James Bagwell conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F major and Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D minor, featuring the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus. We are so fortunate to have this orchestra to enjoy. The Symphony’s December concert was superb.

The Russians are coming, and we’re ready to welcome them back! Choregus Productions hosts the Rastrelli Cello Quartet, which you may remember from the ensemble’s well-received Tulsa appearance in 2008. Rastrelli performs “between the genres,” so you might hear Dave Brubeck and The Beatles along with Bach and Tchaikovsky. Take in this performance Jan. 24 in the PAC’s Williams Theatre.

Perhaps you saw the “So You Think You Can Dance” show at the Brady Theater recently. Creators of that production are also behind “Shaping Sound,” Jan. 29. With the tagline “dance reimagined,” this show explores a range of dance styles and musical genres. If you enjoy what the professionals do on “Dancing With the Stars,” you will love “Shaping Sound,” created by Emmy Award-nominated choreographers Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson.

Dance on, Tulsa! See you at the !

Nancy Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.

Updated 12-24-2014

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