Celebrate the Season with Entertainment
As we continue to contend with social situations in tight surroundings and large-group gatherings, such as theatre events, I want to acknowledge event organizers and venue management who put the safety of their audiences first. I’m happy that this holiday season we have many reasons to celebrate. I hope you and your friends and family will enjoy this time of year with these fun and festive options.
A special outdoor experience awaits at the BOK Center with its annual Winterfest. Visitors can venture out on 9,000-square feet of ice for skate dates through Jan. 3. Take a ride in a carriage while sipping hot chocolate. It’s all part of the fest, now in its 14th year.
Another dazzling outdoor adventure begins at Tulsa Botanic Garden. The Botanic Garden of Lights includes music, train rides and thousands of lights. The Garden is open nightly (except for Dec. 24 and 25) through Jan. 2.
Two hallowed traditions continue at the Tulsa PAC with Tulsa Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” (through Dec. 19) and American Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol” (Dec. 10-23). A new magnificent “Nutcracker” production debuts this month. It is a collaboration of two highly admired Tulsa Ballet resident choreographers, Val Caniparoli and Ma Cong.
I have seen American Theatre Company’s “A Christmas Carol” a couple of dozen times. Really. I love this musical version, created over 40 years ago by Robert Odle and Richard Averill. It is the perfect outing for family and out-of-town guests. Karl Krause owns the role of Scrooge, and the set is so very picturesque. I also like that it is playing until Dec. 23. Even your young ones will be entertained by the ghosts, the music, the gorgeous set, the many children in the cast and the uplifting story.
After Scrooge, the churlish teens in “Mean Girls” won’t seem so bad. Broadway and Celebrity Attractions are back in 2022 with Tina Fey’s splashy and energy-driven coming-of-age musical comedy, Jan. 4-9. It is based on Fey’s 2004 film and opened on Broadway in 2018. “Mean Girls” features music written by Fey’s husband, Jeff Richmond, who penned the score for Broadway’s “Unbreakable Jimmy Schmidt.” Lyrics are by Nell Benjamin (“Legally Blonde”) and direction by Casey Micholaw (“The Book of Mormon” and “The Drowsy Chaperone”). The show is recommended for ages 10 and up.
Theatre Tulsa presents “The Sound of Music,” Jan. 14-30 at the Tulsa PAC, showcasing all those memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein songs we can sing my heart.
Other notable January productions at the PAC are magician and mentalist Hayden, Jan. 14-15, and two Tulsa Symphony productions — “Folk Dances: ‘London’ Symphony’” on Jan. 15, with Daniel Hege conducting. The concert highlights music by Bartok, Britten and Vaughan Williams.
The score to “Star Wars: A New Hope” will be performed by the Tulsa Symphony, Jan. 29. while the audience enjoys the film in high-definition on a big screen.
World Stage Theatre has brought some interesting and evocative dramas to the PAC in recent years. They present “The Song of Jacob Zulu,” Jan. 27 through Feb. 6. This piece was honed by Steppenwolf Theatre in 1993 and nominated for six Tony Awards. The story follows a man during the time of South African apartheid who is charged with a terrorist act. The music was written by Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Warming up a late January evening, Signature Symphony continues its concert series at the VanTrease PAC with “Love and Obsession, the Beatles to Berlioz,” Jan. 22.
Country artist Jake Owen performs at the River Spirit on Jan. 21. Comedienne Fortune Feimster takes the stage Jan. 27, and Willie Nelson and Family headlines on Jan. 29. A featured guest for the Willy Nelson event is singer Dan Smalley. Nelson also will be joined by his sister, daughters and sons. The group covers songs by Nelson, and also George Harrison, Hank Williams, Kris Kristofferson and others.
The Cox Business Center welcomes Latin music newcomer and romantic leading man Jay Wheeler, Jan 22. One of the hottest stand-up comedians in the biz, Taylor Tomlinson, appears at the Center on Jan. 28. Tomlinson was a finalist in “Last Comic Standing” and just finished her second comedy special for Netflix.
Ventriloquist/comedian Jeff Dunham lifts winter woes on Jan. 29 at the BOK Center. It takes a comic of immense stature to fill even a third of that arena. Dunham is irreverent and politically incorrect, taking jabs at institutions and people (including himself) with the help of his puppets, Walter, Peanut, Bubba J and Achmed the Dead Terrorist, among others. Dunham is a native Texan who attended Baylor and worked his way up the comedy chain. He enjoys great popularity in both the U.S. and Europe. This appearance is part of his “Seriously!?” tour.
Rocking the BOK on Jan. 30 is the popular L.A.-based band Tool. Formed in 1990, Tool is known for its progressive rock, or “art rock.” They won a “Best Metal” performance Grammy in 2020 for their album “7empest.” The group Blonde Redhead will open for the band.
Have a warm and fabulous holiday season. I wish you the very best of everything in 2022!