Creative Planning Keeps Audiences Engaged

As we pull into the home stretch of 2020, and given that it’s almost Thanksgiving, I am grateful that we live in a resilient and resourceful country. With the coming of the colder weather, it will be challenging to accommodate COVID-conscious in-person performances. Thankfully, behind the scenes — in Zoom meetings everywhere — there are corporate folks, board members and committees straining their brains and budgets for creative ways to bring us live entertainment.
Although I always look forward to the holiday season, spring can’t come soon enough. New York’s theaters are now shuttered through May 30, 2021. For many shows, those New York closings affect touring Broadway. With vaccines showing promise, there is hope for an improvement in our current situation. I welcome the day that doors will be open for shows at the BOK Center, the PAC, Tulsa Theatre (the Brady), and elsewhere. In the meantime, there are numerous opportunities for a fun time out on the town.
Theatre Tulsa has partnered with ahaa (Hardesty Arts Center) to craft a unique theatre experience with “Tell Me a Story.” Over the past few months, Theatre Tulsa has been gathering real-life stories that have been shared with script writers for development. “This is our response to live theatre being shut down for so long this year,” says Jarrod Kopp, executive director of Theatre Tulsa. “We’ve redesigned the entire experience of attending a show so we could continue producing theatre that builds up and strengthens our community.” Audiences will rotate through six performance locations at ahaa Hardesty in socially distanced groups of 10. The space (comprising 40,000 square feet) will be closed entirely to other members of the public during that time. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online through ahaa. Performances take place in November, December and January.
Concerts at the BOK Center have been canceled or postponed, but the Center’s Winterfest is back for its 13th year. You can take to the ice — 17,000 square feet of it, INSIDE the BOK Center — Nov. 21 through Jan. 3.
Across the way from the BOK, the Cox Business Convention Center (CBCC) has polished off an attractive remodeling and is embracing new types of business. It is working closely with the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Art and Culture on several projects, including hosting crews working on the film “Ida Red.” The venue offers its space for craft and catering services and prop storage. Additionally, scenes from the film were shot in CBCC’s Pepsi Exhibit Hall, among other locations. My husband and I were made aware of Tulsa filming one Saturday afternoon as we were strolling on the Williams Green between the Tulsa PAC and the Hyatt. We were alarmed to hear shots. Unmistakable gunfire. Just as were looking for cover, a bystander told us that “Ida Red” was being filmed at 4th and Boston! “Ida Red” is an American crime drama, written and directed by Tulsa native John Swab, and starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa Leo and Frank Grillo.
CBCC has hosted Tulsa Opera rehearsals and branched out to produce wine dinners. The Fall Harvest Wine Dinner with Chef Devin Levine is slated for Nov. 12. Guests will be seated in the brand-new chef-designed kitchen to enjoy a six-course meal. A duet from Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will enrich the evening of fine dining.

RETURN TO REHEARSAL: Tulsa Ballet dancers returned from hiatus in late September to rehearse for “Creations Re-Imagined,” presented at Studio K through Nov. 22.

Dancers returned to Tulsa Ballet studios in late September. The Ballet had received a grant to install a new state-of-the-art air purification system in consideration of upcoming rehearsals, classes and performances at their facilities. With health and safety at the forefront of every decision, the Ballet will present 26 performances through Nov. 22 at Studio K. “Creations Re-Imagined” will feature works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Yury Yanowsky, and a world premiere by Ma Cong. Patrons will be seated 10 feet apart — a total of 30 patrons per performance — hence the unprecedented number of performances needed to accommodate Tulsa Ballet season subscribers. In addition, Tulsa Ballet will broadcast the performances virtually — $25 per household. Check out the Tulsa Ballet website for details.
Elsewhere around town, there’s music at the Cain’s, including a live-stream of Hanson concerts, Nov. 5-7 (limited in-person tickets available). Although the casinos are not hosting headliners in their performance halls, there are bands playing on various stages.
Don’t forget “Arts in the Air” on the Williams Green, presented by the PAC Trust and the Williams Companies. Relax to the music of one of Tulsa’s most revered jazz musicians, Dean Demerritt (Nov. 13) and the incomparable Branjae (Nov. 14). Tulsa Symphony performs a “Fridays in the Loft” concert at First Presbyterian on Nov. 20. The program will feature a string quartet and percussion ensemble.
Be sure to bring your mask to all events and check ahead for any possible cancellations. I’m thankful for what dedicated people are doing to keep us engaged and entertained. You can express your gratitude through your support. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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