Curtain’s Up on Theater Entertainment

During mid-May, the CDC announced an easing of COVID restrictions. In addition, there are indications that herd immunity is possible. Theatregoers, event presenters and performers have been waiting in the wings, eager for relief
Over the last 16 months, our local arts groups have suffered financial losses. They have scheduled, cancelled, rescheduled, and had to cancel events again, all the while riding the waves of information, misinformation, and everyone’s best guesses. It’s been a perilous ride, to say the least.
One group that has enjoyed and earned success year after year is Tulsa Town Hall. Since its founding in 1935, Tulsa Town Hall has hosted scientists, composers, and former heads of state, along with Oscar winners and recipients of Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes. Speakers are chosen based on their ability to hold the interest of an audience for a full hour with entertaining presentations that invite deliberation and reflection. Town Hall’s 86th season promised to be another winner before the curtain came down on gatherings of any size last summer. Fortunately, the group’s programmed speakers for 2020-21 all were available for the following year. The dates have changed in some cases, so if you’ve made your reservations for last season, please note the new dates. Here’s a recap of this year’s stellar Tulsa Town Hall lineup.
Political cartoonist Kevin Kallaugher opens Tulsa Town Hall’s 87th season on Oct. 8. He’ll demonstrate that the pen is funnier than the sword as he draws caricatures of famous people while interacting with the audience and commenting on current events. His cartoons have appeared on 140 magazine covers and in more than 100 publications worldwide. Kallaugher was the first resident cartoonist at “The Economist” in its 145-year history.
You may have heard David Brooks on the “PBS News Hour,” NPR’s “All Things Considered” and NBC’s “Meet the Press,” or read his thoughtful commentary in “The New York Times.” Brooks’ #1 bestselling book, “The Second Mountain, The Quest for a Moral Life,” will be the focus of his Tulsa Town Hall visit. His book might be an eye-opener or salve for anyone who is feeling a bit unmoored, or who might be asking “Is this all there is?” Brooks will be your mountain guide on Nov. 12.
Republican political strategist Karl Rove has been a Washington insider for four decades, having enjoyed a close association with both President Herbert Walker Bush and his son, President George W. Bush. Rove served as deputy chief of staff and senior advisor for the latter, wielding sway over an era marred by the carnage of 9/11, the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. Following retirement, Rove became a Fox News contributor, Wall Street Journal columnist and New York Times best-selling writer, having authored “The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1986 Matters.” It will be interesting to hear Rove’s take on the recent tumultuous time in our country’s history. The title of his Jan. 14, 2022 lecture is “America’s Challenges.”
Speaker Nick Buettner has traveled to 17 locales around the world where people live to be 100 years old or more. These “Blue Zones” share commonalities which can help us make better choices related to where we live, work and play. With the visual aid of “National Geographic” photography, Buettner will examine the diets, belief systems and lifestyles of people who live in Karia, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan, and other Blue Zone places that might surprise you, like Loma Linda, California! “Blue Zones: The Making of a Healthy City” is his topic on Mar. 4, 2022.
Closing out the series on April 1 is Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He’s the host of PBS’ “Finding Your Roots.” A MacArthur Genius who taught at Yale, Gates has earned more than 50 honorary degrees, and was recognized by the “Chicago Tribune” in 2019 with a Lifetime Achievement award. The Emmy Award-winning filmmaker is the author of 21 books and 15 documentaries. Gates teaches English and Literature and does research in African-American studies at Harvard University.
“Thanks to contributions from sponsors and a growing Endowment Fund, Tulsa Town Hall remains a terrific bargain at $100 for all five speakers,” says Tulsa Town Hall Executive Director Kathy Collins.
All lectures take place at the Tulsa PAC on Friday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Subscriptions can be purchased at or by calling the Town Hall office, 918-749-5965. A pass to and from the PAC for all five speakers costs $25. Shuttles run from the parking lot located at Boston Avenue Methodist Church. Tickets for lunch with the speaker following lectures are $25 for each event and are in high demand.
Subscribers have been assured that Tulsa Town Hall will follow the guidelines, set by the Tulsa PAC and the City of Tulsa, that are in place at the time of each speaker event. Town Hall lectures subscribers are welcome to choose a seat in any one of the auditorium’s three levels — wherever they feel comfortable.
“The PAC has a new filtration system that exceeds CDC standards,” emphasizes Tulsa Town Hall Board President Pam Hillis. “Health and safety continue to be a top priority, and we will strive to help our subscribers, speakers and sponsors feel as safe and comfortable as possible.”