Tulsa’s Entertainment Season Off to an Exciting Start


THE BODYGUARD: R&B diva Deborah Cox stars as a stalked celebrity in “The Bodyguard,” Sept. 26-Oct. 1 at the Tulsa PAC, presented by Celebrity Attractions.

If I had an opportunity to recap what I did over school break, as many students are asked to do this time of year, I would gladly share my summer. My husband and I spent several weeks in Italy, centering our trip on the nine-day Umbrian Jazz Festival. Featuring preeminent musicians from around the globe, the immersive experience spoiled us with non-stop jazz on a world stage. We also attended the opera “Aida,” presented in Verona’s first-century Roman arena, and a classical music festival held in Perugia’s medieval buildings and piazzas. Besides the pure enjoyment of the history, music and art, along with Italy’s great wine and food, I valued the experience as training — tuning my ears and eyes so I can better evaluate and appreciate my entertainment encounters at home.

For me, the end of summer always pairs with the return of the performing arts season. I collect and glance through arts group brochures and fill in my calendar so that I don’t book on top of not-to-be-missed events.

Coming in September, there are many.

I’m delighted to see new and younger audiences attending Chamber Music Tulsa events. The youthful, energetic, inspiring musicians who populate the Chamber Music Tulsa roster always deliver a first-rate experience. The California-based Calidore String Quartet, Sept. 8-10, is the perfect example. They have garnered the field’s most prestigious chamber music honors, including the world’s largest monetary prize.

For more top-of-the-line music, check out the Gala Concert with celebrated pianist Jon Kimura Parker, presented by the Tulsa Symphony, Sept. 16, and also the rescheduled concert for Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti, Sept. 22, both at the .
Tulsa Town Hall opens its 2017-18 season on Sept. 15 with astronaut Mark Kelly. The Legion of Merit commanded the Endeavor and Discovery space shuttles and is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Town Hall operates on a season subscription plan, so it’s best to get in on this five-speaker series from the beginning.
For straight theatre this month, consider a joint presentation of Tulsa Project Theatre and Lyric Theatre, Sept. 13-24. “I Am My Own Wife” is a one-person tour-de-force with actor Matthew Alvin Brown taking on 36 characters. It is derived from the conversations over several years between playwright Doug Wright and a German transvestite who survived a tumultuous part of history.

“Wake Me Up When September Ends”! Fans of musical theatre will be treated to Theatre Tulsa’s “American Idiot,” Sept. 22-Oct. 1, based on the Grammy Award-winning music of alt rock’s Green Day, and then “The Bodyguard,” Sept. 26-Oct. 1, presented by Celebrity Attractions. Do you remember when R&B diva Deborah Cox appeared in Tulsa opposite Constantine Maroulis in “Jekyll & Hyde”? Wow. She is a powerhouse of talent! I can’t wait to see her in this role.

At Tulsa Ballet’s Studio K, world premieres from outstanding female choreographers can be enjoyed Sept. 15-24. This year’s “Creations in Studio K” includes a piece by Helen Pickett, whom I watched working with the dancers recently. Her piece has moments that are exquisitely beautiful and sensual. Also on the program are works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Young Soon Hue.

Broken Arrow’s reboots its Spotlight Series with two Broadway superstars: dancer and singer Chita Rivera and “Broadway’s tallest tapper,” Tommy Tune. He can also sing! Catch that show Sept. 19.

The Joint at the Hard Rock announced three concerts for September, including Canadian rock artist Bryan Adams, Sept. 14. I met Adams at Philbrook when the museum held a book signing event. He’s a respected photographer with several published books, the son of a Foreign Service diplomat, and the paramour of numerous world-renowned beauties. He’s penned songs like “Heaven,” “Run to Me,” and “Everything I Do, I Do It For You,” which couldn’t help but endear one to fans worldwide. Country music chart-topper Cole Swindell will revisit his trove of number one hits at the Hard Rock, Sept. 21, and Boz Scaggs performs there Sept. 27. Scaggs will be drawing from his new album, “A Fool to Care.”

The River Spirit Casino brings a score of super talent to Tulsa this month. Singer Pat Benatar and her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo, appear with the 1970’s rock band Toto, Sept. 8. A classically trained mezzo-soprano, Benatar is best known for “Hit Me With Your Best Shot, “Heartbreaker,” and “We Belong.”

The Steve Miller Band (“Fly Like an Eagle,”) performs Sept. 16, and Tulsa favorite Joan Jett and the Blackhearts appear Sept. 23. Also at the River Spirit is a singer whose voice is on par with Adele. Jennifer Nettles is the artist the Kennedy Center Honors calls when they want a knock-your-socks-off delivery of a song. Formerly the lead singer of Sugarland, the multi-Grammy winner also sang the role of Roxie Hart in “Chicago” on Broadway and was Donna in the Hollywood Bowl presentation of “Mamma Mia!” See Nettles Sept. 28 and singer/actor Chris Isaak, Sept. 29.

Tulsa’s excellent non-profit theatre Circle Cinema showcases several music and theatre films this month. “May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers,” plays Sept. 12, and “Dave Gilmour: Live at Pompeii,” a concert film, will be shown Sept. 13. “Yerma,” Garcia Lorca’s masterpiece, will be performed and screened Sept. 21, a project of National Live Theatre.

There you have it — a superb start to another season of diverse and thrilling entertainment.

Updated 09-11-2017

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