Holiday Offerings Overflow at the PAC
By NANCY HERMANN
HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT: For a dose of holiday nostalgia with a dash of crankiness, enjoy Karl Krause as the churlish Ebenezer Scrooge in American Theatre Company’s musical adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Dec. 6-23 in the PAC’s Williams Theatre.
Wouldn’t we all like to make the holidays more meaningful? Change the emphasis from gift giving to sharing the season in a manner that does not include hours shopping online or going to the mall. Lucky for us, there are options. Winter outdoor activities abound nearby, like Winterfest, Guthrie Green events, various runs, parades and tours of holiday lights. And when you’re ready for indoor fun, you can be assured that the Performing Arts Center is ready for you.
Holiday shows start early at the this year with A Christmas Story, presented by Encore Theatre Arts, Nov. 28-30 and Dec. 1-2. Before there was stand-up comedy with Jerry Seinfeld, there was late-night radio humorist Jean Shepherd, who had a reputation as a kind of beatnik social observer in his day. He liked to spin a story in a folksy Midwest style that lent itself to the nostalgic musings of A Christmas Story, set in 1940s America. You might remember the 1983 film this play is adapted from about a young boy, Ralphie, who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB gun. This piece is funny, charming, and directed by Josh and Mindy Barker, who have made children’s programs their focus. Tickets are as low as $11 for children and groups.
Another event that will appeal to children as well as adults is The Wizard of Oz shown on a big screen in Chapman Music Hall. Tulsa Symphony provides live symphonic music to accompany the film. Conductor Ron Spigelman takes music lovers and film buffs off to see the wizard on Dec. 1.
Tulsa Symphony is back Dec. 2 with the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus and local high school musicians and singers for a choral and instrumental Christmas program called “Side by Side.” Tickets are $20.
For free, midday entertainment with an abundance of holiday cheer, check out the Tulsa Festival Ringers, Dec. 5. Always a Brown Bag It hit, the Trust will again host two performances in Williams Theatre: 11:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. An extra special aspect of these performances is that American Theatre Company has allowed Tulsa’s only auditioned handbell choir to stage its concerts on the set of A Christmas Carol. It’s a candy-cane–and-gumdrop, festive presentation that is perfect for the season.
After eyeing the Christmas Carol set, you will want to get tickets for the musical itself. There are many opportunities from Dec. 6-23 to catch this Charles Dickens classic. The production’s music is delightful, and the show’s turntable Victorian set is a character of its own. Karl Krause has been Scrooge for a number of years for good reason. His character’s transformation from churlish to joyful abandon is infectious.
Returning this December is a one-hour play that embodies the meaning of Christmas and is suitable for any age —- whether one is remembering the Charlie Brown TV specials of old or seeing the play as a child for the very first time. The Playhouse Tulsa stages A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dec. 7-9. After each performance, audience members are invited to meet and have pictures taken with the cast on the Charlie Brown set and to make ornaments and sing holiday songs. A child’s ticket is only $10.
Tulsa Ballet stages its annual Nutcracker, Dec. 8-23, with some additions this year. The company’s artistic director, Marcello Angelini, recruited a well-known children’s choreographer, Bruce Wells, to incorporate more scenes with young dancers and bring back the beloved Mother Ginger character. This Nutcracker is Angelini’s creation, taking place in art deco Paris of the 1920s. Tickets range $10 to $78, with discounts for children.
If you’d prefer a holiday show that is more naughty than nice, and time at the theater without kids, there’s The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, presented by Theatre Pops. You wouldn’t want the Santa in this show to bound down your chimney. He’s been accused of sexual harassment and there’s a lineup of reindeer with tales to tell that would curl an elf’s toes. This dark comedy by Jeff Goode plays Dec. 13-23.
To help you rebound from too much, or not enough, Christmas cheer, here’s something to tide you over until New Year’s. Chip Davis’ Mannheim Steamroller Christmas will rock our house (Chapman Music Hall) for performances Dec. 29-30. Presented by Celebrity Attractions, this Christmas concert is a combination of synthesized classical music, rock, baroque and high-energy. See you there!
While you are attending events in Chapman Music Hall, stop in the PAC’s Gallery to see Phill Cooper’s whimsical art show, “Big Stuff.” His playful paintings, like a large jalapeno pepper wearing pink earmuffs, will be a hit with all ages.
I thank each of you for attending events at our Tulsa Performing Arts Center where the staff, all City of Tulsa employees, works to maintain a friendly, inclusive and giving spirit all year round. Have a beautiful holiday season and a bright new year.
Nancy Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.