Making Connections, Finding an Escape at the PAC


BODYTRAFFIC: Lauded for inspiring, accessible and joyful work, the L.A.-based BODYTRAFFIC makes its Oklahoma debut Aug. 6 as part of the Summer Heat International Dance Festival.

Courtesy Tulsa PAC

Coming in to work today, I was car dancing to an old Red Hot Chili Peppers song with the lyrics “Take me to the place I love, take me all the way.” I ruminate a lot as I negotiate potholes and search my soul for tailgater forgiveness while making my way on the B.A. Expressway every morning. Today, I was thinking how special it was for the Red Hot Chili Peppers to produce a rocking sweet song about Los Angeles. When I looked up its origins, I found out that “Under the Bridge,” written by the band’s lead singer Anthony Kiedis, was conceived as he was driving the L.A. freeway and is about his hometown and about a lot of other things, including the deepest feelings of isolation.

People go to concerts and plays – every genre of entertainment – for different reasons. Sometimes we need an escape. We come to the theater wanting the experience to take us to another place, or wash over us as we passively just be for a moment, instead of having to do anything. I’ve felt that way, too, but mostly I attend arts events because I want to feel a connection. I’m hoping that something on stage is going to have meaning for me – that something is going to elucidate, soothe, or stimulate. Perhaps all.

I’m so much looking forward to the first Summer Heat International Dance Festival at the because dance connects with me every time. To recap what I talked in-depth about last month, Choregus Productions booked five exceptional dance companies for the festival. Choregus’ Ken Tracy was able to attract the French/Algerian Compagnie Hervé KOUBI (July 30) because they are performing during an entire week at the über prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Also joining the festival is Koresh Dance Company (July 31), which has continued to be one of my most favorite dance groups. L-E-V Dance Company (Aug. 3) from Israel will be performing a new work, “OCD Love,” which itself is about the challenges of connecting with others when by its nature obsessive compulsive disorder can keep people apart.

The dance troupe 10 Hairy Legs (Aug. 5) showcases the athletic and emotional ranges of outstanding male dancers, and guest artists join the company for two performances of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” Aug. 4-5. Finally, I know BODYTRAFFIC from L.A. will take me to the place I love on Aug. 6.

Other events in early August at the include Brown Bag It with Rebecca Ungerman singing music from the American Songbook, Aug. 3.

Bridging August and September are three musicals. I thought it was clever of Theatre Tulsa to present “Oklahoma!” and “The Will Rogers Follies” at the same time. The company brings out big vocal guns for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!,” Aug. 12-Sept. 4. The extremely talented Ruby Shadley, who is currently studying theater in New York City, performs the role of Laurey. Sam Briggs – consistently a Theatre Tulsa standout – is the cowboy, Curly, who would love to ride off into the sunset in a fringe-topped surrey with the belle of Claremore at his side. “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” and “I Cain’t Say No,” are standards that have worked their way into the repertoires of so many notable musicians. Even Miles Davis had a take on “Surrey With a Fringe on Top.” Enjoy “Oklahoma!,” Aug. 12-Sept. 4.

“The Will Rogers Follies” recounts the career and adventures of Oklahoma’s favorite son, the cowboy humorist from Oologah. Rogers was the highest paid movie star of his time and gained his fame in vaudeville. In this musical, presented by Theatre Tulsa Aug. 19-Sept. 3, his life story is told in a series of Ziegfeld Follies-style production numbers. There are saucy costumes, an abundance of song-and-dance, and Rogers’ endearing folksy humor.

“Heathers: The Musical,” presented by Theatre Pops Aug. 26-Sept. 4 is an off-beat piece about a brainy misfit who outsmarts the alpha dog mean girls, all named Heather, at an Ohio high school. The movie “Heathers” was a cult classic that relived the high school hell of not being one of the cool kids. Jana Ellis directs 20 local singers, dancers and actors and hopes people will key into the humor as well as the message.

Whether you come to events for escape, insight or connection, we hope to take you to your happy place through the arts.

Nancy Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.

Updated 07-25-2016

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