By NANCY HERMANN
WIZARD OF OZ: Celebrity Attractions closes its regular season at the PAC June15-30 with the musical The Wizard of Oz.
Courtesy Tulsa PAC
I’m not from here, but I’ve spent much of my adult life living on Tulsa time —- driving Tulsa streets, planting flowers in Oklahoma dirt, watching a family grow and children outgrow the nest my husband and I made for them. In formulating the next phase of our lives, we note that “great city to raise a family” is no longer in the equation. So what keeps us here? What makes Tulsa so livable? Big city amenities in a place that is convenient and affordable tops our list. I believe that if Tulsa had a beach, I’d have little reason to ever leave town.
What I love about Tulsa and its people is that a hunger for the arts is in our . I continually marvel at the Brady Theatre, built in 1914, and wonder what Tulsans were thinking back then when they designed a performing arts space to seat 2,700 people. (The wouldn’t be constructed for another 60-plus years, and its capacity is 2,365.) For nearly a century now, Tulsans have gathered in large communal venues to enjoy arts and entertainment, and their choices are multiplying. The Old Lady on Brady is still hobbling along with a grace that underscores its historic grandeur; the refurbished Cain’s Ballroom is busy most nights; the Center draws big names and big crowds; the Convention Center is back in top form; and the continually packs four theaters — 537 public events last year at the alone. When the ONEOK Field begins its live concerts, there will be even more to entice people downtown.
As school winds down and summer sets in, I have a feeling that T-Town will feel different this summer. It’s going to bristle with energy and activity! What recession?
If there’s any event that’s recession-proof, it has to be “the greatest show on earth.” The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus comes to the Center June 10-13. Lions, tigers and bears will be up to their usual and not so usual tricks, joined by Zing, Zang, Zum, a glitzy magic show. Also at the Center in June, Canadian singer/cutie Michael Bublé performs on June 22, and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham gives voice to a range of characters on June 24.
Speaking of lions, tigers and bears (oh, my), Celebrity Attractions closes its regular season at the June15-30 with the musical The Wizard of Oz and brings back the popular Beatles show 1964 The Tribute on June 25. For those people who can’t get enough of the ‘60s, and also enjoy top-notch entertainment, presents its season, “The Summer of Love,” during SummerStage at the this June and July. Look for the musical comedy The Boy Friend, a modernized version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, and the Cole Porter classic Kiss Me, Kate, along with LOOK”S popular cabaret shows.
The Trust’s SummerStage celebrates its 25th season this year with more than 70 performances. In June, along with LOOK’s productions, catch Horace and Daphne, an original play by local talent Tim Neller on June 11, and another original piece June 18-19, Terra Incognita: Monologues and Songs about Women, conceived and directed by Tulsa’s Michael Wright. There’s more theatre with The Actors Company of Tulsa’s tragicomedy The Visit, June 24-27 and Theatre Pops’ staging of Moliere’s The Misanthrope June 24-26.
There’s no shortage of music for SummerStage with The Sinatra Concept, June 11-12, featuring trumpeter and vocalist Jeff Shadley, and the six-piece bluegrass band Rockin’ Acoustic Circus on June 12. Time Changes Everything returns to SummerStage June 17-19. This one-act play about imaginary meetings between Bob Wills and Woody Guthrie was written by Tulsans Thomas Conner and John Wooley and showcases the music of the Red Dirt Rangers. Adding some sass to SummerStage is Salsa Tropical on June 17 with Oklahoma’s newest salsa band, Grupo Salsabor.
I’m really looking forward to a visit by celebrity chef and Travel Channel guru Anthony Bourdain on Saturday, June 12. He won’t be eating any live cobras or raw seal eyeballs on the Chapman Music Hall stage (that we know of), but his show is labeled “mature content.” This provocateur, who has a proclivity for R-rated language and a history of filleting celebrity chefs like Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay, will talk to the audience in an intimate presentation. He first came to national attention with his 2000 culinary tell-all book Kitchen Confidential and has appeared on the Food Network in numerous episodes of Top Chef; his own show, A Cook’s Tour; and on the Travel Channel in Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
Tulsa venues have cooked up a great summer, demonstrating once again that there’s no place like home for entertainment and the arts.
Nancy Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.