Music Highlights Spring Lineup of Shows


OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: The four-time Grammy winner bops into The Joint at the Hard Rock Casino on March 22.

Courtesy photo

Humanitarian rock star Bono once said, “Music can change the world because it can change people.”

I’ve traveled for many years and recognized that music as its own language can create a shared emotion. Bonding with strangers over music is gratifying, whether you are singing along to a tune everyone knows or listening thoughtfully to jazz. Music touches common ground within us.

Many upcoming shows I am writing about this month are concerts. They range from Sarah Coburn soloing in Mahler’s 4th to tunes by Three Dog Night. Tulsa-area residents support music at several major venues, along with an abundance of live music at clubs and restaurants. Our love for music is becoming a Tulsa brand. That’s exciting to watch and experience.

The Center continues its 10th-anniversary year with Lorde, Mar. 21. The singer’s real name is Ella Marija Lani Yetich-O’Connor, and she comes from New Zealand. She was only 17 when her song “Royals” became an international hit. Now, at age 21, she has a new Grammy-nominated album, “Melodrama,” which explores aspects of heartbreak and the state of solitude. Next up at the , American Country Music’s “Male Vocalist of the Year,” Thomas Rhett, launches his 30-city “Life Changes 2018 Tour,” Apr. 5.

Olivia Newton-John bops into The Hard Rock’s Joint, Mar. 22. She’s most famous for her role in “Grease,” and as a four-time Grammy winner with songs like “Physical.” What I didn’t know was that this British-born, Australian-bred beauty is the granddaughter of Nobel Prize-winner Max Born, one of the greatest physicists of modern times. What I’d forgotten is that she developed breast cancer in the 1990s and became a strong advocate for cancer “thrivers.” It was announced last spring that her cancer has returned after 25 years, but here she is again, singing her heart out.

Also appearing at The Joint will be a familiar face, or chin. Former “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” host and star of “Jay Leno’s Garage,” entertains on Apr. 5. Another well-known celebrity Garrison Keillor comes to the Brady Theater on Apr. 10.

Following the St. Patrick’s Day-flavored Riverdance, Mar. 18, River Spirit’s next headliner event is Three Dog Night, Apr. 19. “One” (is the Loneliest Number), “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” “Joy to the World,” “Never Been to Spain,” and “An Old-Fashioned Love Song,” are just a few of their hits. They’ve been part of the music scene for 50 years and sold more than a million records over the past decade alone.

I interviewed travel guru Rudy Maxa for a recent article and was surprised to learn that he was once an investigative reporter for the Washington Post during the Pentagon Papers days and former editor of Spy Magazine. He’s an interesting guy with stories to tell about his world travel, along with providing hints to help make your trips painless and rewarding. Tulsa Town Hall hosts Maxa as guest speaker on Mar. 23 at the Tulsa and closes its season with “Orange is the New Black” memoir author Piper Kerman, Apr. 13. In addition to being a bestselling author, she’s a prison and criminal justice reform advocate and communications consultant. The Netflix adaptation of her book is an award-winning hit.

More music comes our way Mar. 24 with Tulsa Symphony Orchestra featuring the work of John Adams and Edward Elgar, and an appearance of Tulsa’s favorite soprano Sarah Coburn. This internationally recognized singer, who makes her home here, will be the soloist for Mahler’s Symphony No. 4. You can learn more about the program by attending a free conversation with the conductor, Daniel Hege, before the concert in the ’s Westby Pavilion. The public is invited to a reception following the performance. ’s next Pops program, Apr. 14, is titled “Voyage of Discovery—Space—the Final Frontier,” with high-definition video from , Holst’s’ “The Planets,” and music from “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”

Two-time Grammy winner Jason Mraz is freshly off Broadway and headed to the on Mar. 29 for an acoustic solo performance. Broadway standout Sara Bareilles asked him to be part of her hit show “Waitress” for 10 weeks, beginning in Nov. 2017, and then extended his run. Among the many honors for this self-described “coffee shop acoustic singer and writer’ is the prestigious Hal David Songwriting Hall of Fame Award. In addition to his many talents, he’s a surfer, avocado farm owner, semi-vegan and humanitarian activist.

A sparkling new “The Sound of Music” comes to the with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Julie Andrews spinning with abandon on top of the mountain while singing the title song is etched in our minds. The film was 50 years old in 2015, but still the music and the inspirational story charms and endears. Celebrity Attractions presents, Apr. 3-8.

Theatre Tulsa takes on musical comedy’s “The Producers,” Apr.13-21. Director Mark Frie, whom we enjoyed immensely in “Les Misérables” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” joins the cast. The show promises to deliver a big dose of fun.

I hope you can take advantage of the live entertainment available locally. It may not change you, but it can uplift, inspire, give you something interesting to think about or simply coax you to smile.

Updated 03-20-2018

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