Music, Theater, Comedy Kick Off 2017 in Greater Tulsa


OVO: Meaning “egg” in Portugese, this Cirque Du Soliel presentation concerns the ecosystem of insects. Ovo runs Jan. 25-29 at the BOK Center.

The holidays are a reflective time when we enact family tradition and assess the year past. The new year dawns, and we are ready to embrace whatever comes next. This year we greet a new president, and wish the best for all Americans and for our global neighbors as well. I hope you can find time to blend your hard work, study, or focused-elsewhere time with engaging entertainment and fun. There is more to do, see and explore in the Tulsa area than ever before.

The entertainment the local casinos have been bringing in has been substantial, and will increase with the opening of the large performance theatre at the River Spirit Event Center. Don Henley’s Jan. 19 show at River Spirit is already sold out, but tickets to country music star Alan Jackson’s Jan. 20 concert are still available.

This is a good opportunity to talk briefly about buying tickets online. There are numerous ticket resale sites operating that look like a venue’s online ticket office but are not. These resale sites jack up ticket prices as much as four to five times the actual ticket price. Whether you are purchasing tickets for an event at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, the Center, or the Hard Rock, Brady Theatre or elsewhere, be sure you are not purchasing from resalers, also known as “scalpers.” Buy from the official venue website. Also, in many instances, when you purchase at the venue itself, you can avoid most convenience fees.

The Joint at the Hard Rock hosts the Gold and Platinum-selling band 38 Special on Jan. 6, followed by Tanya Tucker on Jan. 12. Tucker began her singing career at age 13 with her colossal hit “Delta Dawn.” Her lengthy career and life experiences, including liaisons with some of entertainment’s biggest names, would make an engaging film.

Speaking of interesting lives, Priscilla Presley has a lot of stories she could tell. It will be 40 years in 2017 since Elvis died at age 42. His ex-wife, mother of his daughter, Lisa Marie, and former mother-in-law to Michael Jackson, visits the Hard Rock for “Elvis and Me, An Open Conversation.” Career-wise, she’s appeared in numerous movies and as Jenna Wade on “Dallas” from 1983 to 1988. This Jan. 27 event at The Joint includes a time when the audience can ask Ms. Presley candid questions.

I’d never heard of ‘Noonatics” until I began researching the Herman’s Hermits, but they exist and follow the band’s star, Peter Noone. Like Tanya Tucker, Noone was a child prodigy. He began acting and singing as a teen. British TV fans know him from “Coronation Street,” and Americans may recognize him as the character Paddington from “As the World Turns.” Most of us are familiar with the Herman’s Hermits’ 1960s-era hit songs: “I’m Into Something Good, “Mrs. Brown You Have a Lovely Daughter,” and “There’s a Kind of Hush.” The band earned 14 Gold-selling singles and seven Gold albums. The ever-charismatic Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits perform at The Joint, Jan. 29.

If you feel in need of a few laughs to shake off that holiday stress and election tension, take in comedian Lisa Lampanelli’s show at the Brady, Jan. 13, or get stirred up anew by Bill O’Reilly and Dennis Miller at the Center, also on Jan. 13. Other events coming to the Center this month are Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jan. 14 – “take me to the place I love” – and Cirque Du Soleil’s “Ovo,” Jan. 25-29. You know what to expect with a Cirque show. It’s over-the-top athletic and gorgeous to view. This presentation concerns the ecosystem of insects, so there will be fantasy and fantastic costumes and choreography. The score to the piece was inspired by music from Brazil. “Ovo” means egg in Portuguese.

I’ve not been retired very long from the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, but I miss being there and working with good people who value the arts. On Jan. 13, Tulsa Town Hall hosts writer Luis Alberto Urrea in Chapman Music Hall. Born in Mexico, Urrea is a multi-award-winning poet, novelist and essayist. The title of his lecture is “From Tijuana to the World.” At the on Jan. 14, Tulsa Symphony features Bulgarian-born violinist Rossitza Jekova-Goza in a program that includes the music of Mendelssohn, Ravel and Beethoven’s 4th Symphony. Celebrity Attractions brings back the humor-filled “Men Are From Mars; Women Are From Venus,” Jan. 20-21.

I’m so much looking forward to the velvety voice of Nathan Gunn, Jan. 22. Choregus Productions hosts this handsome, celebrated baritone and his wife, Julie Gunn, who will accompany him. The concert will be a mix of opera and pop songs. If you don’t know Gunn, Google him on YouTube and listen to his voice. Also at the this month is Theatre Tulsa’s “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a musical, which is a prequel to the Peter Pan story, Jan. 27- Feb. 5.

A show that people have been asking about for months, “Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue,” is slated for four performances at the , Jan. 28-29. The Canadian animated TV show about a boy named Ryder and seven dogs who save the day, every day, is a big hit with families.

At the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center, which has a penchant for hosting diva singers extraordinaire, 4 Girls 4 gives one performance, Jan. 21. Music direction is by well-known talent Billy Stritch. The four singers all have Broadway musical clout.
Andrea McArdle, who many will know as the original Broadway Annie, is joined by three other headliner voices — Faith Prince, Maureen McGovern and Christine Andreas. I won’t miss this one!

I wish you the best in the New Year along with many enjoyable moments getting lost in a great play or lecture, a spectacular dance performance and, always, abundant music. Happy 2017!

Updated 12-28-2016

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