NSU’s Stars in the Summer series begins June 14

Top quality entertainment in both the country and pop music genres will once again heat up the Tahlequah, Okla. summer. But this time, the event returns to its roots at the Playhouse.

The Stars in the Summer series at Northeastern State University runs June 14 – August 4 at the Playhouse. Presented by the College of Liberal Arts and the Sequoyah Institute, the Stars in the Summer series will present “Downtown Country Classics” on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and “River City Classics” on Saturdays at 2 p.m. The “Stars in the Summer Celebration,” a special show marking 30 seasons of the River City Players and Downtown Country, will be performed Thursdays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.

“The series has varied in format over its 30-year duration, and this year will be a little different from what patrons have seen the past several years,” said Amber Cowan, managing director of Stars in the Summer. “We will still offer programming options in country and popular music, but we will be in one venue with one performing cast. Both Downtown Country and River City Players are still very much included in our Stars in the Summer Series and we’ve decided to celebrate the 30th season where it all began – the Playhouse.”

Dr. Robyn Pursley, director of River City Players in past seasons, will direct all shows for the 2012 season of Stars in the Summer. She expressed eagerness to direct the series’ anniversary season.

“I want to continue the long established traditions of Downtown Country and River City Players,” she said. “Our audiences will enjoy the new format, which allows them to see three different genres of music all under the same roof. I love to direct productions in the Playhouse and our audiences will appreciate the dynamic interaction between performer and audience that the space provides.”

For several years two sets of shows were performed at two Tahlequah venues, the Playhouse on the northeast corner of Downing Street and Muskogee Avenue, and the Shawnee Street Theatre at 124 W. Shawnee St. Pursley directed the River City Players shows and Kelli Farmer directed the Downtown Country performances.

“Following the close of the 2011 season Kelli started a country show at a venue in Wagoner,” Cowan said. “It shares the same name as NSU’s Downtown Country in our Stars in the Summer series, but is in no way affiliated with the university.”

Provost Martin Tadlock said the university is proud to sponsor the Stars in the Summer productions in Tahlequah.

“These shows are anchors to the summer experience that attracts so many people to Tahlequah to float the river, visit the cultural and historical sites in the City of Firsts, attend local festivals, visit the art exhibits, enjoy a variety foods and attend a show that spotlights incredible local talent,” he said. “There is no other place in eastern Oklahoma where you can experience all of that in a single location.”

“Stars in the Summer Celebration” returns to the chart-topping hits of the past three decades of pop music. Audiences will revisit some of the most memorable numbers to hit the summer stage, along with songs that define the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s.

The heart and soul of country music takes the stage in “Downtown Country Classics.” The tunes of classic country artists like Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and Barbara Mandrell will remind fans of their country roots, while the sounds of the Dixie Chicks, the Oak Ridge Boys and Reba McEntire will prove that country music is alive and well.

“River City Classics” is a trip back in time to the golden age of rock. The sounds of the ’50s and ’60s come alive in tributes to artists like The Platters, Connie Francis, The Supremes and the Everly Brothers.

Ticket prices will remain unchanged for the 2012 season. Prices are adults $12, alumni and employees $10, seniors 60-over and groups of 12 or more $8, students and children $6. An early bird discount of $1 is awarded on all tickets booked for June performances.

To reserve tickets to the Stars in the Summer series call 918-458-2075 or visit the Sequoyah Institute at 529 Seminary Ave. Call for more information or visit www.nsuok.edu/si.

Updated 03-18-2012

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