September Shows Launch Packed PAC Season


THE ILLUSIONISTS: Broadway’s smash hit, The Illusionists, is a fast-paced, wildly entertaining show featuring seven masters of magic, presented by Celebrity Attractions, Sept. 18-20.

Courtesy Tulsa PAC

Most recently, my husband and I were having dinner with a former classmate of his, who was visiting Tulsa as a recruiter to fill top-level jobs in the field of medicine. He didn’t know I worked at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center but began to describe the types of amenities that his relocating clientele desire in a city. Performing and visual arts were near the top of the list.

I shared with our recruiter friend the upcoming season highlights, and he confirmed what I’ve known for a long time – Tulsa offers quality and quantity in arts and entertainment. That’s important for keeping our young, bright minds here along with attracting a quality workforce.

The PAC’s September lineup of shows is a perfect example of the spectrum of entertainment offered locally. I want to attend every single event.

Theatre Tulsa is a longtime theatre institution (since 1922) that has evolved, struggled at times, but has come back stronger than ever. The company’s next big endeavor is the Tony Award-winning musical “Miss Saigon,” Sept. 4-20. Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, who created “Les Misérables,” collaborated on this piece, based on the Puccini opera “Madama Butterfly.” As in “Butterfly,” the cad/dad in the “Miss Saigon” tragedy is an American soldier, who fathers a baby in a foreign land and returns to the U.S., responsibility free. When he revisits Vietnam, years later, it’s not to marry the mother of his child. Much to her shock and dismay, he brings his American wife. The story is told with pop-infused music and will feature an award-winning Los Angeles-based actor, Nicole Barredo, as the forlorn Vietnamese girl, Kim.

The fear following natural or manmade disasters is explored in a multi-media production from Cloud Eye Control, Sept. 11-12, hosted by Living Arts. The piece is called “Half Life.” Blogs written by women affected by the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis in Japan inspired this piece. Living Arts split its New Genre Festival into two parts this year, and “Half Life” is featured in Part B. The event is free to attend, but reservations are recommended.

Parsons Dance is a contemporary dance troupe that is welcomed on the most prestigious stages of the world. Tulsa audiences will have a chance to see a new piece, “Finding Center,” choreographed by company founder David Parsons. Also on the program, presented by Choregus Productions, is the mysterious and lighthearted “The Envelope,” as well as Parsons’ signature piece, “Caught,” featuring 100 jumps in five minutes. A tribute to Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue,” and other works will be performed Sept. 12.

It will be an über arts weekend for me when Parsons Dance and the Pacifica Quartet are in town. I’m so ready for Chamber Music Tulsa’s series to begin again on Sept. 13. Pacifica Quartet, a Grammy-winning ensemble, will perform Mozart, Mendelssohn and a piece titled “Glitter, Shards, Doom, Memory,” composed in 2013 by Shulamit Ran. She is an Israeli-American composer who was the second woman in history to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Here’s a stage presentation that has a cast with names like The Escapologist, The Weapons Master and The Manipulator. Those three magicians are part of the magnificent seven, The Illusionists, appearing and disappearing in Chapman Music Hall Sept. 18-20, presented by Celebrity Attractions. There’s humor, deft sleight of hand and death-defying stunts in this show. These guys are cool.

One SummerStage show that I’m sorry I missed last June is “Next to Normal.” I heard it was beautifully acted and that the singers and overall production were top-notch. I’m so happy that Theatre Tulsa is bringing it back Sept. 25-27. Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize, the musical blends hard rock and gripping drama in telling the story of a bipolar mother and effects the illness has on her family.

Tulsa Symphony has come a long way in 10 years. This season marks that anniversary with an addition of a Pops Series. But first, there’s “Experience the Exotic” with new principal guest conductor Daniel Hege. Rimsky-Korsakov’s tone poem “Scheherazade” is slated for the Sept. 26 performance, along with Augusta Read Thomas’ “Prayer Bells,” and the part of the program I am really looking forward to, Crescendo Award winner Yun-Chin Zhou playing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Pick up a season brochure in our lobby racks, or download one online at Please consider treating out-of-town guests to local entertainment. You can help spread the news that Tulsa is on the move and in the groove. It’s show time!

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

Updated 08-24-2015

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