Showtime: More Than Flowers and Chocolate


Trumplandia OR The Bynum Brigade Invades City Hall: Tulsa Gridiron returns to the Cox Business Center stage Feb. 17-18 to poke fun at politics and pop culture, and all for a good cause.

Entertainment can be the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. And why not celebrate all month long?

For starters, there’s country music heartthrob Eric Church, “Mr. Misunderstood,” appearing at the Center as part of a 60-city tour on Feb. 2, and Ariana Grande stops by T-Town as part of her Dangerous Woman tour, Feb. 9. I attended Grande’s last Tulsa engagement a couple of years ago. She and nearly everyone, except me, was wearing cat ears at that concert as homage to Cat Valentine, the character Grande played on Nickelodeon. She’s all grown up now with slinky hits like “Dangerous Woman” and “Side to Side.” Grande locked down the American Music Association’s “Artist of the Year” for 2016. Her biggest fans have been females under age 25, but that fan base has grown. Her voice can fill the bowl, and her backup dancers, if you like that sort of thing – I do!, are a show of their own.

Tulsa is a music hotbed. Platinum-selling country artist Brett Eldridge appears at River Spirit, Feb. 3, The Eli Young Band plays the Cain’s on Feb. 4, along with hard rockers Styx (Feb. 9) and , (Feb. 22) , both at The Joint at the Hard Rock.  Really hot right now is Twenty One Pilots, playing at the Center in a sold-out concert Feb. 21. This alternative music duo from Ohio is behind “Stressed Out,” “Ride” and “Heathens.” Ticket holds are sometimes released on the day of the show, so if you are ever interested in pursuing a sold-out performance, you can always check a venue’s website or, better yet, go to their ticket office on the concert date to see if any ticket inventory is being released.

The song “Danke Schoen” made Las Vegas, crooner Wayne Newton a star in 1963. The part-Cherokee 74-year-old does a show at the Hard Rock on Valentine’s Day! The band Sugar Ray is there Feb. 17 and the heavy metal blues group Tesla blows it out at the Brady Theatre, Feb. 28.

Other than music, theatre or dance, a date with comedy is always a winner. Tulsa Gridiron presents its 2017 show at the Cox Business Center, titled “Trumplandia OR The Bynum Brigade Invades City Hall.” This election year provides lots of great material for song parody. Skewering newsmakers from politicians to pop singers, the Tulsa Gridiron has been making fun for nearly eight decades. The songs are clever and not mean-spirited, and the performers can sing! Rebecca Ungerman directs and head writer is Randy Krehbiel. The Roasting Ear recipient is Mayor G.T. Bynum. You can catch two shows, Feb. 17-18.

Fresh off her special, comedienne Whitney Cummings makes fun of her failures and weaknesses at the River Spirit Event Center, Feb. 25. Cummings became a comic at age 25. “Life broke me,” she has said of that time. She decided to turn her life into “a giant journal entry” on stage. Also on Feb. 25th is The Rock and Worship Roadshow at the Center. It’s family entertainment, starring Steven Curtis Chapman.

Back at my old Tulsa Performing Arts Center stomping grounds, the upcoming month is enormous in the breadth and quality of entertainment. Tulsa Ballet will dazzle with the world premiere of choreographer Edwaard Liang’s “Dorothy and the Prince of Oz.” This ballet, commissioned by Tulsa Ballet, takes audiences to the magical “Land of Oz,” Feb. 10-12. This sparkling, extraordinary production will enchant any sweetheart or dance enthusiast.

For theatre, enjoy Tulsa Project Theatre’s “Avenue Q,” Feb. 10-19, and Theatre North’s “Court-Martial at Fort Devens.” Theatre North’s presentation is based on a true story about a cadre of young black women in the Women’s Army Corps during who want to train to become medical technicians but are compelled to face down discrimination. This inspiring and timely drama runs Feb. 19-25.

An event I have been waiting for all year is the Beethoven Winter Festival, comprising the complete Beethoven string cycle performed by the illustrious Miró Quartet. This festival is a coup for both Chamber Music Tulsa and for Tulsa, and is attracting music lovers from across the country. By experiencing the works as a whole, and through hearing them in the order in which they were composed, audience members can more fully appreciate the extent to which Beethoven transitioned music from the Classical era to the Romantic, and how through his genius he created music that, as composer Igor Stravinksy proclaimed, “will be contemporary forever.” The six-concert series will be in held in the intimate Westby Pavilion at the , Feb. 17-26.

Another bigger-than-life event at the is Tulsa Opera’s star-studded Puccini to Pop, Feb. 25, with Leona Mitchell, Alyson Cambridge, David Miller, Michael Todd Simpson, Sarah Joy Miller and James Lowe. Music selections will include opera, jazz, show tunes and more.

Wrapping up the month on Feb. 28 and March 1 at the is the return of Shen Yun, presented by the Falun Dafa Association of Oklahoma. Eons of Chinese history are covered in this dance show. The presentation also takes the opportunity to share the philosophy of the Falun Gong, an organization or spiritual movement that is at odds with the Chinese government. There’s a bit of proselytizing tossed in there with the dance, so just expect that.

There’s nothing like getting out of the house and becoming lost in good entertainment. I’m wishing you a warm and sweet February!

Updated 01-30-2017

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