Spring Means Festival Time in Green Country


Welcome, spring! Renewal and a sense of energy abound. What do you have planned in the weeks ahead?
The Tulsa International Mayfest event beckons, May 17-19. A range of artists and their work, along with family entertainment and food vendors, have relocated this year to a seven-block area in the Tulsa Arts District. You can also join the fun at Hop Jam in the Arts District on that Sunday, May 19. Presented by the Tulsa-grown Hanson brothers, Hop Jam will host 100 brewers and feature music by Phantom Planet, The Weeks, Wilderado, the Hansons and more.
Other upcoming downtown events include a diverse lineup of shows at the BOK Center. The popular folk/rock band The Avett Brothers plays May 14. On May 21, Pentatonix stages one of the first shows on its World Tour at the BOK. I’ve seen this a capella group three times. Originally from Arlington, Texas, the ensemble won top honors on the TV series “The Sing Off” and garnered three Grammys. Pentatonix is captivating because its members exude so much individual personality while blending their voices in flawless, original and always interesting ways. The lone woman of the group, Kirstie Maldonado, studied musical theatre performance at the University of Oklahoma before Pentatonix, and starred on Broadway in “Kinky Boots” last year.
Parrothead alert! Find that island-time shirt at the back (or front) of your closet, and join like-minded music lovers at the BOK Center, June 4, for Jimmy Buffett. Jimmy would seem to be a laid-back, salt-on-the-rim kind of guy, yet he’s also an astute businessman and author. Among his accomplishments, he is one of only eight authors (Hemingway and Steinbeck among them) who have had a book in the number one spot on both the fiction and non-fiction lists of the “New York Times.”
From May 17-26, Theatre Tulsa Next Stage presents the Tulsa premiere of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Among many honors, the play won the 2015 Tony for Best New Play. Based on a mystery novel by Mark Haddon, the story is feel-good whodunnit centering on a 15-year-old boy whose autistic qualities help sharpen his detective skills.
Two light-hearted one-man shows, presented by Tulsa Project Theatre, are slated for the Saturday during Mayfest. Maybe you can enjoy theatre at the PAC and then stroll over to the festival. Canadian actor Charles Ross stars in “One-Man Pride and Prejudice,” May 18 at 2 p.m., and “One-Man Star Wars” that day at 8 p.m. For “Star Wars,” he becomes all the series’ characters, performs its music, and encapsulates the entire storyline over the course of an hour!
On May 31 and June 1, “The Lightning Thief ― The Percy Jackson Musical” will engage families at the PAC. The touring musical is derived from fantasy-adventure children’s books by Rick Riordan. “The Lightning Thief” was the first in his bestselling series. The plot follows a 12-year-old boy who is the son of the Greek God Poseidon and a mortal mother. He is on a quest, with friends, to locate the stolen lightning bolt belonging to Zeus.
Theatre North presents “The Griffins,” written by Dr. Rodney L. Clark, May 31, June 1 and 2, about a family in the hot summer of 1921. When the story of a rape and possible lynching sparks violence, the future of a family and Tulsa’s thriving Black Wall Street are forever changed.
In addition, on June 1, Grammy winner and feminist icon Ani DiFranco, with special guest Diane Patterson, appear in concert at the PAC.
Mid-town at the University of Tulsa’s Lorton Performance Center, Tulsa Ballet is freshly back from its European tour with a season-closing homage to Broadway and ballet, May 9-12. This trio of works features the jaunty “Fancy Free,” choreographed by Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein; “Who Cares?” by George Balanchine with music by George and Ira Gershwin, and “Remember Our Song,” created by the three-time Tony Award-winning choreographer of “Hamilton,” Andy Blankenbuehler.
Also at TU’s Lorton Performance Center, Tulsa Oratorio Chorus entertains with “Great Hits of the Classical Choral Tradition,” May 18.
At the Hard Rock, look for blues, gospel and rock singer Jonny Lang (May 9), Chicks with Hits (May 11), showcasing Nashville singers Pam Tillis, Terri Clark and Suzy Bogguss, and the American rock band Good Charlotte (May 18).
Entertaining at the River Spirit Casino and resort is the band Earth, Wind and Fire (May 18), the multi-media rock-meets-classical-music extravaganza Rocktopia (May 23), and the Southern Momma Cletus T. Judd Comedy Experience (May 25).
The outdoor Chautauqua event returns June 4-8 under a big tent on the lawn of the Tulsa Historical Society. Actors will portray a range of famous Hispanic historical figures over several evenings. “From Pizarro to Picasso: Hispanic Legacy in American Today” is free to attend. Programs begin at 7 p.m., and picnickers are welcome.
Figure in some outdoor entertainment during one of the prime times for such in Oklahoma. Along with a selection of festivals, free evening concerts on Thursdays at Utica Square and Tulsa Drillers baseball are perfect ways to enjoy our glorious Tulsa spring.