By NANCY HERMANN
TULSA BALLET: The 2013-14 roster of programs launches with a triple-bill featuring Adam Hougland’s staging of Nijinsky’s “Rite of Spring,’ Paul Taylor’s “Company B” and the Oklahoma premiere of Jorma Elo’s “On/End/One.”
In the interesting case of Disney’s The Lion King that played at the Performing Arts Center this summer, the musical came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. Roaring. The economic impact to the City of Tulsa was colossal!
Selling 40 performances to anything is a challenge for the Tulsa market. A fourth of the entire population of Tulsa would have to buy a ticket for a five-week run to sell out, yet my marketing colleagues at Celebrity Attractions (the show’s presenter) were undaunted. When Pride Rock rolled off our stage for the final time, 76,637 people had attended, resulting in $5.6 million in gross sales through our ticket office alone, more than a half million dollars in revenue to the City of Tulsa and an estimated $44 million in economic impact.
Equally important to this success story was the number of audience members who had never been to the before, or seen a major Broadway production anywhere. The diversity across age groups and ethnicity was unprecedented.
Currently I am working on a task force with the Tulsa Regional Chamber where, with One Voice, we are trying to gain government support for funding projects that would foster regional tourism. Oklahoma has many needs, like improved education and healthcare, and more jobs, but to achieve that we also need good medical personnel, skilled educators and other workers. To attract and keep those people, we have be a vibrant, livable city, and that is where the arts come in.
Shows like The Lion King, along with ballet, opera, concerts, theatre, art museums and other attractions, generate revenue for many businesses, but they also create a cultural climate that people want to live in or visit. Tulsa has all the right stuff to become a tourism destination, not just a place folks fly over or pass by on I-44 on their way to somewhere. I know Tulsa will be that “somewhere” in our lifetime.
To that end, we’re doing our part at the . Here are some of the highlights of the 2013-14 season that begins in September.
Tulsa Town Hall brings Dan Rather and Mia Farrow to Tulsa this season, but also The Kite Runner author Khaled Hosseini, reporter and columnist Timothy Egan and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Gentry Lee.
Tulsa Opera will stage two well-known operas, The Marriage of Figaro and Carmen, and this will be the first time Elmer Gantry has been performed in Oklahoma.
Look for a mix of familiar plays and a few we have yet to see in our area: Clybourne Park, A Few Good Men and The Neverending Story, along with Flipside: the Patti Page Story, One Man Star Wars, Seminar and so many more. Planning ahead for the holidays? Playhouse Tulsa presents a new work, and world premiere, called TULSA! A Radio Christmas Spectacular.
Celebrity Attractions’ Broadway series branches out with The Blue Man Group in September. Then, enjoy return engagements of Chicago, Beauty and the Beast, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Wicked, and Tulsa debuts of Sister Act and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.
Show dates are added throughout the year, but we do know of a couple special events headed to Tulsa. In November we’ll see the return of Buddy Valastro – The Cake Boss, along with an appearance of opera singer Simon Estes. The Estes event will feature dramatic soprano Deborah Voight and other special guests. In addition, The Trust presents Mississippi Delta blues icon and Grammy Award winner Taj Mahal for World Blues, and Ragtime for Tulsa hosts the dynamic duo of Anne and Jeff Barnhart (piano, flute and vocals).
The Trust’s Imagination Series will thrill the younger set and their parents with quality drama from some of the country’s most well-known children’s theatre companies. This year, they will enjoy Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Snail and the Whale.
Tulsa Ballet performs Rite of Spring in September, followed throughout the year with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella and, of course, The Nutcracker. And if you love dance, you’ll want to catch the Trust’s presentation of Feet Don’t Fail Me Now! with dancers burning up the floor to tap, funk, blues, rock and salsa numbers.
I will share more later about the fine programming of both Tulsa Symphony and Chamber Music Tulsa, each with six concert dates, but get set for September. Tulsa Symphony launches its season with Crescendo Music Award winner Siwoo Kim (violin) and vocalist Sarah Coburn. For Chamber Music Tulsa’s first concert of the year, the young, genre-defying string quartet from New York City, Brooklyn Rider, is going to turn heads.
If you would like a season brochure with all the events currently scheduled at the mailed to your home, please email me: email@example.com. Your interest in the arts and your support, whether you attend a blockbuster like The Lion King or a 100-seat cabaret show, all helps to keep us on that road to a fully-realized Tulsa and a greater Oklahoma.
Nancy Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.