Summer Fun Returns as Events Come Alive

THREE DOG NIGHT: The group has performed for over five decades. Catch them at the River Spirit Casino and Resort, Aug. 6.

How to sum up the last several months? Challenging. For some, devastating. Now that folks are partying like it was 2019 — offering full-body hugs and showing off their smiles — the dark days of the pandemic seem unreal. It is strange at first to resume life as you knew it, but I feel confident it will become more comfortable as the months progress. Venues are gradually opening and expanding their programming. There’s more to buzz about than I could have imagined last year at this time. I’m grateful for the scientific and other preventive COVID measures that have brought us to this hopeful place.
Concerts are coming back to the BOK Center! Country music fans may already have tickets for the rescheduled Alan Jackson concert, Aug. 27; for Blake Shelton, Sept. 24; and for multi-Grammy Award-winning singer Chris Stapleton, Nov. 5. I just purchased my ticket for The Weeknd, Feb. 20, 2022. Yes, I’m ready to “rock the BOK,” and optimistic about the months ahead.
Tulsa’s Cain Ballroom has been open and active through much of last year. I was happy to see our hometown friends, Hanson, booking gigs there. Cain’s is famous as the home to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, who are credited with creating Western Swing. They played at the Cain’s beginning in the 1930s, broadcasting from there on Tulsa’s KVOO radio. Now, Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys, incorporating members who have been added throughout the decades, perform at the Cain’s on July 24. The concert will be general admission, first-come, first-served, with a limited capacity.
The Cain’s is a fantastic venue. Careful renovations have preserved the look and feel of this icon. Consider that the OKPOP Museum is just across the street from it. The Woody Guthrie Museum and the Bob Dylan Archives are a few blocks away in the Tulsa Arts District, along with a jazz listening room at Duet. Tulsa has come into its own as a music-lovers’ destination.
I attended a series of contemporary dance performances in Chapman Music Hall at the Tulsa PAC recently. Distanced seating was thoughtfully orchestrated and comfortable. “1964 The Tribute” returns to the Chapman stage on July 24. I have seen this performance several times and always have a blast. Who can resist dancing in their seat to “I Saw Her Standing There”? Celebrity Attractions presents.
Theatre Tulsa has been busy teaching and cultivating young performers. The musical theatre-loving young people in your life will enjoy several Theatre Tulsa events. “Junie P. Jones, The Musical, Jr.” features Theatre Tulsa students, ages 5-8 for shows July 16-18. Junie P. Jones is a popular children’s book character. “Grease: School Edition” showcases the talents of budding Broadway stars, ages 14-18, July 23-25, in this classic. Capping the summer, “Matilda, The Musical,” July 13-Aug. 29, includes the full-range of Theatre Tulsa talent.
Comedy would be the perfect light summer entertainment. The River Spirit Casino and Resort hosts comic Leanne Morgan on July 10 and her “Big Panty Tour.” Morgan is a stay-at-home mom of three kids who has stories to share. Local comedy shows also provide entertainment options around town, like the Looney Bin Comedy Club on South Memorial.
Returning to the River Spirit Casino is the evergreen group Three Dog Night (“Mama Told me Not to Come”), Aug. 6. Country crooner Clint Black brings his swagger to the Hard Rock, Aug. 18. Tickets purchased for Black’s previously scheduled concert are valid for this new date.
During 2020, “Show Buzz” highlighted events taking place at a range of venues around the Tulsa area. The days I wandered for hours at Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa Botanic Gardens and the Tulsa Zoo over the last few months helped the year fly by. You may know that Gilcrease closed on July 5 for a major rebuild. The structure is a cluster of several buildings cobbled together, with the oldest being more than a 100 years old. No one can tell yet how long it will take to complete the tear-down and rebuild. We’re hoping that more of the collection can be on permanent display in the new space.
At Philbrook Museum of Art, see Salvador Dali’s surrealist illustrations of “Alice in Wonderland,” created in 1969, through Oct. 17. And, there’s still time to take in “Views of Greenwood,” on display through Sept. 5. I enjoyed spending head-time with the poignant and beautifully imagined photography of Don Thompson, Gaylord Oscar Herron and Eyakem Gulilat. There is much to see and ponder in these photographs. “From the Limitations of Now,” featuring local artists and national artists, also will be on display in several Philbrook galleries until Sept. 5. The exhibition includes tapestries, painting, beadwork, photos, videos and more, addressing violence in American history, along with and an uplifting message about the legacy of ancestors and their power to inspire.
Welcome back to the fray. It feels good to have options. Enjoy every opportunity.