By NANCY HERMANN
LITTLE WOMEN: The Playhouse Tulsa debuts and original adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved story Little Women, written by Cody Daigle, July 12-14 in the PAC’s Williams Theatre.
Theatre fans! I hope you watched the Tony Awards show this year. It’s always entertaining, and this year particularly so with an opening bit nailed by Mr. Effervescence: Neil Patrick Harris. That uber-energetic production number replayed in my mind many times. As the Tulsa Performing Arts Center began to wade deep into SummerStage, I imagined another opening number, peopled by our local theatre folks as a way of introducing the many events incorporated in SummerStage. That would be an extravaganza, and I think the Trust’s Chad Oliverson could do the role well!
Seriously, the Trust has developed an awesome festival that just gets better every year. It begins in early June and lasts through July, so if you are reading this in late June, check the website, tulsapac.com, to see the show listings for month end, and then plan to attend a big sampling of what is planned for July. The Trust gives grants to these show presenters, assisting performers who could not otherwise afford to perform at the , and helps to keep ticket prices low. You will be surprised how little a quality theatre experience costs.
Disney’s The Lion King leaves the after a five-week run on July 7, and then it is all SummerStage in the PAC’s Norman, Williams and Doenges Theaters until 1964 The Tribute (Beatles revisited!) July 19. On July 11-12 join vocalist Janet Rutland for her ninth cabaret show, A Song is Born, featuring music by Stephen Sondheim and Burt Bacharach and others, and accompanied on piano by Scott McQuade.
Another regular SummerStage presenter is Tulsa Folkloric Theater. The story thread connecting a series of music and dance acts concerns an exotic adventure as seen through the eyes of a girl. On July 12-13, you’ll see Bollywood and belly dance, salsa and hip-hop. The title of this year’s show is Dhadkan, meaning heartbeat.
The Playhouse Tulsa presents an original adaptation of Louis May Alcott’s Little Women July 12-14. This piece was adapted for Playhouse by playwright Cody Daigle. You might have seen his play William and Judith at the . Set in the Civil War years and featuring an excellent cast, Little Women is a must-see this summer.
I’m very much looking forward to Mischievous Swing July 13-14. Performers are Isaac Eicher (mandolin), violinist Shelby Eicher, who was part of Roy Clark’s band for 15 years, bassist Nathan Eicher and an inspired gypsy-jazz guitarist, Ivan Pena. So much talent here! You’ll hear a variety of jazz styles and Latin American rhythms. Also on July 14, in another theatre, is Appasionata Duo, comprising Tulsa Symphony musicians Jeff Cowen (viola) and Jill Wiebe (harp). They play pop and rock music along with modern hits.
There is more theatre to enjoy July 18-21 with Native Women’s Voices: Sofkee for the Soul, presented by award-winning actress Vanessa Adams-Harris. Sofkee is a sustaining Native American food, and Sofkee for the Soul introduces the playwriting of Native women — what topics they are exploring and how they stay connected to the Native American community through their writing.
SummerStage’s remaining theatre offerings are Children’s Letters to God July 19-21 and Tinkerbell’s Greatest Hits July 26. Theatre Tulsa’s Children’s Letters to God is a musical based on the best-selling book by that name and shows off Tulsa’s most talented young performers. If you have followed SummerStage much in the last few years, you will recognize the Tinkerbell “brand.” Every year Theatre Pops gathers a crew of actors to perform monologues written by a range of playwrights — William Shakespeare to David Mamet. This year’s Tinkerbell roundup will concentrate on the show-stopping monologues from the past years. They will be funny, racy and outrageous, precipitating a “mature audience” rating.
Finally, there are two remaining dance-infused programs included in SummerStage. Portico Dans Theatre presents Combined Minds July 19-21 and Sanskriti School of Dance stages Moksha to close SummerStage on July 27.
Combined Minds incorporates aerial apparatuses, large-scale installation art and many dance styles in exploring the thoughts and feelings of a troubled young girl. Toys come to life, helping the girl plot revenge on a school bully.
Moksha, which means “liberation,” shines a spotlight on the work of Bharatanatyam artist Vidhya Subramanian. She has received international acclaim as a dancer and teacher. Accompanying her will be trained students of the Sanskriti School of Dance.
Make a memorable production out of your night on the town. Try out one of the many new downtown restaurants and add inexpensive, worthwhile entertainment to the fun. We’re saving you a seat.
Nancy Hermann is the Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.