SummerStage helps PAC Box Office Sizzle

LATIN HEAT: The popular family of flamenco musicians and dancers, Reflejos Flamencos, id part of the SummerStage series. The list of summer entertainment doesn’t end there. Choose your favorites to attend at

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The Tulsa Performing Arts Center (PAC) is working hard to bring fun to Tulsa this summer.

While “the mouse” (Disney) is in the house with 46 performances of The Lion King, upstairs in Chapman Music Hall, the PAC Trust is doubling that with 93 performances scheduled for its annual SummerStage festival in the downstairs theaters.

In addition, the Amadeus Piano Festival stages four events in Westby Pavilion, and June incorporates chamber music and ragtime as well.

“We plan to grab the lion by the tail and go along for the ride!” says Trust Marketing and PR Manager Chad Oliverson. “Everyone should see The Lion King, and while you’re in town, catch one of our SummerStage shows. Make a weekend of it. Or come back later.

The Lion leaves July 2–SummerStage goes on until August 12.”
The annual kaleidoscope of SummerStage entertainment takes place in the 430-seat Williams Theatre and the black box Norman and Doenges Theatres. The black box theaters are where the increasingly popular cabaret shows take place.

“The cabarets are very welcoming. You can buy a drink, bring it into the theater and sit at a table close to the performers,” says Trust Programming Director Shirley Elliott. “These shows sell out fast, because most of these artists, such as Janet Rutland and Rebecca Ungerman, have their own following.”

Several cabaret performers new to SummerStage this year include jazz singer Pam Van Dyke (Aug. 6), up-and-coming singer/songwriter Jared Tyler and the Murphy-Sullivan Dance Studio (July 7-8).

“We’re excited to have a magician this year; that’s something new for us,” says Elliott. “Adding that to Tulsa Repertory Musicals’ A Year With Frog and Toad (July 1-7) and Youth on Stage’s Babes in Arms (July 14-15) gives us a nice mix of family entertainment.”

SummerStage musicals geared more toward teens and adults include Light Opera Oklahoma’s South Pacific (June 15-July15), The Sorcerer (June 22-July 8), and The Little Barber of Lavapiés (July 5-13); American Theatre Company’s Bat Boy: The Musical (July 21-29); Theatre Tulsa’s Karaoke: The Brand-New Unoriginal Musical (July 22-29); and Grace Ann Productions’ Urinetown (Aug. 4-12).

“LOOK (Light Opera Oklahoma) is a big presence with three large productions and three different cabarets,” Elliott says. “They bring many of their artists from out of town and always put on high quality productions. South Pacific hasn’t been done here in a while and people love that musical!”

“American Theatre Company has a new, surreal, Tim Burton-ish rendition of Bat Boy, which will be fun for new audiences and those who’ve seen it before,” Elliott continues. “Theatre Tulsa’s show, Karaoke, will appeal to American Idol fans. The Doenges Theatre will be turned into a sleazy, motel lounge karaoke contest where the audience gets to vote for the winner. Although the name is a little off-putting, Urinetown won three Tony Awards. It’s a musical comedy about a town where, because of a water shortage, private bathrooms are against the law, and citizens must pay to use corporately owned toilets. It’s very original,” Elliott says.

Plays are also a big part of SummerStage. Heller Theatre tackles actor/comedian Steve Martin’s first full-length play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Aug. 4-12). Only someone as wildly creative as Martin could dream up a scenario where young Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein argue about the art of physics and the physics of art as they try to impress and bed a pretty girl. And then Elvis walks in!

Other plays scheduled are Thunder Road Theatre Company’s Running on Indian Time (Aug. 3-5), ‘Round the Bend Players’ Spoon River Anthology (June 25) and Theatre Pops’ The Crone Chronicles, Tartuffe Born Again (July 21-27) and Tinkerbell is Dead (Aug. 12).

“The ‘Round the Bend Players’ is a group of seasoned actors, and they’ll be doing a reading of Edgar Lee Masters’ collection of autobiographical epitaphs,” Elliott explains. “ The Crone Chronicles is written by local leading lady Lisa Wilson — a reflection back on her years as an actor and a woman. And Tartuffe Born Again is a contemporary spin on the classic French play Tartuffe, which deals with religious hypocrisy.”
World music and dance take the stage with Opa!, A Celebration of International Dance (June 29-July1), Irish Rockin’ and Reelin’(July 15) and A Tour of India (July 2).

“We’re always glad to have community groups that reflect our diversity,” Elliott says. “ Reflejos Flamencos, a family of flamenco musicians and dancers was very popular two years ago and they’re back with an all-new show. The Irish group is an exciting new addition to SummerStage. They’re bringing a band, The Four Fiddlers of the Apocalypse, and their dancers wear elaborate, hand-embroidered costumes.”

One of the most unusual shows, according to Elliott, is A Tour of India, showcasing the different cultures of the various regions of India. “This group’s show sold out last year,” she notes.

Last but not least: comedy. Although many SummerStage shows are sprinkled with humor, there are a few that are pure laughs. Clark Theatre stages the Laughing Matter Improv Youth Show (June 24). And for adults only, Andrew Agee returns with Puppets Gone Wild 3D (Aug. 11).

SummerStage is everything this sunny season should be: laid-back, affordable and a break from the ordinary.
A complete listing of events with dates, show times and more information is available at Purchase tickets at 596-7111 or online at

Updated 06-27-2006

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