Tulsa PAC 2015-16 Season Launches with ‘Spamalot’
Show Buzz by NANCY HERMANN
TONY AWARD WINNER: Theatre Pops presents Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” a riotous comedy about the quest for the Holy Grail Aug. 7-23.
Courtesy Tulsa PAC
Planning and publicity for the new season is well underway in August at the Tulsa . I count 89 booked shows, with many having multiple performances. That does not include SummerStage, which is sorted out at a later time, and other shows that will be added as the season progresses. The consistently hosts over 500 events each season, and this year will be no exception.
We’ll preview some of those this month, but first let’s buzz about the Aug. 7-23 show that kicks off the 2015-16 performance season: Theatre Pops’ “Spamalot.” As you may know, Theatre Pops took home the top (Tulsa Awards for Theatre Excellence) prize this year for its wonderful January 2015 production of “August: Osage County.” Originating in 1989, Theatre Pops has stood for quality, intelligent theatre, and the company’s executive director, the talented Meghan Hurley, has led that quest over the past year.
A three-time Tony Award winner in 2005, including the Best Musical honor, “Monty Python’s Spamalot” is a riotous comedy about the quest for the Holy Grail. Music and lyrics are the work of Grammy Award winners Eric Idle and John DuPrez, who penned such hilarious tunes as “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.” Jana Ellis directs this first locally produced version of the Broadway hit, with musical direction by Catherine Ratliff.
Theatre Pops will add to the fun through cameo appearances by local celebrities, and also is partnering with local restaurants and bars that will feature “Spamalot”-themed special plates and grog. Theatre Pops continues its season in October with Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This,” and a play by Christopher Durang in April.
There are so many great choices to highlight from the season’s remaining 88 events. Tulsa Symphony celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, so watch for outstanding concerts from and new Principal Guest Conductor Daniel Hege. Included in their lineup is a new Pops series.
Among Tulsa Ballet’s offerings are two Shakespeare works; “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Romeo and Juliet.” Also, we’ll have a chance to see the program, “Masters of Dance,” that the Ballet will take to Italy immediately after its March performances at the .
The Trust brings back popular Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel in November and also presents “The Book of Mormon” that month. The Trust continues its children’s series and is expanding the free noontime Brown Bag It Series to eight concerts.
Tulsa Opera has dubbed its season “Women on the Verge,” which includes Puccini’s “La bohéme;” an opera composed by Andre Previn, “A Streetcar Named Desire;” and Camille Saint-Saens’ “Samson and Delilah.”
In its 81st season, Tulsa Town Hall welcomes writer Sue Monk Kidd, political strategist and commentator James Carville, Oklahoma’s David L. Boren, Maestro Benjamin Zander and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The entire series is bargain-priced at $75.
I don’t know which Celebrity Attractions show is the most anticipated, but I suspect it is “Kinky Boots.” I’m also looking forward to the Rodgers and Hammerstein version of “Cinderella” that I loved so much when I was a young girl. Also on Celebrity’s roster is “A Christmas Story: The Musical” and return engagements of “Jersey Boys” and “42nd Street.” Expect add-on shows from Celebrity. “The Illusionists,” a magic show in September, is going to be awesome.
Chamber Music Tulsa hosts six outstanding groups: the Grammy-winning Pacifica Quartet; the return of the charming Italians, Quartetto di Cremona; Weiss Kaplan Stumpf Trio; the celebrated Fauré Piano Quartet; the Jerusalem Quartet; and the Dalí Quartet with principal clarinetist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Ricardo Morales. Season tickets for six Sunday afternoon concerts are $110.
Choregus Productions has an invigorating season with Parsons Dance opening the series in September and Alonzo King LINES Ballet closing out that month. The superb Time for Three string trio is back, and Yaron Kohlbert and Bishara Haroni, pianists from Israel and Palestine (respectively), also perform. Dance lovers will want to get tickets for Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Chang Mu Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion.
When I am perusing season brochures from venues like the Kennedy Center, I often see groups that Choregus presents in our featured at those theaters. We are fortunate in Tulsa to have the opportunity to see not only excellent local dance, but also dance companies from around the world. Thank you, Choregus! I learn something about dance and become intellectually engaged every time I attend.
There are so many theatre offerings, I couldn’t begin to list them all, but look for “The Great Gatsby,” “A Chorus Line,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” and more from Theatre Tulsa. Included in Tulsa Project Theatre’s season are “Rent,” “Billy Elliot” and “Shrek.” In American Theatre Company’s lineup are “Waiting for Godot” and “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story.” Playhouse Tulsa will present “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Steel Magnolias;” and Theatre North will stage “Woman from the Town.”
Other shows that are not series offerings include Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, Oct. 2, and an interactive evening with foodie Alton Brown, May 10.
Pick up a season brochure in the racks, or contact me at the , and I’ll pop one in the mail for you. We hope to see you often at Tulsa’s home to the arts.
Nancy Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.