By NANCY HERMANN
GRIDIRON: The Tulsa Gridiron Educational and Charitable Trust returns to the PAC Jan. 25 – 26 with Vision Trouble, or Help, We’ve Fallen Off the Fiscal Cliff and We Can’t Get Up
Dec. 31 is the end of the year for most people, but at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, we are just hitting our stride. It is mid-year for us, having launched our performance season in September. If you’re contemplating “a long winter’s nap” after the holidays, you might want to check out our January shows.
Theatre Tulsa returns to our lineup with the heart-tugging Tuesdays With Morrie. Journalist Mitch Albom is best known for the memoir he wrote about his weekly visits to his beloved professor, Morrie Schwartz, who was succumbing to (Lou Gehrig’s disease]. Albom wanted to sell enough copies of Tuesdays With Morrie so he could help with Schwartz’s medical bills. The book far exceeded anyone’s expectations, with 205 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and more than 14 million copies in print. A movie, based on the book, was the most watched TV movie of 1999, and the play is said to be more powerful yet.
Albom writes with humor and heart, and Theatre Tulsa has entrusted the most excellent Tom Berenson and Freddie Tate with his tender story. Don’t go to this show thinking that you will leave sad. It’s more likely you’ll be uplifted through sharing the beautiful intimacy of a friendship. It’s a short run — three performances only, Jan. 10-13!
I was thrilled to interview actor/singer Constantine Maroulis recently in anticipation of his upcoming Jekyll & Hyde gig at the . If you watched American Idol during Season Four when Carrie Underwood beat rocker Bo Bice in the final, you will recall that Constantine’s elimination was the shocker of that season. American Idol, though it launched Constantine’s career, was not his singing debut. He’s been a performer for most of his life, having graduated from the prestigious Boston Conservatory and toured as “Roger” in Broadway’s Rent. Since leaving Idol, he was nominated for a Tony for his lead role in Rock of Ages, and has been involved in several other theatre projects, including the revival of Frank Wildhorn’s Jekyll & Hyde, which is headed for Broadway in the spring.
If you saw Broadway’s Chuck Wagner knock dead the Jekyll/Hyde role when he was here with the show, you may think that you have heard the definitive “This Is The Moment.” Jekyll & Hyde composer Frank Wildhorn “reframed” the musical to showcase Constantine and co-star Deborah Cox’s voices. Wildhorn plays up Constantine’s fabulous tenor range and gives it a rock-music edge. Cox, Canada’s most well-known R&B star, who sang the Aida title role on Broadway, will be a revelation as “Lucy.” And then there is Teal Wicks, who plays Henry Jekyll’s lovely fiancé. She performed the part of Wicked’s Elphaba in San Francsico and L.A. This trio of powerful singers and this sexy show are going to burn a hole in the Chapman Music Hall roof. Jekyll & Hyde, presented by Celebrity Attractions, plays Jan. 22-27.
The Tulsa Gridiron Educational and Charitable Trust goes over the cliff again with a hilarious program of song parodies. How many comedy-ripe topics will be tackled by spoof-central this year? Kick back for a night of laughs. Vision Trouble, or Help, We’ve Fallen Off the Fiscal Cliff and We Can’t Get Up plays Jan. 25-26.
The Trust wraps January with two cool events. On Jan. 26 guitarist Frank Vignola performs a one-man show. If you enjoy guitar, you will want to look into this artist. Les Paul named Vignola on his “Five Most Admired Guitarists” list for the Wall Street Journal.
Rock the Presidents, Jan. 25-26, captures the history and personalities of 44 American presidents through a rock vernacular. ChildsPlay, out of Tempe, Ariz., stages this musical revue, complete with snappy choreography and multi-media. All ages will enjoy this show, especially those age seven and older.
Steven Spielberg rocked a president recently in the phenomenal movie Lincoln, which I hope stokes interest in American history and, locally, for the Rock the Presidents show. Since you are no doubt planning to include more trips to the in your list of New Year’s resolutions, here’s a snippet of advice from Honest Abe himself that could help you accomplish all of your goals for 2013: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”
Wishing you a successful and happy new year!
Nancy Hermann is Director of Marketing at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.