Head west to fill the lull from SummerStage to fall
SummerStage 2012 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center is sadly coming to an end. The staff at the PAC is enjoying a well-deserved break for most of the month of August, but what are the culture junkies of Tulsa to do with themselves during the down time?
Perhaps a weekend road trip to Oklahoma City to check out their professional theater offerings is just the right amount of short vacation coupled with cultural deliciousness, not to mention much needed escape from the unending maze of Tulsa construction.
The Lyric Theater, located at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City is about two hours west and has two shows coming up that are worth the drive.
Call Me Madame, a classic Irving Berlin musical comedy that tells the story of Oklahoma City native turned international socialite Perle Mesta, is playing July 24-28.
The historical Mesta Park near downtown is named after the star of the show. She married George Mesta, and after he passed away, she took over his business and moved to Washington DC. Her fame came from her fervent campaigning for women's rights while hosting parties for politicians where both sides of the political spectrum were welcome to discuss political news. Nicknamed "the Hostess with the Mostes," Mesta was appointed by President Truman as Minister to Luxembourg, recognizing her abilities as not only a hostess, but also as a savvy diplomat.
Besides featuring shows with Oklahoma-tied themes, The Lyric Theater is a fantastic place to work. Artistic Director Michael Baron gives a glimpse into the razzle dazzle world of professional theater.
"Lyric is a fantastic theater in many ways," Baron said. "The staff is wonderful to work with: friendly, passionate about theater, and highly skilled. The facilities are some of the nicest in the country: a state of the art 279-seat theater in the hip Plaza District neighborhood for more intimate shows and a 2,400-seat modern performing arts center right downtown OKC. The acting and design talent is drawn from the best theater artists America has to offer, both locally and from Broadway and beyond."
Another show the Lyric is producing this summer is Chita Rivera: My Broadway.
"Chita Rivera: My Broadway is an intimate evening of music with two-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera performing songs from her legendary Broadway career," Baron said. "Accompanied by a full orchestra, Ms. Rivera will perform selections from her most celebrated musicals including West Side Story, Chicago and more."
Chita Rivera will be showing off All That Jazz August 7-11. For tickets for either show call 405-524-9312. Lyric show times at the Civic Center within the dates above are as follows: Tuesday - Thursday, 7:30PM; Friday and Saturday, 8PM; Saturday afternoon, 2PM. The Lyric Theater at the Civic Center is located at 201 North Walker Avenue in Oklahoma City. The Lyric is located in the Arts District of Oklahoma City.
Directly north of the Lyric is another great theater company in Oklahoma City: Jewel Box Theatre. Now in its 54th season, the Jewel Box boasts a 3,000 member subscription list. They have also created a National Playwrights competition with a $500 award for the winning script. The Jewel Box also sponsors two young actors each year with a $250 college scholarship.
Aug 23-Sept 16 Jewel Box Theatre will present the musical Cats based on T.S. Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." This exploration of a metaphorical junkyard by larger than life felines contains such beloved songs as "Memory," and "Mr. Mistoffelees." Show times are Thursday-Saturday at 8pm; Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $20 for Adults, $15 for Seniors and Students. Call 405-521-1786 for reservations. The Jewel Box is located at 3700 North Walker Avenue in Oklahoma City.
While one is visiting Oklahoma City and all of its theatrical offerings, why not treat oneself to a dinner out?
If romance is in the air and one wishes to splurge a bit, Castle Falls is definitely a good choice. Located at 820 North MacArthur Boulevard, Castle Falls may be a bit further west than the Arts District, but how many people can say they have eaten in a castle before a performance?
This small, family run dining extravaganza suggests allowing two hours to experience all the culinary delights. Visitors can choose from two settings: The Cellar and the Primrose. The Cellar offers a picturesque setting with European influenced cuisine. The Primrose Dining and Living Room offers a more comprehensive dining selection and relaxed atmosphere. Both rooms contain a full bar selection and require reservations. Prices range from $40-$60 and seating is limited to those ages 13 or older. For reservations call 405-942--6133 or by visiting their reservation page on castlefallsokc.squarespace.com.
For those travelers looking for a bit of a culinary adventure, Café Do Brazil, located at 440 NW 11th Street, in the Midtown District of Oklahoma City, invites visitors to experience the sensuality of Brazilian cooking. Café Do Brazil is open for Sunday brunch, and Lunch and Dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
Café Do Brazil offers a wide range of innovative regional cuisine by owner and Chef Ana Davis. Brunch includes meat pies, salads, vegetarian specialties, rice from various regions of Brazil, and all can be washed down with drinks from the region, such as the Caipi-tini: an exotic combination of Cachaca, coconut rum, passion fruit juice and Chambord. The Lunch and Dinner menu contains some exciting offerings, such as the national dish of Brazil: the Feijoada -- a rich stew of black beans, sausage and pork served with rice, collard greens, farofa and vinaigrette.
The prices are modest and there's the added bonus of live music on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday Brunch.
It is an old theater ritual for actors to visit the nearest lounge or bar after a performance. One might want to wet ones whistle after taking in a show at Urban Wine Works, a stylish wine bar and bistro, located in the Plaza District on NW 16th Street.
Urban Wineworks is a full production winery that offers glasses in the $5-$8 range, bottles run $15-$30 and they also offer merchandise.
Another interesting fact is that one can purchase a chilled bottle of wine on a Sunday at Urban Wine Works to take home and enjoy later, as they fall under different guidelines from others in the wonderfully wacky world of Oklahoma liquor laws. One can also purchase a bottle of wine after 9pm at this establishment.
Something to note when planning a getaway: Urban Wine Works participates in the Live Music in the Plaza nights which are the second Friday of every month from 7-11pm. One could make an entire weekend out of visiting Urban Wine Works on August 10 for the Live Music in the Plaza, located at NW 16 between Classen and Pennsylvania and stay through the weekend to see the Chita Rivera show at the Lyric Theater.
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