Tulsans will have no shortage of theatre to appreciate this summer, thanks to an eight-week theatre festival starting June 13, mounted by the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust. The festival features more than 30 plays, musical performances and other productions that will appeal to a wide range of tastes.
On June 13 and 14 at 8pm, Sweet and Hot Productions presents Backstage at the Midnight Social Club in the Liddy Doenges Theatre. Backstage..., a musical revue, features live music emblematic of the 1930s performed by Cindy Cain, Pam Van Dyke Crosby, Annie Ellicott and Rebecca Ungerman.
Laughing Matter Improv, created by Julie Tattershall and presented by Clark and Heller Theatres, is a one-night-only affair. It shows on June 13 at 8pm in the Charles E. Norman Theatre, and features improvisational comedy and audience participation.
The Pirates of Penzance, the comedic Gilbert & Sullivan operetta and the first show in Light Opera Oklahoma's (LOOK) 2008 season, plays on June 13, 14 and 26 as well as on July 5 at 8pm. There will be two matinees, one on June 22 at 2:30pm and the other on July 12 at 2pm. These performances take place in the John H. Williams Theatre. The show's design experiments with modernization of the classic.
A showcase, courtesy of the Tulsa Area Community Theatre Alliance (TACTA), plays on June 14 at 7:57pm in the Charles E. Norman Theatre. Each local company has ten minutes to provide a taste of its talent. If you haven't had a chance to visit many of the local theatres in town, this should be an excellent opportunity to see what each company has to offer.
On June 15 at 2 pm, Heller Theatre and the Round the Bend Players presents Granny Diva, a comedy about a grandmother who takes acting classes and scores a lead role in a community production. She becomes egotistical about her success and she her family butt heads over her new hobby. This will run in the Charles E. Norman Theatre.
Oh, Coward!, presented by LOOK and produced in the Charles E. Norman Theatre, features many of Noel Coward's songs and vignettes. It runs June 15, 22 & 29 and July 6 at 7:30pm.
Someone Who'll Watch over Me by Frank McGuinness tells the story of three men, an American, an Englishman, and an Irishman. It sounds like the beginning of a joke, but their situation is grave. All three have been taken hostage by extremists in Beirut. During a months-long ordeal in their dark prison, they cling to humor, anger, and to each other in order to survive. Theatre Tulsa presents this play in the Liddy Doenges Theatre on June 20, 21, 26, 27 & 28 at 8pm and on June 22 at 2pm.
Candide, another production in the LOOK's 2008 season, is the festival's most distinguished selection. It was written by Leonard Bernstein and based on a novel by Voltaire.
It is the satirical tale of a young man who endures many hardships, then reconciles his cynicism about human nature with a quiet life at home. It runs in the John H. Williams Theatre on June 20 & 21 and July 3, 8 & 11 at 8pm, on June 29 at 2:30pm, and on July 5 at 2pm.
Theatre Pops presents a double feature: two plays with a similar theme. The first is Love Letters by A.R. Gurney, who also wrote The Dining Room, Sylvia, and Another Antigone. Love Letters was nominated for the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in Drama, and is about two people who write to each other throughout their lives, not realizing that what they've written has been a series of love letters all along. The second play is Hate Mail by Bill Corbett (of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame) and Kira Obolensky. Hate Mail is also an epistolary play, but a much more comical take on the form. These two plays run June 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 8pm and June 22 at 2pm.
Into the Woods, the well-known and -loved musical by Stephen Sondheim, is the third installment in LOOK's season. It is widely considered Sondheim's most successful work, and has a wide appeal. Remember all those jumbled-up fairy tale books we read to our kids, or read ourselves? Sondheim was one of the first to jumble them up, and never have those myths been mixed so magically. It will play in the John H. Williams Theatre June 27 & 28 and July 9, 10 & 12 at 8pm and on July 6 at 2:30 pm.
These productions, all of which open in June, comprise about a third of what Tulsa SummerStage has to offer. Further productions open in July and August. For more information on all these productions, visit tulsapactrust.org/summerstage.php. This webpage provides showtimes, summaries, and links to ticket availability. There is also an email list available for those interested in SummerStage updates.
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