American community theatre has been around since the early days of our country. Through wars, depressions, and surpluses, we have relied on local theatrics to tell us entertaining stories and keep our hearts afloat.
Our own Theatre Tulsa, in fact, is said to be the oldest surviving community theater in the Midwest, making it the seventh oldest in the country. Our city has supported it since 1922. We've supported it through the Great Depression, and through fires and wars. There's something very necessary, very human, to what local performances have to share.
Community theatre has trained our favorite talents, introduced us to our neighbors, offered us morals and metaphors, and showcased local craftsmen. It's as much a part of our culture and history as it could possibly be, and to support it is to support a good thing.
This January, make community theatre, local performers, and talented visitors part of your new year's resolution.
Jan. 11-16--Celebrity Attractions presents Burn the Floor, a Latin and ballroom dance show that takes the audience through multiple eras and styles of dance, from the Charleston to the Cha-Cha. Audiences should come for traditional dancing with a sexy edge! Burn the Floor will be performed Jan. 11-13 at 7:30 pm; Jan. 14-15 at 8 pm; Jan. 15-16 at 2 pm; Jan. 16 at 7 pm in the Chapman Music Hall of Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $16-$51. For tickets and info, go to tulsapac.com.
Jan. 14-16--Theatre Tulsa performs The Scarlet Letter. Michael Wright directs the local cast, including Brigid Kimery Vance as Hester Prynne, Xavier Sagel as Arthur Dimmesdale, Rick Luttrell as Roger Chillingworth, and Leanna Duncan as Pearl. It's the 17th-century story of a woman who commits adultery, and is therefore forced to wear a scarlet "A" on her clothing. Tickets are $15. The Scarlet Letter will show Jan. 14-15, 20-22 at 7:30pm, and Jan. 16 at 2pm in the John H. Williams Theatre of Tulsa Performing Arts Center. For tickets and info, go to tulsapac.com.
Jan. 26--Will Rogers Heritage, Inc. presents Will Rogers' Romance with Betty and America. It's a one-woman show based on the life of Betty Rogers, wife of Oklahoma legend Will Rogers. Broadway, film, and television actress Lynette Bennett plays Betty Rogers, offering musical glimpses into the life of a woman who inspired her famous and generous husband. No stranger to the stage, Bennett has appeared in the Broadway production of Funny Girl. She was also in the movie The Woman Chaser and has been a guest on several television sitcoms.
Audiences will love the behind-the-scenes story of their favorite Oklahoma cowboy, humanitarian, and movie star. Will Rogers' Romance with Betty and America will be performed Jan. 26 at 7:30pm. For more information, go to tulsapac.com
Jan. 28--Tulsa PAC Trust and American Theatre Arts for Youth brings us Black Journey, a musical production about the evolution of music in African and African-American culture, from Gospel to blues, ragtime, jazz, rock 'n' roll and even rap. It also discusses great strides made in science, education, art and government. Black Journey will show Jan. 28 at 7pm, and is recommended for third grade to adult audience members. Tickets are $8 and are available online. For more information, go to tulsapac.com.
Jan. 28 - Feb. 5--Heller Theatre presents A Delicate Balance, a play about a well-to-do couple, Tobias and Agnes, whose "balance" is threatened when two old friends, Harry and Edna, show up at their house, bringing their emotional challenges with them. The play was awarded the 1967 Pulitzer Prize and the 1996 Drama Desk Award, Best Revival. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Mature audiences only. A Delicate Balance will perform at Heller Theatre, 4825 S. Quaker. For more information, go to hellertheatre.com.
Feb. 4-6--Tulsa Ballet presents The Taming of the Shrew, a comedy based on Shakespeare's classic work. With choreography by John Cranko and a score by Kurt--Heinz Stolze, the ballet tells the story of Katherina and Bianca, two sisters with hopelessly dramatic boy problems. While many would love to marry younger Bianca, her father insists that the older Katherina must be wed first. So the men set out to find someone to marry hot-tempered, insufferable Katerina, so they may begin competing for her younger sister. Taming of the Shrew will be performed Feb. 4-5 at 8pm and Feb. 6 at 3 pm in the Chapman Music Hall of Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available starting Jan. 5. For more information, go to tulsaballet.com or tulsapac.com.
Get some laughs
Looney Bin Comedy Club, 6808 South Memorial, also offers rousing entertainment this winter.
On January 1st, Alex Ortiz will perform his stand-up at 9pm. He has performed at The Apollo, Funny Bones, and The Improv, as well as having opened for numerous famous comedians, including Bernie Mac. Admission is $10.
Jan. 5th through 8th, funnyman Claude Stewart will perform, followed by Tony Tone, Jan. 12-15.
Kristen Key of Last Comic Standing will perform Jan. 19-22. She has performed in the South and Midwest for many years, and has been seen on various television programs and radio shows. Mature audiences only. Tickets are $6-$10.
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