Ask the average Tulsan where she goes to see a theatrical production, and she'll drop The Acronym: The PAC. Clarify with her that you're not just talking about seeing the ballet or a touring production of The Lion King, and she'll again drop The Acronym. She might specify seeing something in one of the spaces downstairs. But Tiffany the Typical Tulsan isn't generally aware of what all is out there.
Enter Tulsa's community theater scene. And not just Tulsa, but the surrounding suburban areas, as well. Green Country boasts some pretty heavy hitters when it comes to local theatre, and chances are, most people haven't heard of them. That is most definitely the case for some folks out in Sapulpa.
Strictly from my very limited childhood exposure to Oklahoma in general and Sand Springs in particular, I associate Sapulpa pretty much exclusively with Sahoma Lanes, where my grandmother took my cousins and me bowling one summer. I don't know why this stuck with me, but it did. Due to this, I had never even dreamed there was an established theater company in what is very obviously a bowling mecca.
Sherry Whisman, an actor, director, and board member for Sapulpa Community Theatre (SCT), boasted that her theater's relative obscurity led to a marketing approach. "Part of our branding is that we're Sapulpa's best-kept secret," And it's a pretty great secret, too.
Housed in a former church, SCT is a company that knows who it is and what it wants. Recently wrapping production on Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys, director Whisman spoke at length about SCT and some of the particular issues facing community theater companies these days, specifically relating to the productions undertaken.
"We occasionally push the envelope, but our audience is older people," she said. "We laughingly call it a sea of blue hair. But they don't want David Mamet. They'd walk out." So knowing what will keep those patrons in their seats is one thing ("Give them Neil Simon and Agatha Christie, and they're happy"), but also important is cultivating new audience members.
"Right now, it's just the one show that's, I don't know, edgy," Whisman said. Granted, it's not every theater company in the world that considers Neil Simon edgy, but hey, it's all in your perception.
"But you know, Sunshine Boys is a really funny show. You know, every show isn't for old people," she said.
SCT actor Curt Bradshaw recently played Al Lewis in Sunshine Boys, and said that Whisman's annual "edgy" show is the result of a balancing act.
"In the past few years, I've seen the theater step out a little and do something avant-garde for awhile, but the theater was starting to lose some of its regular clientele," he said. "I've seen it turn around, though, and we're really putting on great shows. You hear word of mouth even out where I am in Broken Arrow, where people will say, 'Hey, this was a good show.'"
John Clark, one of the company's founding members, reminisced recently about the group's tentative beginnings, including shows produced in empty storefronts, schools, and pretty much any building they could inhabit long enough to go from auditions to closing night. Incidentally, it turns out that putting on a show in a barn or a church or some random building isn't all that unusual in the world of community theater -- more on that later.
At any rate, things improved greatly in 1988, when SCT acquired its current space.
"I went to the banker personally and asked him to finance it," Clark said. "He said, 'I don't think you can make it on ticket sales.'" Probably by making some deal with Satan while playing a violin, Clark somehow convinced the banker that ticket sales and contributions would pay for the loan, though perhaps it was the guaranteeing of the loan from Clark himself and several other local businessmen involved with SCT that persuaded the loan officer rather than a bargain with the Prince of Darkness. They were, after all, buying a church building.
"Two years later, we had it paid off," Clark said. "It's been going ever since." And going pretty strong: SCT opens The Mousetrap in February and follows with productions of Death By Chocolate and The Elephant Man later this year.
Regularly selling at least half of the theater's 90 seats per show, SCT is an intimate space. It should be, considering it's a small church building on a corner in a small Sapulpa neighborhood. And this, according to Whisman, is part of the building's -- and by extension, the company's -- charm.
By "intimate," what is implied is this: a tiny stage. A very few feet between the stage and the front row of seats. Sitting in close proximity to one's neighbors. Theatrical lights in a confined space making for sweaty actors. But none of this registers as a negative. The place is a terrific theater. And it puts the audience closer to the action than just about any other place in (or around) town.
"I always caution the actors that they're going to get talked back to. I did a show once where I had to show my legs, and my line was something about having good legs. Well, a couple of rows back, I heard someone say, 'Well, she does have good legs,'" Whisman said. "And our patrons become our friends, really."
Patrons also visit other companies' shows, sometimes on the opposite side of the city. Like, oh, I don't know, just to name some random spot, Broken Arrow. It turns out, they have a pretty high-falutin' bunch of actor types there, too.
More than three decades ago, a group of theater folks got together and came up with the idea of putting on a show or two. Under the leadership of Robert Plum, the players that made up Broken Arrow Community Playhouse (BACP) performed here and there and anywhere they could -- including a barn (I told you there'd be more barn talk later on in this piece, didn't I?). Eventually, the troupe bought and remodeled a small black box theater, a place they could call home. But it was small.
It wasn't until 1995 when BACP joined forces with the City of Broken Arrow that the company became the powerhouse its patrons know today. According to Teresa Bringle, one of the BACP's board members, that's when The Main Place space became the company's home.
"Our first show was Quilters, and it was performed with temporary seating," she said. A rather inauspicious start, to be sure -- one might scoff at sitting in a folding metal chair for the debut of a company's new space, but BACP is nothing to take lightly these days.
Since then, Bringle said that a normal season for the group consists of six shows -- easily on pace with companies within Tulsa proper (and often the companies thought of as legitimate simply because they play at the PAC). Six shows a year is also no small feat. The uninitiated might think, "What, one play every two months? That's not that big a deal." However, taking into account that there needs to be some time between one show wrapping and another starting its rehearsal run, and that there are sets and costumes to be designed for every show, and an audition process, and the byzantine nature of rights acquisition for shows, and scheduling rehearsals around the real-life schedules of volunteers, and you get a better idea. Even one show a year is hard freaking work.
"We've produced up to ten shows in a season, and as few as four," she said. "In the early years much depended on our grant funding. We still count on Oklahoma State Arts Council funding and The National Endowment for the Arts as well as other local funding," she said. But like any other theatrical undertaking, ticket sales and donations are cornerstones of continued existence. And really, it's the repeat business that keeps a company in business -- see later mention of the need for ticket sales for pretty much every single company profiled here.
"We have just under 300 season ticket holders," Bringle said, and that number grows a bit each year.
Who's buying those seats? According to Bringle, audience makeup is about the same as that of production crews:
"It varies, per show and show size there is always a mix from as far away as Muskogee but around 50/50," she said. Actors from Broken Arrow appear alongside players from Tulsa and the surrounding area, much like Sapulpa's troupe.
And the way BACP gets this wide demographic of actors and audience members alike, at least according to Bringle, is by being open to all.
"We pride ourselves on being an open and friendly place to volunteer," she said. "We welcome seasoned and beginner actors, directors, technicians, house staff and board members."
That all-inclusive vibe has paid off. Having great numbers of potential actors and directors, BACP fielded a cast and crew for its production of The Gin Game that traveled to New York for a competition. The American Association of Community Theatre's AACTFest, held last year in Rochester, N.Y., found BACP competing against the top 12 community theater productions from around the country. While the group didn't win any national awards, it did win state and regional titles, allowing for the trip to New York. Bringle is very proud.
"We received stellar accolades while competing against larger productions and theaters with larger budgets," she said. No small feat, especially considering the barn-related elements of the company's early days.
Still on the horizon this season for BACP is Member of the Wedding next month, and the 2011-2012 season closes with Murder at the Howard Johnson's and Kiss Me Kate.
These aren't exactly R-rated shows, but neither are they kids' fare. Another (relatively) local company is taking that to another level, doing shows squarely aimed at the grownups.
One doesn't often read the word "xenophobic" in the arts section of UTW. But there is a bit of a xenophobic bent to Theater Bartlesville. I know. Just stay with me.
When it comes to casting shows, choosing directors, even finding stagehands, Joanie Elmore, executive director of Theater Bartlesville (TB) looks close to home. Pretty much exclusively.
"We consider ourselves totally local and community in our directions. We don't have any professionals come in. Auditions are open to the entire community," she said. Notice she didn't say anything about being open to just anyone. She specified the "community."
"Sometimes, we pull from Coffeyville or Pawhuska, but we're interested in keeping our theater Bartlesville-oriented," she said. "We are trying to help revive our downtown, and we're trying to make people in this town realize that there's stuff happening here."
There's some civic pride in her voice, as well, when she echoes a sentiment many other theater companies share: "You don't have to go to Tulsa to see something good."
Founded in 1926, TB is in its 88th season. Fast forward to 2000, when a former JC Penney's building was donated to the company. Not to negate the 76 years that came before the company took up residence in the theater in 2002 -- after extensive renovations -- but the new millennium got ushered in with a new era for TB. And it's all been due to the fruits of the labor of the actors, directors, and crew members of TB shows, according to Elmore.
"We don't have any major business backers. We have sponsors for each show, but really, the actors, the people involved are the ones carrying this through," she said.
As for the inner workings of the troupe, it all starts with planning. Since there's no question about the where, all that's left is the what and the when.
"We play to the adult community here. We have Bartlesville Children's Musical Theatre Company, which is probably the best children's company anywhere. So we do play to the adult community," Elmore said. "That doesn't necessarily mean we do R-rated material, but we don't do children's shows. We do some things that are not necessarily G-rated."
But material that is more risqué in nature carries its own risks, specifically the walking of the fine line between doing the occasional bluer show and being known as That Company That Does Those Kinds Of Shows.
"We've done so much of that, that we're looking at something to pull us back a little from that, just because we don't want to be known as the racy theater," Elmore said. "We want to be a theater of culture. We don't want to be church, but we also don't want to alienate some of our more conservative audiences."
To that end, TB patrons can expect at least one theatrical classic next season -- sort of stepping back from that blue edge.
"We're looking at some older shows for next year -- Barefoot in the Park, Harvey, shows like that. We also want to tackle some new shows. Since our constituency is a little older, we've stuck to more conservative shows for some of our upcoming shows," Elmore said. "We have a plan to expand our repertoire and not just be one way or the other. We want to run the gamut a little bit more than just being known for doing one thing."
This puts a point on the whole idea of selecting material, something with which every company deals. A group of actors making up a company is known for what kinds of shows it does. You hear of troupes who do musicals, those that do Shakespeare and nothing else, those who do only original plays, and on and on. Even the companies that don't choose to produce a specific genre have still made a choice, perhaps choosing to be the company that does all sorts of different kinds of shows. But the audience you're playing to -- and, just as importantly, the audience you're trying to get to come see your shows for the first time -- must be considered. Twentysomethings are going to be less likely to show up for Death of a Salesman than they would be for Rent. "Those are ridiculously different shows, and it is folly to consider them in the same sentence," you say? And you did use the word "folly"? Yes, they are. And so are their audiences. Some people won't by tickets to this, no matter what, but they won't miss that, come hell or high water. Again, knowing the audience is important. Quintessential, really.
Then there's the matter of the when. And this elicits something of a history lesson from Elmore.
It seems that Bartlesville is not only a pretty artsy place, it's also a community in the midst of rediscovering itself as it morphs into something very different than it was even a decade ago.
"We were the executive branch for Phillips petroleum for years," Elmore began. As that branch moved to Houston, and then as Phillips and Conoco merged, there was pretty much no oil-related anything in Bartlesville. "When the executive branch left, it opened up this conservative, moneyed community to a younger demographic. Suddenly, we had 20s and 30s moving in, and we all had to change our perspective a lot."
With a great many older residents exiting at the same time, the city was certainly a buyer's market, allowing for members of younger generations to snap up property and begin -- intentionally or not -- changing the face of Bartlesville.
"We now have bars, clubs, and things like that. You can find edgy music, and there's a real arts scene here," Elmore said.
Why that matters, then, is that in scheduling, TB does its best not to interfere with the presentations of other artistic groups in town.
"We do two consecutive weekends -- six shows. Bartlesville is a very arts-oriented community, and it's hard to find dates that don't get tangled up in other arts groups' schedules," she said.
And TB keeps going along, doing its thing. They've got their building, they know their audiences, they've got their dates. All that remains is hard work from willing and able volunteers to execute a good show. Chances to do so this season remain with two productions between now at TB's June dinner theater program: The Cemetery Club and Is There Life After 50? All indications are that these will be solid successes, as has been everything else, according to Elmore.
"There has never been a failure here. Our directors are dedicated," Elmore said. "We entertain Bartlesville."
So B'ville has its joint. Not to be outdone is the thriving metropolis of Claremore. It's no Gotham, but it's got a pretty kick ass facility that you probably don't know anything about.
Jack of All Trades
So it isn't a theater company, but the Robson Performing Arts Center is doing its part to bring culture to its city, and proving over and over that there's more than one PAC.
Ruby Quinn is the executive director of the facility, overseeing everything that goes on in the building.
"We've had people give their go at community theater, and of course the dance recitals, but we're owned and operated by Claremore Public Schools (CPS)," she said.
As a result, CPS plays, choir programs, band concerts -- any kind of school performance -- takes place in this building. That does something wonderful: it gives the kids a chance to perform in a fantastic facility (have you seen this place? It's phenomenal). While many kids do their school plays in the cafetorium, Claremore kids get a facility with professional lighting, and one that was designed solely to showcase what they are doing, not double as a lunchroom when those pesky arts teachers aren't muscling their way into the place.
That kind of need is what inspired the facility in the first place. A Claremore couple, Frank and Ludmila Robson (hence the name), sent their kids through Claremore schools. Like most parents of school-aged children, they sat through a school program or two in their day.
"They had three sons who came through," Quinn said. "They saw that the school system was really hurting for a place to perform. They saw that the stage was crumbling."
While there were probably some pretty hilarious moments in theater as a result of ramshackle school facilities, the real story here is that the Robsons donated upwards of $16 million to build the place, then set up an endowment to pay for upkeep, maintenance, and expenses related to keeping the building going. That was five years ago. Since then, a lot of acts have come through. So many, in fact, that it's often difficult to secure performance dates at the Robson.
"We've had about twelve [local theater] companies in the past five years," Quinn said. But that's not the backbone of what the facility is for. "Mostly, people like to bring in a name. We've actually wanted a community theater but the calendar gets so full so fast. I've wanted to make room in the calendar, so that's something that we'd like to have."
However, education is the main thrust of what Quinn wants to accomplish. Currently, there are no shows scheduled at the Robson during summer months, as that time is laid aside for children's theater and programming. Quinn directs what is essentially theater camp, exposing kids to all sorts of artistic elements they might not otherwise have ever heard of.
Consider: Johnny's dad played shortstop. Johnny's mom was a cheerleader. Johnny's big brother was a catcher. The three of them now run a hardware store. But Johnny throws like a girl and hates the sound of cash registers. Where is he going to find what he needs? Without the sort of arts experience offered by Quinn and the Robson, he'll have a really hard time finding it. And when Johnny is a grown-up, and the older generation of artsy folk has moved to Florida, who, but Johnny and his summer arts camp classmates will take their place?
As for the calendar filling up, it's easy to see: Quinn tries to bring in five shows per season. This past year, one of the shows brought in Asleep at the Wheel, so it's not like Ricky and Johnny from down the road are decidin' ta put on a show. Upcoming shows back that up, including touring productions of Aesop's (Oh So Slightly Updated) Fables and Deer Camp The Musical. Add the school dates, as well as the education part of things, and you've got a facility that's open often.
"We're trying to do a balance between education and the touring shows that come through. I lean toward the education side of it," she said. "If we're bringing something in, what kind of opportunities does that bring in for our local arts kids? Can they work backstage? Things like that."
Quinn spoke at length about long-term plans for the Robson PAC, noting that the facility's relative youth has been guided by a good deal of trial-and-error programming, which makes a lot of sense, as there's really nothing comparable to the space or what's being done there within at least a 15-mile radius.
"We're looking at what the community will enjoy and what can we introduce them to, but we're getting better at that. I want to grow the education programs to be year-round. I want to be able to have our doors open every day," she said. Then she'll see some real scheduling issues.
Then again, there's a group in Owasso who might punch you in the mouth if you complain about scheduling. To whit:
A Place to Call Home
Talk to Kay Neldon about the relatively new Owasso Community Theatre Company (OCTC), and you'll know what determination and resolve sound like.
Since OCTC's inception in 2002, the group has undertaken a large labor of love. Neldon, the president of OCTC's board of governors, paints a picture of actors, directors and techies who just want to put on a show, no matter where, no matter the obstacles, no matter the space (or lack thereof).
Case in point: OCTC's "facility."
"We have to beg permission from either churches or schools to perform, and all of our shows have to be chosen based on the fact that we won't know where we will be performing at the time we choose our scripts," she said. "Owasso Public Schools have been very supportive of us, and once a year, we usually get to perform at the Owasso High School PAC."
That's a far cry from the dedicated spaces some of these other companies have at their disposal, but Neldon isn't complaining. In fact, she and the rest of the company have made lemonade at every turn.
"The Owasso High School thing, that's a reciprocal deal, because we store flats and set pieces and things there, and they get to use them," she said. "In return, we get to use the stage at least once a year. There are so many people and organizations that need to use that space, so we only do one show a year there."
Hardscrabble times call for hardscrabble, you-help-me-I'll-help-you kinds of deals. Those same sorts of times make for the kinds of hardships that tend to yield unexpected bright spots, Neldon said.
"We rehearse where ever we can. There's nothing routine, and nothing that can get stale because it's created from scratch every time," she said.
But the game of theatrical chairs has its downside, though it's not anything insurmountable. Neldon said that since the group essentially borrows space, they must eschew much of anything approaching controversy.
"We choose our scripts to be very easily-recognizable, very family friendly, very middle of the road," she said.
Understandable, considering the group's need to sell tickets in order to continue building itself. Also, an artistic director can't really choose a play about gay teens and their suicide pact if the show is scheduled to go up at the local church sanctuary. "We're not the theater for the experimental scripts," she said.
And the remainder of this season bears that out: The Secret Garden goes up in April and is followed by The Mousetrap. There is nothing wrong with either of those shows, to be sure, but there aren't likely to be any picketers or letters to the editor over either one of them.
That's not to say that riskier fare isn't in OCTC's future. Neldon expressed interest in pushing envelopes, but recognizes that there is a time and place for theatrical daring, and the here and now isn't it.
"We definitely want to be able to do things that are more experimental, and maybe deal with social issues, but that's going to have to wait until we have our own space and more control over our own issues," she said.
That time will come soon, Neldon hopes.
"It's definitely a work in progress. We've looked at spaces, but even rental assumes that you have a monthly income. It's in the future," she said, "but I wouldn't say 'immediate.'"
And here's a major rub of theater in general: when something isn't in the immediate future, that something may need to be completely reimagined, if not dropped altogether. The young buck with every intention of playing Stanley when his company produces Streetcar will eventually be too old to pull it off. If "immediate" doesn't materialize in a decade or so, Stanley will be need to be played (if believability is important) by someone else. Again, a company realistically looks at four to six titles per season. That's 40 to 60 starring roles in a decade -- about the time it takes for a young hunk to move from leading man to playing "young dad" roles, then into father roles, and before he knows it, he's playing Norman Thayer. And it's even less time for female actors. It's sexist, and it sucks for them, but it's true.
So this man and this woman, who spearheaded the whole hypothetical company, are relegated -- solely by age -- to different kinds of roles than they had imagined, but only after the theater company they started and cultivated now has its own building. It's kind of like being a parent, the only job you don't know how to do until you're finished doing it.
At any rate, when OCTC reaches that future of which Neldon spoke, the groups will be able to deal in season tickets and to cultivate a larger involvement in the education aspect of theater, something in which OCTC wants to expand.
"Because we're always having to stand in line for a space, we don't know what stage we'll be on a year from now, so we haven't tried to do season ticket holders, but we offer pre-show discounts," Neldon said. "In between our shows, we offer acting workshops, and those might be for different age ranges -- young actors or high school."
Typically taught once a week, OCTC's classes usually run in three or four sessions over the course of a year.
It turns out that OCTC is one of the area's lesser-known companies, but that's not due to poor execution or shoddy leadership. It's just a product of being a newer kid on the local block. As a result, it remains one of the more truly community-oriented troupes around. They're not as focused on locals as they are up in the Berg of Bartle, but it's still mostly Owasso-ites. Owassoans? Owassans?
"I'd say maybe as much as 75 percent of our actors come from Owasso," Neldon said. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Rather, it's just further evidence of youth. The older the company, it would seem, the larger talent pool it has from which to choose. But given time and continued success, OCTC's name will spread, and more and more actors and production staff members will come from farther and farther away.
But none of this is anything for which Neldon apologizes, nor does she need to. In fact, true to the company's form, she sees the glass as half-full:
"As community theaters go, we're young, but we're energetic, too."
That energy is shared with another company close by, one that wanders the earth looking for a home, and one that must embrace a guerilla theater mentality (provided said guerillas can't afford to stir up any controversy).
Playing with Page
If you've ever spent any time in Sand Springs, chances are you've heard the name of Charles Page. That guy is, like, everywhere there. So it stands to reason that Sand Springs Community Theatre (SSCT) would call themselves the Page Players.
The troupe has a few things in common with the Owasso actors. Specifically, the whole nomadic vibe.
"We are currently without a space, which is challenging. We are trying to choose shows that are easily accommodated in available spaces," said Andrea Campfield, who founded the company and currently serves as artistic director.
Choosing titles pragmatically has paid off, as Campfield cites the group's next production, Smoke on the Mountain.
"The plan is to perform the show in local churches, as that is the setting for the play," she said.
Beyond that, longer-range plans are in the works.
"We have plans to submit a competition piece in this summer's Octafest," she said, but the main goal for the company remains the same as when it was started in 2007, and that is to bring people together. Well, and maybe secure a dedicated space. And funding. Like a grant or something.
"We try to do a variety of plays and performance pieces that include all ages of people, levels of talent, and modes of performance. We have done original pieces, storytelling, musical theater, children's plays, showcase pieces," Campfield said.
All in all, nearly 20 shows have gone up since SSCT's inception, including a children's theater workshop.
Rehearse, Then Dress
What's next? you ask. What's up-and-coming? you ponder.
Well, funny you should ask. There is yet another performing arts center out there, this one in Broken Arrow.
There seems to be the potential of Broken Arrow creating its own version of Tulsa's Brady Arts district and having it spring up around this facility. That could only improve things for the already well-off (culturally speaking) suburb and its artists, musicians, and other artsy folk. That potential is embodied in several aspects of the building.
First, its management is top-notch. Tulsa theater guru and veteran Scott Heberling (he of Heller Theatre, Theatre Tulsa, Theatre North, and a whole bunch of other theatrical groups) serves as the building's technical director, while the executive director slot is filled by Oklahoma native Mark Frie, whose resume includes the words "Carnegie" and "Hall," not to mention performances at Radio City Music Hall, and a stint as artistic coordinator of the Turtle Creek Chorale, a world-renown men's chorus based out of Dallas.
Second, its events listings are diverse, but it also serves the community. "We have school performances here and we also have performances that are outside the school district and the executive director (Frie) is the one that makes those decisions. We also rent out our facility...it depends on what we can accommodate at the time," said Whitney Rose, Assistant to the Executive Director.
So far, the venue has on its docket several Broken Arrow school performances -- a la the Robson -- not to mention a performance this month by a touring Elvis impersonator, drum-and-bugle spectacle Blast in February, and a touring production of the 2008 Grammy- and Tony-award winning show In the Heights. That's a lot of variety, and might just be the kind that helps to propel a Broken Arrow arts district to the forefront of the minds of Green Country residents.
Where are there needs to be filled? you muse. Why isn't my suburban villa mentioned here? you demand.
There are, indeed, some proper nouns missing. There is, for instance, no community theater program in Jenks. And the same goes for Bixby. Now, it's not like there's nothing artistic in either place, but there is definitely room for growth. Jenks Public Schools are pretty much the sole source of all things theatrical in those parts, and Bixby has its high school and the SpiritBank Event Center.
As for Jenks, its Main Street is quaint and fun, but there isn't really an arts district in town. Perhaps the identity of the municipality is tied up in the aquarium -- which is not to imply that's a bad thing -- to delve into adding a full-fledged arts scene to the town's identity. And perhaps having Tulsa and Sapulpa and Sand Springs so close by precludes the need for another community theater company. There isn't any right answer. And similar questions reside across town.
Bixby's SpiritBank Event Center, while it does occasionally bring in an outside performing group, seems to be skewing more toward sporting events and exhibitions. Case in point is the list of what's coming up in the next several weeks: Tulsa World Gymnastics Invitational, Rockstar Championship Cheerleading Competition, the MidSouth Tackle and Hunting Show, and a handbell festival. So handbells are musical, but not incredibly well-known as an artistic endeavor, and that's just one event.
There is some indication that Bixby Schools' next bond issue will include funding for its own performing arts center. Great news for the kids, and possibly great news for the community, especially if the facility were to follow the Robson model and make it available to the community as a whole, but even so, that's at least five years away from completion, and that's a conservative estimate.
For now, Jenks and Bixby residents will either continue to look toward Tulsa and other areas for their artistic indulgences, or grab some friends and start something on their own.
So come on, Bixbians and Jenksians. Start a company. Hang some art somewhere. Start a film festival. You'll be cool. Your mom will never know.
The world of community theater has many heads, many more incarnations, and faces all manner of difficulty. While none of these companies are identical, and some bear little to no resemblance to the others, they all share these things: a passion for the performing arts, the drive to stay alive and kicking, and the need to put butts in seats.
Take your own butt out of its comfortable PAC seat at least once this year. Take it to one of these joints. You won't be sorry. You might have what my mother-in-law refers to as "an experience," but you won't be sorry.
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