Strike up a conversation with any local theater buff in the Tulsa area and the subject matter will steer toward the ultimate hot-button question: Why doesn't Tulsa have an Actor Equity Association Theater? Tulsa Project Theatre (TPT) has bravely answered the question by announcing their first Equity Season in 2012-2013.
"Having an Equity Theatre in Tulsa benefits the community and the Arts by providing opportunity and competitive pay to talented actors. It serves as a recruiting tool, not only for stage talent, but for those in the corporate world who are considering moving to Tulsa," said TPT Executive Producer Todd Cunningham.
Oklahoma City has been the only city in Oklahoma with Equity level productions. Like the BOK Center, having an Equity theater group will further enhance the growing and thriving Tulsa artistic landscape, especially given the growing number of artistic professionals in Tulsa.
"Oklahoma City has two Equity companies, and before today Tulsa didn't have one," Cunningham said. "You'd be surprised how many people look at a city's culture when making a decision on where to relocate."
How did Tulsa Project Theatre pull off such a daunting task, and how does this change the day to day operations of the company?
"In order to obtain our Equity status, we had to comply with the union's standards for the past year," Cunningham said. "Now that we have the affiliation, we basically keep doing what we have been doing."
TPT, fresh from their wildly popular run of the family musical Annie, strives to surround themselves with those who will help make the company thrive and grow.
"The Tulsa Project Theatre Board of Directors is an incredible group of people who are extraordinarily committed to the organization's success," Cunningham said. "The TPT Board grows stronger every day in every area whether it's fundraising, networking, finding better and unique ways to make things work, or just serving as cheerleaders."
While there are no Equity EMC program opportunities for the company this season, which would allow members to earn points toward an Equity card, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.
"We are always in need of volunteers in every area of the organization. Anyone interested in theatre is encouraged to send us an email through our website and we will work to find opportunities to involve them in what we do," Cunningham said.
Morphing Art Thing
PechaKucha: the name might not drip trippingly off the tongue, but the concept is out of this world.
What exactly is PechaKucha? Created from the Japanese term for conversation, or chit-chat, the rapid fire pace of presenting 20 images for 20 seconds is one that creates a precise presentation of ideas in an informal and fun gathering space.
In 2003, young creative types in Tokyo generated the idea to network and show their works in public; this brain child has morphed into a huge celebration with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world.
This is the first year Tulsa has been selected to host such an event, with local participants ranging from Senator Judy Eason McIntyre and Arts and Humanities Council Board President Jean Ann Fausser to Chris Rowe of the Red Neck Ghost Hunters Video Maker Group.
Steve Liggett, artistic director of Living Arts of Tulsa, is thrilled to be hosting the debut of PechaKucha in Tulsa.
"Living Arts, and the vast majority of the world, for that matter, has for 43 years understood that creativity is not always manifested in objects we call 'Art' or events we call 'Performances,'" Liggett said. "And that is what PechaKucha Tulsa is all about -- Showcasing the work of diverse and creative individuals from many different walks of life by Tulsans. ... It's everything from creativity in social services or politics to performance art."
PechaKucha has a random and colorful list of places it has been presented, such as bars, clubs, homes, studios, churches, (disused) prisons, beaches, and even a quarry.
Another local participant, executive director of the Fab Lab, Nathan Pritchett, paints up the experience in warm tones: "Fab Lab Tulsa wants everyone to realize we are all makers, capable of imagining, designing and creating art," he said.
Join the fun at Living Arts July 14 at 8pm. Doors open at 7pm; $5 for adults, $3 for Living Arts members.
A Stitch in Time
One might not put the words "textiles" and "provocative" together, but a trip to the Sherwin Miller Jewish Museum of Tulsa might challenge even the most discriminating art lovers among us to rethink manufactured goods.
The Sherwin Miller Museum houses the largest collection of Judaica in the American Southwest. A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles is an exploration of the ever evolving understanding of Jewish values as created through the eyes of contemporary artists.
One may be surprised to find that this exhibit contains aspects of not only Holocaust, history and ritual, but also of war, prayer, feminism, sexuality and patriotism. One will leave with an expanded and enhanced view of Jewish history, experience and values.
A Stitch in Jewish Time: Provocative Textiles is on display through August 26. The Sherwin Miller Jewish Museum is located at 2021 East 71st Street.
There's been a lot of fun to be had at Summer Stage 2012 at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. If you like entertainment served up with a bit of naughty goodness set to Broadway tunes, Wrong Way Broadway might be just up your alley.
"I wanted to do a show where the actor's got to sing the songs the way they wanted to sing them, not necessarily how they were written," said Director Jeremy Stevens.
The show takes Broadway tunes and presents them in topsy-turvy ways: The ladies sing the men's part, the men sing the ladies part, the band plays the wrong intro, etc. This does, however, beg the question: Are there any special character development techniques for such an undertaking?
Stevens said, "Yes. There are none. Since this is a 'wrong' interpretation, I am more concerned with how the singers are interpreting the songs."
Stevens went on to explain that being a participant of Summer Stage is a great thrill, allowing participants to rub elbows with such a great community of theater lovers and professionals.
Wrong Way Broadway is presented at the LaFortune Studio July 10-12 at 7:30pm, and is for mature audiences only.
Other notable artistic happenings in our great city July 12-18:
Family Art Workshop, A Stitch in Jewish Time
This event is a family-friendly free event to create a bookmark Sunday July 15 from 1-2pm in conjunction with the Provocative Textiles exhibit at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art located at 2021 E. 71st St. Please RSVP by calling 918-492-1818.
The Drunken Artist
Live Art Live Music Fundraiser to Benefit the I AM Festival Friday July 13 from 7-10pm at 1215 E. 20th St.
A night of live entertainment that includes valet parking, live painting, live music, live poetry, wine, champagne, Hors d'oeuvres, deserts, and great company. At 7pm six artists will begin to paint masterpieces inspired by the words "I AM." Tickets are $50 per person and all money raised will help fund the I AM festival which is free to the public. Tickets are available at 918-605-8221 and also available the day of the event.
Summer Zombie Walk
Maybe you like your art live and seeking BRAINS!!! Come join the horrific flash mob Friday, July 13 at 7pm at the historic Cain's ballroom and saunter downtown. Dress to kill in your favorite and gruesome Zombie attire. The event is All Ages and BYOB: Bring Your Own Blood. The after party is an 18+ dance party at the IDL presented by Assimilation: Quarantine.
Second Saturdays at Philbrook
On July 14 drop in anytime between 1030am-4pm for free admission, family friendly art activities, tours, and scavenger hunts for kids of all ages. Philbrook is located at 2727 South Rockford Road.
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