The music and clever wordplay of Cole Porter might just be wasted on kids (maybe not), but that's not stopping Clark Theatre from opening its 2013-14 season with Anything Goes, perhaps Porter's most popular musical.
"The kids do one musical per year, and they also do one Shakespeare," said Julie Tattershall, who works with both the adult actors associated with Heller Theatre as well as the kids who participate in Clark Youth Theatre. "With the youth, we have five shows in a season, and one has to be a Shakespeare, and one has to be a musical so they're exposed to both genres."
Anything Goes is as good a musical as any to expose the young actors to, what with Porter's witty wordplay and timeless melodies. But there are also messages in the show that Tattershall feels are valuable for kids to hear and digest.
"It's a pretty dark musical," she said of the show, what with its cast of characters including a nightclub singer and a gangster named Moonface Martin aboard a cruise ship. "It's kind of into antiheroes. There's a statement in the middle of the show that seems to me to be kind of the theme of the play."
Toward the end of act one, protagonist Billy Crocker is mistaken for a wanted fugitive, at which point, the ship's captain acknowledges Billy's celebrity.
"So Billy basically says, 'If I'm just a stowaway, you throw me in jail, but if I'm a famous murderer, you roll out the red carpet?'" Tattershall said. "It's not that dark. It's making fun, but while you're making fun of this, let's remind each other that our focus is probably off a little bit."
She then brought up the show's musical director, Joyce Shanks.
"She's been here 20 or 25 years," she said. "She knows the kids and loves them. She's very encouraging, and she's like everyone's grandmother. And she's very professional. She pushes them and doesn't let them phone it in."
And yet, Tattershall's tone seems to say, no one has ever heard of her outside of the Clark casts.
"We've had many discussion with this cast about what our focus is, which is usually the negative, and not the heroes who are really doing good in the world," she said. "Take Joyce -- she's influenced thousands kids through her work, and we should know her name more than a football hero. There's nothing wrong with football heroes, but I think America's priorities are skewed."
While Clark Youth Theatre has "Youth" in the title, Tattershall mentioned that this particular cast is especially young.
"The oldest is 18, and the youngest is eight. She's playing an old woman," she said.
The wide range of ages was a result of a large number of kids showing up to try out for the show.
"We had 33 kids audition. I just decided that if they were willing to do the time with me, then cast them all and see what happens," she said.
That's not quite how it works, usually, especially when Tattershall is working the adults on the Heller side of things. But she likes that.
Anything Goes opens Oct. 11 at the Henthorne Performing Arts Center, 4825 S. Quaker Ave., and runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm through Oct. 20. Tickets are $10 and available at the door.
Oklahoma Dance Film Festival
Last week, Living Arts of Tulsa had on display an installation of dance films, some of which were actually interactive. It was part of the Oklahoma Dance Film Festival that continues this week, and while interactive film seems pretty cool, the more traditional element of watching a movie comes to the festival this week
Made possible by support from the Oklahoma Arts Council, Bell House Arts, Living Arts, Circle Cinema and the University of Tulsa, the series of documentaries and shorts come from all over the world and cover a variety of subjects in the dance world, according to festival director Jessica Vokoun. "We received over 100 submissions this year," she said. "They're fantastic. We're going to be showing about 25-30 films from artists all over the world."
The festival continues Wednesday, Oct. 9 at TU's Tyrrell Hall, 2930 E. 6th St., with Prima, a documentary with a Tulsa connection.
"It's about Larissa Ponomarenko, who was the prima ballerina for the Boston ballet for years," Vokouon said. "She was a guest artist with Tulsa Ballet in the 1990s."
Thursday evening brings Carmen G. is... a Girl from Mexico about Carmen Gutierrez, who was the first Mexican dancer to dance on Broadway.
Admission to both films is $5 at the door.
Finally, Saturday, Oct. 12, brings perhaps the flagship event of the film festival -- the shorts program at Circle Theater, 12 S. Lewis Ave. With a total of 20 short films starting at 11am. And while the Oklahoma Dance Film Festival hasn't been around a long time, it sticks to its roots, which are present in the shorts presentation.
"That's really how the festival got started was through this experimental form of short dance films," Vokoun said. "It's the merging of dance and video art."
The short films will be shown in three groups -- one at 11am, one at noon, and one at 2pm. Each screening is $5, or a day pass is available for $10.
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Momentum Tulsa 2013
This week, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition opens its latest Momentum show, an exhibition aimed at featuring the best of Oklahoma's young artistic talent.
Momentum Tulsa 2013 will feature three artists, recipients of $2,000 commissions to create artwork, including a piece examining the life cycle that occurs on the floor of forests, a look at means to be "state of the art," and an investigation of social environments. The show opens Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8pm at Living Arts of Tulsa at 307 E. Brady and will remain on display through October 24.
Tickets to the opening are $7 in advance through momentumoklahoma.org or $10 at the door.
Autumn Winds, presented by Tulsa Camerata
Hot on the heels of the terrific visit and series of concerts by the world-renowned Brooklyn Rider string quartet, Tulsa Camerata opens its fourth season of chamber music this week with Autumn Winds, a concert featuring the music of Mozart and a Dvoaks piece which very few people have ever heard performed live.
Tulsa Camerata returns from its off-season, performing in the Patti Johnson Wilson Hall at the Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Rd. at 7pm on Thursday, Oct. 10.
Tickets are $20 with discounts for seniors and students and are available at the door or online at tulsacamerata.org.
The Veranda Party, presented by Tulsa Project Theatre
Tulsa Project Theatre holds a fundraiser this weekend as it prepares for its next Equity production. So named because it's held on what TPT calls "the Veranda between aloft Hotel and Cox Business Center," the party will offer food and drink from many different downtown restaurants, not to mention live performances by TPT actors. There's a wine-tasting game and a really big silent auction as TPT ramps up for its 2013-2014 season, kicking things off later this month with Deathtrap. The Veranda Party will be held Saturday, Oct. 12 at 8pm. Tickets are a recommended donation of $50 through tulsaprojecttheatre.com.
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