POSTED ON MAY 1, 2013:
Several singing shows, and some foot-stompin'
New York Polyphony
Before we get started, please note that there is so much cool stuff this week that it barely fits in this article. Read all the way to the end, or you're going to miss something badass.
Now: This Saturday, Choregus Productions continues bringing really cool stuff to town. Granted, the a capella sounds from New York Polyphony won't appeal to everyone, as this isn't doo-wop by any stretch. It's music from the middle of the last millennium, which means it's old, old music, along with some new compositions written specifically to fit in with the rest of the group's catalog.
"A lot of stuff that we do has been written for us," said Craig Phillips, who sings bass for the quartet. "It's kind of neo-medieval or neo-Renaissance music. These composers who write for us are informed, and they write music for us that sounds like some of these older pieces."
To be sure, there will be no barbershop quartet sounds, no Billy Joel's "The Longest Time," nothing from the Spinners, Platters, Temptations, Drifters, or Beach Boys. But NYP does what it does exquisitely.
The fact that it's only four guys singing is sometimes hard to believe, as they produce a sound that's richer and more complex than it seems possible for four voices to do. But hearing NYP is to be transported to another time.
In fact, on NYP's studio recording endBeginning (named one of the top 10 classical recordings of 2012 by New Yorker magazine), the quartet performs a setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by obscure 16th-century composer Thomas Crecquillon. How obscure? "I think we're the first group to record it," Phillips said.
For the May 4 show here in town, Phillips said there's the old and the new.
"It's kind of a hybrid of things we've been doing for the past year. The new stuff on it what we've been calling pre- and post-tonal music," Phillips said.
New York Polyphony comes to Cascia Hall's Helmerich Theater at 2600 South Utica on Saturday, May 4 at 8pm. Tickets start at $25 and are available through Choregus by phone at 918-688-6112, and the box office is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm.
Chicks and Ducks and Geese
Co-directed by Ed Durnal and Jeremy Stevens, A Grand Night of Singing celebrates the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein, one of the best-ever musical pairings this side of John and Paul.
American Theatre Company has done a couple of pieces this season that leaned a little toward the heavy side, so Durnal and company hoped to do something a little lighter at this point in the season, especially as the company gears up for its summer Shakespeare production, A Midsummer Night's Dream -- a comedy, but as anyone who's ever been in a Shakespeare show can attest, not a cake walk.
"We generally have been doing one musical every year in addition to A Christmas Carol," Durnal said. "We were looking for a small musical that would have some broad appeal. This is one I'd been thinking of for quite a while. We just thought it was a great idea."
Of course, any mention of Rodgers and Hammerstein brings to mind Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and of course The Sound of Music. But there's so much more to the duo's catalog.
"It has something from every R&H show, so there's going to be a lot of familiar music, and some that's not so familiar," Durnal said. "There are shows that we don't hear too much about."
The cast of five includes ATC newcomer Mitchell Neill, as well as a few ATC mainstays like Heather Richetto-Rumley and Anna Neal.
Playing in the John H. Williams Theatre downstairs at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, the show runs May 3-4 and May 9-11 at 8pm with a May 5 matinee at 2pm. $30 Tickets are available through myticketoffice.com and tulsapac.com, in person at the PAC's 2nd Street box office, or by phone at 918-596-7111.
You Should Be Dancing. Yeah.
There isn't a better ballet company in the United States of America than our very own Tulsa Ballet Theatre. Like, seriously. Literally.
And while TBT does a lot of amazing things, a definite audience favorite is the troupe's trilogies -- one in the fall and one in the spring. Typically offering shorter, newer works, these trilogies often feature world premieres, and this year is no different. In fact, ballet lovers will get three world premieres in Off The Floor: Creations in Studio K, one choreographed by our very own dance god and rising star Ma Cong.
His work in this show, Juxtaposed, features non-classical cello music. It probably doesn't include the music of 2Cellos (those two Croatian dudes who play "Welcome to the Jungle," which has to be the sole reason YouTube was invented, and you should go look it up right this very second), but it will feature music by American cellist Joan Jeanrenaud and England's Gabriel Prokofiev, grandson of that Prokofiev.
Matthew Neenan's The Fullest Recreation -- to the music of Dvorak -- and Nicolo Fonte's Axis Mundi round out the evening.
This trilogy will also feature performances by guest dance companies -- among them Portico Dans Theatre and Tulsa Modern Movement -- each taking the stage 30 minutes before TBT does.
Off the Floor: Creations in Studio K shows May 3-4 and May 8-11 at 7pm, with 2pm matinees on May 4, 11, and 12. For tickets ($38), call (918) 749-6006 or go to www.tulsaballet.org. Studio K is located at 1212 E. 45th Place S.
Cinco de Celebracion.
As we crawl closer and closer to summer, there are many artistic organizations whose seasons are coming to a close. Among them is Tulsa Camerata, a stellar chamber music ensemble that performs its concerts -- as of this season -- at the Philbrook Museum.
For this last show, TC presents ¡Concierto!, a Latin-themed performance that coincides (sort of) with Cinco de Mayo. It features music of composers hailing from Spain and the Americas, perhaps most notably, Hector Villa-Lobos.
In addition to Villa-Lobos' Sixth String Quartet, TC will also perform selections from Carlos Chavez, Astor Piazzolla, and Luigi Boccherini -- an Italian composer, but one who spent most of his musical life in the employ of Spanish mobility. The Piazzolla piece features a double bass soloist, played here by Jesus Villarreal.
Tulsa Camerata presents ¡Concierto! at the Patti Johnson Wilson Hall at the Philbrook Museum of Art. The concert will be at 7:30pm on Thursday, May 2. General admission tickets are $20, with discounts for seniors and students, and are available at the door or via tulsacamerata.org.
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