Tulsa Performing Arts Center Marks 40th Year 2

Welcome to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s 40th Anniversary Season! The year ahead is shaping up to provide a record number of events, and also offers an exceptional selection of arts and entertainment for every taste and age group.

Here are a few highlights.

On September 10 Tulsa Symphony stages an anniversary concert of is own by hosting one of the most celebrated violinists in the world, Joshua Bell.  This classical music concert will be a benchmark for years to come. The Symphony’s Pops series includes a showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark, November 5, with the Symphony performing John Williams’ epic score. The Symphony also plays a holiday concert in December, a Route 66 tribute concert in March and much more over the season from the classical repertoire.

If you like big names, I hope you have season tickets to Tulsa Town Hall this year.  The 2,365-seat Chapman Music Hall is sold out for this five-speaker series, and leading off Town Hall’s 82nd season is news journalist Soledad O’Brien, September 23.

Celebrity Attractions’ Broadway main series boasts one hit show after another, none of which has played in Tulsa before. Disney’s Newsies is front-page worthy in September, followed by a family holiday treat, Elf the Musical, in November. Tune up your jive with Motown the Musical in March and Dirty Dancing, based on the film, in April. The hilarious hit Something Rotten continues the series in May, and Matilda The Musical plays in late June. One season add-on show slated for the year is the sweetly romantic Once, returning September 27-28.

Dance reigns supreme at the PAC, as always, with Tulsa Ballet classics and Choregus Productions contemporary dance. Onegin (October 28-30) choreographed by John Cranko, is a story of unrequited love, set in Russia. Tulsa Ballet’s The Nutcracker reappears in December, plus a new work by Edwaard Liang commissioned by Tulsa Ballet, Dorothy & The Prince of Oz, has its world premiere in February. Marcello Angelini’s breathtakingly beautiful Swan Lake can be revisited in the spring.  An added bonus to Tulsa Ballet main series performances is live accompaniment by the Tulsa Symphony.

Choregus Productions goes global to book dance troupes never seen before locally. Brazil’s Grupo Corpo makes a Tulsa stop September 25. Black Grace from New Zealand performs April 1, followed by Argentina’s Che Malambo, April 18.

Additionally, Choregus presents two celebrated singers, Broadway’s Tony Award Winner Kelli O’Hara in November, and the golden-voiced Nathan Gunn, January 22.

Tulsa Opera’s season opens with the luscious music of Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, October 21 and 23. “Puccini to Pop” is a one-night only program featuring opera’s alluring Alyson Cambridge, mega-star Leona Mitchell and “barihunk” Michael Todd Simpson, February 25. Then, my very favorite opera of all time, Verdi’s Tosca, returns to Chapman Music Hall in May. Next summer, Tulsa Opera stages an American premiere of the family-friendly opera The Snow Queen, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story.

Have you experienced chamber music? There’s this awesome organization in Tulsa, Chamber Music Tulsa, that forges an incredible season of chamber music standout performances each year. Featured musicians are often young, stellar and dynamic, infusing their programs with energy. Six ensembles are scheduled for 2016-17, beginning with the Dover Quarter, September 11. For the upcoming season, pay special attention to Miró Quartet’s “Beethoven Winter Festival” performances of the complete Beethoven string quartets, February 17-26.

Our numerous theatre groups, Theatre Tulsa, American Theatre Company, Theatre Pops, Tulsa Project Theatre and Theatre North, each produce a roster of engaging shows at the PAC.  They are worthy of a discussion devoted solely to what they bring to our Second Street theaters. You also will want to check out the PAC Trust’s Imagination Series that hosts touring children’s theater companies throughout the year and the Trust’s free noontime Brown Bag It series, held the first Wednesday of every month.

Other upcoming headline acts to note are trumpeter Chris Botti, Daniel Tiger Live! and the Performing Arts Center Trust’s 40th Anniversary special guest, jazz singer Jane Monheit, who recently released a CD of Ella Fitzgerald songs. Ella and the Tulsa Philharmonic opened the PAC in 1977. On March 12, Jane sings with Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Nicholas Payton, her own combo and the Tulsa Symphony.

Check out the season in detail at TulsaPAC.com, or call for a season brochure. Help the PAC celebrate four decades. We’re saving you a seat!