News Column

Arts roundup: Spotlight Theater 60th anniversary, Gallim Dance, Vienna Piano Trio and more

November 10, 2013


Nov. 10--Most of the big cultural things this week -- the touring production of "White Christmas," Tony Kushner speaking at the University of Tulsa, Natalie Merchant performing with the Tulsa Symphony -- are dealt with elsewhere in this issue.

So let us turn our attention to elements of local art and culture that might appeal to a more intimate audience.


This week, Tulsans have the unique opportunity to experience the two longest-running plays in the English-speaking theater.

One is Tulsa's own "The Drunkard," which this month celebrates its 60th year, making it the longest continuously running show in America.

The Tulsa Spotlighters, the all-volunteer group responsible for the show that plays every Saturday at the Spotlight Theater, 1381 Riverside Drive, will host a black-tie gala to mark the show's 60th anniversary. The event will be 5:30 p.m. Friday at the theater. Admission is a suggested donation of $25 per person for an evening of entertainment and history. To reserve seats, call 918-587-5030.

The regular performance of "The Drunkard," an old-fashioned melodrama about the evils of alcohol, will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the theater. Each evening also includes "The Olio," a short variety show by local performers, a singalong and the show. Refreshments are available. Reservations are a good idea and can be made by calling the number above.

The other is "The Mousetrap," the Agatha Christie murder mystery that opened in London in 1952 and has been running there ever since.

The Tulsa Community College Theatre Department is staging this tale of the owners and guests of an English guest house, cut off from the rest of the world by a snowstorm, who learn there is a killer in their midst.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the VanTrease PACE, 10300 E. 81st St. Tickets: 918-595-7777,

You can indulge in quite a Wilde Sunday, thanks to Theatre Tulsa. The company's reimagining of Oscar Wilde's most famous play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," will be presented at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St. This production is one of Theatre Tulsa's submissions for the Tulsa Awards for Theatre Excellence.

Then, Tulsa native Clayton Hodges, who conceived of and directed this production that blends Wilde's story with a steampunk sensibility, will perform his dramatic adaptation of Wilde's "The Critic as Artist," 7 p.m. Sunday at the Tulsa PAC. The piece -- Wilde's treatise on the necessity of artistic reinvention -- is a kind of Socratic dialogue between Hodges and fellow actor Stuart Ritter. For tickets to either or both: 918-596-7111,

For those who've already seen the play and want their Sunday evening free, Hodges and Ritter will also perform "The Critic as Artist" at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Philbrook Museum of Art, 2727 S. Rockford Road. The performance at Philbrook is free with museum admission.

Moliere's high comedy, "The Misanthrope," is brought to Earth in David Ives' "The School for Lies," which Heller Theatre is presenting through Nov. 17.

Will Carpenter plays Frank, whose contempt for most of the people around him -- people who will gladly betray their deepest principles in order to maintain something as frivolous as a romance -- gets up-ended when he meets a woman, Celimene, played by Sara Wilemon. And a great deal of rhymed-couplet verbal hilarity ensues.

Tuesday's performance is the traditional "Pay What You Can" day at Heller. All shows are at 7:30 p.m., except for the Nov. 17 matinee, which starts at 2 p.m. To reserve tickets: 918-745-5065.


Gallim Dance is the vehicle for Andrea Miller's often-startling, inventive choreography. And for the company's Tulsa debut, courtesy of Choregus Productions, it will present one of Miller's most acclaimed works, "Blush."

The idea behind "Blush" takes what is perhaps the most elusive and uncontrollable human expressions and explores it through an evening-length piece.

Set to a score of classical and contemporary music, "Blush" features dancers covered in white paint moving around a boxing ring-like stage, as icy encounters slowly evolve into moments of exquisite tenderness.

Performances are 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at Cascia Hall PAC, 2520 S. York town Ave. Tickets: 918-596-7111,

Renowned Indian dancer Lavanya Ananth will perform her original dance work "Divine Rhythms," 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St.

Ananth takes the classical dance style of bharatanatyam in new directions with this work, which portrays nature itself through dance. The show is presented by the South Asian Performing Arts Foundation. Tickets: 918-596-7111,


Chamber Music Tulsa is offering a unique way to experience "An Evening in Vienna," Friday at the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St.

The Vienna Piano Trio will perform a short concert featuring music by such Viennese composers as Franz Schubert, Fritz Kreisler and Arnold Schoenberg, whose "Verklarte Nacht" will be performed.

Following the concert will be a reception in which patrons can meet with the artists while enjoying Viennese pastries courtesy of Ludger's Bavarian Cakery.

The trio will also perform in concert Nov. 17 at the Tulsa PAC. Tickets to either event: 918-596-7111,

Signature Symphony artistic director Barry Epperley -- who on Wednesday is being honored at the Governor's Arts Awards for his services to this state's culture -- may be best known for his work as an orchestral conductor, but he is also a great proponent of all kinds of vocal music.

Through the years, he's led a few vocal ensembles, with names such as Continental Breakfast, that have performed pop and show tunes.

His latest such group is Sheridan Road, a seven-voice ensemble that will offer up a program of jazz, standards, Broadway hits and gospel songs, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the VanTrease PACE, 10300 E. 81st St. Tickets: 918-595-7777,

The husband-and-wife duo of Jeff and Anne Barnhart -- also known as "Ivory & Gold" -- will present a concert of ragtime music 7 p.m. Sunday at the Tulsa PAC, 110 E. Second St.

Pianist Jeff and flutist Anne will perform classic rags, along with bits of blues, boogie and jazz mixed in, along with anecdotes about the history of this very American music. Tickets: 918-596-7111,

James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478


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