Today’s featured event:
MOORE – See Yellow Rose Dinner Theater’s production of “Soul Express” tonight at 1005 SW 4 Street.
“Soul Express” features the best in American soul and R&B music from the last 60 years. From the music of Muddy Waters, BB King, Etta James and the Drifters to Bruno Mars, Boys to Men, John Legend and many other great artists. Seating and dinner start at 6:30 p.m., pre-show at 7 p.m. and the main production at 7:30 p.m. “Soul Express” will play every Friday and Saturday evening through May 25.
For more information, go to www.yellowrosetheater.org.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
What to do in Oklahoma on May 9, 2013: See Reduxion Theatre Company’s “History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” tonight at the Broadway Theater
Today’s featured event:
Watch Reduxion Theatre Company’s adaptation of Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel “History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” at 8 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at its Broadway Theater, 1613 N Broadway Ave.
The new play is developed by Reduxion founders and married couple, Tyler and Erin Woods. Written by Erin and directed by Tyler, this world premiere play based on Fielding’s classic novel is set in England and follows the risqué adventures of a handsome young man with a lust for life and an eye for the ladies.
“History of Tom Jones, a Foundling,” is part romantic comedy, part social commentary and all action-adventure. The book has been the subject of many film and television versions including the popular 1963 movie, “Tom Jones,” starring Albert Finney.
The film was so popular that the up-and-coming English singer Thomas John Woodward changed his name to that of the title character, “Tom Jones,” in the early 1960s because he liked the racy persona.
“The story is remarkably ahead of its time,” said Erin Woods, Reduxion’s managing director and playwright.
The title character is good-hearted and not concerned with how people see him. “It is a commentary on how the appearance of goodness is different from true honesty and integrity.” But most people know “Tom Jones” as a sexy, sword-fighting, adventure story.
There is sex and violence throughout the play. “It’s a ‘bodice-ripper,’” said Erin. “Tom Jones” is a comedy about human nature; our follies and propensity toward vice. “I wanted a play that stayed true to the original novel, which is quite racy.” This show is not for younger audiences.
Reduxion has a reputation for creating new art based on classic stories. “We aim to be artistically inventive and fresh,” said Tyler Woods, Reduxion artistic director and production director for “Tom Jones.” Oklahoma audiences are interested in live performance that surprise and challenge them. “We will bring them something they have never seen before,” said Tyler, “Even if they know the story of ‘Tom Jones,’ this new play is full of surprises.”
The production uses experimental movement styles, theatrical pantomime, puppetry, innovative stage-combat practices and RTC’s original brand of “theatre-in-your-lap” audience-interaction. Additionally, the boundary-pushing period costuming includes Marie Antoinette-style tall powdered wigs and giant hoop-skirts. It’s visually stunning, fast-paced, fun and provocative.
As founders of Reduxion, Tyler and Erin share a vision for the theatre company, but “Tom Jones” is the first project they have developed together. “Working with Tyler as the director of my new script has been great,” said Erin. “He brings such innovation and accessibility to live theatre. We share a focus on ensemble-based performance and a true sense of fun in storytelling; I think that makes us a good team.”
Performances continue through May 25. Information: 651-3191 or www.reduxiontheatre.com.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
A version of this story appears in Monday’s The Oklahoman.
Muskogee’s Swon Brothers continue their run on “The Voice”
Zach and Colton Swon are the first duo to make it the hit reality show’s live rounds, which begin Monday night on NBC.
The Muskogee duo survived last week’s knockout rounds on “The Voice” to move on to the hit reality TV show’s live rounds, the final phase of competition. While live shows begin at 7 p.m. Monday (tonight) on NBC, Zach and Colton Swon already are mindful of their future beyond “The Voice.”
“We just try to pick songs that we think will connect well the audience,” said Zach, 28, in a conference call last week. “You know, other than that, man, we just like to have fun. We don’t think about it too much. We just go with our gut most of the time and … going forward I think we’ll pick songs that will define us as artists. Because we’re thinking about the future, you know, and we want people to get a grasp on the kind of music we want to put out.”
The siblings are the first duo in the four-season history of “The Voice” to advance to the live shows. In last week’s knockout founds, their celebrity coach, Oklahoma country music superstar Blake Shelton, pitted The Swon Brothers against Memphis “bluntry” (blues-country) singer Grace Askew, who crooned the Ann Peebles/Tina Turner standard “I Can’t Stand the Rain” and earned kudos from the coaches for her originality.
As with the blind auditions and battle rounds, the Swons’ brotherly harmonies helped them win, this time with their tuneful rendition of the Dobie Gray classic “Drift Away.”
“What’s great about you guys is that it seems you both know your place in the duo, which is cool because that makes the duo really strong,” said rival coach Adam Levine.
Shelton agreed and opted to keep the fellow Oklahomans as one of his team’s four finalists.
“It’s really a scary thing to get satisfied in this competition. You know, it was really great to finally get some props from Adam, because we hadn’t received that yet,” said Colton, 24. “At the same time, we weren’t satisfied and we won’t be until we go home. Or we’re in that finale.”
“And that’s just the outlook you got to have on this thing. I mean, you can be here one day and gone the next. So you got take everything to heart, but at the same time keep building and growing as an artist. And never get too comfortable. And so, we’re doing our job, I think, as artists, growing our fan base.”
Big brother Blake
While they value the feedback they get from all four “The Voice” coaches, the Swon siblings said they especially enjoy being part of Team Blake. Shelton, whose team has won the past two seasons of the competition, is a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy who has genuinely invested in his four finalists, Zach said.
“We were definitely looking forward to getting more one-on-one time with Blake. And kind of “As we expected, he’s started acting more like a big brother. Even though we’re on the No. 1 TV show in America, he’s still just being really down-to-Earth and just being a good pal. And he’s letting us enjoy the moment. Like, that’s one thing he’s really taught us, especially in the one-on-one stuff, is just be yourself and enjoy this ride,” Colton added.
The singer/guitarists started performing with their parents’ southern gospel group Exodus when they were youngsters, so they are accustomed to making music live. They aren’t worried about the added pressure of playing in front of millions of TV viewers on “The Voice’s” live stage.
“When it comes to the actual music part of it, it’s going to be awesome, it’s going to be fun. The stuff that worries me is like falling off stage or something like that,” Zach said wryly. “But other than that, man, I’m ready to have a good time. And it’s going to be the funnest part of the show I think.”
“My brother is pretty clumsy, so I see where he’d worry about that,” Colton joked. “Other than that, bring on the live shows, we’re ready.”
Fans can expect to see them perform more songs that accent their teamwork and tight harmonies, they said.
“There’s no formula for picking songs for us right now,” Colton said. “We just go with our gut and pray about (it), and at the end of the day, you know, you’ve just got to have fun and connect with the audience.”
Bigger fan base
So far, the formula — or lack thereof — is working. After their knockout episode, Zach said many of their Twitter followers gushed that “Drift Away” was their favorite song. Their 6,400-plus “tweeple” and more than 7,600 Facebook fans they’ve garnered so far should come in handy during the live rounds, since public votes will begin to count in addition to Shelton’s choices.
“To have such great support and a fan base and just friends and family … and to see yourself on country charts — I mean, I think we’ve charted almost every time and it’s because of America and a big part of that is back home in Oklahoma,” Colton said. “It’s a really blessed feeling to know that they’re going to get behind us.”
While they can count on the Oklahoma vote, Zach said he hopes the rest of America will appreciate their music and character enough to cast ballots for them, too.
“I think we’re going to make a difference, you know, in the music industry. With or without ‘The Voice,’ this is what we’re going to do no matter what. So they might as well get used to us being around,” Zach said.
“I don’t think we’ll be everybody’s cup of tea, but hopefully we’ll be (for) enough to stick around, because we definitely aren’t done yet.”
The hit reality TV show “The Voice” begins its live rounds Monday night on NBC. The live shows will air from 7 to 9 p.m. Mondays and 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays. The winner will be announced in a live special on Tuesday, June 18.
Muskogee’s The Swon Brothers are the first duo to the series’ four-season history to advance to the live shows. They are competing on Team Blake, with Oklahoma country music superstar Blake Shelton as their celebrity coach.
For more information, go to www.nbc.com/the-voice.
Best Bets for May 3-5, 2013: Reduxion Theatre’s “Tom Jones,” Oklahoma City Philharmonic’s “Cirque de la Symphonie,” Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and more
Here are my picks for the Best Bets in entertainment in Oklahoma City this weekend, as listed in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
1. <code_th> Listen to The Piano Guys — pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson — at 8 p.m. Friday at Hudson Performance Hall, 2820 N May. Doors open at 7 p.m. Information: (866) 977-6849 or www.NWCFriends.org.
2.<code_th> Take in the circus-inspired spectacle as aerialists and acrobats join the Oklahoma City Philharmonic for “Cirque de la Symphonie” at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Civic Center, 201 N Walker. Information: 842-5387 or www.okcphilharmonic.org.
3.<code_th> Watch Reduxion Theatre Company’s adaptation of Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel “History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at its Broadway Theater, 1613 N Broadway Ave. Performances continue through May 25. Information: 651-3191 or www.reduxiontheatre.com.
4.<code_th> Hear Ramblin’ Jack Elliott at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley. The listening room is celebrating its 20th anniversary in May with a special concert lineup. Information: 524-0738 or www.bluedoorokc.com.
Here are my picks for some of the Best Bets in entertainment in Oklahoma this weekend, as listed in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
1. Catch the national touring production of “West Side Story” at 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker. Information: (800) 869-1451 or www.celebrityattractions.com.
2. NORMAN — Hear country music star Josh Turner at 8 p.m. Friday at Riverwind Casino, 1544 W State Highway 9. Information: 322-6464 or www.riverwind.com.
3. Listen to red dirt singer-songwriter Greg Jacobs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley. Information: 524-0738 or www.bluedoorokc.com.
4. TULSA — Mark the grand opening of the Woody Guthrie Center, 102 E Brady, at 1 p.m. Saturday. To celebrate, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Jimmy LaFave and more will perform in concert at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Guthrie Green performance space, 111 E Brady. To read more about the festivities, click here. Information: http://woodyguthriecenter.org.
A version of this column appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Growing number of events makes spring in Oklahoma more entertaining than ever
Along with downtown Oklahoma City’s Festival of the Arts, activities around the Sooner State this weekend include the Norman Music Festival, Stillwater’s Calf Fry, H&8th Night Market, Final Friday on Film Row and the Oklahoma City Barons’ playoff matchups.
When late April comes in Oklahoma, the Festival of the Arts still reigns as the grand dame of spring.
But plenty of other pretty belles have joined the festivities over the years, making the last weekend in April one of the most entertaining of them all in the Sooner State.
“There’s lots of great nighttime entertainment in Bricktown and all over the place. And I think the festival just adds to that dimension,” said Peter Dolese, executive director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, which organizes the festival.
“I just think all the activity is good for our city. People support the arts festival and love the arts festival and know its place in the history of our community.”
As the 47th annual Festival of the Arts was wrapping Day 1 on Tuesday, acclaimed singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle and Oklahoma songbird Samantha Crain were taking the stage at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab and the national touring production of “West Side Story” was singing and dancing through the first of eight performances at the Civic Center.
The festival’s second day was well underway Wednesday when the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Houston Rockets at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series. (The series shifts to Houston for Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday.)
“Rising tides lift all boats. Having the Thunder game down here … we see a huge influx of people from that,” Dolese said. “Then there’s just lots of people that want to be downtown. They’re just excited about being a part of all the action. I don’t see a downside to it at all.”
On Thursday, three-day music festivals launched in the state’s two biggest college towns. Just south of Oklahoma City, Norman Music Festival 6 continues through Saturday, offering a free downtown celebration of indie music of all kinds. To the north, the 22nd Annual Calf Fry at Stillwater’s Tumbleweed Dance Hall features red dirt and Texas country music, along with deep-fried Rocky Mountain oysters, through Saturday.
“I think any state benefits from having a very, very strong arts and cultural atmosphere. There’s absolutely no doubt about that,” Dolese said.
Despite what some might see as rising competition, at least 750,000 people are expected to attend the Festival of the Arts, making it one of Oklahoma’s largest festivals, said Stacy Hawthorne, the Arts Council of Oklahoma City’s communications director.
“We just keep growing, and I think that’s good. It speaks a lot to the amount of support in our state for the creative industry and the arts in general,” she said.
With the arrival of the weekend, the festival will mix with even more entertainment options. The Barons, Oklahoma City’s American Hockey League team, will take on the Charlotte Checkers in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs. The best-of-five Western Conference quarterfinal series starts in Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Cox Convention Center.
“To have two of our neighbors who are heavily successful in the sports industry both in the playoffs right next door to our event, that’s awesome. That definitely says so much for downtown,” Hawthorne said.
In nearby MidTown, the recently revived H&8th Night Market will gather food trucks like Roxy’s Ice Cream Social, Taste of Soul Egg Roll and Urban Agrarian along with local bands like Honky Tonk Stepchild, The Waymires and Sonic Violence from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday.
Friday also will see the start of a new monthly event: Final Friday on Film Row, which will showcase visual artists, musicians, dancers and performers of all types from 6 to 9 p.m.
As part of the inaugural Final Friday on Film Row festivities, Individual Artists of Oklahoma Gallery will host an opening reception for a new exhibit of Michelle Junkin’s modern mixed-media landscapes of Oklahoma.
Appropriately enough, the new exhibit is called “On the Rise.”
“There’s so many wonderful things to do in the state of Oklahoma, and the arts festival is one of the flagship events,” Dolese said. “We’re just proud to be part of what brings people to Oklahoma.”
Festival of the Arts
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Where: In Festival Plaza, on Hudson Avenue and at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Admission: Free. Pets are not allowed.
Information: 270-4848 or www.artscouncilokc.com.
H&8th Night Market
When: 7 to 11 p.m. Friday. After-party will be from 11 p.m. Friday to 2 a.m. Saturday.
Where: NW 8 and Hudson in MidTown.
Final Friday on Film Row
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Where: Historic Film Row District, between Dewey and Shartel on W Sheridan Avenue.
Oklahoma City Barons vs. Charlotte Checkers
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Where: Cox Convention Center, 1 Myriad Gardens.
“West Side Story”
When: 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker.
Information: (800) 869-1451 or www.celebrityattractions.com.
22nd Annual Calf Fry
When: Friday and Saturday. Shows start at 5:30 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Where: Tumbleweed Dance Hall, Lakeview and Country Club roads, Stillwater.
Norman Music Festival 6
When: Live music begins at 3 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday.
Where: Norman Arts District, extending from the 300 block of E Main Street to the railroad tracks.
“Nice Work if You Can Get It,” starring Kelli O’Hara and Matthew Broderick, closing on Broadway in June
The Broadway musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” starring Oklahoma native Kelli O’Hara and Matthew Broderick, will be closing in June, reports the Associated Press.
Producers told the AP Wednesday the Tony-nominated production will play its final performance on June 15 after 27 previews and 478 regular performances at the Imperial Theatre.
“Nice Work If You Can Get It” is a screwball romantic comedy that takes place in the 1920s and tells the story of a female bootlegger (O’Hara) who meets a wealthy, often-drunken playboy (Broderick). He had said June 15 was his last show.
Book writer Joe DiPietro and director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall raided the Gershwin song catalog to cobble together a sumptuous score including “S’Wonderful” and “Fascinating Rhythm.”
Judy Kaye and Michael McGrath received best supporting actors in a musical Tonys. The musical itself lost the best musical revival award to another show with Gershwin songs, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”
A national tour will be launched in the 2014-15 season, according to Playbill.com.
O’Hara, a four-time Tony Award nominee, was born in Elk City and raised in Edmond.
For more information on the musical, go to www.NiceWorkOnBroadway.com.
What to do in Oklahoma on April 24, 2013: See “West Side Story” at the Civic Center Music Hall (video)
Today’s featured event:
Catch the national touring production of “West Side Story” at 7:30 p.m. today and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker. Information: (800) 869-1451 or www.celebrityattractions.com.
Loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” “West Side Story” transformed the Montagues and Capulets into the Jets and Sharks, rival New York City gangs. Star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet were recast as Tony and Maria, reports The Oklahoman Fine Arts Editor Rick Rogers.
The 1957 original was groundbreaking in its blending of narrative, music and choreography. Directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, “West Side Story” used dance not only to create mood, but also to illustrate the gangs’ escalating tensions. The success of the 2009 Broadway revival prompted a national touring production.
To read more of Rick’s preview feature, click here.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
As announced back in November, NBC announced that Checotah native Carrie Underwood will take on the legendary role of Maria Von Trapp in a live television broadcast of “The Sound of Music.”
Based on the beloved original Broadway musical, the three-hour live telecast will air around the 2013 holiday season on NBC.
“It’s a giant challenge, which I appreciate,” Underwood recently told People. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘People don’t do this anymore, singing live!’”
Of course, the best-known adaptation of “The Sound of Music” is the 1965 blockbuster movie-musical that won five Oscars. It also earned a best actress nomination for British star Julie Andrews, whom Underwood said “just has this royal air.”
“It would be like you’re beneath her!” she told People, adding “I think once people tune in and realize that [our version] is not a remake, they won’t compare it to the movie.”
Earlier this year, Andrews told the Wall Street Journal she wasn’t planning to be part of the new live production of “The Sound of Music” – nor does she mind that another performance is in the works.
“No, I don’t think I will,” Andrews said. “Listen—how long ago was it out? 50 something years ago? … So, 48 years, probably time that a remake is allowed. Why not? ‘Cinderella’ has been done, ‘Mary Poppins’ has been put on stage in the theater. It’s all part of the process of those wonderful properties going out and reaching another audience. No, I won’t be in it, but I do endorse everything. I mean why not?”
Andrews also said she doesn’t know Underwood, but hopes that will change.
“No, I don’t know her, and I would love to know her,” Andrews said. “And maybe I will.”
As you can see in this video, Underwood clearly has the pipes to make the hills come alive with “The Sound of Music.” We’ll see how the rest of it comes together as Christmastime gets closer.
Emmy- and Tony-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth, who hails from Broken Arrow, is planning to return to television.
The Oklahoma native has been cast to play the sister of Matthew Broderick’s character in a yet-untitled CBS pilot from “Scrubs” writer/producer Tad Quill, according to TVLine.com.
The multi-camera comedy centers on Broderick’s Jack, a recently widowed father who is raising his 12-year old son while simultaneously jumping back into the dating pool.
Chenoweth, won an Emmy for the late, great series “Pushing Daisies,” earned a couple of Emmy nominations as a guest star on “Glee,” had her planned guest arc on CBS’ “The Good Wife” cut short by an on-set injury and her starring role in the soapy comedy “GCB” truncated by cancellation.
She will play Marnie, Jack’s cute but judgmental sister who works as a waitress at a nice but not-too-upscale restaurant. An opinionated busy-body, Marnie considers herself a therapist, even if she hasn’t quite finished her clinical hours for state certification, according to TVLine.com.
Like Chenoweth, Broderick is a Tony-winning musical theater veteran. They previously co-starred in ABC’s 2003 adaptation of “The Music Man”: