Jim Garling is just about the most versatile crooner around. Garling frequently appears with Byron Berline and is also a member of the Sons of Sage – a group consisting of Garling, with Greg Burgess and Richard Sharp. Sharp and Burgess are regular members of the Byron Berline Band. Garling frequently appears solo, as well as with Berline or the Sons of the Sage, and occasionally with others. His performances are often scheduled at the R & R Restaurant & Event Center, 209 W. Oklahoma, Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Wherever Garling appears, and whoever he is accompanied with, his melodious voice soars and soothes the soul. Approximately four or five times a year Garling’s concerts at the R & R Restaurant attract many of his long standing fans and his latest performance is no exception to a group of long standing fans. Appearing with Janine Handler whose voice compliments Garling in tone and ambiance, Garling transports his audience to a simpler time and a beautiful place. The type of music is certainly not country, it is cowboy. The type of music is definitely not modern country, it is western. The vocals are not harsh, the themes are not raucous and the chords have no discord. Cowboy western is what we think of with Gene Autry or Roy Rogers, the singing cowboy, yet only Garling could make Frank Sinatra fans this happy!
The evening is soft and the music is romantic. A barbeque buffet is always available when Garling performs at the R & R Restaurant. With a comfortably full tummy the audience can sit back and enjoy as the ears take a little break from the guttural and high decibel level of life in the 21st century. Garling, sometimes just using a simple 3 chord progression on his guitar, accompanies himself with pure vocal tones that fill the room with honesty and purity. Handler has a voice that blends beautifully with Garling’s yet soars alone as well. Keeping time is George Wilkinson on drums whose talent is unmistakable. Joining them this night is Stacy Conley an old and dear friend. Her rendition of “Shenandoah” is incomparable. The music is romantic above all, yet it is the romanticism of the west, the romanticism of the singing cowboy and romanticism that is not found on the radio dial.
When & where is Jim Garling going to appear next? Perhaps it will be with the Sons of the Sage or with the Byron Berline Band. Call the Double Stop Music Hall at 282-6646 or visit www.doublestop.com. For solo appearances or appearances with Janine Handler or the Sons of Sage visit Garling’s website: www.cowboyjimgarling.com. Garling’s April schedule includes Oklahoma City at the downtown library on April 2nd from 11:00am to 4:00pm for the International Festival. Garling will be appearing with Handler and Richard Sharp – the Prairie Drifters! Then on April 23, Beck’s Implements will be hosting their annual Beck Implements Customer Appreciation celebration with Sons of the Sage – Garling with Sharp and Burgess. Beck Implements is located on Highway 33 just east of Guthrie. Exit east instead of west & start slowing down just before noon!
Anyone who loves country music or western music will, of course, love Jim Garling. Those who are not country and/or western fans but love good music will love Garling’s vocals, guitar work and his presentation. Because Garling is not only a musician – he is a story teller and the story he tells is the story filling us with joy and we can never forget.
The whole joint’s a jumpin’ at Poteet Theatre in Oklahoma City through March 20, 2011. Nobody’s not being good exactly – they just “Ain’t Misbehavin’”! While not every one in the world is necessarily a jazz fan, every soul has just got to love Fats Waller. Thomas (Fats) Waller was born in 1904 and was already the organist at his father’s church by age 10. By 18 he was a recording artist making the ‘big time’. He died of pneumonia in 1943 (far too young) while touring across country. But in those years between he made a lot of great music, and those who loved his music loved his laughing life. He is known as a great symbol of Harlem and an inspiration to the civil rights movement. In 1978 the show “Ain’t Misbehavin’” co-written by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr. became a Broadway sensation as well as a tribute to his music. Co-Author Murray Horwitz states in a letter to The Poteet Theatre printed in the program: “I wish I could be there it see it myself because I have always enjoyed my visits to Oklahoma City…” Wishing the same as, sir, you’ll be proud of this group.
Eleven band members including Band Director Dr. Fred Hammond, III keep the audience clapping, toe tapping and knee slapping. Director and Set Designer Jay Prock places the band back and center so the acoustics are pleasant. For those with sensitive ears cotton balls are available going to the Cotton Club where the action takes place. Don’t take them! Blunting or blurring a single note would be a crime.
Assistant Director Pamela Rise and Choreographer Sherri Smith bring a great deal of creativity to the production of the show. But the soul of the show is revealed by the cast. Without any trappings at all the voices of DeʹVin Lewis and Christopher Jones would sail clearly throughout the auditorium. Charlie Ludden is equally terrific in his highlight performances. Tracey Jordan Esaw has a beautiful voice–“That Ain’t Right” is right on. Andrea Coleman has enthusiasm and excitement. She easily overcomes the slight mike problems that surely have already been corrected. Tyler Andrew Bowler is far too young (high school) to be this smooth sounding. Regina Joy Banks interpretations are soulful and heartwarming and the notes of Helen Richards lend body to the performances as a whole. Kierro Markese Thompson shows a talent especially entertaining in his rendition of “The Viper’s Drag.” Three dancing waitresses round out the troupe. Bailey Anne Smith, Alisha Ragon and Lexy Neira are three young ladies with soleful soul.
This production is a fun show and while the voices of the cast, especially Lewis and Jones, are wonderful–the best part comes from the audience and Fats Waller himself. By the fourth number “Honeysuckle Rose” everyone in every seat, on stage or off stage can sing and dance with colorful harmony and mischievous pleasure. Even me! Okay, apologies to my companion riding shotgun on the way home!
The Poteet Theatre presents “Ain’t Misbehavin’” can be seen through March 20, 2011 in the basement of St. Luke’s church at 222 NW 15th Street in Oklahoma City. Curtain goes up at 8:00pm Thursday through Saturday with a Matinee performance each Sunday at 3:00pm. For ticket information or reservations call 405.609.1023 or visit www.poteettheatre.com. For the review published in the Oklahoma visit newsok.com.
While I do not have the art section up and running yet would like to announce Gallery Walk in Norman. featuring some great art
Sit back and close your eyes surrendering to the sweet bliss, not of sleep, but of imagination. Such are the days of the old time radio mystery plays. Let the mind fill in the blanks with wild flights of fancy as actors read fascinating scripts over the magic airways. The Jewel Box Theatre brings us back to our imagination with “Mystery Radio Plays.”
Artistic Director Chuck Tweed in collaboration with Director Linda McDonald visits cyber-space for several pre-television radio plays and presents them along with a few commercials as “Mystery Radio Plays”. All four scripts are approximately one half hour in length and separated into two acts. These excellent episodes are in the public domain and no authors could be found. Unfortunately they can not be credited for work that definitely stands the test of time! The radio plays are: “The Thought”, “Alive in the Grave”, “The Undead” and “Operation Tomorrow”. McDonald directs a cast that does justice to the work – ask anyone who closes their eyes for the first moments of each episode. Minds are wide awake and feeling 40 years younger!
McDonald handles the cast beautifully and with excellent support from Stage Manager, James Gordon. Richard Howell has designed a wonderful set including accurate sound effects paraphernalia that should be the envy of every radio station in the country.
However, this genius idea is flawed in execution. To set up the presentation, an introduction precedes each act as a prologue. The ‘green room’ of fictional radio station KJBX in Oklahoma City is where each act begins. Tweed and McDonald set the green room in the entire Jewel Box thrust stage. Immediately, the action moves to the production of the radio plays. Crowded into a very small elevated space in back, all of the main events are seen across a broad expanse of unused space. The actors handle the intimacy exceptionally well under McDonald’s direction, but the area separating the action from the audience is far too large for far too long.
The set up, while poorly staged, is nicely conceived but the follow-through is non-existent! Audience members are frustrated with no epilogue.
Jane Hall as Lana Linn, established radio actress, is marvelous in her tiff with Chris Harris as Blanche Archer. Two fine actresses portray two fine actresses in an age old competition. Yet we will never have any resolution.
How does Paul Tomlin’s portrayal of the shy Herschel Miller go from a rabbit to a lion? We will never know.
Is WJBX Station Manager Sheldon Ellis able to cope with the new medium of television? Glen Hallstrom’s characterization is quite accurate and his Sheldon Ellis would have advertised.
Joe Bear, the former OU football star, is played by Mike Parker, and both actor and character are great potential sports announcers.
Is Christine Jolly as the beautiful Kitty Cain, going to fall for the next transparent line of Desmond Archer, the leading man with a roving eye? The audience wants to know, but all they do know as they head home humming “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent” is that Desmond Archer is played by the ever debonair and handsome Lance Reese. His twinkle in the eye will always get the girl!
This review can be seen at newsok.com.
“Mystery Radio Plays” is presented at Jewel Box Theatre through March 27th. Show times are Thursday through Saturday at 8:00pm and Sunday at 2:30. The Jewel Box Theatre is located at the First Christian Church, 3700 N Walker in Oklahoma City. For reservations and information call 405.521.1786 or visit Jewelboxtheatre.org. newsok.com
Neil Simon, one of America’s most popular playwrights, is considered a master of situational romantic comedy. His most critically acclaimed works begin with his autobiographical trilogy. “Biloxi Blues” is the second of this group, and certainly one of his best works. Published in 1985, the play loosely chronicles Simon’s wartime experience combining all the best elements of humorous dialogue with the challenging interchange between young men as they come of age in wartime conditions.
“Biloxi Blues” is produced in partnership with Theatre OCU. With this partnership, talented students from the University are able to lend their significant talents to the production. Under Director Michael Jones, the entire cast creates memorable and genuine personalities that bring to life the greatest generation poignantly, truthfully and of course, humorously.
One of the nicest elements of this production occurs with the scene changes. Jones uses the understudies to assist the actors for each change. Conducting themselves with military precision, an atmosphere of discipline in a crowded barracks is created. Jones also allows the audience to recognize the valuable contribution of these talented understudies at curtain call.
The young man portraying Eugene Morris Jerome, who clearly represents Simon himself, is Drew Michael Feldman. Feldman’s slightly cocky and definitely assured characterization allows him to easily explore the more sensitive and private aspects of Jerome’s nature. Feldman’s characterization is powerful, perceptive and provides the audience with a comfortable understanding of the situation.
Emilio Velasco as Arnold Epstein is equally versatile and portrays his character with humanity. Oscar J. Kincheloe plays Roy Selridge with nicely pudgy strength. Garrett Henderson creates a very balanced Don Carney and Daryl Bradford is wonderful as the slightly despicable but lovable Joseph Wykowski. The sensitive treatment Justin McInnis gives to James Hennesey maintains an identification of his situation with restraint. These basic characters are a staple of virtually every World War II movie we see today. And yet this group creates an individualistic and unique personality for each young soldier that stands alone.
Another staple is the gruff and tumble typical boot camp Drill Sergeant. Hated and loved simultaneously; the function of the character is to instill character. Ben Hall’s Sgt. Merwin J. Toomey is also his own man, memorable for a performance that sets Toomey apart from the stereotype. Hall has a dynamic with the other performers that binds the story to the audience.
Every self respecting war story has romance; Colleen Marie Daily fills the bill skillfully bringing Jerome’s love Daisy Hannigan to life. But for first experiences he turns to Rowena played by Linda Leonard. Leonard’s delicate and delicious treatment of the young mans first experience is simultaneously warm and chilling.
All in all, this production is not only a credit to Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre; it is a credit to their partner: Theatre OCU.
Each cast member is listed as a candidate for membership in Actors’ Equity Association with the exception of Linda Leonard and Steve Emerson (Toomey understudy) who are already members. With this production candidates display their value to the association professionally. Actors’ Equity Association member and Director Michael Jones as well as Steve Emerson as Production Stage Manager have provided an excellent springboard for the success of these actors.
“Biloxi Blues” can be seen in the CitySpace Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall through March 20, 2011. For ticket information call 405.297.2264 or 800.364.7111 for the Civic Center Box Office or visit http://www.okcciviccenter.org/. To read additional opinions check out Newsok.com.
and now I must recover! Look for a review in the paper and newsok.com and/or the mood section of newsok for reviews of “Mystery Radio Plays” at the Jewel Box Theatre and “Ain’t Misbehavin’” at the Poteet Theatre. As I slept in Sunday morning, I have to say that going to church this weekend was certainly a lot sexier than usual! Additionally, will be posting a review of “Biloxi Blues” for this blog but not the paper soon. I will connect with the paper’s review as well. Have a great week everybody…what’s on my schedule for this weekend? hmmm, looks like I’m free….so I’m not telling!