Second part of theater season saves best for last
By KAREN SHADE, 1/6/2008
While everyone is making his or her "best of" lists of the year that was and the year to come, things are only at the halfway point in live theater.
In a season that has already brought us everything from manipulative frock-sporting royals in Theatre Tulsa's "The Lion in Winter" to Theatre Club's winning one-guy rant in "Thom Pain: Based on Nothing," the second half of the theater season looks to be just as interesting.
Now that the holidays are over, the players on local stages at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Heller Theatre, Nightingale Theatre and other venues are getting back on their feet for more drama, comedies, musicals and everything that fits in between.
-- "An Evangelist Drowns," Jan. 24-26, at the PAC: Rogers State University professor Gregory Thompson stages the one-woman show he wrote about the life of evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, who stormed the country by road and radio in the early half of the 20th century before and after her mysterious "drowning."
-- "High School Musical," Jan. 25-Feb. 3, from Grace Ann Productions at the PAC: Young love-against-the-odds greets a new generation in a staging based on the Disney television musical about a nerd and a jock finding their life's calling on stage.
-- "Dancing on Air," Jan. 31- Feb. 9, at Heller Theatre: Einstein meets Kafka in the dramatic free-for-all that ponders the art, science and ordinary lives of genius. The play is the winner of this year's Heller Theatre original play contest.
-- "Down the Ol' Hole," Feb. 7-23, from Midwestern Theater Troupe at the Nightingale Theatre: The Nightingale's John Cruncleton reworks his 2005 post-apocalyptic cowboy lore about fate and destiny against a bizarre eastern Oklahoma backdrop for another staging.
-- "Private Lives," Feb. 22-March 1, from Theatre Tulsa at the PAC: Noel Coward rides again with the staging of one of his most popular comedies about a divorced couple rekindling their forgotten romance -- while on their honeymoons with their new spouses.
-- "Ghosts" March 6-15, at Heller Theatre: Henrik Ibsen's 1896 drama of morality, sexual and religious hypocrisy is brought to the stage in a new translation by Lanford Wilson retelling the story of family secrets re-emerging from the past with dire consequences.
-- "Mr. Marmalade," March 20-29, from Evansdrake Productions at the Nightingale Theater: What's a 4-year-old girl to do when her best friend is the youngest person in New Jersey to attempt suicide and her imaginary playmate has plenty of his own problems -- including a drug addiction? The answers will certainly surprise you in this black comedy on growing up.
-- "Love, Sex and the IRS," April 4-12, from Theatre Tulsa at the PAC: To save some dough, two unemployed musician pals rooming together in New York City decide they can save even more by filing their taxes as a married couple. The tax man comes to collect in this farce.
-- "Dr. Faustus," April 17-May 3, from Midwestern Theater Troupe at the Nightingale Theater: David Mamet rewrites the Faust legend of a good soul who makes a deal with the devil by giving us a philosopher who wagers his family for a little fame.
-- "National Pastime," April 25-May 3, from American Theatre Company at the PAC: Oklahoma City acting and storytelling maestro Al Bostick takes up directing duties in this drama about sports legend Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
-- "Recent Tragic Events," May 1-10, at Heller Theatre: On the day after Sept. 11, 2001, a man contemplates fate and chance when he meets his blind date, who happens to be looking for her lost twin following the attack.
-- "Icons: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World Vol. 3," May 9-10, at the Nightingale Theater: Jade Esteban Estrada picks up where he left off in his second volume of impersonations by taking on King James, Bessie Smith, Greg Louganis and others.
-- "She Loves Me," May 16-24, from Theatre Tulsa at the PAC: By day, clerks Georg and Amalia trade sneers from across the counters of the European perfumerie where they work. But after hours, they confide unknowingly to one another as pen pals.