Clark Theatre (Tulsa)

Last fall, about 40 local non-profit arts organizations joined Phil Lakin, CEO of the Tulsa Community Foundation, in launching Arts Alliance Tulsa (or AAT), a United Arts Fund that aims to provide funding for -- and audience-development support for -- the City of Tulsa's various cultural assets. (United Arts Funds, as noted at the AAT website, "seek to raise money to provide ongoing operating support to local arts institutions. Over the past 65 years, more than 100 communities across the country -- both large and small -- have established UAFs.

On this edition of ST, we learn about the new Heller Theatre Company presentation of "Dead Man's Cell Phone," which opens at the Henthorne PAC here in Tulsa (at 4825 So. Quaker) on Friday the 23rd. (It runs through February 1st.) "Dead Man's Cell Phone" -- a celebrated and off-the-wall comedy by Sarah Ruhl, the forty-ish American playwright and MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship recipient -- was given the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play after it premiered in 2007.

On this edition of ST, we're pleased to welcome Rebecca Ungerman back to our program. She has long been known and admired as one of the outstanding jazz/cabaret singers in the Tulsa community. She's also a wonderful songwriter, and her original musical, "The Unwitting Wife," was first staged about two years ago here in town (and was thereafter staged in Israel).

This has been an anxious past few months for many in Tulsa's arts community. That community was very much caught off-guard by the decision of Mayor Bartlett's office to eliminate most of the City of Tulsa's arts funding. Alarming proposals to cut staff positions at the Tulsa PAC Trust, the Waterworks Community Arts Center, and both the Heller and Clark Theatres effectively galvanized supporters all over town, and these supporters quickly spurred the City Council to oppose the Mayor's proposals.