TU Theatre

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about "The Light Fantastic, or In the Wood," a new play that will be staged by the locally based Heller Theatre Company tonight (the 19th), tomorrow night (the 20th), and Sunday afternoon (the 21st) at the Nightingale Theatre in downtown Tulsa, which is located at 1416 East 4th St. Our guests are David Blakely, who wrote this play, and Susan Apker, who is the president of Heller Theatre Company (or HTC).

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we are discussing "In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)," a contemporary comedy by the much-acclaimed American playwright Sarah Ruhl, which will be staged here in Tulsa from May 12th through the 22nd. It's being presented by American Theatre Company, and you can fine more information (including ticket details and show times) at this link. Our guest is Lisa Wilson, who is directing this production.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with University of Tulsa theatre professor Machele Miller Dill, who has written what she calls "a play with original music." "The Lowdown Dusty Blues" features songwriter and actor Chris Jett as a journeyman blues singer, whose life and muse have been molded by the Dust Bowl, and by the death of his father to a dust storm. The one-act piece tells the story through a series of scenes all set on April 13th, the character's birthday and the anniversary of his father's death.

On this installment of ST, we learn about "The Vaudeville Museum" -- a special evening of Vaudeville history, perspective, and performance -- that will be staged at TU's McFarlin Library at 7pm both tonight and tomorrow night (the 22nd and 23rd). It's an interactive, interdisciplinary, and free-to-the-public presentation that's recently been created by Machele Miller-Dill, Director of TU's Musical Theatre Program, who also performs in this throwback event and is one of our guests today.

On today's ST, we learn about a new musical -- a "bro-mantic" comedy, no less -- loosely based on the thousand-year-old epic poem, "Beowulf." It's the still-in-development "Beowulf, Lord of the Bros," and it will be workshopped at a pair of free-to-the-public performances on Friday and Saturday, the 30th and 31st, at the Theatre Two space in Kendall Hall on the TU campus, with both shows starting at 7pm.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with acclaimed playwright Lee Blessing, who's best known for his 1988 Tony-nominated play, "A Walk in the Woods." Back in January, he workshopped his most recent play, "The Hourglass Project," here at the University of Tulsa. It's a comedy, with interesting ethical overtones, about several elderly couples who, though an experimental procedure, regain their youth.

On this edition of ST, we present a chat with the prolific and award-winning contemporary American playwright, Lee Blessing, who's working on the University of Tulsa campus this week with students and faculty in TU's Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre.

The Department of Theatre here at TU will soon present one of the greatest plays of the modern American stage, "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams. It's the play that made Williams a household name in the mid-1940s -- a clearly autobiographical drama, set in Depression-era St. Louis, in which an aging and rather unstable Southern Belle longs for her youth and dreams of a better life for her children: the restless would-be poet, Tom, who narrates this memory play, and the shy if not reclusive Laura, Tom's elder sister.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Jonathan Scott Chinn, a filmmaker who lives and works in New York City, and who formerly worked as the producer of this radio show, from 1999 till 2001. Chinn's first feature film, which he directed, is a newly released drama/comedy called "The Widowers." It tells the story of best friends Jake and Jonathan, whose wives have both died in tragic accidents.

Molière's "Tartuffe" --- or "The Impostor" --- is a classic French play that was first performed in 1664. Bitingly satirical and LOL funny, this play tells the story of a deplorable religious con-man who tries to obtain the title to his friend's estate by sending him to jail; the title character of this ever-popular comedy also tries to rob that friend blind, to seduce his wife and daughter, and so on. "Tartuffe" is a work that's often revived in updated versions or alternate settings, and such is the case with the production of "Tartuffe" that TU's Department of Theatre is now staging.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Machele Miller Dill and Michael Wright, two University of Tulsa faculty members who are currently co-directing the TU Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre's presentation of "Beehive." (Dill is also doing the choreography for this production.) Created in the 1980s by the late Larry Gallagher, this show is a music revue --- rather than a "jukebox musical" --- that moves through the sea-change of a decade that was the Sixties by focusing chronologically on the work of popular "girl groups" like The Chiffons, The Shirelles, and The Supremes as well as o

LOOK Musical Theatre, a revered nonprofit that began as the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Tulsa (with "LOOK" later signifying Light Opera Oklahoma) is currently marking its 30th season; the organization was founded in 1983 by John and Jane Carmichael Everitt in association with The University of Tulsa. Every June, LOOK presents professional performances in repertory fashion; these shows are produced and staffed by dozens of professionals: artistic, technical, and marketing personnel from regions both local and national.

On this edition of ST, we welcome back Machele Miller Dill, an assistant professor of musical theatre here at the University of Tulsa. Dill is directing "Spring Awakening," which the TU Department of Theatre will present in the Lorton Performance Center (here on the TU campus) from tomorrow night (the 11th) through Sunday afternoon (the 14th).

Our two guests on this edition of ST are Michael Wright and Steven Marzolf. Both are directing plays currently being presented in repertory by the TU Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre; Wright is directing Neil Simon's classic comedy/drama, "Biloxi Blues," which opens tonight, and Marzolf is directing John Murrell's "Waiting for the Parade," which opened last night. Both plays concern the Second World War, yet they differ in some interesting ways --- for example, Simon's play is essentially an all-male saga about coming of age amid the struggles of basic training in the U.S.

We are pleased to welcome to StudioTulsa the inimitable Rebecca Ungerman, the great Tulsa-based jazz and cabaret singer and performer who's been a beloved diva / chanteuse / force of nature on our local music scene for the past twenty years or so. Ungerman is taking her newest show --- an original musical, called "The Unwitting Wife," which includes new as well as older songs (some of which date back to her first recordings or earliest efforts at songwriting) --- to Israel, of all places, for a series of performances.

Our guest on ST is Gary John LaRosa, who will be the guest director for a new production of "Little Shop of Horrors" that the University of Tulsa's Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre will soon present at the Lorton Performance Center on the TU campus.

American Theatre Company (ATC), which has been a part of Tulsa's local arts scene since 1970, will soon present "The Comedy of Errors" by William Shakespeare. Our guest on this edition of ST is Lisa Wilson, a longtime member of the Theatre and Drama faculty here at TU, who is directing this production. The play will be staged on the verdant and gorgeous --- and, thank goodness, well-shaded --- lawn of the Philbrook Museum of Art on August 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th, with all curtains at 8pm.

Eric Gibson, artistic director of LOOK Musical Theatre, is the guest on this edition of StudioTulsa. LOOK is an anchor for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust's annual Summerstage Festival (which happens each June and July).

On today's show, we hear from Susan Barrett, an associate professor in the TU Department of Theatre and Musical Theatre. Barrett is directing a new production of the Tony Award-winning musical, "The Drowsy Chaperone," which opened on Broadway in 2006. As Barrett tells us, this funny and terrifically fun-to-watch musical actually began as a spoof --- written for a wedding reception --- of old-time musicals . . . and of the out-dated styles, politically incorrect jokes, and wonderful, jazzy tunes that tend to define such musicals.

[Aired Wednesday, March 7th.] Today we speak with Dr. David Cook, who has been on our show several times before, has been a member of the Theatre faculty here at the University of Tulsa for more than 30 years, and has announced that he'll retire at the end of this school year. Therefore, Cook is currently directing his final production for the TU Theatre Department: Thornton Wilder's iconic American masterpiece, "Our Town," which opens tomorrow night (Thursday the 8th) and runs through Sunday afternoon (the 11th) at the Chapman Theater in Kendall Hall on the TU campus.