Friday, October 28, 2011



MEMPHIS, the 2010 Tony® Award Winner for Best Musical. makes its Oklahoma City debut at the Civic Center Music Hall November 8-13 for an engagement of eight performances.

MEMPHIS takes place in the smoky halls and underground clubs of the segregated 50’s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun falls in love with everything he shouldn’t:  rock and roll and an electrifying black singer.  MEMPHIS is an original story about the cultural revolution that erupted when his vision met her voice, and the music changed forever.  Come along on their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves -- filled with laughter, emotion and rock 'n' roll.

Critically acclaimed MEMPHIS won four 2010 Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan and Joe DiPietro), Best Book (Joe DiPietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan and Daryl Waters  MEMPHIS has also won four Outer Critic Circle Awards including Outstanding Choreography (Sergio Trujillo).

The show features a brand new Tony® winning score with music by Bon Jovi’s founding member and keyboardist David Bryan and lyrics by Bryan and Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change), who also pens the musical’s book. Bryan and DiPietro also collaborated on the award-winning off-Broadway hit, The Toxic Avenger. MEMPHIS is based on a concept by the late George W. George (producer of the Tony® nominated Bedroom Farce and the film My Dinner With Andre), with direction by Tony® nominee Christopher Ashley (Xanadu) and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, who is currently represented by three shows on Broadway (Memphis, Jersey Boys  and The Addams Family).
Charles Isherwood of the New York Times says, “David Bryan evokes the powerhouse funk of James Brown, the hot guitar riffs of Chuck Berry, the smooth harmonies of the Temptations, the silken, bouncy pop of the great girl groups of the period.”

MEMPHIS comes to Oklahoma City’s Civic Center Music Hall November 8-13 for eight performances.  Tickets may be purchased via phone (800) 869-1451, (405) 297-2264, in person at the Civic Center Music Hall Box Office or online at  Groups of 10 or more may call Celebrity Attractions at (800) 869-1451 ext. 220 for a discount.

Get social with Celebrity Attractions by becoming a fan on  Follow the Oklahoma City engagement of MEMPHIS on or with hashtag #MemphisOKC. 

MEMPHIS is presented by Celebrity Attractions and is part of Celebrity Attractions 2011-2012 Broadway Season which includes THE ADDAMS FAMILY, STOMP, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, the add-on productions of MAMMA MIA! and the Tulsa engagement of JERSEY BOYS.

From the press release 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Miki Kawamura as Swanhilda. Photo provided
By Nancy Condit

Oklahoma City Ballet dancers Miki Kawamura and Yui  Sato, and artistic director Robert Mills in a major character role led the 21 member company in a well performed, full evening of a classic comedy ballet last night at the Civic Center Music Hall.  The last performance is today at 2 p.m. at the Civic Center, with a doll parade of children's favorite dolls at 1:30 p.m.

One of the true pleasures and measures of the ballet's success was the laughter of children when Doctor Coppelius, Mills, chased Swanhilda, Kawamura, and her friends around his laboratory after drugging Franz, Sato.  The miming gestures of what each character wanted and the huge creeping steps of Doctor Coppelius after Swanhilda's huge steps toward the closet where the doll Coppelia was kept were  very effective in this last major ballet of the romantic period.

The familiar score is by Leo Delibes, and the original choreography and libretto are by Arthur Saint-Leon, with additional choreography by artistic director Robert Mills and ballet master Jacob Sparso.  The ballet is based on two stories by E. T. A. Hoffman, Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll).  Hoffman also wrote The Nutcracker, the story of a nutcracker that came to life, and the next ballet that OKC Ballet will present.  The lovely costumes and scenery were courtesy of the Eugene Ballet Company of Eugene, Oregon.  Lighting was by Dale Hall.

Kawamura, cast in the role of a young woman, danced well, with quick and precise footwork.  Sato, in his first role with the company, hung in the air in a leap at the end of act one.  His solos were generally good.  Kawamura and Sato partnered excellently, especially in the third act when the groom lifted the bride onto his shoulder.

Swanhilda's friends delicacy was particularly apparent when Mills, clad in old fashioned very baggy knee britches, and wearing a tightly curled grey wig, clunkily chased them around and out of his laboratory. The friends were danced by Sarah Chun, Stephanie Foraker-Pitts, Amanda Herd, and Callye McCollum. They performed beautifully throughout the ballet. Grace Medaugh as Dawn and Darli Iakovleva as Prayer danced well in small roles in the grand finale.

The company, with eight new members, danced extremely well.  The czardas, a Hungarian folk dance, was particularly enjoyable. The women were fluid, more than capable, and lovely.  The men are much improved, with greater height, and overall danced well.

Coppelia as presented last night was a grand ballet, with village scenes and dances to attract young men and women to each other, an act in a mad scientist's laboratory where the dolls come alive, and a grand finale third act wedding scene filled with dancing and a cast supplemented by members from the Oklahoma City dance community, and completed with young women holding aloft hoops of flowers while white and red rose petals fill the air around the bride, groom and celebrants.

c. by Nancy Condit

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


By Nancy Condit

The Oklahoma City Ballet will open its 40th season this Saturday and Sunday, October 23rd and 24th,
in the Civic Center Music Hall with the classical comic ballet Coppelia.

"The company is dancing wonderfully and I am very proud of this production.  In addition, I am dancing the role of Dr. Coppelius!  Well, it’s a character role without much dancing, but I am having a great time!" wrote artistic director Robert Mills in an email. 

The full-length ballet, which premiered in 1870, is also identified as the last great ballet of the romantic ballet period by Jack Anderson, retired dance critic of the New York Times, in his book Ballet & Modern Dance, A Concise History, 2nd edition. 

The story is that of an inventor, Doctor Coppelius, who has made a life-sized doll.  It is so real that Franz, the village swain, is infatuated with it.  He drops Swanhilda for the doll, who takes the doll's place and pretends to come to life. Photo provided.

The score is by Leo Delibes, and the original choreography and libretto are by Arthur Saint-Leon, with additional choreography by artistic director Robert Mills and ballet master Jacob Sparso.  The ballet is based on two stories by E. T. A. Hoffman, Der Sandmann (The Sandman), and Die Puppe (The Doll).  Hoffman also wrote The Nutcracker, the story of a nutcracker which came to life.  The ballet is enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

Dancing the leading roles are Miki Kawarmura as Swanhilda, and new company dancer Yui Sato as Franz.
Artistic director Robert Mills is dancing the character role of Dr. Coppelius.

Coppelia will be performed at Saturday, October 22nd, and at on Sunday the 23rd.  Children are encouraged to bring their favorite dolls to the doll parade at before the Sunday matinee.   Saturday evening at , Camille Hardy, associate professor of dance history from the University of Oklahoma, will give a lecture on the history of Coppelia in the south lobby of the Civic Center.

Tickets for Coppelia range from $52 to $31 for adults, and $47 to $26 for seniors.  Four packs are available in the mezzanine for families of four for $50 by calling 843-9898.

For more information visit the website or call 843-9898.

 c. Nancy Condit
See my article with Robert Mills at 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dancers at the Faerie Ball. Photo c. by Nancy Condit

By Nancy Condit

A rolly polly baby with a shocking pink tutu around her middle, and tights stripped around her leg was held aloft by her mother as the green, filled with children, parents and friends of all ages, gathered and waited for the tenth annual Fairie Ball put on by Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan on the Paseo Saturday, September 24th.  The ball is part of the vision of artistic director Lorrie Keller.
One of StarDanceSwan's volunteers paint's a patient guest's face.  Photo c. by Nancy Condit

Adding to the ball are the face painting and flowers and greenery offered by volunteers. A snake of patient children of all ages waited to have their faces and arms adorned with painted flowers and vines and bees by one of several volunteers, Jeanne Flanigan. She laughingly recalled, “For the first time, after it got dark the parents lit the children’s cheeks with their cell phones so we could see to paint.”

Even the youngest came to the ball, appearing as their fance took them.  Photos c. by Nancy Condit

After the ball, a family with two small lady fairies, Addison, 7, and Taryn, 5, in her shopping basket ended up at Walmart for cookies.  The mother, Stephanie Heck, couldn’t wait to tell this writer, “Such a great thing, such a great activity for the community.”

The dancers came as unicorns, butterflies, a pied piper, fairies with enough calf length tulle to dress the cast of Swan Lake, and fanciful creatures like fairies, and beings of nature like bugs and butterflies as they were invited into the garden by Keller.
Black was this duo's choice.  They appear to have traveled from Polynesia.  Photo c. by Nancy Condit

 Two creatures, perhaps fairies, six or seven years old, a girl dressed in glittering black and a boy in the black of night and a very colorful lei – they probably came from the Western Islands -- stood side by side for the photographer.

One terribly proud father introduced his blond haired son, “He’s a newt,” – dressed in a checked shirt, khaki shorts, cowboy hat and cowboy boots, carrying a newt-sized trumpet.  His mother carried the camera.

Two very thirsty raven haired fairies – one posed for the camera while the other continued to bury her face in her glass, nectar from the single street vendor, attended from the Far East, one clad in lavender and the other in blue tulle.
Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan Troup performs at the Faerie Ball's beginning.  Photo c. by Nancy Condit 

After a delicate dance by the Theatre Upon a StarDanceSwan dance troupe around a high moon with ribbons for dancing hanging to the ground, to music by Steve Linn of Ojas, the children came to the ball themselves.  Linn continued to play his free form music for the ball.  The dance green was lit by spotlights of various shades of pinks and yellows.  Elizabeth Muller was another artistic for the ball.

Many of the invited dancers chose to dance alone – twirling, running, and balancing on tiptoe in lovely curves over the green grass. Keller described two boys as really rockin’ as soon as the music started. The piper danced to his own merry tune.  A changing group dancers circled, singing “Ashes, ashes, all fall down,” while young adolescent girls put their heads together, planning their circle dance.

All of the dancers were certain about what they wanted to do, whether it was instinctive or planned, by themselves or in circles.   

The ball ended gently as the dancers and audience withdrew into the night, until next year. 

c. Nancy Condit 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Photo provided

By Nancy Condit

Reduxion Theatre is offering a series of workshops in various Metropolitan Libraries.  The first one on
the the music and meaning of Shakespeare's language. Shakespeare - Making the Language Connection, was Shakespeare especially from the actor's and reader's theater perspective.
Artistic director Tyler Woods presented the hour workshop well for anyone who is interested in the music and meaning of language.

Other workshops in the series are comedic combat, and Shakespeare improv, with the following schedule:

Comedic Combay
Saturday, October 8 at 11 a.m.
Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave.

Shakespeare - Making the Language Connection
Thursday, October 13 at 6 p.m.
Choctaw Library, 2525 Muzzy

Comedic Combat
Saturday, October 15 at 11 a.m.
Del City Library, 4509 S.E. 15th

Shakespeare Improv
Monday, October 17 at 5:30 p.m.
Midwest City Library, 8143 E. Reno

Workshops are free, and no reservations are necessary.  Call 606-3833 with questions.

Reduxion Theatre Company © 2011

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