Two acclaimed shows that dominated the 2019 Tony Awards — the revisionist revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma” and “Hadestown,” the unique interpretation of the myth of Orpheus and Euridyce — will highlight Celebrity Attractions’ 2020-2021 lineup.
The season, which was officially announced at an event Monday morning at the Tulsa PAC, will also include the musical adaptations of three hit films — “Mean Girls,” “Tootsie” and “Pretty Woman: The Musical” — along with the return of Disney’s “The Lion King.”
Rounding out the season will be “Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville,” a jukebox musical built around Buffett’s popular songs and the lifestyle his music evokes.
Monday’s event included a video appearance by Buffett and a live performance of “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King.”
“Oklahoma!” is the winner of the 2019 Tony Award for best revival of a musical and will be an add-on to the regular season, said Kristin Dotson, president of Celebrity Attractions. It will be in Tulsa on Jan. 5-10 and is being presented in partnership with the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust.
Jay Krottinger, who with partner Ryan Jude Tanner is one of the associate producers of “Oklahoma!” said he was “excited and proud of this partnership between Celebrity Attractions and the PAC Trust and that it will give Tulsa and the surrounding community the chance to see what the rest of the country has experienced with this extraordinary re-imagined musical.”
Director Daniel Fish’s revival of “Oklahoma!” generated controversy, as well as praise, as this version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic musical takes a much darker view of this well-known story.
Without altering any of the show’s dialogue or lyrics, this “Oklahoma!” has been stripped down to reveal the darker truths inherent in this story of a community that deals in its own way with an outsider and how the violence of frontier life has shaped modern America.
The New Yorker said this production “lets us experience Rodgers & Hammerstein’s greatness anew,” while Frank Rich of New York Magazine wrote, “This production shocked me and moved me. This is the ‘Oklahoma!’ that was there all along.”
The show’s lead producer, Eva Price, said in a statement, “I always marvel at how in 1943, Rodgers & Hammerstein were writing about people living in 1907 in a way that directly speaks to 2019, 2020 and beyond. Our revival of ‘Oklahoma!’ weaves relevant, topical and current themes into the storytelling, without changing a word of the text or a lyric.
“Somehow this production allows us to hear these classic songs and text more clearly,” Price said. “The music in ‘Oklahoma!’ feels like newly written anthems of hope, pain, optimism, and community; and they express so clearly what it really means to be an American. We’re thrilled to bring the show directly to the heartland with our friends at Celebrity Attractions, Tulsa PAC Trust and their loyal Tulsa audiences.”
“Hadestown,” which won eight Tony Awards in 2019, will bring the season to a close June 15-20, 2021.
Written by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and directed by Rachel Chavkin, “Hadestown” intertwines two mythic tales — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and King Hades and his wife, Persephone — as it invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back.
Mitchell’s beguiling melodies and Chavkin’s poetic imagination pit industry against nature, doubt against faith and fear against love. Performed by a vibrant ensemble of actors, dancers and singers, “Hadestown” is a haunting and hopeful theatrical experience that grabs you and never lets go.
“Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville” will sail into the Tulsa PAC on Aug. 18-23. The musical combines some of the biggest hits from Buffett’s catalog, including “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” “Son of a Son of a Sailor,” “Come Monday” and “Margaritaville.” It is a story about a pair of career women who take one last girl’s trip to a small Caribbean island before one of them gets married and how their lives become complicated by two of the denizens of the rundown bar on the island.
“Mean Girls” comes to Tulsa on Sept. 15-20. This musical, which is still playing on Broadway, is based on the hit 2004 film written by Tina Fey, who also wrote the musical’s book. Composer Jeff Richmond and lyricist Nell Benjamin wrote the score, and the production was directed by Casey Nicholaw (“The Book of Mormon”).
The titular “Girls” are a trio of pretty but ruthless teenagers who rule their high school. When a naïve newcomer to the school decides to take on, and take down, the “Mean Girls,” she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.
Disney’s “The Lion King” will return to Tulsa for a two-week engagement Nov. 11-29. This will be the show’s third time to be presented in Tulsa and, as always, will require the Chapman Music Hall to be reconfigured so that the parade of animals that make up the show’s opening number can promenade among the audience.
Based on the Academy Award-winning animated film and featuring the music and lyrics of Elton John and Tim Rice, the stage musical of “The Lion King” showcased the innovative work of director Julie Taymor, using advanced puppetry to make the animals of the African savanna come to life. It has been seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and continues to play to packed houses on Broadway.
A struggling actor named Michael Dorsey is so determined to be cast in a role — any role — that he takes on the persona of a woman and finds his ideas about acting, romance and life turned upside down in “Tootsie,” which will be presented Feb. 9-14, 2021. Based on the hit comedy that starred Dustin Hoffman, “Tootsie” features a Tony Award-winning book by Robert Horn and a score by Tony winner David Yazbek.
A modern take on the Cinderella story, “Pretty Woman: The Musical” will be in Tulsa on April 13-18, 2021. Based on the film that launched Julia Roberts to stardom, the musical version was created by a Who’s Who of the entertainment world. Grammy Award winner Brian Adams and his writing partner Jim Vallance wrote the original score, the book is the work of the film’s original director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J.F. Lawton, and the production is directed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, who has shown a knack for helping films transition to the stage (“Hairspray,” “Kinky Boots,” “Legally Blonde”).
All productions presented by Celebrity Attractions will be in the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa PAC.
Current season subscribers will be mailed their renewal forms later this month. Subscribers will also have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the add-on production of “Oklahoma!”
Tickets for new season subscribers will become available, and will be announced, at a later date. To be notified of when new subscriptions go on sale, and more information about the 2020-2021 season, go to celebrityattractions.com.