There’s a lot to look forward to in 2019, from new restaurants to huge concerts and shows.
And don’t forget about new fun places to see, such as The Outsiders House Museum and the groundbreaking of OKPOP.
Here’s our list of great things to look forward to in Tulsa entertainment that should keep you busy all year long.
2019 to be busy year for restaurants
The waistline of the burgeoning restaurant scene in the Tulsa metro area seems to keep expanding every year, regardless of the economic outlook.
Based on a general perception of openings and closings over the past 12 months, 2018 was a very good year for dining out, and we already have much to look forward to in 2019.
Some of the following restaurants recently opened or will open soon. Some definitely won’t open until 2019.
In the fine-dining arena, Mahogany Prime Steakhouse will be leaving its location at 6823 S. Yale Ave., where it has been since 2000, for new quarters in the Shops at Warren Place, 4840 E. 61st St., and SMOKE Woodfire Grill, a fixture on Cherry Street, recently opened a second location as the anchor tenant in the SEVEN6MAIN project in downtown Owasso.
The Owasso complex also includes the recently opened Drip the Beverage Lab, a coffee shop, and soon-to-open MAD Eats, featuring chef-driven, diner-style food.
Gluten-free cooking has been a trend for several years, and those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities will want to try the recently opened New Era: Fine Fermentations, a brewery at 321 S. Frankfort Ave. that features all gluten-free brews and food.
Speaking of gluten-free, the soon-to-open Bobby O’s Slices + Pies, 1502 E. 11th St., will have a regular pizza kitchen and a separate gluten-free kitchen.
Among others, look for:
• The Coffee Blues, a coffee and cocktail spot across the street from Church Studio at 315 S. Trenton Ave.
• A full kitchen coming to Vintage Wine Bar, 324 E. First St.
• A big, new building for DoubleShot Coffee Co. at 1633 S. Boulder Ave.
• A second location for Phat Philly’s at 1105 N. Elm Place in Broken Arrow
• Juicy Seafood, a national chain, at 8215 E. 71st St.
• Tacos 4 Life, a regional chain that donates a portion of sales to Feed My Starving Children, at 10732 S. Memorial Drive.
• El Nopal Mexican & Latin American Cuisine, 121 E. Second St., Sand Springs.
BOK celebration continues
One of the best things about the BOK Center’s “10 for 10” concert series is it will spill over into 2019.
Ten blockbuster artists were sought for a 10th anniversary concert series, and eight of the artists have already left their mark. A Jan. 18 Metallica show and a Feb. 9 concert featuring Sir Elton John will complete the celebratory series.
For an encore, you can welcome homegrown country music superstar Carrie Underwood to the award-winning downtown arena Oct. 24. Other music artists scheduled to perform at the BOK Center in 2019 are Kelly Clarkson (Feb. 8), James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt (Feb.18), the Zac Brown Band (March 1), Weezer/Pixies (March 27), Luke Combs (May 10), The Avett Brothers (May 14), Shawn Mendes (July 20) and the Backstreet Boys (Aug. 28).
Comedy lovers can see the Harlem Globetrotters (Feb. 7), ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (Feb. 14) and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers (March 29) at the BOK Center. Kid-friendly acts coming to the venue include PJ Masks (March 14) and a Kidz Bop World Tour (June 14).
For information on BOK Center shows, go to bokcenter.com.
March madness returning
The NCAA basketball tournament, one of the most popular sporting events in the U.S., is coming back to Tulsa.
First- and second-round games will take place March 22-24 at the BOK Center. The facility will be an NCAA tournament site for a third time.
Which eight universities will bring their teams and fans to Tulsa in 2019? You’ll have to wait until selection Sunday to find out, then enjoy being a “Bracketville” community for a weekend. Actor Rob Lowe was among fans who showed up for the 2017 NCAA Tournament in Tulsa.
The NCAA hoops tournament will arrive less than two weeks after the Big 12 wrestling tournament, scheduled for March 9-10 at BOK Center.
The Outsiders House Museum is expected to open in March 2019.
For those who need an introduction, the Outsiders House, 731 N. St. Louis Ave., was the home where the Curtis brothers lived during the filming of the 1983 movie “The Outsiders.”
The movie, based on Tulsan S.E. Hinton’s novel, launched the careers of many young actors, including C. Thomas Howell, who returned to Tulsa in November and provided live commentary during bus tours of “The Outsiders” film sites. The tours were fundraisers for the Outsiders House, which was in danger of being lost to time before it was purchased and salvaged by House of Pain rapper Danny O’Connor.
The home is being restored to how it looked during the making of the movie. Memorabilia is being collected to turn the home into a museum devoted to “The Outsiders.”
All dressed up, somewhere to go
Cosplayers (or costumers, for those who aren’t familiar with the lingo) and lovers of pop culture will be blessed with opportunities to populate convention halls in 2019.
The 12th annual Tokyo in Tulsa convention will take place July 12-14 at Cox Business Center.
The folks behind Tokyo in Tulsa are planning two additional conventions: CrashLanded, an independent film, science and fiction event, and Heroic Tulsa, a comics, games and pop culture convention.
The Tulsa Pop Culture Expo is expected to return for a third annual celebrity-laden pop culture convention in 2019. The convention will be held the first weekend in November. Guests at the 2018 con included Brandon Routh and Katie Cassidy of the popular “Arrowverse” programs on The CW. For updates, go to tulsapopcultureexpo.com.
New, old concert venues providing options
A Tulsa landmark, the Brady Theater, will become the Tulsa Theater in 2019. Take your pick of shows, but John Mellencamp is returning there March 16 on the heels of his 2018 visit to Tulsa to receive the Woody Guthrie Prize.
Cain’s Ballroom, which oozes history, will continue to be a hot spot for concerts, beginning with the Hangover Ball on Jan. 1. Info: cainsballroom.com.
Area casinos continue to draw big crowds for concerts. On Valentine’s Day, you can have your pick of Styx at the River Spirit Casino Resort or the Commodores at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. If you want to laugh, pick between Sinbad on Jan. 12 at River Spirit and David Spade on Jan. 19 at Hard Rock.
The annual Rocklahoma music festival will again take place Memorial Day Weekend in Pryor. Info: rocklahoma.com.
OKPOP takes another step toward reality
All are looking forward to the future opening of the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture, which will showcase the talents of hundreds of Oklahomans, including musicians, actors, writers, cartoonists and artists who have donated works to the museum.
But these things happen in stages, like July’s unveiling of a rendering of what the building will look like across the street from Cain’s Ballroom, which was very cool.
The next step: an early 2019 groundbreaking, setting the stage for an opening in (fingers crossed) 2020.
The Osage Nation meets Scorsese and DiCaprio
First came the best-selling “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,” author David Grann’s book about dozens of Osage tribal members who were murdered after they became rich when oil was found on their land in the 1920s.
Then came the news that the rights to adapt a film of the book would include Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio starring and Martin Scorsese directing — and the goal is to start shooting in the summer of 2019.
Where will the film be shot? Will at least part of it be filmed in the Pawhuska area? Considering the star-studded casts of Scorsese movies, who else will be playing parts in this Oklahoma historical epic?
‘Watchmen’ in T-town
Comic book fans all over the world perked up at the news that HBO would be producing “Watchmen” as a series to appear in 2019, with an “extension” of the storytelling from the only graphic novel to appear on Time magazine’s list of “all-time 100 greatest novels.”
On a local level, we got excited when we heard that Tulsa’s Tim Blake Nelson will be filling a role in the series, for which details are being kept under wraps.
Local interest intensified when news came that the show will be set in present-day Tulsa, too.
“(It) does indeed take place in Tulsa. Though it shoots in Atlanta, great care is being taken in the production design to create an accurate representation,” Nelson told the Tulsa World during a recent interview.
There are HBO series, and then there are mega-events like “Watchmen,” which is likely to be one of the most high-profile TV events of the next year.
That ‘Hamilton’ guy
Easily the biggest thing about the arts in 2019 will be a little show about an illegitimate Caribbean immigrant who ended up helping to create a new nation before getting gunned down by a rival some 215 years ago.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton” comes to the Tulsa PAC courtesy of Celebrity Attractions for three weeks, Aug. 20-Sept. 8, and is almost assured of selling out all of the 57,000 or so seats that will be available.
But — as long has been the case in Tulsa — there is a great deal of intriguing, entertaining and enlightening shows that will be gracing Tulsa arts venues through the first half of 2019.
One example is another Celebrity Attractions offering, “The Play That Goes Wrong,” which will be in town Feb. 26-March 3. It’s notable because Celebrity Attractions rarely presents nonmusical shows as part of its season, but this send-up of old-fashioned murder mysteries and backstage catastrophes — with actors trying to perform as the set is literally coming apart around them — was hilarious enough for the company to make an exception.
Tulsa’s history of local theater is almost as lengthy and as colorful as the history of the city itself — Theatre Tulsa, for example, has been producing shows continuously since 1922.
And of the shows Theatre Tulsa has scheduled for the coming months, perhaps the most intriguing is “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night,” May 16-26.
This Tony Award-winning play by Simon Stephens, based on the best-selling novel by Mark Haddon, is about a teenager with a form of autism whose investigations into the mysterious demise of a neighbor’s dog leads to disturbing truths.
American Theatre Company will take on one of Stephen Sondheim’s masterworks, “Sunday in the Park with George,” Feb. 15-24. Inspired by Georges Seurat’s pointillist “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of Le Grand Jatte,” this musical examines the conflicts between love and art, commerce and integrity, and what it takes to go about “Finishing the Hat.”
The Tulsa PAC Trust’s Orbit Initiative, a communitywide endeavor to bring people from all parts of the city together through the performing arts, will culminate June 8 with a special production of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” that will feature all participants in the program — community theater in the grandest sense of the word.
Tulsa Ballet will present one of its most ambitious projects March 29-31, with the world premiere of “Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music,” which explores the composer’s struggles against the constraints of 19th-century Russian society as he was creating what would become some of the most beloved music of all time. Resident choreographer Ma Cong is creating the ballet, with a libretto by Oliver Peter Graber and sets and costumes by Tracy Grant Lord.
The company will also premiere the first ballet by Andy Blankenbuehler, the Tony Award-winning choreographer of “Hamilton,” as part of its “Signature Series” mixed bill, May 9-12.
The Signature Symphony at Tulsa Community College is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season, with concerts that include program suggestions from the orchestra’s audience.
One of those suggestions will be the re-creation of the orchestra’s first concert, “Bach & Sons,” which features music by J.S. Bach and several of his songs (including the notorious P.D.Q. Bach). The concert will be Jan. 26 at the VanTrease PACE.
The Tulsa Symphony Orchestra will join forces with homegrown pop-rock trio Hanson for its “String Theory” project, featuring new and classic Hanson songs arranged by David Campbell for full orchestra. The concert will be May 17 at the Tulsa PAC.
Tulsa Opera will send “The Little Prince” soaring Feb. 15 and 17, the first time the company has presented this Rachel Portman adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s fable since 2007 (the company was one of five involved in commissioning this work).
But the production that will likely garner the most attention is “Don Giovanni,” May 3 and 5, which will feature the U.S. debut of transgender baritone Lucia Lucas in the title role of Mozart’s operatic masterpiece. It will also be the first time a transgender woman will appear in a principal role on a U.S. opera stage.
On the walls
Philbrook Downtown will showcase two very different, very individual sides of the city, when it hosts “Larry Clark: Tulsa” and “Jason Lee: Oklahoma,” May 31. The museum will have on display the complete portfolio of photos that made up Clark’s controversial, now iconic book, while the photos by actor Lee chronicle his road trips through Tulsa and Oklahoma.
Scene writers Scott Cherry, Jimmie Tramel, James D. Watts Jr. and Michael Smith contributed to this story