Happy 35 Years and Many More
Years ago, I took my children to see Tulsa Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” at the PAC with my neighbor and her daughter, who was probably 4 or so at the time. My kids were maybe 5, 7 and 9. When the Nutcracker came on stage, I’ll never forget my neighbor’s daughter leaning over to her mom and whispering, “He forgot his pants!”
That’s just one of many memories that I have of the Tulsa PAC, which celebrates 35 years in March. Today, the staff of the PAC had a press conference to announce the anniversary and to thank those who had the vision to create a place where not only Tulsans, but people throughout the state and surrounding states could enjoy world-class performances. Two members of the original PAC Trust were honored today: John H. Williams and Robert J. LaFortune. A third member, Charles E. Norman, who is deceased, was also recognized in a video tribute.
Did you know that the slogan for the 1973 bond campaign for the building was “Everyone’s Place”? I didn’t. But it’s a fitting tag even today. The PAC truly is Everyone’s Place. Anyone can find a performance to love at the PAC.
Besides “The Nutcracker,” my family has enjoyed operas such as “Carmen” and “The Barber of Seville.” Many of our holidays included going to see “A Christmas Carol.” We’ve enjoyed a few Light Opera productions, a fabulous modern dance performance from a company brought in by Choregus Productions, several plays for children over the years, “Tommy,” “Rocky Horror,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Wicked” — once I start listing them, I’m surprised at how many things we’ve attended over the years! I could go on and on.
Probably my personal highlight was seeing “August, Osage County.”
The PAC also provides so many opportunities to introduce children and teens to live theater. Years ago, Bob from Sesame Street did a show at the PAC, and I interviewed him for TulsaKids. We put him on our cover. Over the years, the PAC Trust has provided wonderful, affordable family programming through their Imagination Series. The Tulsa Children’s Museum hosts their children’s concert series at the PAC. SummerStage gives local entertainers a chance to showcase their talents for the community. This week, you can see the Broadway musical “The Addams Family.” If you haven’t taken your family to a performance at the PAC, go to their website or visit our calendar and see what’s coming up.
Today, tickets go on sale for the “Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers,” which opens on March 17. The show will be a fun way to celebrate the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s 35th. They’ll be doing tours of the PAC for anyone who’s iinterested earlier that week, so watch for information on that.
At the press conference, I believe PAC Manager John Scott said that Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” was the first performance when the PAC opened in 1977. What a fitting opening for “Everyone’s Place.”