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Oklahoma City Zoo Launches Webcam to Show Adopted Tiger Cub

Posted by admin on August 12, 2017 with Comments Closed

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A tiger cub who was rejected by her mother at the Philadelphia Zoo can be seen bonding with her adoptive mother and brothers in Oklahoma via live-streaming video.

The Oklahoma City Zoo launched the "Tiger Cub Cam " Thursday, showing Zoya with her new mother Lola and brothers Eko, Ramah and Gusti playing, feeding and sleeping indoors. The cubs are expected to move outdoors in mid-September.

Lola gave birth July 8 and Zoya was born July 9.

Zoya is an Amur, also known as a Siberian tiger, while Lola and her cubs are Sumatran tigers. Zoya was sent to Oklahoma City because the two tiger subspecies are similar.

Amur and Sumatran tigers are endangered, with fewer than 500 of each believed to be living in the wild.

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Interviews and Photos: Oklahoma City’s Jewel Box Theatre Celebrating 60th Season with Classics, Comedies and Musicals

Posted by admin on August 7, 2017 with Comments Closed

From left, Emma Poindexter, Michael James and Jacob Dever appear in a publicity photo for Jewel Box Theatre’s 2017-18 season opener "To Kill a Mockingbird." Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

A version of this story appears in the Sunday Life section of The Oklahoman.

Celebrating six decades
Jewel Box Theatre’s 60th anniversary season takes flight with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

For six decades, Jewel Box Theatre has kept its intimate stage bustling with classics and comedies, musicals and dramas.

“It’s great stories told really well. I think they do a good job with that,” said Ben Hall, a mainstay in the Oklahoma City theater community. “It’s great to see a theater that’s been around 60 years. That’s pretty impressive and pretty exciting. There are some folks that have gone on to pretty decent careers, and when you talk to almost all of them – whether it’s (professional actors) Jonathan Beck Reed or Stacey Logan or whomever – they’ve all got one or two Jewel Box stories in their pocket to tell.”

Sponsored by First Christian Church, the Jewel Box is the oldest continuously operating community theater in Oklahoma City.

“We are here for 60 years because of great audiences who are faithful and loyal, open to new ideas,” said Chuck Tweed, the Jewel Box’s longtime production director. “And we have a great, working board where every single member of that 22-member board actually does something, and I think that combination works.”

The theater is celebrating its 60th anniversary season with a couple of classic titles as well as four Jewel Box debuts that call to mind some of the most popular shows in its long history.

“Trying to put a season together of something that people are gonna want to see is obviously the bottom line,” said Tweed, adding that the First Christian Church’s decision to put its historic property up for sale isn’t expected to affect the theater in the immediate future.

“For the 60th, we are going to start with something new: some new actors. The theater has been around since before most of them were born. … It’s nice that after 60 years you’re moving along with new plays, with new actors.”

Jewel Box Theatre opens its 60th season with the classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" Aug. 17 through Sept. 10. Poster design by Jime Wimmer
As part of its 2017-18 season, Jewel Box Theatre presents the venerable farce "Charley’s Aunt" March 1-25. Poster design by Jime Wimmer

Classic tales

The Jewel Box will open its 2017-18 season Aug. 17-Sept. 10 with the beloved American classic “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Hall will direct Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about an upstanding lawyer’s attempts to defend a wrongly accused black man.

Set in the 1930s in a fictional small town in Alabama, the Jewel Box will present the stage version that features Atticus’ grown-up daughter Jean Louise (AKA Scout) as the narrator, Tweed said.

“She starts it telling us a story of her past, and then the past comes to life. And then she comes in and out during the show to relay to them what’s going to happen and her memory of it,” Tweed said.

“It’s a classic. What a way to start the season. The name alone sells it. People know this story, and sometimes coming in to see a production that you already know … it’s like putting your feet in comfy slippers.”

Along with its iconic characters and story, Hall said “To Kill a Mockingbird” features themes that remain relevant.

“It’s nice to revisit a story that’s a great story, something that’ll hold up – like this is one. I think possibly now with the social-political conversations that people are having around the country, this might even be more pertinent than it has been at times in the intervening years,” Hall said. “The whole question of how do we see each other, how are people treated under the law, unconscious discrimination, those kinds of things are kind of in the public’s mind right now.”

In spring, Jewel Box will stage the venerable British comedy “Charley’s Aunt,” which was first produced at the Royalty Theatre in London on 1892. The OKC theater will mount Brandon Thomas’ madcap farce March 1-25 under the direction of Richard Lemin.

“Charley’s Aunt” centers on a pair of pals who invite their lady-loves and their families to meet a rich relative during her planned visit from Brazil. When the millionaire aunt cancels her travel plans at the last minute, the fellows persuade a schoolmate to disguise himself as Charley’s aunt so they can go ahead with the important introductions. Naturally, the real aunt turns up after all, and comedic chaos ensues.

“It’s an old, old classic,” Tweed said. “‘Some Like It Hot,’ ‘Charley’s Aunt,’ any of those shows where you have some cross-dressing going on, it’s always funny. … For some reason, a guy in a dress, it’s funny. One we did last year, ‘Leading Ladies,’ had guys who were looking for jobs and had to dress up as women because they were trying to get an inheritance. It’s just always funny.”

As part of its 60th season, Jewel Box Theatre performs the holiday musical revue "Plaid Tidings" Nov. 9 through Dec. 3. Poster design by Jime Wimmer
As part of its 2017-18 season, Jewel Box Theatre performs the musical sequel "Nunsense II: The Second Coming" Jan. 18 to Feb. 11. Poster design by Jime Wimmer

Musical sequels

The theater will pay tribute to two of the most popular shows in its history by performing for the first time a pair of musical sequels: “Plaid Tidings,” planned for Nov. 9-Dec. 3 under the direction of Scott Hynes, and “Nunsense II: The Second Coming,” which Shawna Linck will direct Jan. 18-Feb. 11.

“We’re doing two musicals back-to-back, and that will be a first for us,” Tweed said. “Our audiences are just the best. They’re so receptive to everything, but we still wanted something familiar in there.”

Stuart Ross’ “Plaid Tidings” is the Christmas follow-up to the popular musical revue “Forever Plaid,” which pays nostalgic homage all-male vocal quartets of the 1950s and ’60s.

After returning from the afterlife to play a gig in “Forever Plaid,” the dearly departed Plaids — Francis, Jinx, Smudge, and Sparky – put on a second posthumous performance in “Plaid Tidings,” when a phone call from the heavenly Rosemary Clooney dispatches them to bring holiday harmony to a discordant world.

“For ‘Nunsense’ and for that show (‘Forever Plaid’), we’ve had as many as over 30 people on a waiting list for a night,” Tweed said. “‘Nunsense’ is the most-produced show we’ve ever done. Over the years we’ve done it like three times … for 125 performances. It always sells out. Seeing this ‘Nunsense’ title, they’re going to come in really ready.”

After putting on a musical fundraiser to bury their dearly departed fellow nuns in “Nunsense,” the Sisters of Hoboken are bitten by the acting bug and plan a thank-you show in Dan Goggin’s sequel.

As part of its 60th season, Jewel Box Theatre performs Michael McKeever’s comedy "Suite Surrender" Sept. 28 through Oct. 22. Poster design by Jime Wimmer
As part of its 2017-18 season, Jewel Box Theatre presents the comedy "Always a Bridesmaid" April 12 through May 6. Poster design by Jime Wimmer

Favorite writers

Plus, Jewel Box will debut two uproarious titles from playwrights whose works have been big hits in recent years. Fans of the TV show “Feud: Bette and Joan” might be drawn to the door-slamming comedy “Suite Surrender,” by Michael McKeever, whose “37 Postcards” was a popular selection for the theater last season.

Set in 1942, “Suite Surrender”is about two feuding Hollywood divas who descend upon the luxurious Palm Beach Royale Hotel, only to be accidentally assigned the same room. Directed by Don Taylor, the Jewel Box premiere is set for Sept. 28-Oct. 22.

“Nothing gets anybody like a feud. Taylor Swift and Katy Perry would be a good example of one that’s been going on a long time, so it’s still relevant. You get a feud going, and everybody just homes in on it, for good or bad. In this case, it’s a comedy, so it’s funny to watch all of the mistaken identities … and shenanigans that go on,” Tweed said. “Then, there’s really a surprise ending that nobody will see coming.”

With Doobie Potter directing, the 60th anniversary season will close April 12-May 6 with “Always a Bridesmaid,” another tale of zany Southern women by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, who penned one of the smashes of Jewel Box’s 2014-15 season.

“Once they (audiences) find out it’s the three people that wrote ‘Dixie Swim Club,’ they’re gonna go, ‘Oh yeah,’” Tweed said.

“It’s about five women who vow they will always be there when the others get married. At prom, they vow that — they just didn’t realize there were going to be so many weddings. They keep getting married or engaged or whatever over this span of time.”

As the Jewel Box marks its 60th season, Tweed is celebrating an impressive 40-year span as production director. During his tenure, the Jewel Box has boosted its number of season ticket holders from 237 to 2,700 and started such programs as its annual Gem Awards, a national playwriting competition and a behind-the-scenes theater boot camp.

“We’re lucky, and I know it. But nobody does it alone. We have a board, we have an audience, and we’ve taken this journey together. And we have some people that have almost been here as long as I have,” Tweed said.

“It’s like the old adage: find a job you like and you’ll never work a day in your life. … It’s still as exciting today as it was when I first started. I first started doing plays in junior high school. My drama teacher, fell in love with her — Faye Garten was her name – and she gave me my life. So, I get to play every day. Who wouldn’t want to do that?”

From left, Emma Poindexter, Jacob Dever, Mark Ingham and Tad Thurston appear in a publicity photo for Jewel Box Theatre’s 2017-18 season opener "To Kill a Mockingbird." Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

ON STAGE

Jewel Box Theatre’s 60th anniversary season

“To Kill a Mockingbird”

When: Aug. 17-Sept. 10.

“Suite Surrender”

When: Sept. 28-Oct. 22.

“Plaid Tidings”

When: Nov. 9-Dec. 3.

“Nunsense II: The Second Coming”

When: Jan. 18-Feb. 11.

“Charley’s Aunt”

When: March 1-25.

“Always a Bridesmaid”

When: April 12-May 6.

Where: Jewel Box Theatre, 3700 N Walker.

Information: 521-1786 or www.jewelboxtheatre.org.

-BAM

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Oklahoma City Public Schools Kicks off New Year

Posted by admin on August 2, 2017 with Comments Closed

Volunteer Ernest Odunze gives high-fives to all the children at the beginning of the first day of school at Thelma Parks Elementary School in Oklahoma City, Okla. Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman Rain greeted about 40,000 Oklahoma City Public Schools students who returned to classrooms across the state’s largest district […]

Oklahoma City Council and Omni Hotels & Resorts Move Ahead on Convention Center Hotel

Posted by admin on July 28, 2017 with Comments Closed

Omni Hotels & Resorts and the City of Oklahoma City reached a public financing agreement last week to deliver a convention center hotel to downtown. (Image HKS, Inc. / Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority / provided) In three years, Oklahoma City will be home to a $288 million, state-of-the-art convention center with more than 275,000 […]

Thunder Announce Nick Collison Will Stay in Oklahoma City

Posted by admin on July 23, 2017 with Comments Closed

The Oklahoma City Thunder and veteran forward Nick Collison have agreed to a new contract, the team announced Friday. Collison signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal for the veteran’s minimum, according to multiple reports. "We are excited that Nick is returning for his 10th season with the Thunder and know he will bring tremendous depth […]

Blogtable: Will the Oklahoma City Thunder Be Significantly Better Next Season?

Posted by admin on July 18, 2017 with Comments Closed

The Oklahoma City Thunder made a big splash by trading for Paul George. MORE: Paul George says Westbrook and Durant are ‘good again’ Are you convinced OKC will be significantly better next season? Steve Aschburner: I’ll skip any quibbling over what we mean by “significant” and just say yes. For this season, sure, adding a […]

Thunder Fans Gave Paul George an Unbelievable Welcome at the Oklahoma City Airport

Posted by admin on July 13, 2017 with Comments Closed

Thunder fans had their collective hearts broken when Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for the Golden State Warriors last year. After an MVP season from Russell Westbrook, the Thunder welcomed another superstar to OKC (who will probably break their hearts again in a year). Fans were absolutely thrilled on Tuesday to greet Paul George at […]

Raymond Felton, Oklahoma City Thunder Reportedly Agree to 1-Year Contract

Posted by admin on July 8, 2017 with Comments Closed

The Oklahoma City Thunder and free-agent point guard Raymond Felton agreed to terms Friday on a one-year deal, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes. Felton, 33, averaged 6.7 points and 2.4 assists last season with the Los Angeles Clippers. A 12-year veteran, Felton should immediately slot in as Russell Westbrook’s backup and provide supplementary scoring along […]

Rudy Gay Leaves Oklahoma City Thunder Without Deal Despite Enes Kanter Tweet

Posted by admin on July 3, 2017 with Comments Closed

Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (L) goes to the basket as Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (C) and Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (R) defend on January 10 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA July 2 (UPI) — Despite an Enes Kanter tweet featuring Rudy Gay’s name next […]

Oklahoma City Rejoices in the Arrival of Paul George

Posted by admin on July 3, 2017 with Comments Closed

Oklahoma City is currently rejoicing in the arrival of Paul George. The NBA franchise here, the Oklahoma City Thunder, is a team that once soared to serious heights, only to be brought down to Earth. The city rejoiced when the New Orleans Hornets temporarily called OKC home as their home city recovered from Katrina. The […]