Acting (on Stage or Screen)

Many people have been incorrectly praised as a "Renaissance Man," but the phrase perfectly describes Mr. John Lurie. Music, acting, painting, writing -- Lurie has really done it all. And he's nowhere near finished creating things. With a long-gestating memoir just being published and a second season of HBO's "Painting with John" now in production, the indie legend kindly agreed to join us recently for a wide-ranging chat.

On this edition of ST, we look into the upcoming Tulsa Chautauqua 2021, a virtual festival happening next week (June 8th through the 12th) on the theme of "20th Century Visionaries: Catalysts for Change." For this series of events -- which will be presented this year in an online-only format -- five different scholar/performers will offer entertaining and educational presentations and workshops on the lives of Gene Rodenberry, Gertrude Bell, Marshall McLuhan, Marie Curie, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

(Note: This interview first aired back in February.) Our guest is the writer and film historian Mark Harris, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is a biography of Mike Nichols (1931-2014). Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, the young Nichols, along with his brother and his parents, escaped the Nazis in 1939 by relocating to the United States. Nichols went on to have a long, remarkably creative career in show business, thriving as a film and theater director, actor, producer, and comedian.

We're pleased to welcome back to our program the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is "Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic." The book employs in-depth interviews with the film's director, stars, crew, casting team, and others to provide the definitive account of an American movie like no other. One of the most innovative and daring motion pictures of its time, Midnight Cowboy won three Oscars, including Best Picture...and it was the first film ever to get an "X" rating.

Our guest is the writer and film historian Mark Harris, whose newest book, which he tells us about, is a biography of Mike Nichols (1931-2014). Born Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin, the young Nichols, along with his brother and his parents, escaped the Nazis in 1939 by relocating to the United States. Nichols went on to have a long, remarkably creative career in show business, thriving as a film and theater director, actor, producer, and comedian. As a director, he was known and celebrated for helping his actors deliver particularly strong performances.

Our guest on ST is James Poniewozik, the chief TV critic at The New York Times. He joins us to discuss his widely hailed new book, "Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America." As was noted of this incisive work of cultural criticism and American history in the pages of Bookforum: "The smartest, most original, most unexpectedly definitive account of the rise of Trump and Trumpism we've had so far.

Photo by Uncovering Oklahoma

Our guest on this edition of ST is the OKC-based travel and humor writer, Shelby Simpson. She's the author of a book on travel called "Good Globe," but it's her more recent book, "We're All Bad in Bed," a raunchy retelling of epic bedroom and intimacy failures, that has led to a live show which will appear in Tulsa soon. "Bad in Bed Live" is an unusual book-reading event featuring 1990s hip-hop, dancers, multi-media effects, and audience participation.

After debuting last year as part of the Circle Cinema's 90th birthday bash, the Circle Cinema Film Festival is back in 2019 with a rich assortment of films as well as various art, music, and cultural experiences. Our guests are Clark Wiens, a founder of the Circle Cinema Foundation, and Chuck Foxen, the film programmer at the Circle. They tell us about many of the films and special guests who come to Tulsa as a part of this gala festival, which happens from the 11th through the 15th.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about "The Gun Show," a critically acclaimed one-person play by the Oregon-based playwright, E.M. Lewis. It's being staged at the Nightingale Theater (1416 East 4th Street) through January 26th by the Midwestern Theatre Troupe, and Ms. Lewis is our guest today. As she tells us, this play aims to candidly and sincerely present both sides of the gun-control issue through a series of distinct yet related scenes or vignettes. More about the play is posted here.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the Tulsa-based playwright Ilan Kozlowski, whose two-act dramatic comedy, "Shades of White" will be staged at the Tulsa PAC on June 22nd and 23rd. As noted of this work at the Tulsa PAC website: "Set in Tulsa in 1996 -- the 75th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre -- [this play] explores the relationships between an Israeli immigrant and a former member of the Ku Klux Klan and their wives. Narrow-minded Dr. Whitehill and his crone of a wife, Birdie, are set in their miserable ways until Dr.

Our guest is Bernard Uzan, a witty and insightful 50-year veteran of the performing arts industry, who has worked with several different opera and theatrical companies over the years in a range of positions (including a bit of directorial work with Tulsa Opera back in the 1980s). He'll be the stage director for Puccini's "Turandot," to be presented on April 27th and 29th at the Tulsa PAC. (More info on that production is posted here.)

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with the Austin-based, Montana-raised filmmaker Alex Smith, who's currently visiting TU in order to screen and answer questions about his feature film, "Walking Out." (The film will be shown tonight, the 13th, at the Lorton Performance Center; the screening is free to the public.) Smith and his twin brother Andrew work together on various film and TV projects, and "Walking Out" is their most recent movie.

On this broadcast of ST, we chat with Laura Skoch, a Visiting Faculty Member with the Theatre Department here at The University of Tulsa. She's directing the new TU Theatre production of George Orwell's "1984," which opens tonight (the 22nd) in Kendall Hall on the TU campus and runs through the 25th. As Skoch relates during our interview, this decidedly multi-media play, like Orwell's classic novel, is mainly about how people seek out both meaning and hope in a world of lies, suppression, fear, and distortion.

On this edition of ST, we learn about "Four Chords and a Gun," a newly created non-musical play that looks at the iconic punk band known as The Ramones -- and in particular, at their efforts to record an album with the eccentric yet legendary music producer, Phil Spector. The play was written by John Ross Bowie, an actor best known for his roles on TV's "Speechless" and "The Big Bang Theory." As we learn on today's show, "Four Chords and a Gun" focuses on the years 1979 and 1980, when The Ramones stood on the very edge of breaking into stardom.

Earlier this summer, the Tulsa-based theatre company, Clark Youth Theatre, was honored to perform at the very first YouthFest during the American Association of Community Theatre's 2017 National Festival. Only a handful of youth theatre companies from across the U.S. were invited to participate in the festival, which happened in Rochester, Minnesota. At this special gathering, Clark Youth Theatre staged "Snow Angel," by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, as our guest today tells us.

What can American motion pictures tell us about the American South, and what can the South tell us about the movies? Our guest is Robert Jackson, an Associate Professor of English here at the University of Tulsa.

Theatre Tulsa -- founded in 1922 -- is the longest-running local theatre west of the Mississippi River, and the seventh oldest in the United States. To mark its 95th anniversary, the company will present a special presentation this weekend at the Tulsa PAC. The show, featuring a cast of one hundred or more, is called "Local Landmark, National Treasure: An Epic Concert Celebrating 95 Years of Theatre Tulsa" -- and it will be staged June 23rd and 24th at 8pm, and then on the 25th at 2pm.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we learn about "The Light Fantastic, or In the Wood," a new play that will be staged by the locally based Heller Theatre Company tonight (the 19th), tomorrow night (the 20th), and Sunday afternoon (the 21st) at the Nightingale Theatre in downtown Tulsa, which is located at 1416 East 4th St. Our guests are David Blakely, who wrote this play, and Susan Apker, who is the president of Heller Theatre Company (or HTC).

On this edition of StudioTulsa, an interesting chat with Basil Twist, the New York City-based puppeteer who was a MacArthur genius grant recipient in 2015. He has been universally acclaimed for his puppet-related design, construction, choreography, staging, and other work on productions such as "Symphonie Fantastique," "Dogugaeshi," "Red Beads", "Petrushka," "Hansel and Gretel," "Master Peter's Puppet Show," and so on.

Photo Credit: Wendy Mutz

On this edition of our show, we learn about a newly created original musical called "Pryor Rendering," which is being staged from today, the 13th, through Sunday, the 16th, at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center (at 2nd and Cincinnati). Tulsa's American Theatre Company has joined forces with the Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre and the University of Oklahoma to create this work. It's a coming-of-age story about a young boy who struggles with his loneliness, his sexuality, and his father's absence, and it's adapted from a novel by Tulsa native Gary Reed.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with the filmmaker Kyle Ham, who grew up in Tulsa before studying theatre and film at DePauw University. Ham has a new movie out, his first feature, which he actually co-wrote with his former professor from DePauw University, playwright Steve Timm. That film is "Reparation" -- it's an award-winning independent motion picture about a troubled Air Force veteran who searches for clues to his lost memories in his daughter's artwork.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with University of Tulsa theatre professor Machele Miller Dill, who has written what she calls "a play with original music." "The Lowdown Dusty Blues" features songwriter and actor Chris Jett as a journeyman blues singer, whose life and muse have been molded by the Dust Bowl, and by the death of his father to a dust storm. The one-act piece tells the story through a series of scenes all set on April 13th, the character's birthday and the anniversary of his father's death.

(Note: This interview originally aired in July of last year.) On this presentation of ST, we chat with Joe Randazzo, a former editor of The Onion and former creative director of adultswim.com who now writes for the Comedy Central program called @midnight.

(Note: This show first aired last year.) Our guest is Sara Solovitch, a former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer whose articles have appeared in Esquire, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. She has also been a health columnist for the San Jose Mercury News -- and she seriously studied piano in her younger days. These formative at-the-keyboard experiences greatly influence her first book, which Solovitch discusses with us today.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the highly regarded theatrical director David Schweizer, who's currently in town to direct Tulsa Opera's staging of Andre Previn's "A Streetcar Named Desire" (happening on Friday the 4th and Sunday the 6th).

On this edition of ST, we learn about the newest production from Tulsa's own American Theatre Company, "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett. Our guest is Lisa Wilson, who's directing this postmodernist/absurdist classic. The play will be staged from tonight (the 30th) though November 7th at the ATC space in downtown Tulsa near 3rd and Lansing.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the critically acclaimed singer and actor Jason Graae, who has starred on Broadway in "A Grand Night for Singing," "Falsettos," "Stardust," and "Snoopy!" -- among other shows -- and has appeared Off-Broadway in such hits as "Forever Plaid," "Olympus on My Mind," "All in the Timing," and more. A comic performer with a strong voice and a broad range of abilities, Graae, who actually grew up in Tulsa, has also appeared in various operas, and has done several one-man shows and cabaret concerts nationwide over the years.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with acclaimed playwright Lee Blessing, who's best known for his 1988 Tony-nominated play, "A Walk in the Woods." Back in January, he workshopped his most recent play, "The Hourglass Project," here at the University of Tulsa. It's a comedy, with interesting ethical overtones, about several elderly couples who, though an experimental procedure, regain their youth.

Our guest is Sara Solovitch, a former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer whose articles have appeared in Esquire, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. She has also been a health columnist for the San Jose Mercury News -- and she seriously studied piano in her younger days. These formative at-the-keyboard experiences greatly influence her first book, which Solovitch discusses with us today.

On this presentation of ST, we chat with Joe Randazzo, a former editor of The Onion and former creative director of adultswim.com who now writes for the Comedy Central program called @midnight.

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