This weekend, Tulsa Opera will continue its current season with the Oklahoma premiere of "Elmer Gantry," a Grammy Award-winning opera by Robert Aldridge. Based on the eponymous novel by Sinclair Lewis and the 1960 motion picture with Burt Lancaster and Jean Simmons, this classic piece recounts the rise and fall of a charismatic but unscrupulous thrill-seeker who joins the 1920s Evangelical movement of the American Midwest. "Elmer Gantry" will be staged at Chapman Hall in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Friday the 28th (at 7:30pm) and Sunday the 2nd (at 2:30pm).
"When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem," as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run." But how might one do so today, in this ever-hurried, hyper-complicated digital age? Our guests have some answers.
"A Streetcar Named Desire" --- which earned playwright Tennessee Williams the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1948, was the basis for the classic 1951 film with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, and remains one of the fundamental if not defining works of the American stage --- is opening at 7:30pm tonight (Friday the 14th) here in Tulsa, in a new production at the Tulsa PAC's John H. Williams Theatre. This version of "Streetcar" is being produced by The Playhouse Tulsa; it's running through February 22nd.
Today we speak by phone with Molly Knight Raskin, a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in Psychology Today, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and elsewhere; her TV credits include two PBS documentaries. Raskin is also the author of a new book, "No Better Time: The Brief, Remarkable Life of Danny Lewin, the Genius Who Transformed the Internet," which The Daily Beast has hailed as "a fascinating biography, but...also a history of the Internet and those who took it from clunky dial-up service to the speed-of-light marvel.
There's an old Lenny Bruce one-liner that goes like this: "Everyday, people are straying away from the church and going back to God." In this day and age, there must be some truth to that idea; while it's true that more and more people in this country are giving up on the religion they grew up with or else rejecting organized religion entirely, it's also true that many who have turned away from religious institutions --- as well as many others who've lived wholly without religion --- really do hunger for something more than what contemporary secular life has to offer.
On this installment of ST, our guest is Sam Harris --- who grew up in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and who is widely known and admired for his work as a singer and songwriter, and for his appearances on Broadway, film, and television; his legendary performances on TV's Star Search led to a multi-million-selling recording career. Harris --- who grew up, by the way, with Rich Fisher, our program's host --- has a new book out, an autobiographical collection of essays and stories called "Ham: Slices of a Life," and he tells us about this book on today's show.
On this edition of ST, we welcome Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo, a noted poet, lecturer, curator, and policy advocate. She'll soon be in our community to participate in the Greater Tulsa Indian Art Festival, which runs from Friday the 31st through Sunday the 2nd at the Glenpool Conference Center; Dr. Harjo will serve as the poet-in-residence at this festival.
On this edition of ST, an interesting chat with Andrew Carroll, a writer and historian best known for the Legacy Project, which he created, and which tirelessly archives wartime correspondence as culled from across the nation; Carroll is also known for "War Letters," a bestselling book which he edited, and which inspired an acclaimed PBS documentary.
(Note: This program first aired last year.) On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications.
On this edition of The Best of StudioTulsa, we're listening back to our chat with A. Scott Berg, whose bestselling, highly regarded biographies include "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius" (winner of the National Book Award), "Goldwyn," "Lindbergh" (winner of the Pulitzer Prize), and "Kate Remembered." Berg's newest book is a life of America's 28th President, Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) --- it's titled simply "Wilson" --- and the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram calls it "a work of spectacular artistry and objective workmanship....