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SIX photo by Joan Marcus

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The Best of Broadway

Spotlight on Tulsa’s Celebrity Attractions

There’s no business like show business. Celebrity Attractions will vouch for that. The company has presented and produced national touring Broadway shows, and more, since 1983. 

“It’s an honor to be part of a company that contributes so much to the quality of life and economies of the markets we serve,” said Kristin Dotson. She marks five years as Celebrity Attractions’ CEO this month. “Our staff is some of the best and most experienced in the country — committed to building and maintaining strong relationships with our patrons, our partners and our industry. And I learned from the best,” she noted, referring to the company’s founder Larry Payton. A friend and mentor to many, including me, Larry passed away in 2013 at the age of 64. Both he and his wife Kay Payton started Celebrity in their Tulsa home, building the company into a midwestern vanguard for Broadway. 

In addition to the touring Broadway productions they bring to Tulsa, Celebrity currently presents shows in Little Rock, Amarillo, Abilene and Springfield, MO. The company also invests in entertainment projects, including Tony Award-winning hits like OnceSpamalotKinky Boots and Thoroughly Modern Millie. Celebrity’s economic contribution to Tulsa cannot be overstated. For decades, the only crowd-drawing event taking place downtown on nights and weekends was a Broadway show. Celebrity Attractions was a boon for local business and theatre lovers alike.

Celebrity’s 2021-22 season is well underway, with show dates from the 2020-21 lineup reconfigured to meet the delays instigated by COVID. Oklahoma!, the 2019 winner of the Tony Award for Best Revival, plays at the Tulsa PAC, June 17-19. The musical has generated controversy due to director Daniel Fish’s take on the 1930 play by Claremore, Oklahoma native Lynn Riggs. To be noted, Rodgers and Hammerstein took a sunny, post-war look at Riggs’ piece when fashioning the musical. In Fish’s creation, not a single word of dialogue has been changed from the stage version. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s score of beloved tunes are all there. This Oklahoma! does not attempt to reproduce the 1943 musical or 1955 movie. It does accomplish what is seminal to art — innovation, novel perspective and creativity. 

In the upcoming months, look for other productions that found new time slots due to COVID: Anastasia (July 19-21), Pretty Woman (Aug. 23-28), the mega-hit Hadestown (Sept. 27-Oct. 2), and Frozen (Oct. 20-30). 

Knowing that ardent musical theatre folks don’t want to miss a single show, Celebrity just announced its stellar 2022-23 roster. “Subscribers are hungry and scrappy, and their ongoing support has brought us to this exciting day,” said Celebrity Attractions CEO Kristin Dotson at a recent press conference. Showgoers will recognize her reference to the blockbuster musical Hamilton. “We have an incredible lineup fit for a king and a queen, or maybe even six,” she teased. As unveiled, the season incorporates two of the biggest musicals in Broadway history, two new and popular shows, and a perennial favorite.


SIX  (November 22-27, 2022)

There was more than one Tudor queen who lost her head over Henry VIII. Six is a kind of musical throwdown between Henry’s wives as they take to the mic to demonstrate girl power and share their unique piece of history. Which wife had it the worst? It’s a competition. The show has been a huge hit on Broadway since it opened during the Pandemic. It will vie for seven Tony Awards during the annual Radio City Music Hall broadcast slated for this month.

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (January 24-29, 2023)

“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar is an iconic musical phenomenon that appeals to both theater audiences and concert music fans,” said Dotson. “This production pays tribute to the original while creating a modern theatrical work that is uniquely refreshing and inspiring.” When this “rock opera” debuted in 1971, it sparked numerous controversies. That didn’t deter Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice, who went on to create some of the most beloved musicals of our time. 

HAMILTON (March 7-19, 2023)

Clearly the most celebrated theatre experience of the last decade, Hamilton has become part of American zeitgeist. Founding father Alexander Hamilton is at the center of the story, but the musical imparts much about the broader core group of patriots who fought for freedom. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music will linger in your head long after you leave the theatre, and the choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler is riveting.

AIN’T TOO PROUD — The Life and Times of The Temptations (April 4-9, 2023)

Otis Williams is the founder and only surviving member of the Motown phenomenon known as The Temptations. Ain’t Too Proud intertwines Williams’ memories and The Temptations’ R&B hits —“ My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and many more. Nominated for 12 Tony Awards, and the winner of the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography, the musical follows the struggles of the group through tumultuous times and triumph. 

Disney's THE LION KING (June 1-June 17, 2023)

I’ll never forget the first time I saw The Lion King. I cried during the opening number in response to its sheer beauty. Director Julie Taymor created something extraordinary and lasting with this musical. It deservedly won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Elton John and Tim Rice crafted the score, which includes “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” “Circle of Life,” “Hakuna Matata,” and my favorite, “Shadowland.” Visually, it recreates the majesty of Africa and carries the hopeful message that life carries on.

“It feels so good to be back,” expressed Dotson with emotion. “I just want to say to all of our community partners and to our patrons who have come back, ‘Thank you.’” 

Learn more about Celebrity Attractions and its upcoming season at

  • SIX photo by Joan Marcus
  • HAMILTON Photo by Joan Marcus
  • AIN'T TOO PROUD Photo by Matthew Murphy
  • Disney's THE LION KING  Photo by Deen van Meer
  • PRETTY WOMAN Photo by Morris MacMatzen
  • HADESTOWN  Photo by Matthew Murphy
  • Celebrity Attractions CEO Kristin Dotson

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