Alicia Witt had never even been to Oklahoma before she filmed the movie “Cowgirls N' Angels” in Stillwater last spring.
A year later, the coming-of-age rodeo drama is playing in Oklahoma and regional movie theaters, and the actress/musician is making a pilgrimage back to the Sooner State to play her second show at the Blue Door.
“I really liked it. I especially liked the people that I met. I thought they were some of the nicest people I'd ever met,” Witt said of her Oklahoma experience. “I was really impressed with Stillwater. It's such a small town in some ways but it also just seemed really open and really welcoming and I liked it so much. And then I only came to Oklahoma City the one day that I had my show. But I'm really looking forward to coming back. This time I'll be there for a little tiny bit longer, like the whole day before my show, and I'm looking forward to just walking around a little.”
On Sunday night, Witt will share the bill at the Blue Door with fellow singer/songwriter/pianist Maggie McClure. McClure, who hails from Norman but now lives in Los Angeles, contributed her uplifting anthem “Good Morning and Good Night” to the “Cowgirls N' Angels” soundtrack and opening credits.
Sunday's show will mark the second time that Witt and McClure have played on the same bill. Both performed at the after-party for the “Cowgirls N' Angels” world premiere in April.
“She's a really awesome person, really, really nice, and we just hit it off,” McClure said. “It's gonna be a really fun night all about the songs. I think it's gonna be really special.”
Witt, 36, has been performing since 1984, when she made her film debut at the age of 8 in director David Lynch's sci-fi epic “Dune.” The Massachusetts native received her high school diploma at the age of 14 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting full time. Once she arrived in Hollywood, the acclaimed filmmaker cast her in a small role in his Emmy Award-winning cult classic television series “Twin Peaks”; not only was the part written specifically for her, but Lynch also used it as a chance to showcase her skills as a classically trained pianist. Lynch also cast her in his HBO trilogy “Hotel Room,” in which she played a young woman with multiple personality disorder.
In 1994, Witt landed her first lead role in a film as a mentally disturbed teenager in “Fun,” earning special jury recognition at the Sundance Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Her subsequent film credits include “88 Minutes,” “Two Weeks Notice,” “The Upside of Anger,” “Last Holiday” “Vanilla Sky,” “Citizen Ruth” and “Mr. Holland's Opus.” She also regularly appeared on the TV series “Friday Night Lights,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Cybill.”
In “Cowgirls N' Angels,” Witt plays Elaine Clayton, a hardworking single mom in a small Oklahoma town. Although her dad was a rodeo legend, she refuses to let her feisty daughter Ida (Bailee Madison) have anything to do with that world since the girl's father was a rodeo rider. But the intrepid Ida longs to meet her dad, so while her mother is at work, she ventures out to the local arena to scour the rodeo ranks for her daddy. Instead, Ida meets grandfatherly rodeo legend Terence Parker (Oscar nominee James Cromwell), who leads a female trick rider team called the Sweethearts of the Rodeo and offers to train the girl to ride.
“It's the kind of role that I love playing because you think she's ... like the person that you wouldn't root for the most in the film. But at the end, at least to me, it feels like you understand her a bit more and you know where she's coming from. She obviously loves her daughter more than anything in the whole world, but she's been really hurt. And she doesn't trust the guy that is her (daughter's) father and feels abandoned by him and doesn't want to expose her daughter to the pain of that, which is really why she puts her foot down in such a blunt way about not discussing him with her daughter,” Witt said in a recent phone interview.
Moving to music
While she continues to act — she just wrapped filming on the indie black comedy “Pasadena” last week — Witt also has begun actively pursuing an acoustic-rock career in the past few years.
When she first moved to L.A., she played piano at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel to support herself, but sharing her original music has been quite a different matter.
“That's a big transition for me, because before that it was just something that I did pretty much in my living room with friends or by myself even. It wasn't something that I ever shared with anybody. So this is a big change, and it's in addition to the acting. If anything, I think it's really helped me to feel more full on the whole. It's not like a substitution. It's more of just fulfilling all the stuff in me that I should be working on ... and it feels very, very different to me than playing a part.”
The multitalented redhead is touring in support of her new album “Live at Rockwood,” which she funded through her first Kickstarter.com campaign. More than 200 backers donated $17,600-plus, well over her $5,000 goal, to help with the cost of mixing, mastering and pressing CDs.
“The live album was funded in less than 24 hours, which totally blew my mind,” Witt said. “I can't even explain what that feels like. It's really, really, really amazing. And I'm still just sort of on the surface of letting people know my work as an actor know that I'm also a musician. And the fact that this Kickstarter took off like that ... really, really moved me like I can't even explain.”
AT A GLANCE
In concert: Alicia Witt and Maggie McClure
When: 8 p.m. Sunday.
Where: The Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley.
Information: 524-0738 or www.
I really liked it. I especially liked the people that I met. I thought they were some of the nicest people I'd ever met.”
Alicia Witt discussing her Oklahoma experience