BAM's Blog!

NewsOK | BLOGS

Downtown Oklahoma City's Opening Night New Year’s Eve celebration showcases a variety of entertainment

by Brandy McDonnell Published: December 28, 2012
Ruben Ayala, Jr. reacts when he sees his new face in a mirror held by Flutterbye (Sabrina Evans) at the face painting booth during Opening Night 2012 festivities at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, December 31 2011. PHOTO BY HUGH SCOTT, FOR THE OKLAHOMAN
Ruben Ayala, Jr. reacts when he sees his new face in a mirror held by Flutterbye (Sabrina Evans) at the face painting booth during Opening Night 2012 festivities at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, December 31 2011. PHOTO BY HUGH SCOTT, FOR THE OKLAHOMAN

 

A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.

Opening Night New Year’s Eve celebration showcases variety
The alcohol-free, family-friendly event will assemble more than 40 performers on 16 different stages across nine venues around downtown Oklahoma City.

Downtown Oklahoma City will bustle Monday night with the sights and sounds of roller derby girls crashing around a track, comedy fans shouting out suggestions to improv performers, and musicians of all tastes playing live.

For the 27th year, Opening Night will transform downtown into a true variety show to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Organized by the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the alcohol-free, family-friendly event will assemble more than 40 performers on 16 different stages across nine venues, with the festivities starting at 7 p.m. Monday.

“For one price, you get to go to all these different places and see a wide variety of performers that perhaps will be the first time you’ve ever had the chance to see them. So Opening Night makes the performing arts very accessible. That’s what’s wonderful about it,” said Arts Council of Oklahoma City Executive Director Peter Dolese.

during the Global Oklahoma, A festival of cultures, at Rose State College in Midwest City, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
during the Global Oklahoma, A festival of cultures, at Rose State College in Midwest City, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Old and new

Opening Night 2013 will pair a new venue — the recently opened Devon Energy Center’s Garden Wing corridor adjacent to Nebu restaurant — with a familiar performer — local guitarist Edgar Cruz.

“The Devon atrium that has all the cool Christmas decorations right now will be open to the public, but then to get back to the performance space, you’ll have to have an Opening Night wristband,” said Opening Night director Christina Foss.

With his devoted fan following and his classical guitar style, Dolese expects the ever-popular Cruz will fill the four-story corridor in more ways than one.

“He’s kind of a New Year’s Eve tradition,” Dolese said.

The OKC Roller Girls skate during Opening Night 2012 festivities at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, December 31 2011. Photo by Hugh Scott, The Oklahoman Archives
The OKC Roller Girls skate during Opening Night 2012 festivities at the Cox Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, December 31 2011. Photo by Hugh Scott, The Oklahoman Archives

Familiar favorites

Other returning favorites include the Ambassadors’ Concert Choir, OKC Improv and Dave Thomas, who is returning with his popular World of Magic.

“He brings a full-blown Hollywood-style, Vegas-style magic act,” Dolese said. “People just absolutely love that show.”

Revelers who long for a classic big band New Year’s Eve can hoof it to Leadership Square to hear the Al Good Orchestra.

“Most people like to bring their dates and go for a night of dancing,” Foss said. “There’s a whole space set up.”

Partiers who prefer a rowdier form of entertainment can cheer on the OKC Roller Derby skaters.

“You would not believe how much people love it,” Dolese said. “To me, roller derby is an art form, but it’s probably stretching it a bit. But it’s a lot of fun.”

Pianist Wayne McEvilly plays his piano in his home on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 in Oklahoma City, Okla. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES
Pianist Wayne McEvilly plays his piano in his home on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 in Oklahoma City, Okla. PHOTO BY CHRIS LANDSBERGER, THE OKLAHOMAN ARCHIVES

Incoming additions

To keep the lineup fresh, organizers add a few new entertainers to the roster every year. Bluegrass band Travis Wackerly & Honey Creek Pass, rock fusion group Squirrel & Friends, songbird Allie Lauren and Latin American duo Alegria Real are among this year’s newcomers.

Classical pianist Wayne McEvilly also will make his Opening Night debut playing two sets in the Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s lobby. When they visit the museum, Opening Night attendees also get free admission to the exhibits, including the “American Moderns” traveling exhibition closing Jan. 6.

“We bring many new people into their venue,” Foss said. “It’s a really neat partnership to have with them, and it gives people another kind of avenue to see some more types of art.”

A crowd waits for the giant lighted ball to ascend to mark the start of a new year at a past Opening Night New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Oklahoma City. An estimated 70,000 people attended the grand finale of last year's Opening Night.
A crowd waits for the giant lighted ball to ascend to mark the start of a new year at a past Opening Night New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Oklahoma City. An estimated 70,000 people attended the grand finale of last year's Opening Night.

Fabulous finale

Of course, the countdown to midnight is the highlight of any New Year’s Eve festival, and the Opening Night finale has new sponsorship this year from The Oklahoman and NewsOK. For the second straight year, the traditional raising of the giant lighted ball will take place at the Myriad Gardens, where local R&B band Shortt Dogg will get people revved up for the final moments of 2012.

“Shortt Dogg is gonna be amazing,” Dolese said. “They’ve got that power to really just slowly build the energy and then crescendo at midnight. I think it’ll be a wonderful way to ring in the New Year.”

He said an estimated 70,000 people gathered last year at the Myriad Gardens to count down and watch the big fireworks display.

“You’ve got a Barons game that night, you’ve got a Thunder game that night, and you’ve got everybody partying all over the place … but people literally leave wherever they are and come there,” Dolese said.

By the time the fireworks herald the arrival of 2013, Dolese said he hopes attendees will be thoroughly entertained.

“It’s kind of amazing … you can walk outside where you’re seeing Shortt Dogg just tearing it up on the main stage (into the Crystal Bridge) to this tranquil, beautiful environment of trees and tropical plants and Albert Gray-Eagle playing his flutes,” Dolese said with a laugh.

“So really there is something for everybody.”

GOING ON

Opening Night 2013

When: 7 p.m. to midnight Monday.

Where: Nine venues downtown.

Admission: Wristbands are $8 in advance, $10 the day of the event. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Wristbands are available at 7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma, metro Homeland stores, MidFirst Bank locations, Science Museum of Oklahoma or at the event.

Information: 270-4848 or www.artscouncilokc.com.

See the performance lineup after the break.

Opening Night 2013 performance lineup

Albert Gray Eagle

Native American flute

Venue 6 – Crystal Bridge

7 and 8 p.m.

Al Good Orchestra

Jazz/Big Band/Dance

Venue 4 – Leadership Square

8, 9 and 10 p.m.

Alegria Real

Latin American

Venue 2 – Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, Lobby

7 and 8 p.m.

Allie Lauren

Indie Pop/Jazz

Venue 2 – Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, Auditorium, 4th Floor

7 and 8 p.m.

Aaron Newman

Acoustic Pop/Rock

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Lobby

9 and 10 p.m.

Brianna Gaither

Indie Pop

Venue 2 – Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library, Auditorium, 4th Floor

9 and 10 p.m.

Bricktown Clowns

Clowns

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3: Children’s Area

All night

David Thomas and the World of Magic

Magic

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 1

7:30, 9 and 10:15 p.m.

Edgar Cruz

Venue 9 – Devon building – Garden Wing

7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.

Jamie Bramble

Acoustic Pop/Rock

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Lobby

7 and 8 p.m.

Justin Joslin

Acoustic Folk Rock

Venue 6 – Crystal Bridge

9 and 10 p.m.

Michael King’s One-Man Circus

Magic

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Lobby

8 and 10 p.m.

Michael Summers Jazz

Jazz

Venue 3 – Oklahoma Museum of Art, Lobby

9 and 10 p.m.

OKC Improv

Improv Theater

Venue 3 – Oklahoma Museum of Art, Auditorium

7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m.

OKC Roller Derby

Roller Derby

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 2

7 and 8 p.m.

OK City Chorus

Choral

Venue 7 – First National Center

8 p.m.

Oklahoma Youth Winds

Instrumental

Venue 7 – First National Center

7 p.m.

Miss Brown To You

Folk/Jazz Duo

Venue 5 – Bank of Oklahoma

7 and 8 p.m.

Science Museum Oklahoma

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3:Children’s Area

8 p.m.

Shortt Dogg

Variety/Funk

Finale stage – Myriad Gardens

9, 10 and 11 p.m.

Society of Strings

Instrumental

Venue 7 – First National Center

9 p.m.

Son del Barrio

Salsa/Meringue

Venue 8 – Chase Tower

9 and 10 p.m.

Spaghetti Eddie

Children’s Music

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3: Children’s Area

9 and 10 p.m.

Squirrel & Friends

Rock Fusion

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 2

9 and 10 p.m.

Hypnotist Steve Crawford – “Magic of the Mind”

Hypnosis

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Meeting Rooms 9-10

9 and 11 p.m.

The Ambassadors’ Concert Choir

Choral

Venue 4 – Leadership Square

7 p.m.

The Handsome Devils

Americana/Folk Rock

Venue 8 – Chase Tower

7 and 8 p.m.

Travis Wackerly & Honey Creek Pass

Bluegrass

Venue 5 – Bank of Oklahoma

9 and 10 p.m.

The Studio of Sooner Theatre

Musical Theater

Venue 1 – Cox Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 3

7 p.m.

Wayne McEvilly

Classical Piano

Venue 3 – Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Lobby

7 and 8 p.m.

Outdoor Visuals – Strolling Performers

Strolling street performers will be playing from 7 to 9 p.m. in downtown:

Aaron Newman

Acoustic Pop/Rock

David Bruster

Blues Saxophonist

Greg Northwood

Flamenco Guitarist

Local Honey

Bluegrass

-BAM


by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
+ show more


Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    An Oklahoma program treats juvenile sex offenders as kids, not criminals
  2. 2
    It's a 'Breaking Bad' scavenger hunt
  3. 3
    The perfect way to slice your cheese
  4. 4
    This Is What Depression Actually Feels Like
  5. 5
    The Part Pierce Brosnan Was 'Too Handsome' To Play
+ show more