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Honoring co-founder's death, Celebrity Attractions forges ahead with strong 2013-14 season for Oklahoma City

“Wicked” kicks off Celebrity Attractions' 2013-14 season of musicals in Oklahoma City.
BY RICK ROGERS Published: June 16, 2013

While the original Broadway production had the unfortunate position of opening in the same season as “A Chorus Line,” the 1996 revival is still running and has since surpassed the run of “A Chorus Line” to become the longest-running revival in Broadway history. Cast as shady lawyer Billy Flynn in the touring production is John O'Hurley, an actor known for his role in “Seinfeld” and as host of “Family Feud.”

“John O'Hurley played Billy Flynn in Little Rock a few years ago and audiences loved him,” Ed Payton said. “He has a swagger about him and an aloofness that works well with that role.”

Filling the April 8-13 slot in the 30th anniversary season is “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.” The concert features a symphony orchestra and a cast of singers who perform hits from musicals such as “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Evita,” “Cats,” “Starlight Express,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Aspects of Love” and “Sunset Boulevard.”

Bringing the season to a close May 20-25 is “Sister Act,” a stage musical based on the 1992 movie starring Whoopi Goldberg as a cabaret singer — forced to go into hiding — who disguises herself as a nun and wreaks havoc at a convent.

“I consider ‘Sister Act' similar to ‘Wicked' from the standpoint that it's about a person who struggles through life trying to find herself,” Drew Payton said. “It's a lively, fun show that is making its first appearance in Oklahoma City.”

Season subscribers will have the option to buy tickets for the add-on production of “Beauty and the Beast,” a return engagement that will play the Civic Center Music Hall Feb. 14-16. The Tony Award-winning musical is the tale of a selfish prince who is turned into a beast by an enchantress. To break the spell, he must learn to love another and win her heart in return.

Ed and Drew Payton both said they're proud to be able to carry on Larry Payton's vision, a dream that became not just a reality but a thriving business that brings the best of Broadway to seven theaters in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.

“Celebrity Attractions is a family business with people who treat each other with care and respect,” Ed Payton said. “The second part of Larry's legacy deals with patrons and subscribers. Anybody can sell tickets, but not everybody can treat patrons and subscribers like they should be treated.

“We'll continue to bring best of Broadway to Oklahoma City thanks to the people in the community who have blessed us with their support. I can't fill Larry's shoes, but I have the best tools possible and a great staff. Celebrity is going to be here for a long time.”