Brandy McDonnell
Features 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 million page views a year for the past two years. Raised on a crop and cattle farm near Lindsay, McDonnell started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school’s 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News and worked for the local weekly through high school. An Oklahoma State University graduate, she will celebrate her 10th anniversary at The Oklahoman in May 2012.


  • Look at him fly: Oklahoma red dirt music star Stoney LaRue soars to new career heights with “Aviator”

    By Brandy McDonnell, BAM | Published: Fri, Dec 12, 2014

    Oklahoma City-based singer-songwriter Stoney LaRue has allowed the third studio album of his 16-year music career to take him farther afield than ever before. The hard-touring musician has played New York City, Boston, Chicago and even Nashville’s hallowed Grand Ole Opry en route to Friday’s show at Tulsa’s historic Cain’s Ballroom.

  • Album review: Carrie Underwood 'Greatest Hits – Decade #1' (Sony Music Nashville)

    BY BRANDY MCDONNELL | Updated: Thu, Dec 11, 2014

    As unfathomable as it seems, it’s been almost 10 years since Carrie Underwood dominated the competition to win “American Idol.” In the past decade, the Checotah native has reached an unbelievable number of milestones – 18 No. 1 singles, 64 million album sales, 95 major awards, including six Grammys – while building a career as one of country music’s brightest and most reliable superstars.

  • Dancing off the drawing board: Oklahoma City Ballet's new “Nutcracker” comes to the Civic Center

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Sun, Dec 7, 2014

    On Saturday, Oklahoma City Ballet will deck the Civic Center stage with a new production of “The Nutcracker” with newly redesigned sets and costumes funded through a $500,000 gift from Devon Energy. The expanded 10-show run of the holiday classic continues through Dec. 22, with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic playing Tchaikovsky’s iconic score at each performance.

  • Oklahoma luminaries light up national music scene in 2014

    By Brandy McDonnell, The Oklahoman | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    From Garth Brooks’ comeback and Kristin Chenoweth’s homecoming to Carrie Underwood’s 10-year retrospective and The Flaming Lips’ classic Beatles revisitation, its been a year of milestone’s for Oklahoma’s top national music stars.

  • Oklahoma musician Q&A: Levi Parham steers toward music with 'Avalon Drive' EP release

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    McAlester singer-songwriter Levi Parham, 30, shows off a soulful voice and Delta blues finger-picking style on the six-song EP “Avalon Drive, due out Tuesday. He will play an album release show Friday at the Blue Door.

  • 'Untamed' legacy: Daughter seeks to harness the legacy of late Oklahoma artist O. Gail Poole

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Thu, Dec 4, 2014

    Nicole Poole’s latest step in quest to ensure her father’s versatile art career isn’t forgotten is producing a sort of reintroductory retrospective titled “As Yet Untamed: The Art of O. Gail Poole” at Artspace at Untitled in Oklahoma City. A public opening event is planned from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the downtown gallery.

  • “The Polar Express” Train Ride makes Christmas magic in Oklahoma debut

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    For the first time, the Eastern Flyer is bringing its "The Polar Express" Train Ride, a one-hour round-trip journey based on Chris Van Allsburg 1985 children's book and the 2004 computer-animated musical movie version, to the Sooner State. The holiday train is chugging around Bristow through Dec. 28, but many outings are already sold out.

  • 'Patti Page: Once Upon a Dream' opens at Oklahoma History Center

    By Brandy McDonnell, BAM | Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    Ranging from dolls and dresses to gold records and her Grammy, the “Patti Page: Once Upon a Dream” exhibit marks the first public viewing of the Patti Page Estate Collection and pays homage to the late, great singer born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore. As part of “Oklahoma @ the Movies,” the exhibit is on view at the Oklahoma History Center until Dec. 31, when it will travel to other sites in Oklahoma.

  • Downtown in December launches Friday with tree lighting festival

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    Presented by Devon Energy, the monthlong extravaganza this year features an array of holiday activities ranging from ice skating in the Myriad Botanical Gardens and zip lining at the Oklahoma River to free Water Taxi rides on the Bricktown Canal and a costumed 5K run starting at Leadership Square, plus a new carousel and train.

  • Album review: Kristin Chenoweth, “Coming Home” (Concord Music Group)

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    The Broken Arrow native’s Concord Records debut was recorded during an August hometown stand that also was filmed for a concert special. “Kristin Chenoweth: Coming Home” will make its TV premiere at 8 p.m. Friday on PBS, including Oklahoma’s OETA.

  • Movie review: 'The Theory of Everything'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    Already a Tony Award winner at age 32, Eddie Redmayne (“Les Miserables”) seems a lock for a best actor nomination for his nuanced portrayal of brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking in the biopic “The Theory of Everything.” Felicity Jones (“The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) also gives a subtly powerful turn as Hawking’s first wife, Jane, who penned the memoir “Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen,” which inspired the film.

  • Movie review: 'Penguins of Madagascar'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    The super-spy wannabes seize the big-screen spotlight for the first time with the “Madagascar” spin-off, a funny, frenetic and ultimately forgettable romp.

  • 'PleasureTown' podcast revives the radio drama tradition

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    About a year ago, Oklahoma native Erin Kahoa and Texas native Keith Ecker, who are now both based in Chicago, started the “PleasureTown” podcast, which delves into the lives of colorful and conflicted characters living in a fictional lost Oklahoma community settled just after the land run as a haven for hedonism.

  • Earthy work: Former Oklahoma geologist hopes he's found second career as an artist

    By Brandy McDonnell,, Staff Writer, bmcdonnell@opubco.com | Updated: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    After a series of oil-field injuries cut short his career as a consulting well-site geologist, Oklahoma City resident Joeallen Gibson Jr. has worked for the past four years to build a new career as an artist, albeit one with a particular affinity for dirt, salt and fossils. His first solo art exhibit, “Journey of a Self-Taught Artist,” opens Dec. 5 at the Paseo Art Space.

  • Movie review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1'

    BY BRANDY MCDONNELL | Published: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    Katniss Everdeen goes to war, but the games are still on in the grim yet enthralling third film in the blockbuster franchise. Although “Mockingjay – Part 1” occasionally feels too long on setup and too short on emotional payoff, it delves into intriguing political themes and boasts plenty of battle scenes.

  • Miyazaki means magic as three of the Japanese animation master's films debut on Blu-ray

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    This week, Disney released on Blu-ray English-dubbed versions of three of Miyazaki’s films — 1989’s “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” 1997’s “Princess Mononoke” and his directorial swan song, 2013’s “The Wind Rises” — that provide a fine cross-section of the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s deservedly celebrated filmography.

  • British-born K. Yoland has spent the past two years living in Texas and using art to explore issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Nov 16, 2014

    British-born photographer and video artist K. Yoland, who often explores issue of identity, power and control in her work, has an exhibit called “Border Land Other” on view through Dec. 19 at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.

  • JD McPherson has his hometown covered with Cain's Ballroom gig in Tulsa

    By Brandy McDonnell, BAM | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    The acclaimed roots music singer/songwriter JD McPherson is wrapping his fall tour in support of his new EP “Warm Covers” at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa.

  • Garth Brooks, 'Man Against Machine' (Pearl/RCA Nashville)

    BY BRANDY MCDONNELL | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    Oklahoma country music superstar Garth Brooks keeps his promise to make “Garth music” rather than chasing fads on “Man Against Machine,” his first album of new material since 2001’s “Scarecrow.”

  • Mannheim Steamroller celebrates 30 years of making Christmas music

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    It wasn’t the first time Chip Davis, the creator and creative force of Mannheim Steamroller, made music or approached the business in a way that defied conventional wisdom, but the 1984 release of his “Christmas” album might have been the most significant: In the past three decades, Mannheim Steamroller has practically become synonymous with modern American holiday music.Since the success of Mannheim Steamroller’s “Christmas,” he and his band have released 18 additional Christmas albums and compilations and started an ongoing holiday tour that added a second show to Sunday’s Oklahoma City stop after the initial performance at the Civic Center Music Hall sold out.




Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:35 AM RT @OKHeritage: Daily OK Fact: Actor Brad Pitt was born in Shawnee this day in 1963.
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:35 AM My favorite Letterman tradition. #MerryChristmas #lasttime LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 9:00 AM What to do in Oklahoma on Dec. 18, 2014: See Pollard Theatre's "Territorial Christmas Carol" in Guthrie (with video) LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 6:44 AM @ken_ragsdale thanks for all the retweets! :)
Brandy McDonnell Today at 6:42 AM Video Spotlight: Blake Shelton and his new "The Voice" winner Craig Wayne Boyd make a songwriter's dream come true LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 6:40 AM Video Spotlight: Carrie Underwood's "Greatest Hits: Decade #1" debuts at No. 1 on Billboard Top Country Albums chart LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 06:49:32 PM CST Wednesday Video Spotlight: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "the Big Lebowski," "Saving Private Ryan" and more name... LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 06:01:09 PM CST Wednesday Video Spotlight: Garth Brooks appears and performs on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 05:47:18 PM CST RT @MarlowNYC: Breaking: Obama dispatches crime-fighting squad to North Korea LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 05:34:59 PM CST Listen: @beaujennings "A Little Bit Higher Now," from his Will Rogers-inspired album "The Verdigris" LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 05:17:03 PM CST Kristin Chenoweth to stream new album "Coming Home" on Spotify TODAY LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 04:57:39 PM CST RT @_davemorris: Rainy downtown streets reflecting some new animations theoklahoman LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 04:47:32 PM CST RT @KChenoweth: #ListenWithKristin starts in 13 minutes! Join me to stream #ComingHome, can't wait to chat! LINK LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 04:46:30 PM CST RT @ReduxionTheatre: #tbt $15 12-18 LINK @Schinske_Strong @thelilfox @BAMOK @AutoAlleyOKC @bobtheberto @DowntownOKCInc h…
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 04:45:27 PM CST I also got to the chat with the good folks at @artscouncilokc about Opening Night 2015. #iloveokc #2014isalmostgone
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 04:44:39 PM CST Had a cool time today at @OKCMOA with a group of visually-impaired veterans experiencing art. #ilovethearts #coolstorycoming #iloveokc
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 04:43:57 PM CST Science Museum Oklahoma to offer "Frozen" fun and other special holiday theme programs LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 04:35:19 PM CST Listen: Cody Canada and The Departed, "Easy" and "Inbetweener," from new album "HippieLovePunk" LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 11:19:41 AM CST What to do in Oklahoma on Dec. 17, 2014: Hear December Songs at the Blue Door LINK
Brandy McDonnell Wed, Dec. 17 2014 05:40:51 AM CST RT @KendrickPerkins: Yup! ThunderUp✊✊✊✊✊