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 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.

Top Stories

  • Carpenter Square Theatre in Oklahoma City opens 31st season with 'Detroit'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Aug 31, 2014

    Carpenter Square Theatre’s 2014-15 season opener “Detroit” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2011 and Obie Award winner for best new play in 2013. The Oklahoma City community theatre company begins its 31st season Friday.

  • Former Oklahoman journalist draws out a spiritual journey with second career as an artist

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sat, Aug 30, 2014

    Renee Lawrence left her almost 30-year career at The Oklahoman in 2012 to pursue a full-time art career, specializing in detailed pen-and-ink portraits of people and animals. She is showing her work for the fifth straight year at Arts Festival Oklahoma, the longtime Labor Day weekend event that begins Saturday at Oklahoma City Community College.

  • Oklahoma-Texas duo Maddie and Tae take on bro country trend on breakout smash 'Girl in a Country Song'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Aug 29, 2014

    A little more than a year after relocating to Nashville, Tenn., Tae Dye, 18, of Ada, and Maddie Marlow, 19, of Sugarland, Texas, are rocking the country music world by refusing to be just “little country girls.”

  • Big Apple opportunity: Edmond ballerina receives prestigious New York scholarship

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Fri, Aug 22, 2014

    Roma Catania, a 15-year-old student of the Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet, has received a merit scholarship to attend American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, the celebrated New York company’s pre-professional training program for ages 12 to 18. Roma, who was discovered last spring during the Oklahoma City school’s certification process, will start classes in New York on Sept. 8, a week before her 16th birthday.

  • Oklahoma City Storytelling Festival showcases liars, folklorists and story-spinners

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Fri, Aug 22, 2014

    Editor's note: The day of the OKC StorySLAM planned in conjunction with the Oklahoma City Storytelling Festival was listed incorrectly in Friday’s Weekend Look section. The competitive, open mike OKC StorySLAM, titled “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Adulthood,” will be open to the public from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Urban Roots, 322 NE 2. Bil Lepp doesn’t mind if you call him a champion liar. It’s true. The five-time winner of West Virginia’s Liars Contest comes from a long line of tale spinners. “I grew up in a family that was very oral. Everybody in the family was always telling stories; it was always up to the listener to decide what was true.

  • Oklahoma singer and songwriter Jessey General Thompson keeps singing despite setbacks

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Aug 22, 2014

    Honey-voiced Oklahoma singer-songwriter Jessey General Thompson is taking a casual approach to music these days. He will play his warm, emotive roots-rock songs Thursday as he closes out the TEEMCO Acoustic Thursdays series at Oklahoma City’s Myriad Botanical Gardens.

  • Norman native James Garner's family finds comfort in heartfelt responses to his death, daughter says

    By Brandy McDonnell, BAM | Published: Fri, Aug 22, 2014

    Gigi Garner, the daughter of Oscar-nominated actor and Norman native James Garner, said her family has been stunned by the outpouring of love and support since her father’s July 19 death.

  • Pollard Theatre plans musical 2014-15 season

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Aug 17, 2014

    For its 28th season, simply titled “28,” the Guthrie theater company will perform four widely differing musicals, a new period play and a beloved local adaptation of a Christmas classic.

  • Remember Robin Williams with 6 favorite films

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Aug 15, 2014

    The Oscar-winning comedic actor, Robin Williams, who committed suicide Monday at the age of 63, leaves behind more than 100 television and film credits.

  • National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore is building Photo Ark to save the animals

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Fri, Aug 8, 2014

    Ponca City native Joel Sartore recently returned to Oklahoma to take portraits of creatures at the Oklahoma City Zoo, Tulsa Zoo, University of Tulsa, WildCare sanctuary in Noble and Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton as part of his ongoing mission to photograph every captive species in the world. His photo exhibition “Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species” opens Sept. 13 at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in Norman.

  • Jewel Box Theatre in Oklahoma City mixes old and new for 2014-15 season

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Fri, Aug 8, 2014

    The 57th season of Jewel Box Theatre, Oklahoma City’s oldest continuously operating community theater, is off to the races Aug. 21, with a world premiere of an original farce, the local debut of a buoyant recent comedy and four fan-picked favorites.

  • Science Museum Oklahoma opens remodeled Tinkering Garage

    By Brandy McDonnell, BAM | Published: Fri, Aug 8, 2014

    The revamped Tinkering Garage exhibit at Science Museum Okahoma has been turned into a vibrant, hands-on space designed to help visitors of all ages master problem solving and explore science, engineering, math, art and technology.

  • Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park plans first Paseo play

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Fri, Aug 8, 2014

    The company will stage the comedy “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” in its new Paseo space as well as at The Paramount Theatre on Film Row.

  • Artists with autism show their work in “Big Swanky Art Show” in Oklahoma City's Paseo district

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Tue, Aug 5, 2014

    The two-night “Big Swanky Art Show III” kicked off last weekend during the Paseo Arts District’s First Friday Gallery Walk and continues from 7 to 9 p.m. this Friday at Istvan Galley during the monthly LIVE on the Plaza art walk in Oklahoma City.

  • Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre plans eclectic 2014-2015 season

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Aug 3, 2014

    Oklahoma City Repertory Theatrewill start its 13th season “trampling out the vintage” with the American classic “The Grapes of Wrath” and end it frolicking down “Avenue Q,” one most popular and outrageous musicals of the past decade. Three hot new plays are planned in between, as the professional theater prefers for a season of regional, state and local premieres.

  • 'Art Gone Wild' exhibit showcases paintings by Oklahoma City Zoo animals.

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Fri, Aug 1, 2014

    The fifth annual art show opens Friday night in the a.k.a. gallery in the Paseo Arts District of Oklahoma City.

  • Album review: Eric Clapton & Friends, 'The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)'

    Published: Fri, Aug 1, 2014

    Eric Clapton & Friends’ “The Breeze (An Appreciation of JJ Cale)” pays appropriately rootsy and relaxed homage to Oklahoma native JJ Cale, a pioneer of the Tulsa Sound, an influential amalgamation of blues, rock and country. Released Tuesday, the album debuted just days after the one-year anniversary of Cale’s death on July 26, 2013, at age 74.

  • Oklahoma City Theatre Company embraces diversity with 2014-15 season

    By Brandy McDonnell, Staff Writer | Published: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    The Oklahoma City Theatre Company faced controversy last year surrounding its production of “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” but that hasn’t stopped the community theater group from selecting more provocative works for its 2014-2015 season, which includes the musical version of Stephen King’s terror tale “Carrie,” the classic French comedy “Tartuffe” and Terrence McNally's often-protested drama “Corpus Christi.”

  • Oklahoma City's Reduxion Theatre Company hits the accelerator with 'Scandalous Season'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Published: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    The nonprofit Reduxion Theatre Company is boosting its number of productions from four to six while expanding its Classics for Kids program, making its mission of “revisiting the classics” a year-round quest. The 2014-2015 season will include such adventurous fare as “Sweeney Todd,” “Dangerous Liaisons” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”

  • Movie Review: 'Lucy'

    By Brandy McDonnell, Features Writer | Updated: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    “Lucy,” French writer-director Luc Besson’s latest cinematic mind-job, mashes up the rainbow hues and superwoman savior concept from his ridiculously entertaining “The Fifth Element” and the blood-pumping car chases and shoot-ups from his crazily stylish “Transporter,” then adds hefty doses of “The Matrix”-style high-concept sci-fi musings.

Brandy McDonnell Today at 4:49 PM RT @NBCTheVoice: #TheVoice returns in ONE MONTH! Here’s your first look at Season 7:
Brandy McDonnell Today at 3:42 PM RT @OriginalFunko: Loki, Odin, Heimdall, and Lady Sif Pop!'s are coming this September! LINK LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 3:01 PM RT @BreakingBad_AMC: You can smile now, too. Watch full episodes of #BreakingBad on LINK: LINK LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 2:58 PM RT @KingsOfLeon: Fun times at #madeinamerica this weekend & some lucky fans got close to the boys on stage #miraclesareback #kol #usa http…
Brandy McDonnell Today at 2:57 PM It was lovely chatting with @GovMaryFallin about one of my favorite events of the year: Septemberfest. #iloveoklahoma
Brandy McDonnell Today at 2:15 PM @NathanPoppe I got to do the same thing with @PokeyLaFarge press pics! #somuchsepia
Brandy McDonnell Today at 1:55 PM RT @xeni: I AM IN LOVE WITH SKEPTICAL SIDE-EYE BABY LINK @michaelmercedes LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 1:50 PM RT @stoneylarue: Please visit @CMT Pure 12-Pack page & vote for my video "First One To Know," it has just been added back! Thank you! http…
Brandy McDonnell Today at 1:00 PM RT @mynameisJabee: @BricktownOKC #livemusiconthecanal Friday at 5pm LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 11:56 AM Carrie Underwood expecting first baby in spring LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:59 AM RT @recordstore: Summer ain't over guys - check out the new @BRONCHOBAND record on CD/LP here LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:25 AM RT @mirandalambert: Big congrats to my friend @carrieunderwood (aka Louise) on her big news!!!! So happy for her and Mike!
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:23 AM RT @NewsOKSports: RT @kylefredrickson: ICYMI: An analysis (w/ video) of QB JW Walsh's use in the #OKstate run/passing game on Saturday: htt…
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:22 AM RT @Adam_WK: Four out of 10 Oklahoma high school students are going to college unprepared. Here's what that actually means: LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:22 AM RT @OSUPOSSE: Check out alternate routes to speed up @OSUAthletics post-game traffic flow around Stillwater LINK LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:11 AM Parker Millsap to perform at Americana Music Association Honors and Awards LINK
Brandy McDonnell Today at 10:10 AM What to do in Oklahoma on Sept. 2, 2014: Experience the food and fun at @OldGOktoberfest LINK
Brandy McDonnell Mon, Sep. 01 2014 05:14:36 PM CST RT @carrieunderwood: In honor of "Labor" Day...Ace & Penny would like to make an announcement. Their parents couldn't be happier! LINK
Brandy McDonnell Mon, Sep. 01 2014 09:25:30 AM CST Monday Catchy Quote No. 330 LINK
Brandy McDonnell Sun, Aug. 31 2014 08:47:01 AM CST Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Aloe Blacc, Fall Out Boy and more to perform on MDA Show of Strength Telethon TONIGHT LINK