EDMOND — The University of Central Oklahoma’s Broadway Tonight, a concert series that celebrates the talents of performers from Broadway to Hollywood, will shine its spotlight on a quartet of Oklahoma performers for the upcoming 17th season.
Joining previous Broadway Tonight headliners Tommy Tune, Hal Holbrook, Olympia Dukakis, Savion Glover, Liz Callaway, Tom Wopat and Gregg Edelman are 2014-15 performers KT Sullivan, Sandi Patty and Jimmy Webb. The season will also feature the world premiere of “Rising Starr,” a musical tribute to Kay Starr.
“Oklahoma has such an incredible range of diverse talents,” said Broadway Tonight producer Greg White. “KT Sullivan, Sandi Patty and Jimmy Webb were already on my short list. Once I started noticing the thread, I knew that we needed to celebrate who we are and what we’ve shared with the world.”
Kicking off the series Friday is Broadway and cabaret performer KT Sullivan. The third of eight children in a family of performers, Sullivan has been a fixture of the New York cabaret scene since 1984.
“I always tell people that cabaret chose me,” Sullivan said recently. “In 1981, someone asked if I would be interested in doing a cabaret show and I ended up performing a midnight show for over a year.
“I had planned to become a musical theater performer but I kept getting offers to do cabaret between shows. It’s a more intimate experience because the space is usually smaller. But I like that when you sing to people, you can actually see their eyes.”
While Sullivan appeared on Broadway in “The Three Penny Opera” in 1989 and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in 1995, she’s devoted much of her time during the past two decades to being a solo artist.
“Cabaret can be anything, from Stephen Sondheim to Dolly Parton to Joan Baez,” Sullivan said. “A lot of people who are strictly cabaret singers don’t do well on the big stage. Because I’m an actress who comes from theater, I bring acting (skills) to cabaret.”
While the musical theater offers a performer the opportunity to create or re-imagine a role, the singer is limited by the scope of the part and that character’s function within the musical’s narrative. Cabaret, in contrast, has almost no musical or interpretive limitations.
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