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.
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.
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.”