Entertaining The Hours Of Your Week With Swing Era Throwbacks, Love, And Lectures

Feb 13, 2014

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Jazz Lab hosts the legendary Count Basie Orchestra in celebration of the venue’s 12th Anniversary. 

The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra directed by Dennis Mackrel.

The name William “Count” Basie is synonymous with big-band jazz. UCO’s Jazz Studies Division head Brian Gorrell goes so far as to say, “The Count Basie Orchestra is without a doubt the most famous big band in all of American music history.”

But before the “Count” was considered true jazz royalty, before the numerous accolades bestowed upon him by the industry, before he even led his own troupe, Basie cut his musical teeth working with Walter Page’s Oklahoma City based-Blue Devils. In fact, the Blue Devils’ disbandment in 1933 was one of the factors that spurred Basie to establish his own big band.

Since his orchestra’s founding in 1935, the band has transcended the Swing Era, surviving decade after decade with recordings featuring artists like Jimmy Rushing (another Oklahoma tie), Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.

The Orchestra, now directed by Dennis Mackrel, plays the Jazz Lab February 13 at 8 p.m.

If you want more classic jazz and swing, head down to Norman Friday night for University Theatre’s premiere of the musical comedy The Drowsy Chaperone.

The University of Oklahoma production is a throwback to the 1920s Jazz Age full of clichés, gags and gimmicks akin to musicals of the era.

There are actually several opportunities to catch this stage performance - February 14 and 15 at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee February 16. All shows are staged in the Rupel J. Jones Theatre at OU’s College of Fine Arts.

Disney's hit Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast comes to Oklahoma City’s Civic Center just in time for Valentine’s Day and its afterglow. The show includes award winning costume design and sets. It has toured in 13 countries and is the eighth longest-running production in Broadway history.

The opening performance takes place in the Thelma Gaylord Performing Arts Center February 14 at 8 p.m. Additional performances are scheduled through the weekend.

University of Pennsylvania Sociology Professor Annette Lareau lectures at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History February 13 at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, “Inequality and the American Family”, will examine the social conditions that bring about discrepancies in parenting styles among citizens of differing socioeconomic classes.

Lareau authored the award-winning book, Unequal Childhoods, Unequal Adults: Class, Race, and Family Life. Her lecture is a part of the OU’s Presidential Dream Course series, inviting scholars nationwide to come and speak about contemporary topics in their respective academic disciplines.

For more ways to fill the 168 hours of your week, visit the calendar page.  


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