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Don Quixote Redux



Don Quixote is frequently cited as “the first modern novel.” I hadn’t read it when I was invited to explore the Spain of Don Quixote, so I thought I’d better do some catching up. The magnum opus of Miguel de Cervantes was published in two parts – the first in 1605, the second in 1615. Written in an age devoid of instant entertainment, the book is looooong – weighing enough that I decided to read it on my Kindle. I had barely made inroads into the text when my trip began…


Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra (1547-1616) and visitors can tour the simple, two-story house where he was born. Although not furnished with any of the Cervantes family’s furniture, the house is decorated in 16th-century style.

Courtyard at the Parador at Alcalá de Henares, built around the 17th-century St. Thomás Convent and SchoolOnce you’ve made this obligatory stop, just enjoy the city. Wander down narrow streets and through the central plaza. Stop by the Archbishop’s Palace where the “Catholic Kings,” the soubriquet for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, met with Columbus. Be sure and look up for the storks which make huge, messy nests on rooftops and chimneypots.

Our accommodations on this press trip were in a variety of paradores, government-owned accommodations noted for historic significance or locations of great beauty. The parador in Alcalá incorporates a 17th-century convent into a 21st-century facility complete with high-tech electronics and a super spa.

Each parador restaurant highlights local favorite foods and traditions. National favorites like paella, gazpacho and migas have regional variations, but each distinct area has dishes particularly associated with them. Here it was a wonderful almond custard and puff pastry dessert called “costrada.”

Breakfasts at the paradores were typically elaborate buffets with cheeses, meats, hot dishes, pastries, fruits, even salads and desserts – and every one had a variation of paté – sometimes on bread like a little sandwich, other times, simply a scoop on a spoon. It was a guilty pleasure I anticipated daily.


The Book and the Author

Casa de Medrano cell in Argamasilla de Alba, where Cervantes supposedly began Don Quixote.Throughout his life, Cervantes struggled to make a living. He served in the army, was captured by pirates, worked as a civil servant collecting provisions for the Spanish Armada and collected taxes. He was imprisoned several times and is thought to have started Don Quixote during one of these enforced sojourns.

Many believe that it was while being jailed (actually locked in a wine cellar!) in Argamasilla de Alba that Cervantes began his magnum opus. In this town, there was an unfortunate nobleman who, in 1601, suffering from mental disabilities, donated a painting to the local church in hopes that the Virgin Mary would cure him. It is thought that Cervantes, inspired by the story and the inscription on the painting, created his main character in a similar vein.Statue of Don Quixote outside the Cervantes house

Don Quixote, his brain addled by reading too many stories of chivalry, fancies himself a knight and rides out searching for adventures which he will dedicate to “his lady,” Dulcinea del Toboso, another figment of his imagination.

Cervantes was rarely specific about locations in his book. He describes Don Quixote as being from “a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind.” He neither confirmed nor denied guesses about specifics, leaving towns in the area to make their own claims to fame.


In the Countryside

Several of the book’s scenes take place at inns and Puerto Lápice’s Venta la Quijote, built in the 15th century, could easily have been one visited by Cervantes. The original well stands in the spacious courtyard. The walls are brightly whitewashed with brilliant blue trim. The roof tiles sport mossy beards and inside, giant pottery jugs hold enough wine for many merry evenings.

Perhaps no image is so widely known as that of Don Quixote attacking windmills, thinking they are giants. We stopped at two different spots to see the historic structures, built between the 15th and 18th centuries. The sails are still now – these mechanical wonders having been supplanted by modern milling machines. But on special occasions, the sail frames are recovered with cloth and the giant arms swing in the wind.

Alarcón was captured by Alfonso VIII of Castile in 1184. The castle is now Parador de Alarcón.Don Quixote, believing he’s under an enchantment, often mistakes humble hovels for princely palaces, but he wouldn’t have had to go far to see the real thing. La Mancha, a huge plain, offers few geographic surprises – but occasionally it delivers a blockbuster. We had been driving through flat, sere fields when our driver turned off the main road and took a secondary track. Pulling off at a lookout spot, we were presented with a view of Alarcón, a medieval walled city and castle worthy of any fairy tale.

The castle, originally built by the Muslims in the eighth century, has been restored and is now the Parador de Alarcón. The regional dishes here still retain Moorish influence with eggplant being a favorite vegetable. Among the specialties we tried were eggplant fritters with Alcarria honey and lamb, saffron and rosemary stew with cauliflower cous cous.

Consuegra provided a double dose of pleasure – a castle and windmills. The 11 “molinos,” pristine white cylinders with black conical caps, each have names, including Sancho, Bolero and Mambrino. They stand close to a ruined 12th-century castle that is undergoing restoration.


The Cheese Stands Alone

Breakfast isn’t complete without cheese!Don Quixote or not, you can’t mention La Mancha without talking about the cheese. The regional specialty is Queso Manchego – cheese made from the milk of Manchega sheep within the designated area of La Mancha. Like Champagne – if it ain’t from there, you can’t call it that!

I can’t say enough about the food of La Mancha. I tried things I never thought I’d try – like morteruelo conquense (every meat but the kitchen sink: ham, rabbit, pig liver, partridge and more) and cheese ice cream (it was great)! The accommodations were first class; every one was different – from the parador in Cuenca which overlooked a yawning gorge to the parador in Toledo with its panoramic view of the ancient city.

I saw so many wonderful sights; it would take a book to include them all. Perhaps that’s why Cervantes wrote such a massive tome. I hope to go back to Spain again someday to see more of this wonderful country – and maybe I will have finished Don Quixote by then. 


Plan Your Trip

Visit www.parador.es and www.spain.info

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July 2017

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Cost: $30-90 (military and child discounts available)

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Telephone: 405.235.4458
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More information

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Telephone: 405.307.9320
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More information

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OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
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Cost: Free

Where:
State Fair Park
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View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303.696.4500
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Cost: Free

Where:
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Telephone: 405.604.0042
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Cost: $75-$160

Where:
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View map »


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Telephone: 405.951.0000
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
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View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5

Where:
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415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free for members, $10 for non-members (includes gallery admission)

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

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Cost: $30-90 (military and child discounts available)

Where:
Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
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Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
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More information

A suite of new works by local artist Dr. Jim Cobb fills the newly renovated and restored Depot in this colorful exhibition.

Where:
Santa Fe Depot
200 S Jones
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View map »


Telephone: 405.307.9320
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Children's Theatre junior thespians tackle the tale of wonder and whimsy and good times for all, with a stripe-chapeaued cat orchestrating it all.

Where:
OCU Children's Center for the Arts
2501 N Blackwelder
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0011
Website »

More information

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Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

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Chisholm Trail Park
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Mitch Park
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Telephone: 405.285.5803
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Free lunchtime serenades to sonically spice up your Thursdays.

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View map »


Telephone: 405.231.8650
Website »

More information

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents an overview of the artist’s career including around sixty of his oil paintings, stained glass and sculpture. The exhibition...

Cost: $10-12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

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Politically charged and unapologetically feminist, this shows harnesses the talents of dozens of local women creators, with proceeds benefiting OKC Artists for Justice.

Where:
Current Studio
1218 N Penn
OKC, OK  73107
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Telephone: 673.1218
Website »

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Come out to the 2017 Youth Nationals on July 22 - 29 in OKC at the State Fair Park for 8 days of exciting horse show classes. Enjoy world-class shopping, delicious food vendors, a stick horse...

Cost: Free

Where:
State Fair Park
3001 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
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Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303.696.4500
Website »

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Week 9 | July 24-28 | Vik Muniz Brazilian photographer Vik Muniz creates complex collages from materials such as toy soldiers, trash and vintage postcards to recreate iconic artworks, scenes and...

Cost: $100-$215

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

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This summer, Oklahoma Contemporary is kicking off Showroom|Showcase, a series of installations by local artists in the Showroom, located at 11th and Broadway. Our first featured artist is Rachel...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Expand your skills and explore your creativity this summer. Enrollment is open for our four- and eight-week classes designed for artists at any level. Under the guidance of experienced instructors,...

Cost: $75-$160

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Contemporary’s second edition of Guerrilla Art Park features six Oklahoma artists, ranging from emerging to well established. This year, many of the artists chose to focus on the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

The CODED_COUTURE exhibition looks at the intersection of fashion and technology. Couture clothes are manufactured to a customer’s specific requirements. CODED_COUTURE offers a new definition...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
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Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

 Join Oklahoma River Cruises for a night of Hawaiian themed tunes and beautiful views, enough to make even Don Ho jealous! View the evening ferry schedule online for evening departure...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Join OKC Improv at the Paramount Theater for a night of live, interactive, unpredictable comedy! 7:30 - Get Off My Lawn/High Noon Sirens/KHALC. 9:30 - Friends W/Benefits/Hat Trick/The Artful...

Cost: $10 for one show, $15 for both

Where:
The Paramount Theatre
11 N Lee
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Website »

More information

Fresh from his critically acclaimed sold-out production in Washington, D.C., Signature Theatre’s Matthew Gardiner will guest-direct this classic American musical with new energy and...

Cost: $30-90 (military and child discounts available)

Where:
Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents an overview of the artist’s career including around sixty of his oil paintings, stained glass and sculpture. The exhibition...

Cost: $10-12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

Enjoy light snacks, a cash bar and the splendor of the sky on a Sunset Cruise. Boarding at 7:45 p.m. in July.

Cost: $35

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
SW, over the bridge from Farmer's Market
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

The OKC Museum of Art screens overlooked treasures and unsung independent films.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Politically charged and unapologetically feminist, this shows harnesses the talents of dozens of local women creators, with proceeds benefiting OKC Artists for Justice.

Where:
Current Studio
1218 N Penn
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 673.1218
Website »

More information

The OKC Museum of Art screens overlooked treasures and unsung independent films.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Children's Theatre junior thespians tackle the tale of wonder and whimsy and good times for all, with a stripe-chapeaued cat orchestrating it all.

Where:
OCU Children's Center for the Arts
2501 N Blackwelder
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0011
Website »

More information

A suite of new works by local artist Dr. Jim Cobb fills the newly renovated and restored Depot in this colorful exhibition.

Where:
Santa Fe Depot
200 S Jones
Norman, OK  73069
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Telephone: 405.307.9320
Website »

More information

Do you hear the people sing? And by the people, we mean Upstage Theater, who are presenting this stirring tale of love, redemption and revolution.

Where:
Mitch Park
1501 W Covell
Edmond, OK  73003
View map »


Telephone: 405.285.5803
Website »

More information

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Come out to the 2017 Youth Nationals on July 22 - 29 in OKC at the State Fair Park for 8 days of exciting horse show classes. Enjoy world-class shopping, delicious food vendors, a stick horse...

Cost: Free

Where:
State Fair Park
3001 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Arabian Horse Association
Telephone: 303.696.4500
Website »

More information

Grab a snack, find a seat and let your imagination run wild! Each weekend in July, we’ll look at timeless truths from Hollywood blockbusters. At every service, you can expect a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Life.Church
7800 S. Walker
Oklahoma City, OK  73139
View map »


Sponsor: Life.Church
Telephone: 405.216.5433
Contact Name: Rachel Key
Website »

More information

This summer, Oklahoma Contemporary is kicking off Showroom|Showcase, a series of installations by local artists in the Showroom, located at 11th and Broadway. Our first featured artist is Rachel...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Expand your skills and explore your creativity this summer. Enrollment is open for our four- and eight-week classes designed for artists at any level. Under the guidance of experienced instructors,...

Cost: $75-$160

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Learn how to make your own 3D book sculpture with artist Kelly Campbell Berry in this full-day workshop - participants will learn the basics of creating book art by choosing the "right"...

Cost: $65

Where:
[Artspace] at Untitled
1 NE 3rd
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: [Artspace] at Untitled
Telephone: 405.815.9995
Contact Name: Holly Hodge
Website »

More information

Departs Exchange Landing | Saturdays (May  – August) | 11:40 am Experience history as you never have before. Colorful Oklahoma characters will reenact history through the eyes of...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
SW, over the bridge from Farmer's Market
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Contemporary’s second edition of Guerrilla Art Park features six Oklahoma artists, ranging from emerging to well established. This year, many of the artists chose to focus on the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary's Showroom
1146 N. Broadway
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.604.0042
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Scratch Art Stained Glass Windows, Saturday, July 1, 1- 4 pm Floral Collages, Saturday, July 8, 1-4 pm Fashionable Footwear, Saturday, July 15, 1-4 pm Watercolor Block Prints, Saturday,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

Saturday cartoons aren’t just for the children anymore. Share the classics with your crew every Saturday on an Oklahoma River Cruise. Kids 6 and under ride free.

Cost: $15 (free for kids 6 and under)

Where:
Exchange Landing
1503 Exchange Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

The CODED_COUTURE exhibition looks at the intersection of fashion and technology. Couture clothes are manufactured to a customer’s specific requirements. CODED_COUTURE offers a new definition...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oklahoma Contemporary
3000 General Pershing Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK  73107
View map »


Sponsor: Oklahoma Contemporary
Telephone: 405.951.0000
Contact Name: Lori Brooks
Website »

More information

Fresh from his critically acclaimed sold-out production in Washington, D.C., Signature Theatre’s Matthew Gardiner will guest-direct this classic American musical with new energy and...

Cost: $30-90 (military and child discounts available)

Where:
Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

 Join Oklahoma River Cruises for a night of Hawaiian themed tunes and beautiful views, enough to make even Don Ho jealous! View the evening ferry schedule online for evening departure...

Cost: $6-15

Where:
All OK River Cruise Landings
Oklahoma City, OK  73109


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Website »

More information

Join OKC Improv at the Paramount Theater for a night of live, interactive, unpredictable comedy! 7:30 - After Hours/What's Happening/Horse Feathers 9:30 - Partners in Time/Red State, Blue...

Cost: $10 for one, 15 for both

Where:
The Paramount Theatre
11 N Lee
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Website »

More information

Fresh from his critically acclaimed sold-out production in Washington, D.C., Signature Theatre’s Matthew Gardiner will guest-direct this classic American musical with new energy and...

Cost: $30-90 (military and child discounts available)

Where:
Oklahoma City Civic Center Music Hall
201 N Walker Ave
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.524.9312
Contact Name: Cynthia Bedford
Website »

More information

Jade Castle is a singer-songwriter from OKC and recently graduated from the Academy of Contemporary Music with her bachelor's degree in vocal performance. Jade started performing on stage at...

Cost: Free

Where:
Noir bistro & Bar
701 W Sheridan
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.637.9389
Contact Name: George Adams
Website »

More information

Oklahoma Children's Theatre junior thespians tackle the tale of wonder and whimsy and good times for all, with a stripe-chapeaued cat orchestrating it all.

Where:
OCU Children's Center for the Arts
2501 N Blackwelder
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.951.0011
Website »

More information

Do you hear the people sing? And by the people, we mean Upstage Theater, who are presenting this stirring tale of love, redemption and revolution.

Where:
Mitch Park
1501 W Covell
Edmond, OK  73003
View map »


Telephone: 405.285.5803
Website »

More information

Play ball! OKC's warriors of the diamond get set to host Tacoma.

Where:
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark
2 S Mickey Mantle
OKC, OK  73104
View map »


Telephone: 405.218.1000
Website »

More information

A trip to the amusement park becomes even more tempting with a fun-filled set from the '70s superstars.

Where:
Frontier City
11501 N I-35 Service
OKC, OK  73131
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2140
Website »

More information

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents an overview of the artist’s career including around sixty of his oil paintings, stained glass and sculpture. The exhibition...

Cost: $10-12

Where:
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Contact Name: Becky Weintz
Website »

More information

A slice of American (and Oklahoman) history retakes the spotlight in this exhibition of works created under the New Deal's Federal Art Project.

Where:
OKC Museum of Art
415 Couch
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.236.3100
Website »

More information

Terrible monsters, heroic critters and tons of glimpses into history fill this exhibit honoring the life of pioneering titan of stop-motion animation and special effects Ray Harryhausen.

Where:
Science Museum Oklahoma
2020 Remington
OKC, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.602.6664
Website »

More information

A joint exhibition of Western portraiture and iconography from Oklahoma Hall of Fame artists Mike Larsen and Harold T. Holden.

Where:
OK Hall of Fame Museum
1400 N Classen
OKC, OK  73106
View map »


Telephone: 405.235.4458
Website »

More information

Politically charged and unapologetically feminist, this shows harnesses the talents of dozens of local women creators, with proceeds benefiting OKC Artists for Justice.

Where:
Current Studio
1218 N Penn
OKC, OK  73107
View map »


Telephone: 673.1218
Website »

More information

It's not whether you win or lose at the casino-style games fueling this fundraiser, it's the fun you have and the knowledge that you're helping the ailing kids of Make-a-Wish Oklahoma.

Where:
Cox Center
1 Myriad Gardens
OKC, OK  73102
View map »


Telephone: 405.286.4000
Website »

More information

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