40 Years of Performing Arts

Tulsa Performing Arts Center to commemorate landmark anniversary with celebratory concert.

By: Adam Foreman | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: February 2017

Jane Monheit will be performing with Nicholas Payton. She will be honoring the late Ella Fitzgerald with special song selections.

Jane Monheit will be performing with Nicholas Payton. She will be honoring the late Ella Fitzgerald with special song selections.

The Tulsa Performing Arts Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special gala performance on Sunday, March 12, at 7 p.m. This concert will feature jazz vocalist Jane Monheit with Grammy winner Nicholas Payton and the Tulsa Symphony. Monheit’s latest CD is a tribute to the legendary Ella Fitzgerald—who was the first performer to grace the PAC stage in March of 1977. Monheit will perform some classic songs of Fitzgerald’s in addition to other music with her jazz combo and the orchestra.

Considered one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, Fitzgerald was the featured performer, accompanied by the Tulsa Philharmonic, when the PAC opened in March 1977. For this March 2017 concert, Tulsa Symphony will play for Monheit, along with Payton and Monheit’s own trio. Among the songs on the concert set list are ones Fitzgerald made popular, such as “Somebody Loves Me,” “Where or When,” “All of You,” Something’s Gotta Give,” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”

Nicholas Payton

Nicholas Payton

Originally intended to provide a modern facility to house local, nonprofit performing arts organizations, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center opened its doors in March 1977. Constructed with a then unique combination of public and private funds, the Center is owned and operated by the City of Tulsa. Local arts organizations and commercial entertainment promoters are the PAC’s primary clients. Public funds for building the PAC were provided by a 1973 bond issue. To encourage approval, civic leaders John H. Williams and Leta Chapman posed a challenge to Tulsa citizens: If they would vote to fund half of the total cost for a new performing arts center, Williams and Chapman would raise a matching amount in private dollars. Led by Mayor Robert J. LaFortune, Tulsa voters overwhelmingly approved the challenge and “Everyone’s Place” held its first concert on March 19, 1977.

“The PAC Trust has provided grants for artists and theatre groups, and the City of Tulsa has given deeply discounted rental rates to frequent users of the Tulsa PAC,” said PAC Director, John Scott. “Many performance groups would not have been able to survive down times without the support of the PAC Trust and the City of Tulsa. That level of support has helped sustain arts organizations, which has given them the opportunity to grow and thrive. Other communities might want to consider a program that offers discounts to frequent users of its city-funded facilities. Arts play a part in the economic vitality of a city. That often goes unrecognized. Our city government has been an arts sponsor and friend to the arts for decades.”

The Tulsa PAC houses four theatres and has had a who’s who list of performers grace the stage, including Tony Bennett, Norah Jones, Michael Bublé, Kelly Clarkson, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Steve Martin and Itzhak Perlman, as well as touring Broadway musicals such as “The Lion King,” “Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera,” which set an all-time attendance record of 94,588 for one show in 1996 during its five-week run.

“Downtown Tulsa has become a cultural beehive of activity when it comes to the arts,” said Marketing Director, Adam J. Foreman. “Within several city blocks, one can experience a variety of artistic endeavors, from museums and art spaces to galleries and educational venues. We are proud to be an anchor in this district, allowing groups both large and small to be able to showcase their gifts to the world. We encourage, support and thrive on the arts in all its forms.”


Tickets for this grand 40th Anniversary concert featuring Jane Monheit, Nicholas Payton and the Tulsa Symphony are $25, $40, $55 and $90. The $90 VIP ticket price includes prime seating and a post-show reception with the performers. VIP tickets are limited.

Celebrate 40 years of performing arts at the Tulsa PAC this March. Get your tickets today.


The Tulsa PAC aims to both educate and entertain with their events. It is home to many performers, dreamers and patrons of the arts.

The Tulsa PAC aims to both educate and entertain with their events. It is home to many performers, dreamers and patrons of the arts.

Tulsa Symphony Orchestra

Tulsa Symphony Orchestra

« All February 2017 Stories

Tulsa PAC

For more information, contact:

Tulsa Performing Arts Center

(918) 596-7122
110 East 2nd St | Tulsa, OK
View Map



More about Tulsa PAC:

Top Stories

A Permanent Place for Portable Possession

Attention all outdoor fanatics – winter is almost over!  It’s time once again to put an end to our annual hibernation and grow something green. ... Read more »

Built on Quality

The season of spring-cleaning is fast approaching and people everywhere rejoice. Finally, you can start fresh by de-cluttering your space as the temperatures rise again. ... Read more »

Keep Your Head in the Game

Spring ushers in warmer temperatures, beautiful blooms and extended daylight hours, so it’s no surprise that the season for more outdoor is also the season for broken bones. ... Read more »

Being Number One

Flip through a magazine or television and radio commercials and you’ll hear company after company tout their number one status.  But, number one in what &ndas…... Read more »

40 Years of Performing Arts

The Tulsa Performing Arts Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a special gala performance on Sunday, March 12, at 7 p.m. This concert will feature jazz vocali…... Read more »