Ponca City, Oklahoma could not have been lovelier or more welcoming- for there dwells the dedicated Ponca City Arts & Humanities Council headed by the very congenial Leslie Schauvliege who brought me into perform.
Arriving late the night before, we were greeted super early the next morning by radio interviews with Oldies Station’s Dave May of ‘May in the Morning’ (also Poncan Theatre’s Manager) and Country Station’s Shawn Anderson. Geared for drive-in morning traffic. Positive and up-beat. Who can stay in bed with such energetic, polished DJs asking me questions about my upcoming evening show? The interviews left me jazzed and ready to get that morning cup-of-joe!
The Poncan Theatre is fantastic! A 1927 antique jewel that carries inside it the very essence of a warm heart. A rare jewel built with city pride, lovingly polished by the communities’ many generations and a treasure that should not be missed! The stage is wide and wonderful and deep and comfortingly familiar to anyone like me who loves to stand out there under those bright lights and look out at all the smiling faces. The Poncan Theatre has a long prestigious history which includes, not only its own ghost stories, but a performance by Oklahoma’s native son, Will Rogers in 1931. I figured if they liked Will’s style of humor, they’d appreciate my, tho’ Medieval, ‘very old jokes’.
A visual delight, the interior of The Poncan Theatre with its stucco filigree, double balconies and beautiful rich curtains was perfectly color-coordinated for the artistry of my beautiful new Medieval backdrops, costume and slides. Although ours is a traveling show, it all seemed tailor-made.
The turn-out was wonderful for a Tuesday evening, especially considering this was the first time they’d offered a show that was a not a music group. And, the audience was perfect for my jokes. By the second act from the stage I could see there were some people that never stopped smiling. Every joke got a full audience giggle or laugh and some jokes got a laugh on the joke itself and then a final laugh at the punch line. I loved it!
Early next morning Larry and I headed to Woodlands Elementary for a performance/author visit and book signing before heading home. What fun! A school with great teachers, a great principal, Becky Krueger, a hallway full of life-size student art of historical characters (Congratulations wonderful art teacher!) and attentive and inquisitive 4th & 5th graders. Anytime I perform my ‘The Ghost of Hampton Court’, I get a million questions so Larry, as the illustrator of our book, joined me for the Q & A session. Such adorable questions! “Did you see the ghost?” “Did you touch the ghost?” “Did the ghost touch you?” “Why would the ghost haunt there, but not somewhere else?” And yet still we managed to share a lot of Tudor era historical tidbits and author, illustrator and book production info. And, since this was Larry’s birthday, I had the kids sing him ‘Happy Birthday’ which really tickled me and pleased him.
Our trip was a success and we really were sad to leave Ponca City. Thank you, Leslie Schauvliege, Dan May, Shawn Wade, talented photographer Darryl Cox and all the lovely, hard-working people who invest so much time and energy to bring the arts and humanities to Ponca City! Thank you for including me in your season and making us feel at home!
Photos in this blog article are courtesy of Darryl Cox