May 09, 2014 - Starr Fisher's Mother's Day Production
PRODUCER STARR FISHER DEBUTS NEW MUSICAL PRODUCTION AT JAZZ HALL
At the age of 15, Starr Fisher was already making a name for herself as a vocalist, singing with the late Tulsa saxophonist Earl Clark and his band, Spectrum. She followed that gig up with a four-year stint in the popular R&B band Wall Street. She has shared stages with the likes of the Count Basie Orchestra, Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Morris Day and the Time, Regina Bell, Wayman Tisdale, and Vince Gill.
However, she plans to be behind the scenes rather than at the microphone Sunday, when her new show, A Woman's Worth: Journey Through the Mind of A Man debuts at the Jazz Depot.
The reason she's not appearing in this Mother's Day production?
“Well,” she says, “this is a pretty star-studded cast, and I'm not going to lie. It's been super-difficult to produce.” She laughs. “Guys are slow. They just go at their own pace and, I don't know, do what they want to do.”
When asked if she's not appearing in the show because her hands are full just producing it, Fisher laughs again. “My hands, my feet, my head, my everything,” she says.
However, it's clear that the all-male cast is bringing to life something that's very close and important to her.
“This was conceptualized by myself and a friend of mine, Vivian Boyles, and what we wanted to do was celebrate women,” Fisher explains. “We wanted to celebrate all women – mothers, stepmothers, future mothers, mother-type figures, spiritual mothers – in every aspect.
“Because when men speak, people actually listen, I wanted men to pay homage to what they feel the worth of a woman is.”
The cast includes a number of well-known Tulsa performers, including Vince Gibbs, who appeared in the award-winning music video for Missy Elliott's 2002 hip-hop hit “Work It” and leads the Prince tribute band Vince & the Revelation; Charlie Redd, a longtime major presence on the regional R&B scene and leader of the band the Full Flava Kings; and Myron Oliver, a saxophonist from Memphis, Tenn. who has become a Jazz Depot favorite over the past couple of years.
Other performers in A Woman's Worth include Adrian Jackson, Arthur Thompson, Robert Caddy, Randall Lopez, Billy Bruner, and Phetote Mshairi.
“Honestly, I want this to be a series I can do annually, and select new voices of men to do it,” reveals Fisher. “This first group of guys has been so many different places and exposed to so many different things. Vince Gibbs, sharing the stage on the MTV awards and traveling internationally as a Prince tribute artist. Charlie Redd, who's traveled with his own shows. Then we have Phteote Mshairi, a poet who's competed internationally, and won so many titles.
“Billy Bruner is actually a pastor,” she adds. “He used to perform R&B music, and he opened for a lot of different artists and toured with them as well. Now, he has his own church [Restoration Christian Center in Tulsa]. Randall Lopez has toured internationally as a comedian, and so has Adrian Jackson.”
The men in this diverse group, she says, “come from all walks of life, all spiritual levels, and all relationship levels. They've been in a variety of relationships and situations, and each one has his own voice.”
Performed with both music and dialogue, A Woman's Worth will feature a band made up of Redd on bass, Bruner on keyboard, Oliver on saxophone, Gibbs on guitar, and Arthur Thompson, a former bandmate of the late Wayman Tisdale, on drums. Fisher says that she wanted the cast members to “use their own voices” in telling the story, so after she wrote a concept and treatment, she gave them some titles for scenes and let each one pick the title he wanted.
The result, she adds, is a show “about the phenomenal woman, the downtrodden woman, the enthusiastic woman, the ultimate woman. Every woman.”
A Woman's Worth: Journey Through the Mind of A Man is set to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa’s Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St. Tickets can be purchased at the Depot, from www.myticketoffice.com, or by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609. General admission is $15, reserved table seating $20. Seniors and Jazz Hall members are admitted for $10, and high school and junior high students for $5. Refreshments will be available for purchase.
The show is a part of the Jazz Hall’s 2014 Spring Concert Series.
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans through the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.