TAHLEQUAH – It was the best of country, it was the best of rock ‘n roll. Thanks to two T.J.s.
T.J. Spears and T.J. Osburn may not have a lot in common, aside from being graduates of Tahlequah High School, but both are performers in Northeastern State University’s 2007 Stars in the Summer Series.
T.J. Spears loves country. The son of Mickey and Terris Spears, this T.J. is no stranger to the stage. In his fifth season with Downtown Country, Spears continues to wow audiences with his incredible vocals and charm.
“I am proud to be back with Downtown Country for another amazing summer,” said Spears. “I have so much fun working with all of the people that make this show great.”
Performing since the age of 9, Spears has appeared on stages across northeastern Oklahoma. With strong support from his family and friends, Spears has become a well-known country music singer in the area.
In high school, Spears was active in the Tahlequah High School choir. He has performed venues ranging from the Boys & Girls Club National Convention in New York to church and family events. In 2005, Spears was featured on the week one episode of the “Gimme the Mike” on KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa. He won the hearts of the judges by singing “She Used to be Mine,” by Brooks and Dunn, and became the winner of week one.
Currently a student at Northeastern, Spears hasn’t picked a major yet, but plans to study some area of music. After graduating, he plans to pursue his dream of becoming a professional country music artist.
“I just love singing and have been doing it most of my life,” said Spears. “I find myself singing or humming a tune every chance I get.”
Unlike his counterpart in Downtown Country, T.J. Osburn loves rock ‘n roll. This 2005 graduate of Tahlequah High School is making his second season appearance with River City Players this summer.
“I love doing River City,” said Osburn. “My goal with every performance is to get the audience to enjoy the show as much as I do.”
The son of Terry and Libby Osburn, this T.J. grew up on the stage. Making his first on stage appearance at the age of 5 in “Standing Ovation,” a dance-focused workshop at NSU, Osburn went on to star in a number of theatrical productions at THS. Under the direction of THS drama teacher Michael Peters, Osburn starred in the first musical THS students produced in 30 years, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
As a student at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Osburn has expanded his passion for the stage, majoring in theater and working as the head of an independent, student-run theater production company. After graduation, he plans to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in movie and television.
“I plan to continue singing, dancing and acting throughout my life,” said Osburn. “Taking part in something as professional as River City Players will definitely help further my career and help me reach that goal.”
Downtown Country will present two shows this summer, “Chart Toppin’ Country” and “Celebrate Oklahoma!” “Chart Toppin’ Country” pays tribute to songs, stars and events that defined the past 75 years, featuring hits from Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Conway Twitty, Crystal Gayle, George Strait, The Judds and Brad Paisley.
“Celebrate Oklahoma!” highlights the contributions of Oklahoma’s numerous country music artists over the past century. With hits from Gene Autry, Patti Page, Roger Miller, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Albert E. Brumley, Ricochet and Oklahoma’s favorite son Will Rogers, it’s evident that Oklahoma is not only the heartland of the USA, but also the true heart and soul of country music.
Downtown Country performances are at the University Playhouse, located at the corner of Downing Street and Muskogee Avenue. “Chart Toppin’ Country” runs Thursday and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. “Celebrate Oklahoma!” runs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
River City Players will also present two shows, “Rockin’ Across the USA!” and “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll.” Hit the road with the River City Players as they go “Rockin’ Across the USA!” Travel from north to south, east to west with hits like “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Your Momma Don’t Dance,” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” A stop in Oklahoma showcases the states numerous contributions to rock ‘n roll with a collection of songs written by Oklahoma artists, including “These Boots Are Made For Walking,” “Tight Rope” and ”Joy To The World.”
Take a trip to the glory days of rock ‘n roll with “Old Time Rock ‘n Roll” with a mixture of ‘50s and ‘60s classics. This blast from the past features songs by the legends of rock ‘n roll, from Chuck Berry and The Supremes to Frankie Valli and Aretha Franklin. And of course no trip to pinnacle of rock ‘n roll would be complete without revisiting Beatlemania.
River City Players performances are at the Shawnee Street Theater at the corner of Downing Street and College Avenue. “Rockin’ Across the USA!” runs Thursday and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. “Old Time Rock ‘N Roll” runs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
The 2007 NSU Stars in the Summer Series runs every weekend through Saturday, Aug. 4.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for NSU alumni and employees, $8 for seniors, and $6 for students, children and groups of 20 or more. For reservations, call (918) 458-2075. June is early bird month, with a $1 discount for shows through June 30.
For more information on the NSU Stars in the Summer Series, visit www.nsuok.edu/si.