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Behind the Scenes of NSU’s Summer Show Series: High School Senior is Seasoned Performer in Downtown Country

–Special coverage by NSU Intern Laura Butler

Northeastern State University Downtown Country performer Pattie Clay is still in high school but she’s already a seasoned veteran in her fourth year as a cast member. Clay was featured as a guest artist at the age of eight. At 14, she became a regular part of the university summer show.

“There are so many challenges when it comes to performing but when you’re a high school senior and trying to prepare for college, it’s even harder,” Clay said. “I also perform at the Cookson Jubilee every year and it’s hard to try and do that in between our shows.”

Clay’s favorite part of performing in Downtown Country is spending time with her fellow cast members.

“I’ve had the chance to work with many people that have been in the show and I love all of them,” Clay said. “They are amazing individuals that I have learned so much from!”

“We crack some of the funniest jokes and have the best time giving each other a hard time,” she continued. “We are kind of like a gigantic family. Some of the craziest things happen behind the scenes. I have laughed so hard before that my stomach actually hurt!”

Clay will begin her senior year at Tahlequah High School this fall and recently joined the concert choir and show choir. They went to Colorado in April for a national competition and brought home seven trophies including the grand champion award. Clay has also won awards at the Red Fern Festival, Muskogee Talent Show and Texas Idol. Last summer, she auditioned for the eighth season of “American Idol.”

Clay has shared the stage with big names like Lonestar, Blake Shelton and Mel McDaniel and has performed for audiences of 20,000 people but said that she likes the smaller stage at the NSU Playhouse.

“I love being close to the audience because you can connect with them better,” Clay said.

Clay also likes to give back to the community in ways other than performing. She volunteers at the Oklahoma Production Center and participates in fundraisers to help people with disabilities.

“I think she’s amazing,” said Clay’s mother, Dawn. “I could never do what she does.”

Despite her many years of experience, 17-year-old Clay has remained humble.

“I absolutely love working with the people here,” she said. “They are amazing and as a high school student I learn so much. We have some of the best times when we are all together. And we have some of the best food backstage too.”

“Come see the show,” Clay added. “It’s fantastic!”

The 2009 Stars in the Summer Series, sponsored by the Tahlequah Area Tourism Council, runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday through Aug. 8. Tickets for the shows are $12 for adults, $10 for NSU alumni and employees, $8 for seniors and groups of 20 or more, and $6 for students and children. To reserve seats, call 918-458-2075. For more information, visit


Downtown Country Shows at the NSU Playhouse

Rhinestone Country 2
Thursdays at 7:30 pm: July 23, 30; August 6
Saturdays at 7:30 pm: July 25; August 1, 8

Lights, camera, action! Experience all the glitz and glam of Tinseltown, country-style, in Downtown Country’s star-studded sequel to last summer’s hit show. With a brand new playlist celebrating the soundtracks you know by heart and recent box-office smashes, it’s all about the magic of the movies! Grab a front row seat and prepare to be dazzled, as the songs of the Silver Screen come to life before your eyes in “Rhinestone Country II!”

Turn Your Radio On
Fridays at 7:30 pm: July 24, 31; August 7
Saturdays at 2 pm: July 25; August 1, 8

Turn that FM dial to the best of country radio station KNSU is on the air! With a non-stop string of hits for your listening pleasure, this radio-themed show will have you tuned in all summer long. Call in and request your tickets now, because every lucky listener is guaranteed a great show with the best DJs around! Every weekend Downtown Country will be playing your favorites from yesterday and today just “Turn Your Radio On!”

River City Players at the NSU Shawnee Street Theatre

Centennial Soundtrack
Thursdays at 7:30 pm: July 23, 30; August 6
Saturdays at 7:30 pm: July 25, August 1, 8

Get ready for the soundtrack of the century! Join NSU as we celebrate 100 years through the magic of music. Relive memorable musical moments from the classic “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” to NSU’s very own Carrie Underwood’s “Home Sweet Home.” Watch 100 years come to life in “Centennial Soundtrack!”

River City Sockhop
Fridays at 7:30 pm: July 24, 31; August 7
Saturdays at 2 pm: July 25; August 1, 8

Kick off your shoes and stroll back in time for “River City Sockhop!” Dance through the 50s and 60s with our favorite blasts from the past. Sway through the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll with Connie Francis’ classic “Where the Boys Are” to the Beach Boys’ timeless anthem, “Surfer Girl.”


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