Architecturally, Stage Center is an artwork in and of itself. And yes, as with all art, not everyone appreciates it. Stage Center is an important architectural structure of national and international acclaim.

Oklahoma City leaders would be unimaginably foolish and incredibly stupid to allow this internationally renowned diamond in the rough to be destroyed. What bigger and more rewarding public art project could Oklahoma City and community partners undertake?

I agree with (architect) Catherine Montgomery; Stage Center should and can be saved in its entirety.

I believe Stage Center should be utilized for the original purpose for which it was designed — theater.

However, in this incarnation, there would be no “house theatrical group” inhabiting the building and using large areas of the structure for set construction, costume workshop and storage needs. Instead, the new Mummers Stage Center at Myriad Gardens (How’s that for a moniker?) would host touring theatrical shows, concerts — I have been to excellent concerts by musical artists such as the Mike Hosty Duo, Edgar Cruz, Eric Johnson and Joe Bonamassa at Stage Center — lectures and community meetings.

MSC@MG could host the Oklahoma secondary school theater finals, and in cooperation with the metro area theatrical stages (the Civic Center theaters; the Plaza Theater; The Pollard Theatre; the OU, OCU, UCO, OCCC and Rose State theaters; etc.), MSC@MG could host an annual invitational collegiate theater festival and an annual invitational community theater festival.

Throw a music festival or a film festival into the mix.

So what about the flooding problems? Through inattention and shortsighted neglect, Stage Center was allowed to linger with extensive flood damage since 2010. We must remember, that flood was a 100-year flood, a rarity.

The lowest level of the building would be redesigned for upgraded dressing rooms and temporary storage for touring theatrical groups and musical acts. OKC and community partners could hold an architectural-engineering competition to come up with solutions to improve drainage and flood control for the property.

Come on now; let’s get creative, OKC. There’s no time to lose.

— Midwest City
President, Native Arts of America, Inc.

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Tim Parker

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