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THE QUEEN IS LIVE: Legendary New Orleans songstress Irma Thomas to play Tower Theatre
Irma Thomas will be performing at Tower Theatre along with The Blind Boys of Alabama and The Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet on Wednesday, October 18.
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Widely hailed as “The Heart and Soul Queen of New Orleans”, legendary soul-singer Irma Thomas will be bringing her classic R&B stylings to the Tower Theater on Wednesday, October 18th, on a full bill that also includes the Blind Boys of Alabama and The Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet.

Born in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, Thomas grew up singing in Baptist choirs, earning herself a record deal by the time she was barely 13. She steadily rose up the charts, recording for such seminal labels as Chess and Rounder, with her first big single, 1959’s “Don't Mess with My Man,” hitting number 22 on the US Billboard R&B charts. Other notable hits of hers include “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand),” “Time is On My Side” (made famous by the Rolling Stones) and “Wish Someone Would Care.”

“People won’t believe just how many Irma songs they actually know,” Chad Whitehead, Operating Partner and Talent Buyer for the Tower said. “The Heart and Soul Queen of New Orleans tour represents three amazing artists that, by themselves are worth a night on the town. Having them together, in one show, you really can’t recreate that outside of New Orleans. The history of the performers just really resonates with the history of the Tower Theater and actually being able to do something like this is a real opportunity to showcase the work we have put into the Tower, to be able to handle the quality of performances this show is going to bring.”

In addition to Thomas, gospel singers the Blind Boys of Alabama have garnered much praise and acclaim for helping to bring the sound and history of old-school Gospel blues into the 21st century for a whole new audience of believers, while the Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet is made up of some of the “most revered alumni” of the French Quarter’s beloved Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Whitehead believes that booking and supporting legendary performers from all possible genres like this is not only necessary in a city hungry for musical diversity, but fully representative of what the Tower’s mission has been about since the very beginning.

“I am very interested and passionate about the Tower’s line-up reflecting the diversity of Oklahoma City, through its performers and styles of music and the fans that each show brings in,” Whitehead said. “What this tour represents though is a chance to do something outside of New Orleans that really doesn’t exist—to put all three of these performers on the stage for one night…it’s just magical and it definitely is representative of the diversity of sounds that the Tower is pushing hard for.”

The Heart and Soul Queen of New Orleans Tour will hit Oklahoma City on Wednesday, October 18th at the Tower Theatre, 425 N.W. 23rd Street. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at, calling 405-70-TOWER, or by visiting a Tower Theatre Box Office.

“When you win Grammy awards, that’s America’s way of saying “This performer is a big deal!” and Irma’s definitely got her Grammys,” Whitehead added. “That is worth the price of admission alone. Add the Blind Boys of Alabama, who’ve also won Grammys, and the Preservation Hall and it becomes the standard  bearer of the musical history of New Orleans, it’s a one of a kind thing to have in our neighborhood, like bringing a real piece of the 9th Ward to the city.”

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Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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