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2022 Oklahoma Chautauqua: Surviving the Sixties: Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll

*NEW* 2022 Chautauqua Book Reviews

Click on the Vimeo link given below for each review.

January 12: California Dreamin': The LA Pop Music Scene and the 60's byAndrew Hickey; discussion led by scholar Karen Vuranch:
February 9: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood; discussion led by scholar John Dennis Anderson:
March 9:  High Priest by Timothy Leary; discussion led by scholar Ted Kachel:
April 13: The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines; discussion led by Randy Noojin:
May 11: 
Howl by Allen Ginsberg; discussion led by scholar Joey Madia:


2022 Performers

  1. Joey Madia as Allen Ginsberg, the Voice of the Beat Generation
  2. John Dennis Anderson as Christopher Isherwood, Creator of Cabaret
  3. Karen Vuranch as Cass Elliot, Rock 'n' Roll Mama
  4. Ted Kachel as Timothy Leary, "Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out"
  5. Randy Noojin as John Lennon, the Rebellious Beatle 


Schedule of Workshops and Evening Performances

10:00 am & 2:00 pm workshops at Museum of the Great Plains, 601 N Ferris Ave, Lawton, OK

7:00 pm performances at City Hall Auditorium, 212 SW 9th Street, Lawton, OK


Tuesday, June 21

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains

Lennon Meditates by Randy Noojin: Take a look at the characters, stories, and songs related to Lennon and the Beatles; spend a month in India meditating with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains

Musical Theatre in the Sixties by John Dennis Anderson: The 1966 musical Cabaret adapted Isherwood’s Berlin Stories changed the American musical theatre. Explore how musicals adapted to cultural trends in the Sixties.

  • Performance: 7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall

Poet of the Beats ALLEN GINSBERG by Joey Madia


Wednesday, June 22

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains

The Times They Are a Changin’: Poetry & Music as Social Commentary by Joey Madia: Explore Ginsberg’s major works, Howl, America, and Kadish. Compare and contrast him Whitman, William Carlos Williams, and the Beat Poets Kerouac and Corso.

  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains

We Will Rock You by Karen Vuranch: The growth of rock ‘n roll music from its roots in the folk music scene, the influence of California surf sound and the transition from pop music to rock. Explore iconic songs and their lyrics.

  • Performance: 7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall

A Single Man CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD by Dr. John Dennis Anderson


Thursday, June 23

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains

The Path to the Gay Liberation Movement by John Dennis Anderson: Explore the more conservative approach to gay liberation favored by Isherwood in the decade leading up to the Stonewall Riots (1969).

  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains

LSD and Religion—mysticism or mirage? by Ted Kachel: Explore issues of religion and the religious use of psychedelic drugs. Examine viewpoints on religion and psychedelic drugs (medical research, shamanism)

  • Performance: 7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall

Rock ‘n’ Roll Mama CASS ELLIOT by Karen Vuranch


Friday, June 24

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains

Make Your Own Kind of Music by Karen Vuranch: Influence of other groups on Cass’s music and The Mamas and The Papas’ music. Her transition from folk to rock and the effect of Broadway.

  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains

John’s Two-Year Lost Weekend by Randy Noojin: John’s separation from Yoko and the dramatic reunion. The birth of Sean soon after the reunion with Yoko; issuance of John’s Green Card.

  • Performance: 7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall

Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out TIMOTHY LEARY by Dr. Ted Kachel


Saturday, June 25

  • Workshop: 10:00-11:00 am – Museum of the Great Plains

Leary and his Ladies—from suicide to stability? by Ted Kachel: How did each of Leary’s 5 wives portray Leary? What was consistent and what changed in relationships with women over the course of his long life?

  • Workshop: 2:00-3:00 pm - Museum of the Great Plains

The ‘60s Counterculture and MKUltra by Joey Madia: Hoover's FBI spy network, infiltrated Haight-Ashbury and Black Panthers; Nixon's Paranoia; clandestine drug experiments; harassment of entertainers.

  • Performance: 7:00-8:30 pm – City Hall

The Rebellious Beatle JOHN LENNON by Randy Noojin

2022 Chautauqua Companion Reader

Learn more about the weeklong events!
2022 Chautauqua

Volunteers Needed

Contact 580.581.3450 to volunteer.

Previous Chautauqua

  • 2021: 20th Century Visionaries: Catalysts for Change
  • 2020: Postponed due to COVID19
  • 2019: From Pizarro to Picasso: Hispanic Legacy in America Today
  • 2018: The Modern Age: Moving Forward from World War I
  • 2017: Cowboys and Cattle Trails
  • 2016: The Cold War: The Early Years
  • 2015: The Dust Bowl: Strong Winds, Strong Characters
  • 2014: A Crisis of Confidence: The War That Changed the World
  • 2013: Anything Goes: America in the 1920s
  • 2012: Behind the Screen: Hollywood's Impact on American Culture
  • 2011: It's All Make Believe: Hollywod's Golden Age
  • 2010: The Wounds of War: A Tale of Two Americas
  • 2009: Lincoln's Legacy of Equality: Voices on the Fringe
  • 2008: A Time for Every Purpose: America in the 1960s
  • 2007: OK Centennial: 100 Years of Oklahoma Heroes
  • 2006: Throw the Book at 'em: Outlaws and Authors of Oklahoma
  • 2005: Portraits of the Renaissance: Poets, Pirates and Playwrights
  • 2004: Civil War: Love and War
  • 2003: Lies and Compromises: America in the 1850s
  • 2002: From Sea to Shining Sea
  • 2001: Behold the New Century
  • 2000: The Evolution of the West: Myth and Reality
  • 1999: 1895-1920: The Age of Excess and Opulence
  • 1998: Early America: The Struggle for Freedom
  • 1997: Prime Times, Scoundrel Times: Post War America
  • 1996: The Progressive Era: 1890-1920
  • 1995: Voices of the '30s: Defining Modern America


OK Chautauqua Recordings can be found here:

Upcoming Chautauqua

  • 2022: Surviving the Sixties: Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll 
  • 2023: Aviation
  • 2024: Civil Liberties

What Is Chautauqua?

Modern-day Chautauqua programs present a variety of historical enactments, workshops, and informal discussions. Evening performances include first-person presentations and time for audience questions to the historical figure in-character and to the scholar portraying the character. Ten daytime workshops and five evening lectures explore the cultural and political nuances of the era. The events are all free of charge, and are targeted to audiences of all ages, cultures, and socio-economic demographics.

The first Chautauqua Assembly took place on July 1, 1874, and was located on Chautauqua Lake near Jamestown, New York. John Heyl Vincent (1832-1920), secretary of the Methodist Sunday School (and later bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church) and Lewis Miller (1829-1899), an Akron, Ohio businessman, were the two founders. The Chautauqua Assemblies, which began as summer camp meetings, were held under the sanction and direction of the governing Sunday School Board of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

It didn’t take long for an eight-week educational camp to become popular. Within a decade, the Chautauqua assemblies (or Chautauquas, for short) sprang up all over the United States, bringing learning, culture and entertainment to small towns and villages. Over the years, the range of subjects at the Chautauqua grew. Prominent personalities were paid to give speeches on religious, political and scientific topics, such as Samuel Clemens and William Jennings Bryan.

Circuit Chautauquas, also called Tent Chautauquas, began in 1904. The programs were performed in tents for a few days, then folded up and moved to a new location. By the mid-1920s, when circuit Chautauquas were at their peak, they appeared in more than 10,000 communities.

In 1976, Everett Albers, Executive Director of the North Dakota Humanities Council, launched the modern Chautauqua in America. It was expanded from the original traveling tent with one-person presentations to a group of five scholars who present historical characters in a first-person dramatic performance.  Each scholar performs one evening presentation in character and two daytime workshops from the scholar’s own perspective. This was the start of a new movement, resolving the dilemma that faced many humanities organizations: how to make it possible for scholars to interact with the public in an open and accessible forum.

By 1980 the Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota humanities councils joined with the North Dakota Humanities Council to form the Great Plains Chautauqua Society.  A century after the original circuit began, Chautauqua scholars were once again touring, this time presenting characters from the past organized around a central theme.  Starting in 1991, the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Humanities Council united to present Chautauquas in Oklahoma.  

The Oklahoma Chautauqua returned to Lawton in June 2008. By 2012, the Lawton Chautauqua Committee decided to bring the evening performances inside because of the extreme hot weather. The City Hall auditorium was decided on as a perfect venue.