Library to Host 2022 Chautauqua

chautauqua flyer

PUBLISHED 6/1/2022

Chautauqua will return to Lawton from June 21-25 live and in-person. The 2022 Chautauqua theme is “Surviving the Sixties: Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

Workshops will be at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily at the Museum of the Great Plains, 601 NW Ferris. Evening in-character performances will take place at 7 p.m. daily in the Lawton City Hall Auditorium, 212 SW 9th Street.  All events are free and open to the public.

Charles Dickens said of the French Revolution: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," which may also be said of the 1960s. This year’s Chautauqua theme will delve into this challenging decade by experiencing the music, poetry, literature, and, yes, drugs and sex, of the 1960s.

What is Chautauqua?

Chautauqua brings history to life with in-character performances, workshops, and discussions. Evening performances consist of first-person portrayals of historical characters by nationally known Chautauqua scholars, with Q&A sessions for both character and scholar. Workshops explore the cultural and political nuances of the era.

The 2022 Chautauqua Characters

2022 Chautauqua will feature five historical characters who are emblematic of the 1960s:

  • Allen Ginsberg, Poet of the Beat Generation, will be portrayed by Joey Madia. Madia was last seen in Lawton Chautauqua as Che Guevera.
  • Christopher Isherwood, writer, cultural observer, author of the classic gay novel “A Single Man,” and the source for the musical “Cabaret,” will be portrayed by John Dennis Anderson. Anderson is remembered for his portrayals of Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Marshall McLuhan, among others. 
  • Cass Elliot, Rock and Roll Mama of The Mamas and The Papas, will be brought to life by Karen Vuranch. Her depiction of Gertrude Bell, Queen of the Desert, was a highlight of 2021 Chautauqua.
  • Timothy Leary, famous for his counter-culture mantra, "Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out," will be presented by Ted  Kachel. Kachel portrayed Frank Lloyd Wright as the Visionary Architect for 2021 Chautauqua.
  • John Lennon, the Rebellious Beatle, rounds out our panoply of 1960s icons. He will be portrayed by Randy Noojin, who has given us Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in past Chautauquas.

2022 Lawton Chautauqua Schedule

  • Tuesday, June 21
    • Workshop: 10-11 a.m. 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: 2-3 p.m. 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: 7-8:30 p.m. Lawton City Hall
      • Poet of the Beats ALLEN GINSBERG, by Joey Madia
  • Wednesday, June 22
    • Workshop: 10-11 a.m. 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: 2-3 p.m. 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: 7-8:30 p.m. Lawton City Hall
      • A Single Man CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD, by Dr. John Dennis Anderson 
  • Thursday, June 23
    • Workshop: 10-11 a.m. 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: 2-3 p.m. 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: 7-8:30 p.m. Lawton City Hall
      • Rock ‘n’ Roll Mama CASS ELLIOT, by Karen Vuranch
  • Friday, June 24
    • Workshop: 10-11 a.m. 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: 2-3 p.m. 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: 7-8:30 p.m. Lawton City Hall
      • Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out TIMOTHY LEARY, by Dr. Ted Kachel
  • Saturday, June 25
    • Workshop: 10-11 a.m. 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: 2-3 p.m. 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: 7-8:30 p.m. Lawton City Hall
      • The Rebellious Beatle JOHN LENNON, by Randy Noojin

2022 Chautauqua Book Reviews and Oklahoma Chautauqua Archives on Vimeo

The 2022 book reviews have been recorded and uploaded to Vimeo. Click on the Vimeo link to watch all five book reviews: . View videos and photographs from past and recent Chautauquas at

Funding for the annual Chautauqua is provided in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional sponsors include Arts for All; Lawton Fort Sill Convention & Visitors Bureau; City of Lawton McMahon Auditorium Authority Public Trust, Arts and Humanities Committee; Friends of the Lawton Public Library; Delta Sigma Theta sorority; and The Lawton Constitution.

For more information, please contact the Lawton Public Library by phone, 580-581-3450, or email, @email, or visit


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