'The Chairman and the King' to begin June 3 at the Constantine

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Constantine Theater has a new musical attraction, scheduled to begin Saturday, June 3. The attraction is a musical show performed by Oklahoma native Wade Tower. The show is titled “The Chairman and the King” and it features the songs of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

“The Chairman and the King” is booked at the Constantine every Saturday afternoon from June 3 through the end of 2023, except for June 17. The performance time each Saturday is 3 p.m. and individual tickets are $40. Visit the Constantine’s website to buy tickets.

Tower, 58, was born in Chickasha and grew up in Stillwater. He says that he knew from the age of 4 years that he wanted to be a performer. He attended Oklahoma State University on a theater scholarship, and after college pursued film work for a while. When he married, though, he and his wife moved from Los Angeles to Oklahoma.

He explains that the Los Angeles life wasn’t what he wanted for his family.

Tower didn’t lose touch with his interest in the performing arts, but he moved in another direction occupationally. He still sang for corporate and charity events several times a year, but he was working in financial services when he had the experience that changed his life. He sang a Sinatra song at a karaoke bar during a company event, and made quite an impression on the compliance officer for his company.

Tower recalls the man called him later and asked him what he was doing selling insurance when he could sing like that.

“If I could sing like that I wouldn't work another day in my life," Tower recalls the man saying.

“And I did just that,” Tower says. “Within four months I left my financial services role and I took a job with an old friend selling for his company because he was kind enough to let me work and chase my dream. I have been performing across the country since 2010 and I have had some amazing experiences. I have headlined casino shows, performed for corporate CEOs and billionaire private events and recorded two albums. But, I have also sung for assisted living centers and in living rooms for 10 people. I have done it all and loved every minute of it.”

Tower acknowledges that he has had to have some kind of “day job” most of the time since his transition, but says he has been able to live his dream.

He recalls that in second grade he answered a question about what he wanted to be when he grew up with, “I want to be a famous singer, like Bobby Goldsboro.”

“I see myself as an entertainer, not necessarily just a singer,” Tower says now. “Sinatra always called himself a saloon singer because he didn't feel worthy to be called a true jazz singer. I am doing my best to be what Sinatra, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and their peers were by being a well-rounded performer. I love to sing, but I love to make people laugh too, as did Sinatra, and I hope my audiences will always leave my shows smiling and thinking to themselves that that was a lot more fun than I even expected.”

Tower clarified that “The Chairman and the King” is not an impersonation show, as such, but he does try to sound something like Sinatra and Elvis when he sings their music.

“It’s music that you can listen to and you can enjoy,” Tower said, adding that he thinks of it as music that tends to make the listener happy. “It’s really almost impossible to be sad while you’re listening to those guys.”

He added that the music of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley also seems to have an abiding appeal.

“Everyone seems to know the music,” he said. “It was listened to in families and it was listened to cross-generationally.”

Tower said he welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Constantine Theater to regularly offer family friendly entertainment that many people will enjoy. He said that he hopes the show attracts both area residents and visitors to Pawhuska.

“I love entertaining more than almost anything in this world,” he said. “I have three beautiful daughters and a wife that I love more, but it is close.”

He described entertainment in terms of relieving the stresses of work-a-day life.

“The truth is, when I am on stage that moment is all that matters. There is no stress,” Tower said. “There are no worries about bills or any of the issues with daily life. On stage with a mic in my hand, I feel completely free. My goal is to give that same gift to everyone in the audience, the gift of removing the weight of life, if only for an hour. Life is hard. But, music and laughter contain the magic of being able to make all of that strife and worry disappear.”

Photo Caption: Wade Tower is scheduled to begin performing his show, "The Chairman and the King," on June 3 at the Constantine Theater. Photo by Phil Shockley