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The making of Carnivale

A fund-raiser for the Mental Health Association in Tulsa

Sooner or later, everyone, and everything, is due for a makeover. A chance to reinvent, revitalize and regroup.

Such was the case five years ago when local event planner Phil Long approached philanthropist Suzanne Warren about revamping Le Masquerade, the primary fund-raiser for the Mental Health Association in Tulsa.

Long suggested a new name, Carnivale, and a new venue, the Donald W. Reynolds Center at The University of Tulsa.

He also proposed an upgrade in entertainment. The event was initially conceived with an entertainment group from New York, through which performers were invited to deliver choreographed dance routines and acts ranging from juggling to contortionists to strong men. Long, though, wanted something bigger and better — topnotch entertainers from Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

“Le Masquerade just needed a shot in the arm,” he says.

And that’s exactly what it got. That year’s event attracted a record level of funding — all benefiting MHAT’s housing programs for individuals in the community with mental illness.

Now in his 15th year of assisting with the event, Long works year-round on planning Carnivale. This year’s event will feature the theme “Glorious! Glorious! Glorious!” and include headliners Alizma, a trio of female fiddlers who appeared on the hit NBC show “America’s Got Talent.”

As in years past, the event will include high-flying acts from Las Vegas, as well as Chicago master of ceremonies Johnny B and disc jockey Yuri.

Johnny B will be making his fifth appearance at Carnivale.

“He runs the whole show,” Long says. “ … He brings high-energy dancers that get everybody on their feet.”

The expected 600-plus event attendees will also enjoy “a creative dining experience,” Long says, and they are encouraged to dress black-tie “with a twist.”

Long says he fully expects this year’s event to live up to its reputation as “the best party in town.”

“It’s a magical combination of dining, theatrics, great music and wild and crazy dancing,” he says.

For more information, call Leah Brumbaugh, 585-1213, or visit



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