TULSA, Okla. (KATV) - The man responsible for bringing Broadway to Arkansas for the past 30 years died Monday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Celebrity Attractions says Payton died unexpectedly shortly before 10pm due to an illness.
Larry and his wife, Kay, founded Celebrity Attractions in 1983. The company has been bringing major theatrical productions and family entertainment to the natural state ever since.
Channel 7 has worked closely with Payton and Celebrity Attractions over the years. We are saddened by this loss and send our condolences to his family and friends.
Here is the statement from Celebrity Attractions regarding Larry Payton's death:
Broadway has one less light burning today as Celebrity Attractions' President Larry Payton unexpectedly passed away Monday, February 18th at approximately 9:50 p.m. at St. Francis Hospital due to an illness.
Larry Payton, his wife Kay Payton, his son Drew Payton and his brother Ed Payton have kept the lights of Broadway burning bright out west as the leadership of Celebrity Attractions. Larry and Kay started Celebrity Attractions in 1983 and are now celebrating 30 years of bringing the best of Broadway and more to you! The company has been presenting major theatrical, musical and family entertainment and handling the marketing and group sales for national touring events. Celebrity Attractions presents a Broadway Series in seven different regional markets- including Tulsa, OK; Oklahoma City, OK; Little Rock, AR; Springfield, MO; Amarillo, TX; Abilene, TX; and Lubbock, TX. He was actively involved in the Independent Presenters Network comprised of over 50 markets throughout the United States that present and produce shows.
In addition, Larry invested in several shows for Broadway and the road, including: ONCE, KINKY BOOTS, Matthew Bourne's SLEEPING BEAUTY, JEKYLL & HYDE, WONDERLAND, 9 TO 5, GREASE, Monty Python's SPAMALOT on Broadway, the road & in London, PETER PAN starring Cathy Rigby, LEGALLY BLONDE, THE COLOR PURPLE, MOVIN' OUT, BOMBAY DREAMS and THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE for which he won a Tony Award.
Over the years, Larry's dedication to presenting quality family entertainment and growing a business from the ground up were acknowledged by both The Broadway League as the recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Achievement in Presenter Management Award and by the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce as the recipient of the 1997 Small Business Person of the Year Award.
Larry was an active member of Parkview Baptist Church in Tulsa where he was a deacon and served on the church council. He also served on the Lifeway Board of Trustees and was secretary for the Retail Committee and served on the Financial Review Committee. Lifeway is the largest Christian Retailer in the United States. He was actively involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes since college and served on the Board of Directors for the State of Oklahoma. FCA is one of the few Christian Organizations which is still active in public schools. Larry served on the Board of Southwest Baptist University for which he was also an alumnus. A supporter of education, he was a former employee of the University of Tulsa as the student activities director.