Arts Midwest Announces 2016–2017
Shakespeare in American Communities Grants
Including Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Grants Mark 14th Year of Bringing Shakespeare to Youth
Minneapolis, MN/Memphis, TN – Arts Midwest today announced $1 million in grants to 40 nonprofit, professional theater companies across 26 states, plus the District of Columbia, to perform the works of William Shakespeare for students through Shakespeare in American Communities.
Tennessee Shakespeare Company was announced as one of the 40 recipients (one of only six in the southeastern U.S.) for the third time in its history. The grant will support TSC’s innovative and successful Romeo and Juliet Project in underserved Freshman high school classes in 2016-17.
The awards mark the fourteenth consecutive year of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Each of the participating theater companies will present productions of Shakespeare plays to students from at least 10 schools. Accompanying educational activities include in-school residencies, workshops, or post-performance discussions. Performances will take place between August 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017.
Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has introduced middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare, benefiting more than 2.8 million individuals, including 2.3 million students, with live performances and educational activities.
Sponsored by Theatrical Rights Worldwide (NYC)
Presents its Third Musical in Development August 15 on the University of Memphis mainstage:
The Oliver Experiment
What if your entire life were a Broadway musical…and you had no clue?
Featuring Broadway’s Brightest Stars
Memphis, TN (July 27, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents its third and final developing musical reading on the U of M mainstage with The Oliver Experiment by Jeremy Desmon and Jeff Thomson on August 15 at 7:00 pm.
Live music, glow sticks, and power chords!
Featuring Broadway’s Katrina Lenk and Eric B. Anthony
Memphis, TN (June 15, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents its second developing musical reading on the U of M mainstage with Midsummer Night by Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn on June 27 at 7:00 pm.
Tickets for the reading are just $15, or $10 for Students and Seniors.
Midsummer Night, directed by Janet Roston, is the second of three developing musicals in TSC’s inaugural Showplace Memphis: Musical Works in Progress.
Broadway's Katrina Lenk and Eric B. Anthony
Sponsored by one of Broadway’s elite musical licensing companies, Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) and President/CEO Steve Spiegel, based in New York City, Showplace Memphis has been devised as the next creative stage for three musicals en route to full productions in New York and on the regional theatre circuit across the U.S. The first musical in Showplace Memphis last month was a very successful reading of Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical. The final musical will be a charming and surprising new piece, The Oliver Experiment (August 15).
TRW has selected the musicals, and the Actors’ Equity casts and directors are coming from all around the country and Memphis.
The cast includes Broadway’s Katrina Lenk (Once; Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark; The Miracle Worker) as Titania and Eric B. Anthony (The Lion King; Hairspray; Mary Poppins) as Puck.
Songwriters Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda join with co-creator/director Janet Roston (Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Rock Opera Company) for this new take on William Shakespeare’s beloved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The musical is set within a modern-day rock festival. It’s a rollicking collision of rock music, iambic pentameter, and hipsters – where rock stars Titania and Oberon quarrel, festival assistant Puck creates havoc, and roadie Bottom gets a chance to shine.
Keyboardist Milburn and electric violinist Vigoda have been singing and writing songs together for over 20 years, first for their band GrooveLily, and more recently for musical theatre and film. Theatre: Striking Twelve, Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Beautiful Poison, Wheelhouse, Toy Story: The Musical, Long Short Story, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, its complete reworking as the rock musical Midsummer Night, and Ernest Shackleton Loves Me. Film: many songs for Tinker Bell for Disney animated movies. Additional music is provided by Gene Lewin.
The Midsummer Night creators and cast will collaborate and rehearse at the U of M for ten days leading up to its reading. Though it will be going through both script and music changes, Midsummer Night will be played and sung in its entirety and with musical accompaniment on the U of M’s mainstage. No other design elements (scenic/costumes/lights) will be integrated.
Audiences will have an opportunity to speak with the actors and creators of Midsummer Night immediately following its reading. Audiences also will inform the production by completing an audience survey that will help the creative team in future development phases.
Tennessee Shakespeare Company Announces Four New Members to its Board of Directors
Memphis, TN – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, the Mid-South’s professional classical theatre and education organization, announced the addition of four new members to its Board of Directors, led by President Owen B. Tabor, M.D.
Now in the midst of its eighth season, TSC has expanded the Board to its largest membership. The Board is made up of 26 members and now six Emeritus members.
New members voted onto the Board beginning FY16 for their first three-year terms are:
Elise L. Jordan, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with FedEx Express.
Dorothy O. Kirsch, Memphis philanthropist with a long history of supporting the arts and culture in the Mid-South.
Anne Johnson Mead, partner at the law firm of Butler, Sevier, Hinsley & Reid, PLLC, focusing her practice on litigation, collaborative law, and mediation. Anne is a member of the Tennessee and Memphis Bar Associations, and serves on the Board for the Family Law Section of the Memphis Bar.
Tracy Vezina Patterson, Director of Alumni Relations at Rhodes College. She is an alumna of Rhodes College and the University of Memphis School of Law. Tracy is actively involved in several ministries of St. George's Episcopal Church and has served on the Vestry and as Senior Warden. Past civic involvements include Memphis Civitan and Special Kids and Families.