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Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Announces Full Ninth Season of Plays and Educational Activities for 2016-17

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(Memphis, TN; August 11, 2016) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company, the Mid-South’s professional, classical theatre, today announced its full 2016-17 season of plays, outreach programs, and Education initiatives in the Memphis area and beyond.

Launching TSC’s ninth season is its first production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  Directed by TSC Founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary, the adaptation will perform in the Wiener Theater on the campus of The Hutchison School in East Memphis from September 20 through October 2.  The play is produced in partnership with Hutchison.  The cast of 20 actors features Broadway veteran Patrick Ryan Sullivan as Atticus Finch, Memphian Ainsley Geno as Scout, and the return of TSC favorite Tony Molina, Jr. as Rev. Sykes. 

Early Bird tickets are on sale now for To Kill a Mockingbird: the first 24 seats sold to each performance will be located in the new Best Seats section of the theatre.

In the winter, TSC returns to Dixon Gallery & Gardens for the holiday season with an elegant, celebratory Much Ado About Nothing befitting the season of cheer.  Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, directed by McCleary, plays on the Winegardner Auditorium stage December 8-18.

The fun continues in early summer with Shakespeare’s boisterous comedy of mistaken identities.  The Comedy of Errors, produced in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, will play the U of M mainstage June 8-18, 2017.

The Southern Literary Salons return, featuring the works of Eudora Welty (Mississippi Myth) on January 27 and Flannery O’Connor (Georgia Gothic) on April 21.  These literary parties in beautiful, private homes from 6:00-8:00 pm curate readings, light fare, and writer-specific libations.

Back by popular demand is The Shakespeare Brunch, featuring abbreviated, staged readings of a redemptive The Winter’s Tale (November 20) and a provocative The Merchant of Venice (May 21) preceded by an expansive brunch buffet and bar.  Acted by some of TSC’s best-known actors, the Brunches run from 12:30-3:30 pm inside the elegant Memphis Hunt & Polo Club. 

The season also includes the Eighth Annual Shakespeare Gala, bringing to Memphis a new Broadway headliner on Friday, March 10, 2017, at Germantown Performing Arts Center.  The Gala, complete with lavish dinner and open bars located throughout the theatre, supports TSC’s nationally-acclaimed Education Program.

This season, the Education Program significantly expands its anti-violence schools residency and performance schedule of The Romeo and Juliet Project.  Nine actor/teaching-artists will work in over 20 schools, largely underserved, in Shelby County from September through February, reaching more than 6,000 students.  Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits, a fun 2-actor introduction to the playwright’s essential scenes and soliloquies, will tour schools and theatres throughout the southeastern United States.  Both productions are created and directed by TSC Education Director Stephanie Shine.

TSC’s generous Mainstage title sponsors include FedEx; Dorothy O. Kirsch; Ernest, Pat, Martha, & Marian Kelly; Independent Bank; Tennessee Arts Commission; Ann and Wellford Tabor; and The University of Memphis.

TSC’s season partners are Dixon Gallery & Gardens, The Hutchison School, Shelby County Schools, St. George’s Church, and the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance.  The season is funded under a Grant Contract with the State of Tennessee.

“Our ninth season is a response both to the world’s recent events and to our patrons’ desires,” says McCleary.  “To Kill a Mockingbird is an American masterpiece of the 20th Century.  It is time for each of us to pick up Harper Lee’s novel and read or re-read it.  In Much Ado About Nothing, we are a nation of peace at home and abroad, and in this dream we go pleasure-seeking.  Still, uninhibited love is surprisingly difficult to give away in this environment, to both comedic and tragic effect.  And in Comedy of Errors, famous for its physical and archetypal humor, we find ourselves in a world in which the mortal threat to immigrants cannot prevent this non-traditional family, even after years of separation, from making a heart-felt discovery.

“I am deeply grateful to our season sponsors, production partners, and over 300 donors who make professional, classical theatre and our education programming possible.  The work we do with children in our schools is immediate, impactful, proven, and a powerful model for successful replication throughout the United States.  We live in a time when the arts, and experiencing Shakespeare’s plays, need to be at the center of our national educational curriculum, not subsisting on the fringes.  They are not a luxury, they are for everyone.  The works of William Shakespeare are our birthright, and if they are supported educationally and financially then we see first-hand how our children enthusiastically embrace his compassion, his poetry, and his open-hearted query of humanity.”

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News

  • Arts Midwest Announces 2016–2017 Shakespeare in American Communities Grants
  • The Oliver Experiment
  • Midsummer Night
  • TSC Announces Four New Members

Arts Midwest Announces 2016–2017
Shakespeare in American Communities
Grants
Including Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Grants Mark 14th Year of Bringing Shakespeare to Youth

logo nea 2016Minneapolis, 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.

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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.

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Midsummer Night

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

 Eric B. Anthony

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.

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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.

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Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

Boyle         FedEx         Tennessee Arts Commission

International Paper             University of Memphis  logo-arts-memphis



     First Tenneessee Foundation    

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Individual Season Sponsors:

Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund; Nancy Copp; Ernest, Pat, Martha, and Marian Kelly; Milton T. Schaeffer; The Family of Owen and Margaret Tabor;
Ann and Wellford Tabor.

Season Partners:

Boyle Investment Company, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, The Hutchison School, Shelby County Schools, St. George’s Church, The University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a proud member of:
Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence       ArtsMemphis    logo-gacc          Tennesseans for the Arts     Tennessee Theatre Association     Where We Live