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Surprise Yourself

Tennessee Shakespeare Company Announces Fifth Performance Season

Memphis, Tenn. (August 15, 2012) – – Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), led by Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary, today announced its fifth performance season. The Mid-South’s professional, classical theatre and education organization will focus on Hamlet as its seasonal theme, expand its education programming throughout the Mid-South and the state, return to Germantown Performing Arts Centre with a Broadway headliner for its Fourth Annual Valentine’s Gala, partner once again with Dixon Gallery & Gardens and the Poplar Pike Playhouse, and launch its second phase of amphitheatre design with Shelby Farms Park in Memphis.

Record-Setting Season Four

TSC’s recently concluded fourth season, Brave New World, was a record-setting programmatic, financial, and artistic success. The season featured double the number of performances from the previous season and a balanced operating budget that increased by nearly 60%.

In addition to the four indoor/outdoor professional mainstage productions during 2011-12, TSC successfully toured two schools productions (one of them original), created two co-productions with Shakespeare Walla Walla in Washington state, and produced its Valentine’s Gala featuring Broadway composer Charles Strouse which netted more than $100,000 for TSC’s education and performance programming. TSC also partnered with Shelby Farms Park to provide initial renovations to its Wooden O Amphitheatre for a professional pilot season, brought nearly 12,000 patrons to its performances from three states, and produced a cumulative economic impact on its community of over $3 million.

The mission of TSC’s Education program is to move the arts closer to the center of every child’s learning experience.  TSC achieves this through student matinees, accompanying study guides, and actor talk-backs; interactive playshops; touring productions; summer camps; residencies; Free Will Kids’ Nights; High School Prelude Scenes; and active participation in theatre and education conferences. 

Season Sponsors: The Dunbar Abston Fund for Sustainable Excellence, Barbara B. Apperson and The Barbara Apperson Angel Fund, ArtsMemphis, Nancy and Dan Copp, FedEx Corporation, Independent Bank, Jack and Sandra Jones, City of Germantown, Germantown Performing Arts Centre, Milton T. Schaeffer, the Family of Margaret and Owen Tabor, Sr., Audrey L. Taylor

Season Partners: Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Germantown High School, Poplar Pike Playhouse, Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, St. George's Episcopal Church

Since 2007, TSC has achieved 100,000 student interactions through these activities.  These interactions represent 70 schools in three states.  Last season, TSC engaged 46 Memphis-area schools and nearly 8,000 students in its professional, classical education programming.  Students under 19 years of age also made up over one-half of TSC’s patrons this past year. 

Last season, TSC furthered its education mission through a pilot program conducted at Germantown High School.  The pilot objective was for a TSC actor/teaching artist to introduce interactively the characters and opening situation of Romeo and Juliet to the entire ninth grade student body – nearly 1,000 students. The pilot has become a model for multi-school replication.

“Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s fourth season is not an easy one to follow,” says founder Dan McCleary, “and what a wonderful challenge to be handed!

“I am particularly proud of our company’s and Board’s creativity and innovation in producing our plays this past season. Every event was a pilgrimage that required grit, grace, determination, creative vision, and illumination. Each production plumbed new theatrical and philosophical depths for our audiences, and it inspired our patrons, students, and donors to tell me over and over how ‘surprised’ they were to discover something personal for them in the plays

“We are focusing on this act of surprise, and even delight, in our fifth season of programming. There are few more delightful surprises in humanity than when we discover what makes us unique. In Shakespeare’s works, a search for the authentic self and the question of how one must live his or her life is deeply experienced in his play that not only changed the theatre but also awakened humanity’s awareness of itself: Hamlet.”

Season Five Programming

McCleary will direct Hamlet in an elegant Edwardian production inside Dixon Gallery & Gardens from April 3 – 14, 2013. The intimate, 10-actor piece will use the luxurious Dixon interior as the Prince of Denmark’s home as he frames now-famous questions of life and death in dialogue with the audience.

Also playing inside the Dixon Gallery from December 6 –16, 2012, is an exciting, new family experience of It’s a Wonderful Life: a Live Radio Play adapted from the Frank Capra holiday film by Joe Landry. The Dixon’s Winegardner Auditorium becomes a festive, 1946 cabaret setting for the radio play that will be broadcast live around the country. Complete with period commercials, table seating, drinks, and holiday sing-a-longs, It’s a Wonderful Life features George Bailey asking his own Hamlet questions when faced with financial ruin. Angel 2nd Class Clarence Odbody intervenes with heart-warming success in this endearing story worth re-visiting every year. Stephanie Shine directs.

Kicking off the season is the internationally-acclaimed hilarity of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield. Featuring three clowning actors, the show takes audiences swiftly and absurdly through Shakespeare’s 37 plays in just 97 minutes – with special emphasis on a revised version (both forward and backward) of Hamlet. Considered the play that perfectly brings together audiences who both love and loathe Shakespeare, the TSC production presents the insanity out of love for its namesake. In attempting to play out the entire canon as quickly and hilariously as they can, the actors also find themselves improvising with a little local influence.

Complete Works, directed by Dan McCleary, will be played at the Poplar Pike Playhouse (where TSC’s record-setting Midsummer Night’s Dream played in 2009) featuring David Goldstein (TSC’s Southern Yuletide), Amelia Hammond (TSC’s The Tempest), and improvisational comedian Sam Reiff-Pasarew from NYC’s Story Pirates and Striking Vikings.

On February 8, 2013, TSC will present its romantic Fourth Annual Valentine’s Gala at GPAC, featuring a Broadway headliner soon to be announced.

In addition to the professional season, TSC will conduct its Statewide Schools Tour of its newly-created show, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits (a fun performance piece that introduces students to a playwright they are surprised to discover they already know) from October 25 – April 19, 2013. TSC’s Mid-South Schools Tour of its self-created Rebel Shakespeare and His Women will tour January 14 – February 1, 2013. Three men play all the women’s roles, as in Shakespeare’s day, to trace the surprising development of the playwright through his writing. School reservations may be made now by calling TSC’s Education Manager Slade Kyle at (901) 759-0620.

The 2011-12 pilot performance season produced on the outdoor Wooden O amphitheatre at Shelby Farms Park proved so artistically successful that a second phase of design has begun in partnership with the SFP Conservancy. The Shakespeare in the Park series drew record attendance and many first-time patrons. Throughout the upcoming season, scope of work and cost estimates will begin in an effort to bring basic infrastructure to the site for public and professional use.

In Memoriam, Audrey L. Taylor

The Board of Directors and TSC lost one of its founding Board members in May, Mrs. Audrey L. Taylor (1917-2012). The company of TSC’s season-ending production of The Glass Menagerie acknowledged Mrs. Taylor following each of its performances in May and June, and TSC will honor her and her devotion to Shakespeare throughout the 2012-13 season.

“Audrey was a loving, personal friend and a generous caretaker of Tennessee Shakespeare Company,” says McCleary. “She was one of our founding members who made the company financially viable in the early years and sustainable in each successive year – including this one. Her trust in us inspired many others to support our work. She lived a glorious and long life, and we miss her dearly. Her love and generosity will be remembered at every production.”


Ticket Information
On sale August 15. All performances are $25 in advance and $30 day-of-show.
Preview Tickets: All previews are $15 regardless of when purchased.

Box Office/Administrative Offices
Located in the historic train depot at 2260 West Street, Germantown, Tenn.
Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Follow on Twitter: @tnshakespeare

PLEASE NOTE: All performances are general admission; first come/first seated. Chairs are provided for all productions. Free parking. No refunds. Productions and casts are subject to change.

Season Five Listing

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, Jess Winfield
directed by Dan McCleary
Poplar Pike Playhouse, Germantown
September 20 – October 7, 2012
Proceeds from this production will be used to support the fine arts program at Germantown High School

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Sponsored by FedEx Corporation
adapted by Joe Landry
directed by Stephanie Shine
Dixon Gallery & Gardens
Winegardner Auditorium, Memphis
December 6-16, 2012

Schools Tour:
The Rebel Shakespeare and His Women
Shakespeare's Greatest Hits
directed by Stephanie Shine
October 2012 – February 1, 2013

Fourth Annual Valentine's Gala
Friday, February 8, 2013
Germantown Performing Arts Centre

by William Shakespeare
directed by Dan McCleary
Dixon Gallery & Gardens, Memphis
Winegardner Auditorium
April 3-14, 2013



  • TSC Announces Four New Members
  • Eighth Season Announced
  • The Oliver Experiment
  • Midsummer Night
  • Mayor Visits R&J Project in Action

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
Announces Eighth Season of Plays and Education Programs:

Celebration 400

(Memphis, TN, September 1, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), the Mid-South’s professional classical theatre, today announced its 2015-16 performance season, which commemorates the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death with a celebration of plays, readings, salons, feasts, and extensive programming for children.

TSC continues its cultural/educational partnerships with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance and with Dixon Gallery & Gardens.  Full productions of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well (Dixon) and Henry V (UofM) will feature professional, AEA casts from around the country and Memphis.

The Company also partners with the Memphis Hunt & Polo Club to feature three weeks of feasts and two-hour readings of Shakespeare plays that TSC has not yet produced.  The Southern Literary Salons continue in September with a focus on Harper Lee, and in February spotlighting Ernest Hemingway in Key West.  The Seventh Annual Shakespeare Gala at Germantown Performing Arts Center moves to April to commemorate Celebration 400 during the month of the 400th anniversary.

Running concurrently with the performance season are the expanded offerings of TSC’s Education and Outreach Department.  These include a newly-authored schools show touring the southeastern U.S., student matinees, playshops and residencies, expanded Summer camps, and the recently-trademarked Romeo and Juliet Project™ literacy/non-violence residency.

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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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Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, Jr. to Visit Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet Project in Action at East High School Monday, March 23

March 17, 2015 – Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, Jr. announced today he will observe first-hand Tennessee Shakespeare Company teaching and playing its Romeo and Juliet Project with 100 ninth graders in four simultaneous sessions at East High School on Monday, March 23 at 9:00 am.

“On behalf of TSC and our Board of Directors, I am so proud and honored to have Mayor Wharton joining our teachers in the classroom,” said Project creator and TSC Education Director Stephanie Shine.  “It was at the Mayor’s urging we created this Project, and I am excited for him to see his challenge come to positive life.”

pic-romeo-and-juliet-castTennessee Shakespeare Company began its nationally-recognized, four-part performance and in-school residency in the Memphis area in January.  The Project, now in its fourth year, brings a cast of eight professional actor-teachers into each Language Arts classroom at a participating school.  Students are guided by the actors to live the play’s urgent tragedy of young love amidst rage, experiencing its relevant story while ensuring that participating freshmen have a first exposure to Shakespeare that is active, rich, and rewarding.

As the teenagers in the play face armed violence, students discover positive actions available to them in their own lives in the face of real conflict.  Student post-Project assessments have recorded a 20% increase in students’ compassion as a result of their inclusion in The Romeo and Juliet Project, as well as a full letter grade increase, on average, in Language Arts classes.

The Residency concludes with an intimate performance by the actor-teachers of Romeo and Juliet, which encourages student participation.

By the end of March, The Romeo and Juliet Project will have performed the play 44 times in 27 Memphis area schools, and will have taught the Residency in 342 classroom visits in 11 schools.  At least 4,360 high school Freshmen will be reached and positively affected by The Romeo and Juliet Project.  That figure represents 34% of all freshmen in the Shelby County Schools system.

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Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

Boyle         FedEx         logo-arts-memphis

International Paper            University of Memphis


First Tenneessee Foundation


Tennessee Arts Commission

Season Sponsors:
Arts Memphis, Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund, Nancy Copp, FedEx Corporation, Independent Bank, International Paper, Rose M. Johnston, Ernest and Pat Kelly, Jr., Milton T. Schaeffer, Margaret and Owen Tabor, Ann and Wellford Tabor, Tennessee Arts Commission, and The University of Memphis.

Season Partners:
Boyle Investment Company, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, and 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