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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

pic-poster-midsummer-nightsthe comedy by William Shakespeare

directed by Stephanie Shine

in partnership with

University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance

University of Memphis Mainstage

June 4-21, 2015

Sponsored by



and the Margaret & Owen Tabor family

Additional funding provided by:

XFINITY Logo CMYK               Edited First TN               logo-ibank

 

PURCHASE TICKETS

Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), the Mid-South’s professional classical theatre, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance presents a magical, family-friendly, VooDoo-inspired production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the U of M’s Mainstage from June 4-21.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS NO MORNING MATINEE ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 17.

The southern-infused production will feature the company’s largest cast in its seven seasons and will explore the expansiveness and technical capabilities of the U of M mainstage.  The team of professional designers consists of present U of M faculty and alumni, and the cast features talented U of M actors interning alongside performers of Actors’ Equity Association assembled from around the nation. 

The production’s title sponsor is FedEx, making possible Free Will Kids Night every Thursday night (up to four children 17 years and younger admitted free when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian.)

Additional funding is generously provided by Owen and Margaret Tabor, First Tennessee Foundation, Xfinity, and Independent Bank.

G Valmont Thomas (Bottom) and Stephanie Weeks (Titania).
G Valmont Thomas (Bottom) and Stephanie Weeks (Titania).
Phil Darius Wallace (Oberon) with Noah Duff and Stephanie Weeks
Phil Darius Wallace (Oberon) with Noah Duffy (Puck),
G Valmont Thomas (Bottom), and Stephanie Weeks (Titania)
Rachel Brun (Helena), Jon Castro (Lysander), Caley Milliken (Hermia), Roman Kalei (Demetrius)
Rachel Brun (Helena), Jon Castro (Lysander),
Caley Milliken (Hermia), Roman Kalei (Demetrius)
Phil Darius Wallace (Oberon)
Phil Darius Wallace (Oberon)

Directed by TSC’s Stephanie Shine (Romeo and Juliet, A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, Southern Yuletide), A Midsummer Night’s Dream places Duke Theseus’ court in World War II America and the peaceful though mischievous fairie kingdom in the spanish-moss strewn bayous of turn-of-the-19th century Louisiana.  Big Band, Swing, Cajun, and Creole music will be played live on stage by the hard-working, busking men of the French Quarter.

Since the 17th century, Shakespeare’s most magical comedy has been one of his most-produced on English-speaking stages.  Likely written around 1595, chronologically joining the script with Romeo and Juliet, Love’s Labor’s Lost, and The Merchant of VeniceA Midsummer Night’s Dream is unusual when compared to the rest of Shakespeare’s canon.  It has no readily identifiable main source.  Shakespeare was inspired by the writings of Plutarch, Chaucer, Ovid, as well as folklore, but his magical play of chaos is likely his very own creation.  Uniquely, he orchestrates four main themes, all entirely different, without relegating any to secondary status. 

Shakespeare’s symphony of a narrative telescopes in a finite period of time. He weaves together the waking and sleeping worlds; loving and violent worlds; the spirit and mortal worlds; day and night; male and female; jealousy and compassion in a musical romp that is Shakespeare’s first deep consideration of the relationship between art and humanity.

The world of the Court, where Duke Theseus has violently triumphed over and won Queen Hippolyta, begins to spin off its seasonal axis as the nighttime spirit world ruled by Oberon and Titania tilts in a petty feud.  Racing into the dark woods amid these shifts are four young lovers ruled by their hearts and Bottom’s group of musical hard-working men rehearsing ambitiously their self-scribed play.  Fairie Robin Goodfellow (Puck) is the link between all the worlds, wreaking havoc through magic transformation of the heart and head (that of a donkey). 

Out of the discord comes concord and a seeing of the world with “parted eye.”  An evening of genuine playmaking and love transforms into marriage and celebration, which begets blessings bestowed on all the worlds, all humanity, all spirituality.

"Our production explores both the collision and the communion of different groups of beings,” says director Shine, while in rehearsal at the U of M mainstage.  “The worlds within the play are vastly different, and yet common ground is forged when all are found in the same mystical forest.

“Throughout literature, trials by wilderness offer the possibility to emerge a changed being; and our play radiates with the same transformation for characters escaping into the night woods to question their desires.  I can think of no more mystical, magical, and mysterious place in America than the bayous of southern Louisiana with its sultry mists, gymnastic cypress trees, and prehistoric creatures.  The surrounding human cultures within nearby New Orleans celebrate and retain their origins through ritual, language, custom, food, and music unique to the region.  What we know of Louisiana and New Orleans lends an exotic reality to this fantastical play, letting its powers of transformation root more deeply."

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News

  • The Oliver Experiment
  • Midsummer Night
  • AC Wharton, Jr. Visits R&J Project in Action
  • Romeo and Juliet Project - 4th Year

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.

Read More

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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pic-romeo-and-juliet-castTennessee Shakespeare Company Kicks Off Fourth Year of Nationally-Recognized ROMEO AND JULIET PROJECT

  • 27 Schools
  • 44 Performances
  • 342 Classroom Visits
  • 4,360 High School Freshmen


(January 15, 2015) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company has begun its nationally-recognized, four-part performance and in-school residency The Romeo and Juliet Project in the Memphis area this week, starting with Germantown High School and all of its 530 Freshmen.

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. 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.

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.

Read More

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

Boyle         FedEx         logo-arts-memphis

International Paper            University of Memphis

logo-ibank

Theatrical Rights Worldwide

First Tenneessee Foundation

Tennessee Arts Commission


Season Sponsors:
Arts Memphis, Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund, Nancy and Dan Copp, FedEx Corporation, Independent Bank, Ernest and Pat Kelly, Jr., National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest, Milton T. Schaeffer, The Family of Margaret and Owen Tabor, Ann and Wellford Tabor, and Tennessee Arts Commission.

Season Partners:
Boyle Investment Company, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, St. George’s Episcopal Church, Theatrical Rights Worldwide,
and The University of Memphis.

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