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Thank you!

Thank you for helping make our 2014-15 performance season our most artistically, programmatically, and financially successful in our short history.
 
You allowed us to perform and teach in every month of the year for the first time, to reach more children than ever with our innovative education programming, to partner successfully with our friends at the University of Memphis and Dixon Gallery & Gardens, and to launch a major developing musical festival with national significance in "Showplace Memphis."  
 
This was accomplished while keeping William Shakespeare and the professional performance of his plays at our artistic center.  
 
We will shortly announce our eighth season, during which we will commemorate the 400th anniversary of the passing of Shakespeare.  We will touch on eight of his plays in all, none of which we have before produced.  We will also explore in our Literary Salons an Alabama author who is in the news once again, and in the winter we will hear a lion of Key West who redefined American prose.
 
Coming soon.  Thanks to you!

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.

Read more: Midsummer Night

NYC’s Theatrical Rights Worldwide in collaboration with Tennessee Shakespeare Company and the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance Announces Titles for

Showplace Memphis

Three Exciting, Developing Musicals with National, Professional Casts in Readings

Memphis, TN (April 27, 2015) – As part of Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s first year-round season, the development of three exciting new musicals launches on the University of Memphis Mainstage this summer with Showplace Memphis: Musical Works in Progress.

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 partners TSC and the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance in a very special collaboration that could be the next creative stage for these musicals en route to full productions in New York and on the regional theatre circuit across the U.S.

TRW has selected three musical scripts in various stages of development to be presented to Memphis audiences as professional, Actors’ Equity Association “Readings.”  TSC has cast the musicals from around the country with a number of Broadway performers.  

Each of the shows’ creators will collaborate and rehearse in Memphis for ten days leading up to each reading.  Each musical will be played and sung in its entirety and with musical accompaniment on the U of M’s luxurious Mainstage, located at 3745 Central Avenue in Memphis.  No other design elements (scenic/costumes/lights) will be integrated.

Audiences will have an opportunity to speak with the actors and creators of each musical immediately following each Reading.  Audiences also will inform each production by completing an audience survey that will help each creative team in future development phases.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide represents musicals from Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as shows originating in regional theatres.  TRW cultivates and introduces new work along with extending the production life of musicals to all theatrical marketplaces worldwide.  TRW licenses productions to a broad range of customers, from schools to Broadway.  As agents for the authors, TRW grants live stage production rights and provides performance and rehearsal materials and tools to enhance the actor, musician, and audience experience.  Its Broadway collection includes Memphis-centric musicals All Shook Up: The Music of Elvis Presley, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, and the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis.  Its internationally-popular collection also includes Jersey Boys, Monty Python’s Spamalot, which won the Tony for Best Musical, Kander and Ebb's Curtains, The Color Purple, and recent releases Ghost the Musical, Big Fish, and The Addams Family.

“With Memphis’ long history and unmatched appreciation for the Arts, bringing TRW’s new works festival here offers the ideal location for fostering artists and creativity,” said Mr. Spiegel.  “This is TRW’s platform for the future, and we eagerly look forward to housing this annual event in this great city.”

Read more: NYC’s Theatrical Rights Worldwide, TSC, and University of Memphis Announces Titles for Showplace...

Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical

Inaugural SHOWPLACE MEMPHIS Reading
May 23  at 7pm on The University of Memphis Mainstage

Presented by Theatrical Rights Worldwide
Title Sponsor: Pat and Thane Smith

Memphis, TN (May 5, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents its first developing musical reading on the U of M mainstage with Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical by Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Freidman on May 23 at 7:00 pm.

Tickets for the reading are just $15, or $10 for Students and Seniors.

Tenderly is the first of three developing musicals in TSC’s inaugural Showplace Memphis: Musical Works in Progress.

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 second and third musicals in Showplace Memphis are Midsummer Night (June 27) and 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 Tenderly 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, Tenderly 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.

Tenderly’s Memphis performance is generously sponsored by Pat and Thane Smith.

Audiences will have an opportunity to speak with the actors and creators of Tenderly 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.

Tenderly is based on the life of Rosemary Clooney, who was hailed as America's favorite girl singer, in this exhilarating and inspiring new musical biography.  Her journey starts with her humble Midwest childhood and rise to Hollywood stardom, and continues beyond battles with depression to a triumphant comeback.  Through it all, she topped the charts for nearly five decades with signature songs.  Tenderly offers a remarkably personal and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend.

The show, which received rave reviews and a double-extension of its run in its second incarnation at Cincinnati Playhouse earlier this year, features many of Mrs. Clooney’s signature hits, including “Hey There (you with the stars in your eyes),” “Tenderly,” and “Come On-A My House.”

Michael MarrotaSusan HaefnerTenderly returns its popular Cincinnati Playhouse cast members, Michael Marotta and Susan Haefner (Broadway’s State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and 42nd Street) and is directed by Kent Nicholson, who is the Director of Musical Theater at NYC’s Playwrights Horizons.  NYC new works veteran Matt Castle is the Musical Director.  

Mrs. Clooney was born on May 23, 1928, in Maysville, Kentucky.  She became a popular recording artist during the 1950s, known for her warm, engaging voice.  She started out singing with her sister Betty on a Cincinnati radio show, and the two joined Tony Pastor's touring big band orchestra in 1946.

After her sister retired from singing, Mrs. Clooney went to New York to launch her solo career in 1949. Two years later, after signing with Columbia Records, she had her first No. 1 hit with "Come On-a My House."  More hits followed, such as "Hey There," "This Ole House" and "Tenderly."  She also appeared in feature films, including The Stars Are Singing (1953) and White Christmas (1954) with Bing Crosby.  In the late 1950s, she had her own self-titled television show.

She experienced personal problems in the late 1960s, including a divorce from actor Jose Ferrer, medication addiction, and depression.  She spent years recovering and rebuilding her career, starting out in small clubs and lounges.  In the mid-1970s, she joined Bing Crosby on his final tour, which helped spur her comeback.  She later signed a recording contract with the Concord Jazz label and married Dante DiPaolo, a dancer she had known from two of her films, in 1996.

Mrs. Clooney continued to record and perform, and in 2002 received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Mrs. Clooney died from complications related to her battle with lung cancer on June 29, in Beverly Hills, CA.  She had five children from her marriage to Mr. Ferrer.

Tenderly Artist Bios

 

Matt Castle (Musical Director) has played, acted in, directed, and/or developed more than 75 new musicals at Sundance Institute, NYU, Playwrights Horizons, Weston Playhouse, O’Neill Center, Signature Theatre, York Theatre, Barrington Stage, NYMF, and CAP21.  With Frank Galgano, he has created orchestrations for musicals and concerts at Kennedy Center, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Roundabout, Atlantic Theater Company, George Street Playhouse, ACT, Davies Hall, BC/EFA, TheatreworksUSA, Sacramento Theatre Company, and Waterfront Playhouse.  As an actor/musician, he performed in the 2007 Broadway revival of Company, the original off-Broadway casts of Musical of Musicals, Enter Laughing, and LingoLand; Cincinnati Playhouse’s Merrily We Roll Along; and Fiasco Theater’s Into the Woods.

Mark Friedman (Composer/Lyricist/Playwright of Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical) is thrilled to have Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical at SHOWPLACE MEMPHIS.  Mark and Janet’s musicals have played across the country and abroad, including: How I Became a Pirate, Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale, The Magical Adventures of Merlin, Sleepy Hollow: A Musical Tale, Anne of Green Gables, Jingle ARRGH the Way, Snow White & the Prince, Cinderella: The Tale of the Glass Slipper, and Sherlock Holmes & the Mystery of the Crown Jewel.  Mark co-founded and performed with several regional arts companies: Cincinnati’s first free Shakespeare Festival, Peanut Butter Theatre for Children, and the Artreach Touring Theatre.  Represented by Paradigm Agency (New York), his works are licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Grateful for his theatre successes, Mark considers his best productions to be his children: Emily, a film and television major at NYU, and Chris, future golf pro and jazz musician.

Susan Haefner* (Rosemary Clooney, pictured) returns to the role after a sold-out and extended run at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  Her Broadway credits include State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and 42nd Street.  Tours include Billy Elliot (national tour and Toronto) and Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis (national tour and London’s West End).  Regionally, Susan has played leading roles at Weston Playhouse Theatre Company, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Barter Theatre, and Shaker Bridge Theatre.  She received her MFA from Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training.

Michael Marotta* (Doctor, pictured) comes to TSC fresh from The Music Man with the Cincinnati Pops, and happily returns to Tenderly having played the role at Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park.  He created the role of Walter Winchell in the new musical Mr. Confidential at the Signature Theater in his hometown, NYC.  Most recent credits: Herr Schultz in Cabaret (Rep Theater St. Louis); Huck in The Fantasticks; Sidney Bruhl in Deathtrap (Florida Rep); Billy Flynn in Chicago, Ben Hecht in Moonlight & Magnolias (Flat Rock Playhouse, NC).  NY credits include Mad about the Boy, the centennial salute to Noel Coward, and Irving Berlin’s Louisiana Purchase, both at Carnegie Hall.  As a cabaret artist, Michael has twice been the recipient of both the MAC Award and the BACKSTAGE Bistro Award.

Kent Nicholson+ (director) most recently directed Long Story Short at Prospect Theater in New York.  New York credits include Five Flights (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater), Wet (Summer Play Festival), and Marry Harry (NYMF, American Theater Group).  Regional:  Light in the Piazza (South Coast Repertory), How to Write a New Book for the Bible (South Coast Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory), Lizzie (Theater Under the Stars, Village Theater), Grey Gardens, Vincent in Brixton, Ambition Facing West, and All My Sons (TheatreWorks), Saint Ex (Weston Playhouse), 9 Circles, The Good German, and Jacques Brel (Marin Theater Company), Small Tragedy and Satellites (Aurora Theater Company).  He created the New Works Initiative at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto and currently serves as the Director of Musical Theater at Playwrights Horizons.

Janet Yates Vogt (Composer, Lyricist, Playwright of Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical), along with her writing partner, Mark, is thrilled to be a part of SHOWPLACE MEMPHIS with Tenderly celebrating the life of the iconic singer and actress, Rosemary Clooney.  Mark and Janet are true collaborators – with both writing music, lyrics and the books for their many musicals, including How I Became a Pirate: Sleepy Hollow, A Musical Tale; Anne of Green Gables; Jingle ARRGH the Way; Snow White & the Prince; Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale; The Magical Adventures of Merlin; Cinderella: The Tale of the Glass Slipper which have played nationally and internationally at over 300 theatres -- licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide and Rodgers & Hammerstein.  They have also enjoyed numerous Equity productions and NYC readings.  Musicals currently in development are Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Crown Jewel and George Remus, an infamous bootlegger.  Janet is represented by Paradigm Agency, NYC.  Please visit www.vogtfriedmancomposers.com.

* AEA member; + SDC member

Read more: Showplace Memphis Presents Tenderly, The Rosemary Clooney Musical

Tennessee Shakespeare Company's Southern Exposure Series Continues its Spring Tuesday Literary Salons with Young William Faulkner: Before the Fury

Tuesday Literary Salons(Memphis, TN; April 7, 2015) -- As part of its Southern Exposure Series, which features new and classic literature by Southern writers, Tennessee Shakespeare Company this April returns to its popular Tuesday Literary Salon spotlighting the early poetry and short stories of William Faulkner.

Young William Faulkner: Before the Fury will be presented for an intimate audience on Tuesday, April 21 from 6:00–8:00 pm at the elegant home of Dr. Drew and Melia Murphy in Germantown.

"I'm a failed poet," said Mr. Faulkner. "Maybe every novelist wants to write poetry first, finds he can't and then tries the short story which is the most demanding form after poetry. And failing at that, only then does he take up novel writing."

On the heels of last month's popular Salon of Kate Chopin, this evening will feature Faulkner-inspired juleps, tasty hors d'oeuvres, Stephen DiBlasi playing Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart on the piano, and readings (led by Dan McCleary) from the literary beginnings of the future Nobel winner – including Mr. Faulkner's first published short story, "Landing in Luck."

Before the "Old Colonel" became a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel Prize in Literature winner, he was a high school and Ole Miss drop-out who worked odd jobs and trained as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force as the first World War ended. But he was also a poet seeking his voice in New Orleans and in the outskirts of Paris. It wasn't until he returned to his native north Mississippi that he began thinly fictionalizing in writing what and who he knew in his fabled Yoknapatawpha County (Oxford). His early creations, famously, include The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. A man known both for this taste for and medicinal use of the bourbon julep, Mr. Faulkner would likely quite enjoy this Salon of sugared spirits and the readings of his earliest tales inspired by a land of quiet beauty and violently shifting cultures.

This season's Literary Salons are sponsored by Nancy and Dan Copp and our friends at Prichard's Distillery.

Tickets are $55. Your ticket buys you light appetizers, cocktails, live music, and live readings from Mr. Faulkner's early works. Seating is extremely limited, and parking is free. Tickets are now on sale while they last.

To purchase tickets today, call the TSC Box Office at 901-759-0604.