Join Us for the First Southern Literary Salon of the Season:
Eudora Welty: Mississippi Myth
January 27

pic eudoraWe return to our popular Southern Literary Salon for a look at the ever-changing vision of the Pulitzer Prize-winning, life-long daughter of Jackson, Mississippi.

Please join us for Eudora Welty: Mississippi Myth at Nancy Copp’s hidden though welcoming Germantown home on Friday, January 27 from 6:00-8:00pm. 

The evening features fun Southern food, conversation, thirty minutes or so of readings from Welty’s works, and a mixed spirit of the author’s liking.  Tickets for the Welty Salon only are $55 and include all of the above.  Tickets for the Welty and Flannery O’Connor Salon (April 21), when purchased together, are only $100 (a savings of $10).

Curated and read by TSC artist Stephanie Shine, assisted by actors Dan McCleary, Jillian Barron, and Marquis Archuleta, Mississippi Myth will employ text from among Welty’s works, likely including her short stories in A Curtain of Green, The Wide Net, and The Golden Apples, and the novels The Ponder Heart and award-winning The Optimist’s Daughter.

Welty (1909-2011) described writing fiction as “a personal act of vision.”  She was widely popular as a writer and photographer from her lifelong home in Jackson, though her literary home seemed to be nestled in experimentation.  Her vast skill-set ranged from comedy to tragedy, realistic to surreal, fiction to biography, fairy tale to history.  Welty was recognized for her work with 40 major literary awards, 38 honorary doctorate degrees, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

“It had been startling and disappointing to me,” wrote Welty, “to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass.  Yet regardless of where they come from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them -- with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself.  Still illiterate, I was ready for them, committed to all the reading I could give them ...”

Read more: Join Us for Eudora Welty: Mississippi Myth

Sierra Boggess, Broadway’s Original Little Mermaid, to Headline Eighth Annual Gala

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Broadway’s critically-acclaimed, soaring soprano Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables) will headline its Eighth Annual Gala performed at Germantown Performing Arts Center on March 10 at 6:00 pm.

Ms. Boggess will perform her one-hour show, Awakening, as the Gala centerpiece on stage at GPAC.  She will sing from her own Broadway and West End shows, as well as songs from other award-winning musicals.

The Gala benefits TSC’s innovative Education Program.

Sierra Boggess is best known world-wide for re-inventing the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.  Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber calls her “the best Christine certainly.”  She played the role in the Broadway, West End, and the televised 25th Anniversary concert productions of Phantom filmed at London’s Royal Albert Hall (available on DVD).

She made her Broadway debut as Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, receiving Drama Desk and Drama League nominations, as well as the Broadway.com Audience Award for Favorite Female Breakthrough Performance.  Her additional Broadway credits include the revival of Master Class starring Tyne Daly, It Shoulda Been You, and School of Rock.

In the West End, Ms. Boggess appeared as Fantine in Les Miserables, and she originated the role of Christine in Love Never Dies, the critically-acclaimed sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, receiving an Olivier Award Nomination for her performance.

Her Off-Broadway credits include Love, Loss, and What I Wore and Music in the Air, alongside Kristin Chenoweth, for New York City Center’s Encores! series.  She has appeared in numerous concerts, including I Love Musicals in Tokyo, Japan, the BBC Proms at Royal Albert Hall, Guys and Dolls at Carnegie Hall with Nathan Lane, and The Secret Garden at Lincoln Center.  She has been featured on multiple cast recordings, and she has also released a solo album, Awakening.

TSC’s Gala offers Platinum, Gold, and Silver seating packages (with tiered benefits) each for 10 guests.  Sponsorships and more information are available by calling TSC’s Stephanie Shine today at 901-759-0604.  Purchase Bronze Single ($175) and Bronze Couple ($325) tickets on-line at www.tnshakespeare.org.  All sponsorships include a tax-deductible gift to TSC.  Preferred seating is available in the order in which calls are received.

The evening includes a lavish buffet dinner and cocktails, TSC’s singular live auction, and a post-show dessert reception where you get to meet Ms. Boggess and have photos taken with her.  The evening also includes the opportunity to enter and win the NYC Trip to Broadway for Two drawing (round-trip airfare, 3 days/2 nights in a Theatre District hotel, dinner at La Rivista, Broadway tickets) for a suggested donation of just $20.

TSC Platinum and Gold sponsors of the Gala, to date, include Margaret Askew and Patrick Foley, E. Frank and Brenda Bluestein, Anne Connell, Nancy Copp, Blanche and Mike Deaderick, C. Cato Ealy, Mary and Rob Engel, Elizabeth and Thomas Farrar, Jack and Sandra Jones, Ernest and Pat Kelly, Dorothy O. Kirsch, Melia and Drew Murphy, Sara Savell, Milton T. Schaeffer, Pat and Thane Smith, Margaret and Owen Tabor, and Deborah Dunklin Tipton.

Celebrate the Holiday Season with the
Elegant, Comic Romance of
Much Ado About Nothing

December 8-18 at Dixon Gallery & Gardens

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Carey Urban as Beatrice and Tony Molina, Jr. as Benedick. Photos: Joey Miller.

Tickets are on sale now for William Shakespeare’s elegant romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing from December 8-18, directed by founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary.

Played inside Dixon Gallery & Gardens’ Winegardner Auditorium in East Memphis, Much Ado About Nothing continues TSC’s ninth season following its critically-acclaimed, popular production of To Kill a Mockingbird at Hutchison School.

The production’s Title Sponsors are Pat, Ernest, Martha, and Marian Kelly.

Tickets may be purchased now by calling TSC’s Box Office at (901) 759-0604 or online at www.tnshakespeare.org

Tickets for the Preview performance on December 8 are only $16.  Regularly-priced tickets for all other performances are $34.  The December 8 and 15 performances are Free Will Kids’ Nights:  Children 17 years and younger are admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying/attending Guardian. The Free Will Kids'  tickets cannot be purchased online and are only accessible by calling the Box Office at 901-759-0604.  Senior tickets (62 years and older) are $29, and Student tickets (18 years and older) are $16 for any performance.  Tickets for Opening Night on December 9 include a complimentary post-show reception and toast with the actors.  Performances are general admission; first-come/first-seated.

The professional cast of nine actors, each of whom will be doubling in the show, include returning favorites Tony Molina, Jr. (To Kill a Mockingbird, Macbeth) as Benedick and Watch #2, Carey Urban (Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet) as Beatrice and Conrade, Phil Darius Wallace (Henry V, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet, Taming of the Shrew) as Don Pedro and Watch #3, and Michael Khanlarian (To Kill a Mockingbird, Henry V, All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night) as Leonato and Watch #4.

New to TSC this season are Marquis Archuleta (Borachio/Balthasar/Friar) and Nathan Snow (Claudio/Sexton) from Montana, Cally Shine (Hero/Verges) from Washington, Brian Russell (Dogberry/Don John) from Nashville, and Jillian Barron (Margaret/Watch #1) from Memphis.

The design team consists of TSC veterans, including lighting designer Jeremy Fisher, scenic designer Brian Ruggaber, costume designer Ashley Selberg, and associate lighting designer Kristen Reding.  The production stage manager is Melissa A. Nathan, and the assistant stage manager is Kilby Elisabeth Yarbrough.

TSC’s production, featuring the merry war of love between Benedick and Beatrice, is inspired by the coastal, breezy port town of Messina and the permanent Impressionist collection in Dixon Gallery & Gardens.  Messina’s marbleized architecture and curving silhouettes form the foreground of a Messina in nighttime firework-laden celebration as imagined by Vincent van Gogh.

The evening celebrates, in true Italian wedding style, the decorative holiday season.  The actors, as masked revelers, perform the play in their formal eveningwear and double into their second roles with holiday masks for the occasion. 

Read more: Celebrate the Holiday Season with the Elegant, Comic Romance of Much Ado About Nothing

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Three New Board Members and Officers Announced for 2016-17

(November 7, 2016) - Tennessee Shakespeare Company today announced its 26-member Board of Directors unanimously approved the elections of three new members and a slate of new Officers to its Executive Committee for FY17.

Melanie
Melanie Stovall Murry

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Michael R. Marshall

Joining the Board for three-year terms are educator Pat Casserly Kelly, lawyer Michael R. Marshall of Evans Petree, and University of Memphis General Counsel Melanie Stovall Murry.

Dr. Owen B. Tabor returns as President. His officers are Ernest G. Kelly, Jr. (Vice President), C. Cato Ealy (Treasurer), and Melia M. Murphy (Secretary). Their terms are renewable after one year.

Rotating to TSC’s Emeritus Founders Board is educator Ruth Dunning, who helped create the Company in 2007-08.

Pat Casserly Kelly, though she still finds herself teaching, is the retired chair of the English and Humanities departments at The Hutchison School and its recipient of the Margaret Wellford Tabor chair for Excellence in Teaching English. In her teaching career, she emphasized the great writers and thinkers of the Western tradition—Shakespeare, Dante, Milton, Austen, Dickens, Hardy—as she encouraged her students to become lovers of literature and independent and creative thinkers. Mrs. Kelly was a president of the Shelby-Memphis Council of Teachers of English and was recognized as a Teacher of Excellence by the National Council Teachers of English. She was a recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities study grants, and was chosen by the U.S. Department of State for a teacher exchange program in Eurasia. She served two terms on the vestry of St. Elisabeth’s Church in Raleigh and was the Director of Religious Education there for 15 years. Currently a communicant at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, she serves as a lector, a Lay Eucharistic Minister, a member of the hospitality committee, and is serving her first year of her term on the Chapter of the Cathedral.

Michael R. Marshall is legal counsel at Evans Petree in Memphis. He is the co-leader of the Labor and Employment section and uses his experience in other arenas to reach solutions and resolutions to his clients’ disputes. He has extensive experience in litigating and resolving employment matters and other business-related disputes. He is a frequent speaker on employment-related topics. Mr. Marshall was the lead attorney in a case brought by the Memphis City Schools against the City of Memphis and obtained a $57 million verdict for education funding. Mr. Marshall graduated from the University of California and Southern Methodist University School of Law. He is a member of the American Bar Association Member, Tennessee Bar Association Member, and Memphis Bar Association member. He is admitted to practice law in Tennessee and Texas. Mr. Marshall has also served as the General Counsel for the Memphis City Schools, and is the general counsel for the Shelby County Emergency Communications District and for Lausanne Collegiate School.

Melanie Stovall Murry is General Counsel at the University of Memphis. Mrs. Murry joined the University in December 2002, serving as associate and assistant counsel. She was also an adjunct faculty member for the doctoral program in higher education administration for the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. She serves as an instructor at the Tennessee Institute for Pre-law. Mrs. Murry graduated from the Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law program and was a 2008 fellow of the New Memphis Institute. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, and has a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Saint Louis University.

Read more: Three New Board Members and Officers Announced for 2016-17