(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.”