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.

Midsummer Night Artist Bios

Eric B. Anthony* (Puck)  Broadway: Mary Poppins, Hairspray, The Lion King.  Off-Broadway/Regional: Kiss Me, Kate; Dreamgirls; The Producers; The Wiz; RENT; Sophisticated Ladies; Jelly’s Last Jam; Damn Yankees; Grand Hotel; Bye Bye Birdie; Golden Boy; FAME; Recorded in Hollywood; Stay on the Line; Naked Boys Singing; Hangin’ Out; Don’t Quit Your Night Job; The Difficulty of Crossing a Field; Queenie Pie; bonded; and Something Happened.  Film: “Waiting in the Wings: The Musical,” “Sexina,” “Running the Code,” “G Love,” “LoveDorable,” “Camelot,” and “Voodoo Doll.”  TV: “Tosh.0,” “Exposing the Order of the Serpentine,” “The Interns,” “Monogamy,” and “Bozos.”

Leigh Golden (Helena) Regional credits include Piper Chapman in Orange is the New Musical at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Carrie White in Richard Hochberg’s Scary Musical The Musical, Woman 1 in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in Spelling Bee at the El Portal, and Maureen in RENT.  Leigh has studied theatre at the Moscow Art Theatre, in New York, Germany, and also majored in Theatre at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

David Haverty (Bottom) attended the Broadway Theatre Project for two summers and then went on to attend Marymount Manhattan College for Theatre. Recently, he was in the new musical Romeo and Juliet: Love is a Battlefield at Rockwell Table and Stage in Hollywood, swinging for four roles.  In 2014 he performed opposite Emmy-winner Brittany Allen in the two-hander play Ryan is Lost (directed by TV veteran Michael Nankin), which they performed at Sacred Fools in LA and then at the NYC Fringe Festival.  Other leading roles include The Werewolves of Hollwood Blvd, Sketches from the National Lampoon by Matty Simmons, Groovelily’s  LA Premiere of Midsummer Nighs, Orgasmico’s Doomsday Cabaret, and Sacred Fools' Carnevil. 

Alex Robert Holmes* (Lysander) just got back from San Francisco where he was debuting a new musical, Home Street Home.  A few of Alex’s other professional credits include Cats, Man of La Mancha, and The Courier in 1776.  In L.A., Alex has been seen in Glory Days as Skip, Dracula as Renfield, and Jon in Pest Control.  Some of his other favorite credits are Jack in Into the Woods, Pippin in Pippin, and Micky in Blood Brother.  Alex would like to thank three very special people for their continuous support: Joani and Bob Holmes, as well as the amazing, beautiful, and talented Tuffet.

Katrina Lenk* (Titania) Broadway: Once (Reza), Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (Arachne), and The Miracle Worker.  Regional credits include:  Cloudlands (Caroline), Elemeno Pea (Michaela), and Caucasian Chalk Circle (Grusha) at SouthCoast Rep, iWitness (Margaret) at the Mark Taper Forum, Lost Land (Anna) at Steppenwolf Theatre, and Lovelace: A Rock Opera (Linda Lovelace) at The Hayworth, et. al.  TV: Elementary, The Blacklist.  Katrina is a member of several bands, including her own original music project, moxy phinx.

Lynden Lewis (Titania’s All-Star) has most recently been seen at Playhouse on the Square in the title role of Mary Poppins and is excited to be returning there to perform in their upcoming season.  Some of her other favorite credits include Elizabeth Benning (Young Frankenstein), Val (A Chorus Line), Mae (Reefer Madness), and Maureen (Rent).  She currently teaches voice and theatre at e.Studio Performing Arts in Cordova and is loving building a theatre department at Riverdale Elementary.  Lynden is a native Memphian and attended the University of Tulsa for musical theatre with a vocal performance minor.

Meredith Lesley (Titania’s All-Star) currently resides in New York City, where she recently graduated with a BA in Musical Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College. Her most recent credits include Broadway by the Year concert series, Children of Eden in concert (with Stephen Schwartz), Broadway's Rising Stars, and Rusty in Marymount Manhattan's production of Footloose. 

James Lynch (Demetrius) recently starred as The Phantom in Vox Lumiere's Phantom of the Opera in L.A., which received critical acclaim.  The production was also nominated for seven 2014 Ticket Holder's Awards, winning the award for Special Events and Performances.  Other recent credits include Captain Hook in Vox Lumiere's Peter Pan, Danny Farinelli in Sacred Fool’s CarnEvil, Freder in Vox Lumiere's Metropolis, and Jeff Gillooly in A.R.T.'s production of Tonya and Nancy in Boston.

Brendan Milburn (Co-Author) writes songs for theatre and film, produces records, and is a stay-at-home dad when he's not off rewriting the opening number at some regional theatre somewhere.  Musicals: Striking 12 (Off-Broadway & regional), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (CTG, McCarter, La Jolla, 5th Avenue), Wheelhouse (TheatreWorks), Toy Story: The Musical (Disney), Long Story Short (regional and Off-Off Broadway), Midsummer Night (in development), Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Seattle Rep/George St. Playhouse) Watt?!? (Village Theatre), The Behavior of Broadus (CTG, Sacred Fools), Beautiful Poinson (5th Avenue).  Film: four movies about Tinker Bell (Disney). 

Ryan O’Connell (Music Director/Accompanist) As music director: Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (George Street Playhouse), The Grammy Experience (Norwegian Cruise Line), Nightline: JFK Anniversary Special (NBC), Midsummer Night (LA Premiere), Bronies (Hollywood Fringe), Real Housekeepers of Studio City (Hollywood Fringe), Edges (LA Premiere).  As orchestrator: Loch Ness: The Musical (Chance Theater), Browsers (Amazon), The Fourth Messenger (LA Premiere), Bronies (3rd Street Theater), Wild Things (NRDC Films).  As composer/arranger: Dragons: Defenders of Berk (Cartoon Network), I Am Big Bird (Copperpot Pictures), Calgary StampedeThe Freddy Awards (State Theatre), Learning Town (Geek & Sundry), Ladies Knight (USC) (Annie Award nominee), choral arrangements for Shawnee Press and Alfred, two original musicals - Horror High and Horrible Shakespeare

Janet Roston+ (Director) as director/choreographer: Tonya and Nancy, The Rock Opera (American Repertory Theater, Boston; King King Nightclub, Hollywood), Midsummer Night (Lillian Theater, Hollywood; Texas New Musical Workshop), CarnEvil (Sacred Fools Theater), and Walk’n thru the Fire (Hayworth Theater).  Janet is Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Rock Opera Company, director/choreographer for LA ROC productions: shAme (King King Nightclub), The Wanting (Highways), Possession (Unknown Theater), and Push Play (Highways).  As a theatre choreographer: Tommy, East West Players; Psyche, A Modern Rock Opera, Greenway Court Theater; The Color Purple, Celebration Theatre (Choreography Awards: Ovation Award, NAACP Award, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award Nomination); Justin Love, Celebration Theatre (LADCC Award); Once on this Island, International City Theater (NAACP Nomination); Avenue X, Odyssey Theater (LA Weekly Award, Ovation Award Nomination).  Janet has received two American Choreography Awards and is a proud alum of the Directors Lab.

Hannah Mae Sturges (Hermia) Before originating the role in Hollywood, Hannah Mae studied Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford.  Earning her BFA in Acting from California State University Fullerton, she was a national finalist at the American College Theatre Festival and performed at the Kennedy Center in D.C.  Past roles include Peter in Peter Pan, Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, and Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank.  You may have seen her in the Dell commercial: Center for Selfie Improvement.  Look for her in the short film “Into the Sand,” soon to be released.

Matthew Tyler* (Oberon) has been performing for stage and film since the age of ten.  Favorite theatre credits include Chicago (Hollywood Bowl) directed by Brooke Shields, Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End (Andre) directed by Hal Prince,Mamma Mia Broadway National Tour (Sam/Harry), The Rocky Horror Show European Tour (Brad/Frank N Furter), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Hedwig), Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus), The Last Five Years (Jamie), The Scarlet Pimpernel (Chauvelin), and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Jasper)In his spare time, Matthew enjoys directing, writing, and performing his own cabarets.

Valerie Vigoda (Co-Author) balances writing with performing as an electric violinist-singer-actor.  She has toured the world with Cyndi Lauper/Joe Jackson/the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and is about to release her solo live-looping project, “Just Getting Good.”  Musicals: Striking Twelve (NYC/regional), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (CTG/McCarter/La Jolla/5th Avenue), Wheelhouse (TheatreWorks), Toy Story: The Musical (Disney), Long Story Short (NYC/regional), Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Balagan/Seattle Rep/ACT/George Street, now NYC-bound), Beautiful Poison (5th Avenue).  Film: Four Tinker Bell movies (Disney).  Awards: Jonathan Larson (2006/2008), LA Ovation (2007), ASCAP Richard Rodgers (2009), Broadway World Seattle Critics' Choice Award (2014).

* AEA member; + SDC member

Seating is general admission; first come/first seated.  Tickets are just $15 and are on sale now.  Students 22 and younger and Seniors 62 and older receive discounted $10 tickets.

Midsummer Night will be presented on the Mainstage inside the University of Memphis Theatre Building, which is located on the main campus at 3745 Central Avenue in Memphis, TN.

Purchase tickets in person Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC’s office located at 3092 Village Shops Drive in Germantown, or by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org

The TSC Box Office inside the University of Memphis Theatre Building will begin selling tickets one hour prior to the performance on-site.  Free parking is available in the Central Avenue parking lot, beginning at 7:00 pm, directly across from the U of M Theatre Building.  No refunds.  Cast is subject to change.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide

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.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare indoors and outdoors seasonally; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally; and provides year-round educational and training programming.  Now in its seventh season, Tennessee Shakespeare Company seeks to sustain a Mid-South classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; be a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare’s works.  For more information:  www.tnshakespeare.org.

University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance

The University of Memphis' Department of Theatre & Dance offers both the BFA and MFA degrees in theatre and is successfully training our next generation of theatre artists. The Department mounts a full season of plays and dance concerts in a variety of performance venues, large and small.  With an emphasis on diversity and a breadth of experience only the performing arts can provide, the Department of Theatre & Dance provides audiences with the best in local theatre and dance.  Upcoming productions feature a delightful mix of comedy and drama, music and dance.  For more information: 



  • Remarkable Results from Romeo and Juliet Project
  • New Permanent Year-Round Home for TSC
  • Shakespeare Shout-Out Series
  • New Germantown Municipal School District Partnership
  • New Company d and Memphis VA Partnerships

See the Remarkable Results from this year's Romeo and Juliet Project

(February 12, 2018) -- "I believe Tennessee Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet Project in Memphis is one of the more crucial, proven, and successful arts-in-education initiatives in the United States," says TSC founder and Producing Artistic Director, Dan McCleary.

This brief report responds to several of the most frequently asked questions TSC has received in the last decade regarding Shakespeare and its education programming in Memphis:

  • Why do you believe William Shakespeare and his plays are relevant in the 21st Century?
  • Why do I have to learn Shakespeare in school?
  • Can my children really understand Shakespeare?
  • Do you really believe Shakespeare can save lives?
  • You don’t really believe that Shakespeare can change the world, do you?

TSC provides its responses in the words, pictures, tallies, and grades of children, teachers, and actors in its four-month Romeo and Juliet Project throughout Shelby County in Tennessee. 

"And for the record, on that last question," says McCleary, "Yes, I do."

Read the report

We have Purchased the Former Ballet Memphis Property to Create the State’s First Permanent, Year-Round Home for Professional Shakespeare Performance, Education, and Training in Memphis

pic newhome tsc2017(August 31) -- Tennessee Shakespeare Company today announced it has purchased the former facility and property of Ballet Memphis located at 7950 Trinity Road in Memphis as its first, permanent home. 

The announcement was made by Dan McCleary, the company’s founder and Producing Artistic Director; Owen B. Tabor, the company’s Board President for the past six years; and E. Frank Bluestein, the company’s founding Executive Director.

With this acquisition, Tennessee Shakespeare Company is preparing to create the first and only permanent, year-round home for professional Shakespeare performance, education, and training in the state of Tennessee.

TSC purchased the 18,484 square foot facility outright from Ballet Memphis for $1,900,000.  There is no mortgage. 

TSC, now beginning its tenth anniversary season, expects to begin interior renovation this year and be completed in Spring 2018.

The renovation will focus on modifying existing dance studios into a state-of-the-art, professional, flexible theatre for seating up to 200 patrons, as well as a spacious Education Wing.  The public lobby, restrooms, and support areas for the theatre also will be modified.

Centrally located to all of Shelby County just north of Walnut Grove Road, between Germantown Road and the northeast corner of Shelby Farms Park, the unique glass-and-steel facility will house all of TSC’s operations under one roof:  performances, training, education, administrative offices, storage, costume shop, scene shop, and commercial kitchen.  The facility was constructed in 1998, and an addition was built in 2012.  It affords parking for nearly 70 cars.

TSC and Ballet Memphis, longtime arts colleagues whose artistic staffs have collaborated over the years, entered into a Purchase & Sale Agreement in late June.  The sale represents one Memphis not-for-profit arts organization selling to another for re-use of a special purpose building.  TSC’s agent was W. Cary Whitehead III of Boyle Investment Company.

For the last nine years, TSC has created site-specific/environmental Shakespeare and classical productions, both indoors and outside, throughout Shelby County, partnering with long-time friends Dixon Gallery & Gardens, the University of Memphis, St. George’s Church, Shelby Farms Park, Germantown City Hall, Poplar Pike Playhouse, Hutchison School, and Germantown Performing Arts Center.

“This is an important moment in Memphis performing arts,” said Dr. Tabor.  “We have researched more than 50 sites in the last few years, and the former Ballet property is perfect for our needs and for what our audiences say they would like.  The Ballet’s new home in Overton Square is so impressive, and they have been wonderful to work with during this transaction.  We wish them tremendous success.  We appreciate that this special building is the launch pad for exciting futures for two important arts groups in Memphis.

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The First Free Shakespeare Shout-Out Series Launches Our 10th Season throughout Shelby County

pic shakespeare shout out 10 1 17Mario Hoyle (Romeo) and Kiana Holley (Juliet).

We officially launch our tenth anniversary season this week when we bring Romeo and Juliet to the historic outdoor train depot and platform in Collierville Town Square on Saturday, October 7 at 4:00 pm.

Our first Free Shakespeare Shout-Out Series, sponsored by Evans/Petree, P.C., features 11 performances of three touring productions to ten outdoor/indoor locations throughout Shelby County playing through November 10.

No tickets are required.  First come/first seated.

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, directed by Stephanie Shine, questions the future of the Roman Republic, the love that sustains it, and the leadership that breaches it.  Romeo and Juliet, directed by Carmen-maria Mandley, is fast, physical, and daring in its descent from comedy to mortal, young tragedy.  And TSC’s Shake(s), Rattle, & Roll, directed by Shine, pairs the legacy music of Memphis with the famous Shakespeare scenes TSC imagines inspired them.

Read More

Announcing a New, Multi-Year Partnership with the Germantown Municipal School District for Cutting-Edge Classical Curriculum for Elementary, Middle, and High School Students

pic germantown partnership1Tennessee Shakespeare Company and the Germantown Municipal School District today announced a unique, multi-year education partnership that will bring immersive, cutting-edge Shakespeare curriculum to life for every student in grades five, seven, and nine.

Starting with this school year, all GMSD fifth and seventh grade students will participate in an introductory, immersive playshop to prepare and excite them for experiencing a full, live performance of TSC’s self-created production of Shakes, Rattle, and Roll.  The show pays tribute to our hometown heritage, creatively linking the signature music of Memphis to the works of Shakespeare that could have inspired them.

All ninth grade students will be treated to TSC’s nationally-acclaimed Romeo and Juliet Project, a four-part interactive residency that concludes with an intimate and riveting live performance of Romeo and Juliet.

The Project, originally launched at Germantown High School seven years ago and now operating in many Shelby County Schools, transforms classrooms into playing spaces to change students' expectations and reception of the material. The residency begins with three sessions that engage the students in playing three different parts of the play.  The positive impact on the students’ grades, compassion level, engagement in continued exploration of classical texts, and their rehearsed ability to walk away from potentially life-threatening situations in their own lives has proven quantifiable and remarkable in the scores of schools in which TSC has taught over the past eight years. 

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New, Exciting TSC Partnerships with Company d and the Memphis VA, and Expanding Programs with Jail East and Hope Academy

“TSC gives them models to express their feelings, which they probably have never done.  For maybe the first time in their lives, they think about the world around them and their role in the community.”

- Joyce Anderson, Juvenile Manager, Shelby County Sheriff's Office

pic tns HopeAcademy6
Hope Academy residency participants

We are thrilled to announce new partnerships between TSC and Company d and the Memphis Veterans Administration Medical Association.  Also this month (August), we are happily expanding our Shakespeare programs for adjudicated youth at both Jail East and Hope Academy.

TSC is spending August in residence with Company d.  Nationally recognized, Company d is a dance company of young adults with Down syndrome under the artistic direction of choreographer Darlene Winters.  Founded in 2001, Company d is committed to inspire, empower, and teach individuals with Down syndrome who have an inherent aptitude for the performing arts.

TSC Education Manager Carmen-maria Mandley and TSC Education artists guide participants through the tumultuous world of Romeo and Juliet.  Using movement and text, the dancers are immersed in Shakespeare's images and encouraged to discover their personal connection with the characters of the play.

"Company d dancers are having a dynamic experience with TSC this week,” says Winters, Company d founder and Artistic Director.  “The play and its language are being brought to life with interactive methods.  The partnership with Tennessee Shakespeare Company is the first partnership with a theatre company in this region.  I am so excited about this new and unique experience for individuals with Down syndrome, which will enrich artistic growth and expand cultural literacy skills."

Also in August, TSC begins working with veterans at the Memphis VA Medical Association. This program brings together service veterans with theatre practitioners to use the plays of Shakespeare in addressing combat-related traumatic and re-integration issues. The model, created by the Feast of Crispian Project in Milwaukee, WI, was created to strengthen the personal psychological resources available to service veterans - especially those with post-deployment health issues - through the practice and skills of theatre combined with the timeless themes and imagistic language of Shakespeare.

Read More

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is generously supported by:

International Paper    FedEx         Tennessee Arts Commission

logo-ibank             University of Memphis  artsmemphis std color logo2500

     ArtsFirst Color    

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Evans Petree

Individual Season Sponsors:

Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund; Nancy Copp; Ernest, Pat, Martha, and Marian Kelly; Milton T. Schaeffer; The Family of Owen and Margaret Tabor;
Ann and Wellford Tabor.

Season Partners:

Collierville Municipal School District; Dixon Gallery & Gardens; Germantown Municipal School District; Memphis Hunt & Polo Club; Palladio;
Shelby County Schools; The University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a proud member of:
Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence       artsmemphis std color logo2500    logo-gacc          Tennesseans for the Arts     Tennessee Theatre Association     Where We Live