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

Next Up: The Southern Literary Salon John Grisham: Arkansas Rainmaker February 9

TSC season webheaders4 salon grisham

TSC presents its next Southern Literary Salon, John Grisham: Arkansas Rainmaker at Thayne and Anne Muller’s inviting English home in East Memphis on Friday, February 9 from 6:00-8:00 pm. 

The evening features fun Southern food, conversation, 45 minutes or so of readings from Mr. Grisham’s works, and a drink or two of the author’s liking:  “Drink the wines from the top shelf,” he counsels. 

Tickets for the Grisham Salon only are $55 and include all of the above. 

Curated and directed by TSC resident artist Stephanie Shine and read by actors Michael Khanlarian, Carmen-maria Mandley, Shaleen Cholera, and Merit Koch, Arkansas Rainmaker will employ text from Mr. Grisham’s works, likely including his first novel, A Time to Kill, as well as The Chamber, Gray Mountain, Calico Joe, and The Rooster Bar.

Mr. Grisham was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in 1955, and became a criminal defense and personal injury lawyer in Southaven, Mississippi after graduating from Ole Miss.  He also served in that state’s House of Representatives for eight years.  While practicing law, he practiced at his hobby: writing.  After 30 rejection letters for his first effort, the novel was finally published with a modest first print.  Far from discouraged, he immediately began his second novel, which ended up being known as The Firm.  Since that novel spent 47 weeks on the NYT bestseller list and became the best-seller of 1991, Mr. Grisham has written one novel per year.  Of those, nine have been adapted into films, including The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, and The Firm.  He also wrote an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man.  There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide.

“I don't start a novel until I have lived with the story for awhile to the point of actually writing an outline, and after a number of books I've learned that the more time I spend on the outline the easier the book is to write,” says Mr. Grisham.  “And if I cheat on the outline, I get in trouble with the book.  In life, finding a voice is speaking and living the truth.  Each of you is an original.  Each of you has a distinctive voice.  When you find it, your story will be told. You will be heard.”

Read more: Next Up: The Southern Literary Salon John Grisham: Arkansas Rainmaker - February 9

This December, we bring one of the Most Important Plays of the Last 100 Years to the Dixon Stage for the Holiday Season:

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett

“After all, other than our clowns, who among us has it all figured out?”

pic tsc godot 016pic tsc godot 016Paul Kiernan (Gogo), Phil Darius Wallace (Pozzo), and Dave Demke (Didi). Photo: Joey Miller.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company will stage Samuel Beckett’s tragicomedy, Waiting for Godot, at Dixon Gallery & Gardens from December 7-17.

TSC Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary will direct Beckett’s masterwork, which many consider to be the most significant English language play written in the modern era, with inspiration from the holiday season.

Waiting for Godot, generously sponsored by Jaguar Bluff City, is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.  Artists employed in the production include members of Actors’ Equity Association and the Society of Stage Directors & Choreographers, the national unions of professional actors, stage managers, and directors.

McCleary welcomes back a veteran cast of clowns which includes Paul Kiernan as Gogo (Henry V, Twelfth Night, Richard III, The Taming of the Shrew), Dave Demke as Didi (A Midsummer Night’s Dream (twice), Richard III), Joshua Pearce as the boy (To Kill a Mockingbird), and founding TSC members Michael Khanlarian as Lucky (The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, To Kill a Mockingbird) and Phil Darius Wallace as Pozzo (Much Ado About Nothing, Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream).

DeAnna Rowe returns as Costume Designer (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Comedy of Errors), and Jeremy Fisher returns as Lighting Designer and Technical Director (Much Ado About Nothing, All’s Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, Richard III).  Brian Ruggaber (Much Ado About Nothing) provides the original scenic design.  Melissa A. Nathan returns the A.E.A. production stage manager, and Bethany Fichthorn is the assistant stage manager.

All performances will take place in the Winegardner Auditorium inside Dixon Gallery & Gardens, located at 4339 Park Avenue, Memphis 38117.

Tickets are on sale now by logging on to or by calling the TSC Box Office at (901) 759-0604.  Performances are December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 at 7pm; and December 10 and 17 at 3pm. 

Tickets are $34.  The December 7 Preview is $16.  December 7 and 14 are Free Will Kids’ Nights: children 17 years and younger are admitted free when accompanied by a paying/attending guardian.  Senior (age 62+ with valid photo I.D.) tickets are $29.  Student (with valid college I.D.) tickets are $16.  Dixon members receive 20% off tickets (no other discounts may apply).  December 8 is Opening Night, which welcomes patrons to a post-show reception with the actors.

Though no summary ever did justice to Waiting for Godot, the facts remain: Vladimir and Estragon meet near a tree and again expect to meet Godot.  While they wait, Pozzo enters on his way to the market to sell Lucky.  Pozzo sits.  Lucky dances and thinks for them.  After Pozzo and Lucky leave, a boy enters and announces that he is a messenger from Godot and that Godot will not be coming tonight but will surely come tomorrow.  After his departure, Vladimir and Estragon decide to leave, but do not move.  The next night, Vladimir and Estragon meet near the tree to wait for Godot.  Lucky and Pozzo enter.  Pozzo now is blind, and Lucky now is dumb.  Pozzo does not remember meeting the two men the night before, and he and Lucky depart.  Vladimir and Estragon wait.  The boy enters and announces the status of Godot’s arrival.  He insists that he did not speak to Vladimir yesterday. After his departure, Estragon and Vladimir decide to leave, but do not move.  The tree is changed.

Read more: Waiting for Godot

Shakespeare to Broadway

Announcing Our Broadway Headliner for the
10th Anniversary Gala:
Bryce Pinkham
Tony Award Nominee and Star of
Holiday Inn
and A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder



(February 19, 2018) – We announced today our Broadway headliner for our Tenth Anniversary Gala: Bryce Pinkham, Broadway’s young Tony Award nominee and star of Holiday Inn, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Heidi Chronicles, Ghost the Musical, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

Bryce will be accompanied by Music Director Wayne Barker, who was nominated for a Tony Award for composing the Tony Award-winning Broadway play, Peter and the Starcatcher.  

To celebrate ten years of Shakespeare performance and education in the Mid-South, this year’s Gala moves to the luxurious Hilton Memphis (939 Ridge Lake Blvd. Memphis, TN 38120) on Saturday, April 7 at 6:00 pm.

All proceeds benefit TSC’s innovative Education Program. 

The Gala is generously sponsored by Barbara B. Apperson, Camp Tabor, Nancy Copp, Alicia and Stephen Davis, Jack and Sandra Jones, Ernest and Pat Kelly, Dorothy O. Kirsch, Land Rover Bluff City, Milton T. Schaeffer, Pat and Thane Smith, Margaret and Owen Tabor, and Jeannie and Owen Tabor, Jr.

Mr. Pinkham will perform a special, one-hour show as the Gala centerpiece.  He will sing from his own Broadway shows, as well as favorite standards and songs from other award-winning musicals.

About Broadway’s Bryce Pinkham

Bryce Pinkham is a Grammy and Tony Award-nominated American stage and screen actor.  He is perhaps best known for originating the role of Monty Navarro in the Broadway production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.  The performance earned him a Grammy Award nomination as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical.  Mr. Pinkham played the role on Broadway for more than 700 performances, and the show was named Best Musical of 2014.  Mr. Pinkham went on to star in the Broadway revival of The Heidi Chronicles as Peter Patrone, for which he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award, as well as the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance in 2015.  In the fall of 2016, he returned to Broadway leading the cast of Roundabout Theater and Universal Pictures’ Holiday Inn, performing in the role originally played by Bing Crosby in the classic 1942 movie.  Mr. Pinkham also originated roles in Ghost the Musical and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway.

His recent film and television appearances include the Robert DeNiro comedy The Comedian and Baz Lurman’s Netflix drama, The Get Down, as well as a regular role in the PBS series Mercy Street.  Previously, Mr. Pinkham appeared on The Good WifePerson of Interest, and the PBS miniseries God in America.  In 2012, he was awarded the prestigious Leonore Annenberg Fellowship, which is given to “a limited number of exceptionally talented young dancers, musicians, actors, and visual artists as they complete their training and begin their professional life.”

In 2012, Mr. Pinkham and fellow actor Lucas Caleb Rooney co-founded Zara Aina, a non-profit organization devoted to helping at-risk children expand their capacity for achievement through theatrical performance and storytelling.  Mr. Rooney and Mr. Pinkham regularly travel to Madagascar to help empower at-risk students through theatrical story-telling techniques and performance and to provide them with much-needed medical and educational assistance.  Mr. Pinkham also performs regularly with the theatre company Outside the Wire, which takes performances of Greek tragedy to American-military audiences around the world to foster discussion about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and soldier suicide.  Mr. Pinkham is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Boston College.

Evening Gala Fun

There is joyous fun to be had as we celebrate TEN amazing years and look to our sparkling future.

Enjoy dinner and dessert, multiple entertainments and delights, a full cash bar, the return of our swanky Silent Auction, the most fun Live Auction in Memphis, and a rare opportunity to enjoy an intimate performance by Broadway phenomenon, Bryce Pinkham. 

Crown the festivities with the knowledge that you are supporting TSC's far-reaching Education Program, which now teaches service veterans, Company d dancers, adjudicated youth in Hope Academy and Jail East, as well as thousands of students in classrooms every week in elementary, middle, and high schools in Shelby County.  

Attire: semi-formal and cocktail.  

Read more: Shakespeare Goes Broadway

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