Allen, Childs lead cast of TWTP's regional premiere of IMPRESSIONISM

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Holly Allen and Jeremy Childs lead the cast of Tennessee Women's Theater Project's production of Michael Jacobs' Impressionism, opening Friday, February 25 and running for 13 performances at Nashville's Z. Alexander Looby Theater. TWTP's production marks the regional premiere of Impressionism.

TWTP artistic director Maryanna Clarke directs the play, which "is set in a small art gallery where the owner, Katharine (played by Allen) and her assistant, Thomas (Childs), hide out from a world that has shattered them both. The play depicts their halting steps toward trust with wit, empathy and laughter."

"I read dozens of play, and choose the ones that speak to me," Clarke explains. "This one spoke to me. The plays that speak to me have principal characters that are endearing, have a 'magical' quality and, while acknowledging life's harsh realities, leave the audience with a sense of hope - this one spoke loud and clear."

The New Yorker magazine's review of the Broadway production praised the play's "brazen sweetness and openhearted humor." Entertainment Weekly wrote that "[Impressionism] practices the art of romantic comedy with a nice mix of pathos, intellect and wit."

Clarke contends that Impressionism is a perfect choice for TWTP's 2010-2011 season (which included last fall's critically acclaimed Unravelling the Ribbon) and perhaps more importantly, for its audience: "The theme of the play is how love can heal damaged or broken spirits. I think TWTP's audience has come to expect that we will bring them engaging works, and characters they will fall in love with - that their hearts will be touched and they will leave the theatre uplifted. This play gives them all that."

Allen, who starred in the company's 2008 production of Kingfisher Days, plays Katharine, while Childs, a veteran of more than 100 Nashville-area stage producitons and is currently seen in the film Country Strong, plays Thomas.

The ensemble for Impressionism includes TWTP veterans Terry Occhiogrosso, last seen in TWTP's Collected Stories (2006) and Nickel and Dimed (2007), and Tamiko Robinson who appeared in Nickel and Dimed and is featured in the company's touring production of Warriors Don't Cry. Making their first appearances with the company are David Chattam, seen recently on the stages of Nashville Children's Theatre, Amun Ra Theatre and Tennessee Rep, and James Rudolph, who has appeared with Street Theatre, A.C.T I and Boiler Room Theatre. Virginia Richardson, the youngest actor yet to appear with the company, portrays Katharine at age six.

"I am working with some actors who are old friends, and some who are brand new to the company," Clarke says. "It has been a delightful experience! Each of these actors have been enormously generous with their time and talents. Each one is a giving individual and a generous actor - a director couldn't ask for more."

Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. for performances on February 25, 26, March 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12; at 2:30 p.m. on Feburary 27, March 6 and 13; and special 10:30 a.m. matinees are slated for Tuesday, March 1 and 8.

TWTP's shows are performed at the Z. Alexander Looby Theater, 2301 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard, in Nashville. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. All seats on Thursday nights are $10. For information and reservations, call (615) 681-7220 or visit the company's website at www.twtp.org.

Pictured: Holly Allen and Jeremy Childs in TWTP's production of Impressionism

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.


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