Dance Theatre of Tennessee's COPPELIA to Pay Tribute to Memory of Nashville Theater's Lee Green

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One of Nashville theater's most enduring figures will be honored as Dance Theatre of Tennessee brings the story of a life-size dancing doll to life in Coppelia, The Girl With The Enamel Eyes, to be presenTed May 5 and 6, at the Tucker Theatre on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.

Coppelia is being presented as a special tribute to Royce Flavel "Lee" Green (1946-1997), as a special tribute to honor his memory by his lifelong friends in the Nashville theater and dance communities. During the 1970s to the 1990s, Green was a driving force in Nashville and Middle Tennessee theater, directing and acting in a variety of memorable shows for companies like Theatre Nashville, Circle Players and the St. Augustine Players.

In addition, Green was a tremendous supporter of dance in Nashville and worked with the studio of Albertine Maxwell and with Donna Carver and the Tennessee Dance Theatre. Coppelia was one of Green's favorite ballets, according to DTT artistic director Christopher Mohnani.

Dance Theatre of Tennessee will honor Green's memory with this production of Coppelia and will be accepting memorial contributions with a notation made for the "Lee Green Tribute."

Described by Mohnani as "a charming and sentimental tale of mistaken identity and a beautiful life-sized doll," Coppelia follows the escapades of Dr. Coppelius to the humorous misunderstandings between Swanhilda and Franz, along with a timeless score by Leo Delibes.

"Coppelia offers absolute delight to ballet newcomers and families, as well as Dance Theatre of Tennessee's most seasoned patrons," says Mohnani. "The dancing is of course lovely, while the characterization and comic timing of this classic will keep audiences enchanted the entire time."

Dance Theatre of Tennessee's staging of the light-hearted comic ballet promises "to delight your auditory and visual senses, and tickle your funny bone," Mohnani explains.

Tickets are now on sale through MTSU's Tucker Theatre website at www.mtsu.edu/tuckertheatre or by calling Dance Theatre of Tennessee at (615) 391-5500.

Presented in three acts, Coppelia is a comedic ballet based on the book of E.T.A. Hoffman, who also authored The Nutcracker.

The story revolves around a mysterious toy-maker, Dr. Coppelius, who lives in the town square. Dr. Coppelius shares his house with a beautiful life-size doll, Coppelia that he created to keep himself company in his workshop. Everyday Coppelia is seated with her book on the front balcony of the toy-maker's workshop. His neighbor, Swanhilda, and her fiance, Franz, believe Coppelia is real. Franz falls in love with the beautiful doll. The adventure begins as both he and Swanhilda sneak into the toy-maker's workshop, separately, to meet Coppelia.

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The 2012 production of Coppelia by DTT is "true to its mission of bringing the beauty of ballet to the people," Mohnani says, explaining that DTT is committed in presenting classical ballets that the community might not be immediately familiar with.

"Part of the challenge we boldly face at DTT is programming ballets to develop the community's ballet palate," Mohnani suggests. "By continuously offering narrative ballets that might be lesser known such as Coppelia, DTT hopes to encourage appreciation of the art form and hopefully develop a wider and more appreciative audience for dance and ballet in general."

Curtain is at 7 p.m. for the Saturday, May 5, performance, while the Sunday, May 6, performance will begin at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children if purchased in advance/online. Tickets are $25 and $20 if purchased at the door.

 

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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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