MUSIC CITY CONFIDENTIAL #3: Onstage, Offstage, Backstage and Beyond With The Theaterati

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Summer's here, and it's hotter than blue blazes in Tennessee, as theater companies from one end of the state to the other are hard at work to keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout what promises to be one long hot summer. But think of it this way, with yesterday's Summer Solstice-which means we've survived the year's longest day-everything will get just a little bit shorter, promising a respite from the heat and humidity.

This week also marked the celebration of NationAl Martini Day, so may we humbly suggest that you grab a shaker, add some ice, vodka and a whisper of vermouth and shake yourself up an ice-cold drink…and read today's installment of Music City Confidential…it's #3 and we'll see you again on Sunday with #4, filled with even more of the scoop from onstage, offstage, backstage and beyond…

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The Renaissance Players' Bye Bye Birdie closed last Sunday at Dickson's Renaissance Center, and apparently Nathan W. Brown and Bryan Wlas were really cracking the whip during strike. As evidence, may we present the photo at left, showing Genesis Crnolatas, Rachel Jackson, Stephanie Wright and Logan Steinbarge collapsed on the stage. Apparently, Messrs. Brown and Wlas know nothing about child labor laws.

From Metro Arts and NowPlayingNashville.com comes this fast-breaking story: They are partnering to offer an enhanced artist directory service for Middle Tennessee. The Artist Profile Directory hosted on NowPlayingNashville.com will replace Metro Arts' Artist Registry and offers singers, songwriters, visual artists, poets, performers and musicians the opportunity to create a profile in the directory with bios, photos, contact information and more. Artists can even link to their events on the NowPlayingNashville.com calendar to inform the public of their activities. Artists are encouraged to create a profile today. Additionally, free training sessions will be offered for artists to learn about the directory. The sessions are set for Thursday, June 21, at 9 a.m.; Tuesday, June 26, at 5 p.m.; and Wednesday, June 27 at 2 p.m. It's a great idea and both Metro Arts and NowPlayingNashville.com are to be commended, but training sessions? Really? Maybe I'm just too jaded for my own good, but I find that sort of funny. And if I were an artist-which I'm not, we all know that-I'd volunteer for a root canal before going to a training session to learn how to post a profile. I hope they serve snacks.

Rhetorical Question of the Day: Katy Perry the Movie. Really? I'm sure you're all flocking to this feel-good hit of the summer. Perhaps a group rate is available.

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Say it ain't so, KC! After news filtered out last weekend that Kristin Chenoweth's concerts in Chicago and Minneapolis had been canceled due to her illness, I warned local fans to keep their ears to their ground, they noses to the grindstone (which sounds kind of painful, actually) just in case her Wednesday night date with Music City had to be postponed. And sure enough, on midday Tuesday a press release was sent out by TPAC's Tony Marks with the news that KC wouldn't be able to make it on Wednesday; rescheduling her performance for Thursday, June 28. That meant my night out with Kate Adams was royally screwed (the homegrown diva's otherwise engaged on June 28), and that young Alyssa Runyeon's birthday present from her mom and dad (Linda Sue Simmons and Ron Runyeon) wouldn't happen. "I'm going to have one very sad and disappointed little girl tomorrow," Linda Sue told me on Tuesday night. "And we won't be in town next week for the concert on the 28th."




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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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