Nashville Ballet Sets Shakespeare Tragedy to Dance; Workshop Version of MACBETH Explores Underlying Themes

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With live music performed by ALIAS Chamber Ensemble, Nashville Ballet stages Shakespeare's tragedy about betrayal, greed, power and consequences in an intimate, workshop-style version of Macbeth at The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet May 16-18.

This collaboration between Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling and ALIAS Chamber Ensemble explores the primitive elements of basic human nature that motivate Macbeth and his desire to win at all costs-even at the risk of losing his sanity, his life and the lives of his loved ones. Vasterling also examines the role the witches in Macbeth's story, and how they actually display the same primal human characteristics as Macbeth himself-a desire for control and power at all costs-while manipulating him at the same time.

"In this intimate setting, we have an opportunity to experiment as artists and explore the first stage of the creative process," Vasterling said. "Once we debut the first layer of a performance like this, then we can build upon it and add even more polished elements to expand the work into a main-stage production. It really gives the audience an inside look into the creative process."

ALIAS Chamber Ensemble will perform a collection of works written by New York-based composer and violist Kenji Bunch. ALIAS became familiar with Bunch's work last year when using his compositions as the basis of their second album release. As a composer, concert violist, bluegrass fiddle player and singer, Bunch has proven himself a versatile musician across genres-classical, bluegrass, jazz, roots and rock.

Macbeth, presented by Nashville Scenewill be held at The Martin Center for Nashville Ballet for four performances: Thursday, May 16 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, May 18 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to Macbeth are currently on sale to the public for $28. They can be purchased by phone at (615) 782-4040 or online at www.nashvilleballet.org. Discounts are available when purchasing tickets to both Macbeth and Romeo & Juliet by calling (615) 297-2966, ext. 10.

Pictured: Chris Stuart as Macbeth; photographed by Martin E. O'Connor

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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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