OUR TOWN Next Up For Dickson's Renaissance Players

August 8
11:33 PM 2012

OUR TOWN Next Up For Dickson's Renaissance Players

Thornton Wilder's American classic, Our Town, is the third production of The Renaissance Players' 2012 theatrical season, running August 10 – August 19 at The Renaissance Center's Anne Deason Performance Hall.

The play, which won the second of three Pulitzer Prize Awards for playwright Wilder, at first appears to be a simple story about a typical American town and it's residents, but then develops a deeper, more powerful message about life, death and, most importantly, respect and appreciation for life in an imperfect world. Told in three acts, representing daily life, love and marriage, and death, the play is a study of everyday life, particularly through the characters of George Gibbs, a doctor's son, and Emily Webb, the daughter of the town's newspaper editor and George's future wife. Although set in the early 20th century in the small fictional village of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire, Our Town offers a timeless and inspiring theme and universal characters that could be anywhere and in any town.

First produced and published in 1938, Our Town is Thornton Wilder's most renowned and most frequently performed play and one of the most performed plays ever. An accomplished novelist and playwright, Wilder won his first Pulitzer Prize for his novel Bridge of San Luis Rey in 1928, and his third for another play, The Skin of Our Teeth, in 1943. Wilder's 1955 play, The Matchmaker, was later adapted as the hit Broadway musical Hello, Dolly!, which was performed recently by the Renaissance Players in the 2011 season.

The Renaissance Players production of Our Town is directed by Nancy Nave, who is thrilled to be back at the Renaissance Center to direct the show.

"This is a play that invites us to think. I hope that we create a beautiful work that lingers with you for a while," Nave says.

While teaching at Houston County High School, Nancy combined her love of literature and art with a passion for music and theatre to create the school's first musical theatre class. During her tenure there she directed such shows as Music Man, Oliver!, Annie and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She went on to found Houston County Arts Council and Houston County Community Theatre, serving as artistic director and directing such favorites as Annie Get Your Gun, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Steel Magnolias and A Christmas Story. In 2005 she directed The Renaissance Players production of Fiddler on the Roof.

As with many of the Renaissance Players productions, Our Town features many family members and siblings including: Carl Blunt (father), Tate Blunt (son), Taylor Blunt (daughter); Jed and Zane Jordan (siblings); Valerie Kopischke (mother), Shane Kopischke (son) and Amanda Mollenhour (daughter); Tom and Trudy Whiting (married); Adam and Kaila Wooten (siblings). Making their Renaissance Players debut in Our Town are: Ann Gwinn, Rachel Hansen and Helen Uffelman.

The production will also include a display of photographs presented in the Rotunda of The Renaissance Center, courtesy of the Clement Railroad Hotel Museum, that depict life in Dickson County during the time of the Our Town story, from the turn of the century through the theatrical opening in 1938.

The Renaissance Players production of Our Town runs August 10 through August 19, with performances every Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are: $15 (adults), $12 (seniors), and $8 (children 12 and under). A 20% discount is offered for groups of 15 or more. A special lunch and show is slated for Saturday, August 11 at 12 noon. Lunch ticket prices are: $25 (adults), $22 (seniors) and $18 (children 12 and under) and include salad, full lunch buffet and dessert and show. Gratuity is not included.

New this year for all of the Renaissance Center's theatre productions as well as concerts and workshops is that tickets are available 24/7 online at www.rcenter.org. Production photos and videos will also be posted on the website.


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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 - the history of which can be traced to 1989 and the first presentation of The First Night Awards - which honor outstanding theater artisans from Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and also includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors recognition. Midwinter's First Night honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. An accomplished director, Ellis helmed productions of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, all in their Nashville premieres, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show. Ellis was recognized by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.


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