POLL: What's your favorite NSF Shakespeare-in-the-Park since 2002?

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POLL: What's your favorite NSF Shakespeare-in-the-Park since 2002?

Next weekend marks the annual return of Nashville Shakespeare Festival to Centennial Park for the company's 25th offering of some of the Bard's best-known and best-loved works. We're wondering what production is your favorite from among the 10 most recent offerings from the company?

What production would you love to see again? Here's your opportunity to share your opinions. Welcome to our first Nashville.BroadwayWorld.com poll-and, really, who better to kick off this feature than the fine folks at Nashville Shakespeare Festival who've become such an integral part of our city's fabric of life?

Nashville Shakespeare Festival will perform Much Ado About Nothing, an enduring audience favorite among the playwright's comedies, from August 16 through September 16 at Centennial Park. The play, which marks the festival's 25th annual Shakespeare in the Park production, will be performed Thursdays through Sundays and Labor Day Monday starting at 7:30 p.m. each evening. The pre-show entertainment begins at 6:30 p.m. with food and drink available for purchase at the park. There is no admission charge, but a $10 donation is suggested and greatly appreciated.

Denice Hicks, the festival's artistic director, will direct this year's family-friendly production, which is dedicated to all men and women who have served in America's armed forces. Hicks has set the romantic comedy in post-World War II America. Evelyn O'Neal Brush will play Beatrice and Patrick Waller has the role of Benedick. The rest of the cast is full of Nashville favorites including Jeff BoyetMartha WilkinsonPhil Perry and Brad Brown.

"The end of World War II and the beginning of the baby boom is the perfect setting for this beloved story where love triumphs over adversity," Hicks said. "At the beginning of the play the boys are coming home from the war, and Beatrice (bearing some resemblance to Rosie the Riveter) sees little need for men, although Hero, her cousin, is anxious to get married. The witty banter and comical eavesdropping scenes will be played in the style of a broad, MGM Hollywood musical. Adding music to the story highlights the talents of our Nashville actors while enhancing the festive experience of Shakespeare in the Park."

2011 <a href=Romeo & Juliet" width="150" /> A) 2011 Romeo & Juliet
2011 <a href=Romeo & Juliet" width="150" /> B) 2010 Loves Labors Lost
2009 The Taming of the Shrew/Complete Works of <a href=William Shakespeare (abridged)" width="150" /> C) 2009 The Taming of the Shrew/Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)
2008 Coriolanus D) 2008 Coriolanus
2007 The Merry Wives of Windsor/Two Gentlemen of Verona E) 2007 The Merry Wives of Windsor/Two Gentlemen of Verona
2006 Macbeth F) 2006 Macbeth
2005 The Winter's Tale G) 2005 The Winter's Tale
2004 The Comedy of Errors H) 2004 The Comedy of Errors
2003 Romeo and Juliet I) 2003 Romeo and Juliet
2002 All's Well That Ends Well J) 2002 All's Well That Ends Well

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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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