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RICHARD III, MEMPHIS>BROADWAY and More Set for Tennessee Shakespeare's 7th Season

Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC), the Mid-South's professional classical theatre, today announced its 2014-15 schedule of plays, which includes three by Shakespeare, the Southern Exposure Series, a continuing partnership with Dixon Gallery & Gardens, a new summer partnership with the University of Memphis, and a new Musical Works Festival sponsored by the Broadway licensing company of Memphis, Monty Python's Spamalot, The Color Purple, and All Shook Up: The Music of Elvis Presley.

The season features performance programming year-round for the first time in TSC's history.

Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary plays the title role in Shakespeare's Richard III over Halloween in Germantown Performance Arts Center, followed by a festive musical hall production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night in Dixon Gallery & Gardens in December. The Sixth Annual Valentine's Gala, with a Broadway headliner to be announced, plays February 14, 2015, in GPAC. The Tuesday Literary Salons return in the spring with Kate Chopin and William Faulkner. TSC then partners with the University of Memphis to present Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on the University's mainstage during the solstice weeks of June. The U of M mainstage will also host the exciting Memphis>Broadway: A New Musical Works Festival in May, June, and August, sponsored by New York's Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

"For the first time in our organizational life, we are now able to present a wide-ranging performance season as we have been doing with our innovative, four-season education programs," says founder, Mr. McCleary. "This expansion is in line with our initial strategic plan, and it allows us to present important, all-new productions and projects in three distinct geographies for our patrons.

"This will be a pilot season for our partnership with the University of Memphis, which I am thrilled to continue from our work together on TSC's Romeo and Juliet earlier this year. We are already working with the University's outstanding designers to create a very special and fun Midsummer Night's Dream in the big theatre. Our collaboration with Theatrical Rights Worldwide, one of Broadway's elite licensing companies of popular and developing musicals, will be very exciting for musical artists and patrons -- and will bring more national attention to Memphis. And of course, much of TSC's most expressive artistic work has been created at the Dixon over the years by virtue of Kevin Sharp's and his staff's kindness and evocative facility. We are, as always, honored to return."

TSC recently re-located from its long-time administrative office at the historic train depot in Germantown to new, more spacious offices five minutes east on Poplar Avenue in The Shops at Forest Hill.


Richard III

sponsored by Ann and Wellford Tabor

TSC's production of William Shakespeare's early Morality Play raises history from the dead to put the notorious King Richard III on trial before his audience and the spirit world.

Unearthed from a buried Friary just two years ago in Leicester, England, the painfully deformed 1485 skeleton of Richard now is brought to frightening life in a cadaver synod during which his murderous actions to the throne are reconsidered during the reverence of All Hallow's Eve. A soul still wandering between this life and the next, history's notorious "bottled spider" has much more he would like for audiences to consider before passing final judgment on his actions that gained him the throne but have haunted him ever since.

David Demke (A Midsummer Night's Dream) returns to TSC to direct the production in the Duncan-Williams Performance Hall at GPAC, running October 30 - November 1, 2014, at 7:00 pm.

The stellar cast of eight returns Caley Milliken, (TSC's Ariel, Marc Antony, Lady Capulet, and Peaseblossom), Paul Kiernan (TSC's Petruchio), Johnny Lee Davenport (TSC's Prospero, Oberon, and Othello), and brings Artistic Director Dan McCleary center stage for the first time at TSC as the "bunch-back'd toad."

The creative team includes costumer Bruce Bui (Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet), lighting designer Jeremy Fisher (Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Unto the Breach), and scenic designer Brian Ruggaber (University of Memphis, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey).

Free Will Kids' Night is in effect for all performances: Children 17 years and younger will be admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian. Limit: four children per guardian. Press Opening is October 30 at 7:00 pm. Seating is general admission.

The production is sponsored by Ann and Wellford Tabor.


Twelfth Night

sponsored by Pat and Ernest Kelly

William Shakespeare's charming 1601 comedy is a topsy-turvy world of cross-dressing lovers, yellow cross-garters, and crossed identities. Inspired by the final days of Christmas, the winter solstice, and the Festival of Light, TSC celebrates the joy of the season in this uproarious music hall production in the Dixon Gallery & Gardens' Winegardner Auditorium from December 11-21, 2014. Directed by Dan McCleary.

Shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria, Viola has lost her country and beloved twin brother. Disguising herself as Cesario, a page, she falls in love with Duke Orsino even as she delivers his affections to lovely Lady Olivia. Between beautiful songs, high comedy, and delicate poetry, love redeems all.

Free Will Kids' Nights are December 11 and 18: Children 17 years and younger will be admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian. Limit: four children per guardian. The Preview performance is December 11 at 7:00 pm. Press Opening is December 12 at 7:00 pm. Seating is general admission. All Dixon members receive 20% off the regular ticket price for all performances.

The production is sponsored by Pat and Ernest Kelly.

Sixth Annual Valentine's Gala

The Valentine's Gala has become one of the most fun, talked-about events of the party season - and all for a good cause. The star-studded party starts at 6:00 pm on February 14, 2015, at GPAC. Over the last three years, Broadway celebrities who have performed at TSC's Gala to support its education program include Howard McGillin (Phantom of Opera), Charles Strouse (Annie), Marin Mazzie (Bullets Over Broadway), and Jason Danieley (Next to Normal). Guess who's romancing you this year! (We will announce soon.) Singular live/silent auction items and trips, sumptuous fare, flowing spirits, and a once-in-a-lifetime performance will make this a night to remember. For sponsorship levels of ten seats, please call TSC's Development Office at (901) 759-0620.


Tuesday Literary Salons

Kate Chopin: Louisiana Lullaby


Young William Faulkner: Before the Fury

sponsored by Nancy and Dan Copp

TSC's Southern Exposure Series continues in the spring, following this summer's sold-out Salons spotlighting the poets of Ireland and the humor of Mark Twain. Each Salon is a literary party from 6:00-8:00 pm, featuring writer-specific libations, light fare, live music, and 30 minutes of the words of one of the South's influential writers in a private, luxurious Memphis home.

Pioneering author Kate Chopin is featured on March 24, 2015 in TSC's Louisiana Lullaby. Accompanied by the music of New Orleans and the bayous, the words from her prolific short story career in Louisiana in the late 19th Century set the mood for selections from her most explosively famous novel, The Awakening. Though considered a forerunner of the feminist movement in literature, her seminal work was not fully appreciated until well after her death.

"Civilization begins with distillation," William Faulkner, no stranger to Memphis, is reported to have said. Following mint juleps and other straight brown spirits of choice, along with the music of the Delta, Jimmie Rodgers, and perhaps Mr. Faulkner's favorite, Beethoven, readings from the early short stories of the author's career will peal through the house. Mr. Faulkner, recognized for his literary creation of the Mississippi baroque in such novels as The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Absalom, Absalom! won the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature and two Pulitzers for his fiction. TSC's Young William Faulkner: Before the Fury plays April 21, 2015.

Tickets are $55 for one Salon or $100 for both, and include the entertainment, open bar, and appetizers.


A Midsummer Night's Dream

sponsored by FedEx Corporation and the Margaret & Owen Tabor family

During the time of year when our Earth tilts most toward the Sun, how ironic it is that the night should be so long in Shakespeare's ode to mischief-making love.

Bringing together, in an opulent ballet, the four worlds of the austere Court, the gymnastic lovers, the whimsical craftsmen, and the magical Fairie Kingdom, A Midsummer Night's Dream is an everlasting tribute to the power of our lovesick imagination.

The joy of the moonlit forest features the rocking ground of Oberon and his flower-squirting Puck, Titania and her donkey-headed Bottom, and Helena, Demetrius, Lysander, and Hermia who awake to both worlds with "parted eye." Which is the illusion: our dreams or our waking lives?

The show is presented in partnership with the University of Memphis on its Mainstage, running June 4-21, 2015. The creative team includes director Stephanie Shine (Romeo and Juliet, It's a Wonderful Life), costumer Janice Benning-Lacek (makeup design for TSC's previous Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest) and scenic designer Brian Ruggaber (University of Memphis, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey).

Free Will Kids' Nights are June 4, 11, and 18: Children 17 years and younger will be admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying, attending guardian. Limit: four children per guardian. Preview performances are June 4 and 5 at 7:00 pm. Press Opening is June 6 at 7:00 pm. Special abbreviated versions of the production will be presented for families on June 10 and 17 at 10:30 am for $10. Seating is general admission.

This production is sponsored by FedEx Corporation and the Margaret and Owen Tabor family.

Memphis>Broadway: A New Musical Works Festival

a collaboration sponsored by Theatrical Rights Worldwide

TSC's partnership with the University of Memphis also will make possible a very special collaboration sponsored by one of Broadway's elite musical licensing companies, Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW). The team of collaborators (TSC, University of Memphis, and TRW) will launch Memphis>Broadway: A New Musical Works Festival from May through August 2015.

Part of TSC's Southern Exposure Series, the high-profile Festival will select three musical scripts in various stages of development, invite the shows' creators to Memphis for ten days to work intensely on the pieces and rehearse with professional performers from around the country, and then present a staged reading/singing of the musical on a Saturday night on the University of Memphis MainStage.

One of the three new musicals will then be selected for additional development in New York and Memphis over the next year en route to a more full production in TSC's 2016 season.

Staged readings/singings will be Saturdays at 7:00 pm on May 23, June 27, and August 15. Tickets will be made available in 2015.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide and its President/CEO Steve Spiegel, based in New York City, represent musicals from Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as shows originating in regional theatres. TRW cultivates and introduces new work along with extending the production life of musicals to all theatrical marketplaces. TRW licenses productions to a broad range of customers, from schools to Broadway. As agents for the authors, TRW grants live stage production rights. More information is available at

TRW's Broadway collection includes Memphis-centric musicals All Shook Up: The Music of Elvis Presley, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, and the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis. Their internationally-popular collection also includes Monty Python's Spamalot, which won the Tony for Best Musical, Kander and Ebb's Curtains, The Color Purple, and recent releases Ghost the Musical, Big Fish, and The Addams Family.

"This new Festival should prove to be one of the most exciting theatre projects Memphis has experienced in quite a while," says E. Frank Bluestein, TSC Executive Director and Project Director for TRW's New Musical Works. "Thanks to Theatrical Rights Worldwide, we will get a first-hand opportunity to view original musicals in their infancy, as they are developed here in our city, on their way to an eventual professional debut - hopefully in New York and beyond."


The Education and Outreach Program

TSC's ever-expanding Education & Outreach Program brings live Shakespeare performance to audiences everywhere, allowing the space and the audience to inform each performance.

In February and March 2015, an interactive and intimate touring production of Romeo and Juliet will be available for playing in schools and community centers. Affordable, immediate, and of relevance to all ages, this is a Romeo and Juliet that will involve the audience in the playing of the show, creating an experience of a lifetime for participants.

Debuting this season will be TSC's new two-person touring show, Shakespeare Said It First! This original piece is designed to travel to scores of schools in Shelby County and throughout the southeast United States. Shakespeare Said It First! celebrates the origins of famous phrases many of us speak today, not necessarily knowing that William Shakespeare originated them. This quick-paced, interactive show provides context through the sharing of multiple scenes, letting audiences of all ages enjoy being speakers of Shakespeare.

TSC will expand its dynamic Romeo and Juliet Project by adding new partner schools in service of our goal of partnering with every Shelby County high school within the next five years. Now in its third year, the Romeo and Juliet Project offers students alternatives when faced with conflict, as well as fostering a love for the works of William Shakespeare. Introductory, interactive Playshops designed to enrich the playgoing experience are available for groups of every size for every TSC play produced during the upcoming performance season. In-depth, multi-day Residencies that give a full breadth of Shakespeare theatrical experience, as well as summertime immersive Camps, round out TSC's Education Program for the seventh season. Designed with the belief that Shakespeare is for everyone, these programs benefit school-age students as well as adult life-long learners.

The Romeo and Juliet Project is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest, FedEx Corporation, Arts Memphis, International Paper, Tennessee Arts Commission, and The Barbara B. Apperson Angel Fund.

General Admission tickets are on sale now, Monday - Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at TSC's office located within The Shops at Forest Hill at 3092 Village Shops Drive, Germantown, TN 38138 (near Target); by calling 901-759-0604, or by going online to (Twitter: @tnshakespeare).

Tickets for all non-Gala performances are $33. Tickets for all Preview performances are only $15. All Thursday nights are Free Will Kids' Nights: Children 17 years and younger are admitted FREE when accompanied by a paying/attending guardian. All performances of Richard III are Free Will Kids' Nights. Dixon members receive 20% off their tickets for all Dixon performances. Senior tickets (62 years and older) are $28, and Student tickets (18 years and older) are $15 for any non-Gala performance. No refunds/exchanges. Performances are general admission; first come/first seated. Free parking. Cast/schedule subject to change. All Opening Nights include a complementary post-show dessert and champagne toast with the actors.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company - Tennessee Shakespeare Company is the Mid-South's professional, classical theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare as well as classical and Southern writers, and provides year-round educational and training programming. Now in its seventh season as a 501(c)(3), TSC seeks to sustain a theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering its faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare's works.

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