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GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 22, 2017

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GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 22, 2017

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! According to my iPhone today is Monday, 22 May 2017 - the weekend, busy as it was, is over and we're left hankering for a few days off in order to relax and rejuvenate...which makes us ponder this musical question: What are your plans for next weekend? In our mind, of course, our mama is warning us that such queries are symptomatic of us "wishing [our] life away," as she would always admonish us to live in the now instead of trying to leap-frog over the next five days. So sayeth my beloved mama: "Live life dramatically." Therefore, a nap might have to suffice...

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 22, 2017 GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 22, 2017 What with May 20 falling on a Saturday, one of the two days upon which we fail to wish you a good morning and to urge you to live life dramatically, we failed to wish you a "Happy Eliza Doolittle Day!" So there's that: "...On the twentieth of May, I proclaim 'Liza Doolittle Day!" In wishing you a happy day, we send out warm and affectionate greetings to "my Elizas," Erica Patterson and Ashley Wolfe and all the denizens of London with whom we spent the better part of early 2017 with in preparation for our production at The Larry Keeton Theatre.

There's nothing quite like a trip to Crossville for a two-show day at Cumberland County Playhouse, where Weslie Webster, Britt Hancock, the irrepressibly upbeat and inspiring Bryce McDonald and all the talented company members enthrall audiences with top-flight theater all through the year. And this past weekend was definitely a memorable time spent there as we were treated to splendid productions of Million Dollar Quartet and A Second Helping of The Church Basement Ladies Musical, featuring a mess (that unquantifiable amount of somethin' good, known only to generations of Southern mamas) of insanely created and gifted folks (Daniel W. Black, Stephen Edwards Horst, Ross Griffin, Edward LaCardo, Britt Hancock, Molly Dobbs, Tony Greco and Chet Hayes in MDQ and Jason Ross, Weslie Webster, Patty Payne, Bonner Church and Caitie Moss in ASH)! It's only too bad we were unable to take you all with us up to the Plateau to show off CCP's latest hits so that you, too, could become as enraptured by what transpires on that stage with all your other friends not within the sound of our clicking keys. Take it from us, it's impossible to visit CCP and not leave feeling inordinately satisfied by their ability to transport and transform, delight and delectate: You simply cannot see shows at Cumberland County Playhouse without falling in love with live theater all over again! Take our - hell, take my - word for it!

GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI for May 22, 2017 Perhaps the best part of the whole "day at CCP" experience, though, was the splendid conversation over dinner with Bryce McDonald, during which we talked about all things theatrical - truly, it was a conversation that was both edifying and enlightening and was just about as enjoyable as any we've ever had. Talking theater with someone who loves it - and the people who create it - as much as (or maybe even more than) I do is good for the soul! True story: Long before I ever met Bryce, my pal (aka my sister from another mister) Tracey Barnes would preface every "Bryce Story" with the words: "The two of you really should meet, you'd be great friends!" And she was right (which should come as no surprise to people who know and love her as I do). The only way the day could've been better is if we'd seen Lauren Marshall, Carol Irvin, Ron Murphy and Sam Hahn in addition to the tribe of people we've already listed!

Last Friday night, Ryan Bowie, Emily Rourke, Stacy Turner, Donald Groves and all of our exulatant (and exalted!) pals in Clarksville were celebrating the announcement of Roxy Regional Theatre's 2017-18 Season - that's the 35th annual slate from the Roxy so far - during their festive annual reveal party, Happenin' at The Hollemans! As Ryan leads the Roxy into its 35th season, there's a lot of grand theater in store, including revivals of The Rocky Horror Show (in its sixth year) and The Vagina Monologues (both regular events that highlight each year's creative output up Interstate 24 from Nashville), as well as new productions of The Wizard of Oz (which opens the historic season), A Piece of My Heart, A Midsummer Night's Dream (the musical!), A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Raisin in the Sun, James and the Giant Peach, Annie Jr., Dames at Sea and Oklahoma! In addition to the talking vaginas (staged for the 16th year in a row), theotherspace productions will include Fully Committed and Marilyn/God. All in all, it sounds like the 35th season at the Roxy is shaping up to offer theater for every audience member: a blend of timeless classics and cutting edge new works.

Tomorrow night - that's Tuesday for you calendar-challenged folks - Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, opens at Andrew Jackson Hall at Tennessee Performing Arts Center for its eight-performance run through next Sunday. Telling the story of the magnificent Carole King, using her vast catalogue of music, the show won Tony Awards and is, quite easily, one of this season's most eagerly anticipated shows on the HCA-TriStar Broadway at TPAC Series. Personally, I can't wait (see how excited I am; I dropped the royal "we")! My very first record album (that didn't belong to one of my siblings) was Carole King's iconic Tapestry and I've been a huge fan ever since.

Actors Suzi Safdie, Francine Berk-Graver, Drew Dunlop and others find themselves in the midst of hell week for the upcoming world premiere production of Jew Store the Musical, the true story of Aaron and Reb Bronson and their two children's journey from the overcrowded Jewish tenements of New York in the 1920s to the tiny Tennessee hamlet of Concordia, a town where residents had never before met a Jew. Featuring 18 original songs, Jew Store the Musical will debut at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater of the Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati (May 27 and 28) prior to moving onto New York for what is hope to be an open-ended run. Prior to heading northward to Cincinnati, a final dress rehearsal of the show will be presented Wednesday night at Benson Auditorium at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. on May 24.

Out at Nashville's equally iconic Chaffin's Barn, a Dinner Theatre, the final slate of performances of Beau Jest get under way Thursday. Featuring a cast led by the indomitable Layne Sasser, director Martha Wilkinson's ensemble includes Charlie Winton, Joanna Hackman, Daniel Hackman, Bradley Moore and Brett Cantrell. Reservations are available by calling (615) 646-9977 and remember: this will be your last chance to see the charming and lovable Hackmans before they head west to California!

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SERIOUSLY. I NEED YOUR KIND ASSISTANCE: If you are involved in theater and within the sound of my clicking keys, may I ask a favor: Send me your bio (just like you would turn in to your stage manager for use in a playbill/program for an upcoming show), so that I might have it on file for the future. You may even update it as you wish, whenever you wish. That way, I'll have it and can use it to ensure that my coverage of theater is indeed as in-depth and as elucidating as humanly possible. Send it to me (if you think I don't have your headshot, include that as well) at jeffrey@bwayworld.com.

Happy Birthday to Ben Crawford, Studio Tenn's estwhile Che in last season's Evita who's now onstage in Broadway's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Belmont University Musical Theatre alumnus Isaac Brotzman; Christ Presbyterian Academy alumna and First Night Most Promising Actor Harley Seger, now at Boston Conservatory at Berklee; BUMT alum Ryan Brennan; and Nashville theater veteran, man-about-town, University School of Nashville middle school theater teacher (and Howard Snyder's brother from another mother) Bakari Jamal King.

From our "Theater-goer's Journal," on this date in theater history, may we bring to your attention these noteworthy events: Sir Laurence Olivier was born on this date in 1907. Some 60 years later, in 1967, poet and playwright Langston Hughes (Mulatto and Troubled Island) died in New York City, at the age of 65. Eric Bogosian's subUrbia opened at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre in 1994; and The Full Monty launched its national tour from Toronto on this day in 2001. In 2002, Rosie O'Donnell closed up shop on her eponymous television talk show, ending what had become one of the most widely known platforms for bringing musical theater into the homes of viewers for the previous six years.

From the BWW Nashville Archives:

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/nashville/article/Falling-in-Love-With-Nashville-Jessica-Grov-Stars-in-Studio-Tenns-THE-SOUND-OF-MUSIC-20120522

/nashville/article/CRITICS-CHOICE-Memorial-Weekends-Best-Bets-20150522

/nashville/article/THE-FRIDAY-FIVE-STARLITE-WALTZs-Brooke-Gronemeyer-Morgan-Robertson-20150522

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/nashville/article/Geoff-Davins-THE-FIRST-CHURCH-OF-MARY-Premieres-Next-Week-20150522#

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And that concludes this morning's programming, so you may now return to your regularly scheduled life, but don't forget to CELEBRATE THE MAGIC OF LIVE THEATER! See you on the morrow, gentle readers.


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