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Nashville Repertory Theatre Unveils 2021-22 Season

RAGTIME Signals Return to the Stage in Polk Theatre

Nashville Repertory Theatre Unveils 2021-22 Season Nashville Repertory Theatre unveiled its 2021-22 season Tuesday night at Kimpton Aertson Hotel's rooftop patio, featuring a plethora of Nashville theater's brightest stars, who charmed and entertained everyone in their audience (each of whom were fairly adither with anticipation of what's to come and the joy of watching live performance).

Bakari Jamal King and Melinda Sewak delivered a soaring performance of "Wheels of a Dream" from RAGTIME, which opens the season in TPAC's James K. Polk Theatre, November 11-14. They were accompanied by Randy Craft. Christine McNeal, who takes on the title role in MARY POPPINS, delighted with a performance of a medley of songs from that show to open the evening. MARY... runs April 28-May 8, 2022, in the James K. Polk Theatre.

Along the way of the two hours of impending theater news and resumed creative camaraderie, Alicia Haymer revealed she'll be making her Nashville Rep directorial debut with SCHOOLGIRLS; OR THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY, running February 10-20, 2022, in TPAC's Andrew Johnson Theatre. And Megan Murphy Chambers, who has starred as the mom in past productions, announced the return of the company's holiday favorite, A CHRISTMAS STORY, December 2-19, also in the Johnson Theatre.

They were joined onstage by The Rep's Drew Ogle, Chip Arnold, Tamiko Robinson Steele, Nate Eppler and board chair Rob Turner. In the audience were such luminaries as Lori Gann-Smith, Laura Mould Amond, Hannah Dewing, Amos Raymond Glass, Gary C. Hoff (all from The Rep), along with Hatty Ryan King, Jena Salb, Elena Elizabeth, Sejal Mehta, Will Shutes from the Nashville Scene, and many more equally celebratory types reveling in the return of live theater.

Nashville Repertory Theatre Unveils 2021-22 Season POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE (of the rooftop bar of the Kimpton Aertson hotel, on the occasion of Nashville Rep's 2021-22 Season Reveal):

EVERYONE was emotional and flat-out overjoyed to be doing theatrical stuff once again. Who in their right mind could ever have predicted just how quickly - and just how wonderfully special - a return to a sense of "theatrical normal" could be experienced? Not me, that's for sure! And I venture to guess that most everyone else has been just as amazed as I that being in a group of theater artists can be so inspiring and revivifying.

- Tamiko Robinson Steele talked about hosting a number of social events lately (her birthday, the birthday of Alicia Haymer and the high school graduation of her son Micah - all of which are worthy of celebration, of course), but agreed with our assessment that who knew a woman who just turned 21 herself now had a son old enough to graduate high school? It's a miracle, I tell you. A miracle!

- Megan Murphy Chambers admitted that among the things that most excited her about being vaccinated and able to venture forth in public was seeing what other people had ordered in restaurants and to once again gaze upon the offerings of a "specials board."

Nashville Repertory Theatre Unveils 2021-22 Season - The performance by Bakari Jamal King and Melinda Sewak of "Wheels of a Dream" was just as wondrous as you might imagine. Particularly, as I said to myself that "I didn't know Melinda could sing so beautifully." Despite the fact the first time I ever saw her onstage was in MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL at Arts Center of Cannon County - and there's also the First Night Award she won for The Rep's AVENUE Q.

- Hatty Ryan King, who is destined to be a huge star, told me she's planning to move to NYC later this year, but not before she stars opposite Liam Searcy in THE LAST 5 YEARS down in Fairhope, Alabama, this summer.

- it was with much grace and self-composure that Laura Mould Amond acquiesced to my demand to introduce me henceforth as a "theatrical legend." Hannah Dewing played along to maximum effect.

- Nashville Rep board member Elena Elizabeth somehow refrained from slapping me hard across the face when I apologized for thinking she was someone else by saying "I have no idea who you are," then instantly remembering exactly who she is. Jena Salb granted me special dispensation, thankfully, because I knew her name without prompts.

- Chip Arnold exulted in the fact that despite the fact the pair of us are indeed the two oldest guys in Nashville theater, we both have emerged unscathed from a pandemic - clearly reason for us to rejoice.

- By that same token, Sejal Mehta refrained from punching me when I suggested she lie about her son's age in order to get him a vaccine now instead of waiting his turn. I blame it on the wine, coupled with an empty stomach and the altitude.

- Lori Gann-Smith held court in this sort of interesting round throne-like chair, looking absolutely regal in a gorgeous dress that matched her eyeglasses perfectly, while nodding knowingly toward Harrison Williams when he plied her with gossip - like he does.

At any rate, that's where we were (along with Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva, whom somehow managed to successfully avoid me) Tuesday night - just where in the ever-lovin' hell were you?

From This Author - Jeffrey Ellis

Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 35 years. In 1989, Ellis and his partner launched... (read more about this author)

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