Nashville's Theater Calendar 4/11/16

photo used with permission of Kenn Stilger/Heavenly Perspective Photography

"Spring is here! Why doesn't my heart go dancing?" - or at least to the theater to be transported to a different world, another time and place where life is transformed and magic happens before your very eyes...

Sometimes it seems there is so much theater happening that it's difficult to keep track of it all. From personal experience, despite all the datebooks, smart phones, tablets, desktop computers and laptops...it's hard to keep everything straight in this wacky business of the show.

Thus, we are happy to present one of our most popular features: The Nashville Theater Calendar, a comprehensive - maybe even exhaustive (lord knows we're exhausted from putting it together, gathering all the info from all over the interwebs!) - listing of theatrical openings for the 2015/16 season. We'll update the calendar every Monday, clearing out the shows that have closed and adding additional information on the shows still to come. Something's missing? That's an easy fix: just send us a message here, on Facebook, or by email at jeffreyellis37215@att.com.

This week's Theatrical Birthdays of note: Monday, April 11 Send out birthday greetings to Cumberland County Playhouse young actress Ellie Burnett and Lipscomb University theater student Robyn Smith. Tuesday, April 12 There's got to be someone whose birthday is missing from our calendar? Who are you? Wednesday, April 13 Nashville actress/vocalist, minister/teacher Abby Burke; dancer/teacher and choreographer/actress Marci Murphree; and actor Davis Jackson (Ken and Judy Jackson's pride and joy). Thursday, April 14 Austin Peay State University student and 2015 First Night Most Promising Actor Rhion Pinto. Friday, April 15 Nashville actor and entertainer and all-around great guy Scott Stewart (most recently seen in How The Grinch Stole Christmas at Gaylord Opryland); longtime nice guy and former Nashville actor - who now makes his home in New York City - Mark Delabarre; Smyna's very own Zach Parker (most recently onstage in Lakewood Theatre's All My Sons); and Nashville actress Halee Culicerto. Saturday, April 16 Brentwood High School's Hannah Oakley (Anything Goes); former Nashville actress Lauren Shakespeare. Sunday, April 17 Acclaimed Nashville actress Rebekah Durham (last onstage in Tennessee Women's Theater Project's The 12 Dates of Christmas); actor John Perine; Nashville's Alex Hopper; and Nashville Ballet's Jan Puckett Morrison.

Opened March 11

Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville: The Nerd, running through April 16, www.ccplayhouse.com Jason Ross and Daniel Black star in Larry Shue's The Nerd. This unpredictable, side-splitting comedy from the author of The Foreigner centers on the dilemma of one Willum Cubbert, a young architect, who is visited by Rick Steadman - a man he's never met but who, years before, saved Willum's life. Rick turns out to be an incredibly inept "nerd" who outstays his welcome with a vengeance, leading to one uproarious incident after another.

Opened March 19

Nashville Repertory Theatre at TPAC's Johnson Theatre: Chicago, running through April 16 www.nashvillerep.org Chorus girl Roxie Hart tried to pin the murder of her lover on her unwitting husband, but the jig is up and Roxie has landed in Cook County Jail. Jazz star and accused murderer Velma Kelly is less than pleased to see Roxie on her cell block, since Roxie's sensational crime and feigned innocence capture the attention of the public as well as Velma's hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn. This Tony Award-winning satire whisks you into a world where everyone is a dazzling performer, truth is defined by what gets the most attention, and owning the spotlight is the most important thing. Nashville Rep's cast for Chicago stars Martha Wilkinson (Roxie), Corrie Maxwell (Velma), and Geoff Davin (Billy). Additional cast includes Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva (Matron "Mama" Morton), Shawn Knight (Amos/Ensemble), and J. London (Mary Sunshine). Ensemble members include DeVon Buchanan, Wesley Carpenter, Jess Darnell, Billy Ditty, Rosemary Fossee, Mia Rose Lynne, Neely Scott, and Everett Tarlton. Tickets are $25 for previews and start at $50 for regular run. Cabaret tables close to the stage seat four and begin at $60 per person. Tickets can be purchased online at nashvillerep.org or by calling the Box Office at (615) 782-4040.

Opened April 1

Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville: The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers, running through May 28. www.ccplayhouse.com The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers centers around the Lashley Sisters, a country-singing duo whose star was on the rise (with hit tunes like "Big Boned Dreams, Tiny Tambourines") until the publicity surrounding an accident brought their careers to a screeching halt. It seems Lashley Lee Lashley (Weslie Webster) was driving the band's tour bus while under the influence. Now the girls are back in their hometown of Ashland City, where sister Junie (playwright Lori Fischer) has taken over the family business, The Sparkley Clean Dry Cleaners. She also takes care of her father Lyle (Bill Frey), who's been having trouble remembering things lately. With Lashley fresh out of rehab and Junie up to her elbows in laundry, a professional comeback for the Lashley Sisters seems unlikely. That is, until Pastor Phil (Britt Hancock) of the Third United Separated Harmony Church informs them that Bindy Moss, the church's Funeral Singer, has gone to her eternal rest and asks them to take over the job. Junie pens the unforgettable tune "Bindy, Take A Seat At The Banquet Table (Cause There's No Need For Food Drives In Heaven)" and together with a reluctant Lashley, starts the sisters on a new career path: performing personalized sendoffs for the dearly departed! Will Lashley be able to stay clean and sober? Will Junie be able to juggle her taking care of the business - and her father - while writing her unique funeral songs? And will the Lashley Sisters make it back to Nashville? Audiences can find out beginning April 1, in The Sparkley Clean Funeral Singers, an unforgettable new musical comedy that's equally hilarious and heartwarming.

Opened April 7

Actor's Pointe Theatre, at GodWhy Church, Hendersonville: Fiddler on the Roof, running through April 16. www.actorspointetheatre.com Fiddler on the Roof held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains Broadway's sixteenth longest-running show in history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned five Broadway revivals and a highly successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. The music was written by Broadway Musical legends Sheldon Harnick (lyrics) and Jerry Bock (music). The cast features local and regional professional, semi-professional and amatuer actors from all around middle Tennessee. There are two "dinner and show" performances offered on April 8th and 15th catered by the fabulous Black Eyed Pea of Hendersonville. Dinner begins at 6:30 pm. Curtain at 7:30 p.m.

Opened April 8

Lipscomb Department of Theatre, at Collins Alumni Auditorium, Nashville: You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, running through April 15 www.theatre.lipscomb.edu An average day in the life of Charlie Brown: A day made up of little moments picked from all the days in Charlie Brown's young life, from Valentine's Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed up with the lives of his friends and dog and strung together on the string of single day, from bright, uncertain morning to hopeful, starlit evening. In the end, Charlie Brown reminds us "Happiness is anything and anyone that's loved by you."

Murfreesboro Little Theatre: Lend Me a Tenor, running through April 17. www.mltarts.com The madcap, screwball comedy by Ken Ludwig - proclaimed by The New York Times as "one of the two great farces by a living writer" - Lend Me a Tenor is set in the Cleveland Grand Opera House, where IL Stupendo, the greatest tenor of his generation, is set to appear in a one-night only performance as Otello. And what goes wrong with live theatre is what is so right about this play! You'll be laughing so hard you'll be seeing double before the play is over! Directed by Charlie Parker, the show features Tony Woodall, David Wet, Cathy Spencer, Maggie Barbieri, Max Harrison, Tony Laughlin, Diana Dickerson and Mandy Ray-Jones. The production runs two weekends, closing Sunday, April 17. Friday and Saturday shows begin promptly at 7 p.m.; with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Pull-Tight Players, Franklin: Rabbit Hole, running through April 23 www.pull-tight.com Celebrated author David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the various ways a family copes with unexpected and tragic death, with a deft balance of humor, pathos and hope. Whether or not you have seen the acclaimed Oscar-nominated film adaptation, you won't want to miss this exciting addition to the season.

Springhouse Theatre Company, Mark Twain Presents The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, running through April 24 www.springhousetheatre.com Join master storyteller Mark Twain as he leads us into the world of his most famous character: Tom Sawyer. Tom's adventures never fail to remind us of why great storytelling never grows old. There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure. For a young rapscallion named Tom Sawyer, that time is the middle of April, and that someplace is Springhouse Theatre Company. Rutherford County's favorite live theatre company and one of the premier live theatre experiences in middle Tennessee, is pleased to welcome master storyteller, Mark Twain, to its stage, along with some of his most endearing and enduring creations, Huckleberry Finn, the Widder Douglas, Aunt Polly, and of course Tom Sawyer, in the season's mainstage finale, Mark Twain Presents The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Adapted for the stage by middle Tennessee playwright, novelist and filmmaker, Mike Parker, this delightful production allows Mark Twain, played skillfully by popular Nashville actor, Jack Gilpin, to interact with both the audience and the characters to bring the story to life. Springhouse Theatre Company presents Mark Twain Presents The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, April 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 and 24. Show times: Fridays/Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and final Sunday matinee at 3:30 p.m. There is a special daytime performance on April 8 at 9:30 AM. Reservations are required for this one performance and tickets will NOT be available online for that show. To purchase tickets, please email Springhousetheatre@gmail.com. No phone calls, please.

Opening April 14

Nashville Children's Theatre, Nashville: A Year With Frog and Toad, running through May 15 www.nashvillechildrenstheatre.org A hit on Broadway, A Year With Frog And Toad was nominated for three Tony Awards - including Best Musical. Based on Arnold Lobel's well-loved books and featuring a hummable score by Robert and Willie Reale,this whimsical musical follows two great friends - the cheerful, popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad - through four, fun-filled seasons. Waking from hibernation in the spring, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding, and learn life lessons along the way. The two best friends celebrate and rejoice in their differences that make them unique and special. The jazzy, upbeat score bubbles with melody and wit, making A Year With Frog and Toad an inventive, exuberant, and enchanting musical for the whole family.

The Larry Keeton Theatre, Donelson/Nashville: The Miss Firecracker Contest, running through April 30 www.thelarrykeetontheatre.org BWW Nashville senior contributing editor and founder/executive director of The First Night Honors Jeffrey Ellis directs the popular Beth Henley southern gothic comedy, the first play to be presented at The Keeton in several years. Britt Byrd, Katherine Morgan, Michael Adcock, Amber Boyer, Kurt Jarvis and Rebekah Stogner bring Henley's show to life.

Opening April 15

Actors Bridge Ensemble, in collaboration with Belmont University Department of Theatre and Dance, at Belmont's Black Box Theatre, Nashville: The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls (Nashville premiere), running through April 23. Directed by Leah Lowe, Actors Bridge board member and chair of the Theatre Department at Vanderbilt University, it will be performed in Belmont's Black Box Theatre, April 15-23. Once upon a time-in 2005-a twenty-year-old girl named Annie returned to her native Russia to brush up on the language and lose her American accent. Underneath a glamorous Post-Soviet Moscow studded with dangerously high heels, designer bags, and luxe fur coats, she discovers an enchanted motherland teeming with evil stepmothers, wicked witches, and ravenous bears. Annie must learn how to become the heroine of a story more mysterious and treacherous than any childhood fairy tale: her own. This subversive story haunts the audience, and carries a powerful message for young women living in a world where not everything ends up happily ever after.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center: A Night With Janis Joplin, running through April 16. www.tpac.org The story of the late, lamented rock legend is told in this musical, featuring all the songs most associated with her.

Tuesday, April 19

MAS Nashville at Jamison Hall, The Factory at Franklin: SuperMAS www.masnashville.com Following up their super-fun, super-wild, super-packed performance last October at The Belcourt, MAS is back with a brand new show in a brand new venue! Cori Laemmel, Erin Parker, Laura Matula, Megan Murphy Chambers and Melodie Madden Adams bring you SuperMAS on Studio Tenn's stage in Jamison Theatre at The Factory. In SuperMAS, their ninth original production, the MAS gals will embrace their inner super-heroines; when they're not fighting crime and leaping tall buildings, they're delivering all of what audiences have come to love and expect: fantastic harmonies, glitter, high heels and humor in the polished-yet-irreverent way that only MAS can.

Opening April 22

Nashville Ballet at TPAC's Andrew Jackson Hall, Nashville: Carmina Burana, running through April 24 www.nashvilleballet.com

Murfreesboro Little Theatre: Lend Me a Tenor, running through www.mltarts.org

Opening April 26

Broadway at TPAC, Nashville: Mamma Mia!, running through May 1 www.tpac.org The ultimate feel-good show that has audiences coming back again and again, Mamma Mia! Is back on tour after its recent Broadway closing. You won't want to miss the show that combines all of ABBA's greatest hits with an enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship. It will have you dancing in your seat, for sure!

Opening May 6

ACT 1, at Darkhorse Theater, Nashville: Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, running through May 21, www.act1online.com Melissa Williams directs.

Murfreesboro Little Theatre: Backyard Bard: Romeo & Juliet, running through www.mltarts.org

Opening May 10

Broadway at TPAC, Nashville: The Bridges of Madison County, running through May 15 www.tpac.org Winner of the 2014 Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations, the irresistible The Bridges of Madison County makes its Nashville debut with a limited, one-week engagement at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall on May 10-15. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 18, at 10:00 a.m. at TPAC.org, by phone at (615) 782-4040, and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick Street, in downtown Nashville. For group tickets, please call (615) 782-4060. The critically-acclaimed musical of The Bridges of Madison County features one of Broadway's most accomplished creative teams with music and lyrics by three-time Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last Five Years), book by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Marsha Norman (The Secret Garden, The Color Purple, 'night, Mother), and direction by Tony Award winner Bartlett Sher (South Pacific, The King and I, The Light in the Piazza), recreated by Tyne Rafaeli.

Opening May 31

Broadway at TPAC, Nashville: Disney's Beauty and the Beast, running through June 5 www.tpac.org

Opening June 2

Music City Theatre Company at Darkhorse Theatre, Nashville: Psycho Beach Party, running through June 11. www.mctc.ticketleap.com Bradley Moore directs a revival of Charles Busch's Psycho Beach Party, starring Elizabeth Ayres Turner and Taylor Novak.

Opening June 3

Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury: Always, Patsy Cline, running through June 18 www.artscenterofcc.com

Circle Players, at the Z. Alexander Looby Theatre, Nashville: Disney's The Little Mermaid, running through June 19. www.circleplayers.net In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney's The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. Directed by Brittany Blaire Anderson.

Studio Tenn, Franklin, at Schermerhorn Symphony Center: West Side Story, running through June 4, www.studiotenn.com

Pull-Tight Players, Franklin: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, running through June 18 www.pull-tight.com Trust us - your elementary school spelling bee was never like this! Take a group of neurotic, over-achieving grade schoolers with a dictionary in their hands and hope in their hearts, add a group of equally wacky moderators and stir for a delightful and sharply funny comedy that will have you rolling in the aisles. But don't get too comfy on the floor - you might just be picked to join the bee!

Opening June 7

Broadway at TPAC, Nashville: If/Then, running through June 7 www.tpac.org

Opening June 9

The Larry Keeton Theatre, Donelson/Nashville: Thoroughly Modern Millie, running through June 25 www.thelarrykeetontheatre.org

Opening June 10

Murfreesboro Little Theatre: Butterflies Are Free, running through www.mltarts.org

Opening July 8

Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury: The Little Mermaid, running through July 23 www.artscenterofcc.com

Murfreesboro Little Theatre: Next to Normal, running through www.mltarts.org

Opening July 18

Destiny Theatre Experience, at The Darkhorse Theater, Nashville: 7 Plays in 7 Days, running through July 30. After the success of the first 7 Plays In 7 Days in 2014, the Destiny Theatre Experience is bringing the event back with seven different plays for another seven-day run (July 18-24) with three encores July 28-30. Come join us for seven original plays by Shawn Whitsell. Tentative show schedule (in no particular order) Songs For Our Sons, 143, STEREO-type, En-Contracted, A Suffered Wrong, Colored and Moments in Time (tentative). Opening reception Sunday, July 17. More info to come. Save the dates!

Opening August 12

Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury: Rock of Ages, running through August 27 www.artscenterofcc.com

Opening September 30

Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury: The Odd Couple, running through October 15 www.artscenterofcc.com

Opening November 4

Arts Center of Cannon County, Woodbury: Chitty Chitty Bang Band, running through November 19 www.artscenterofcc.com



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