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SUMMER STAGES: What's Hot In Nashville Theater in 2016

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Although the calendar tells us we're still in the spring season, things are quickly heating up in Nashville - theatrically speaking - and theater-goers have a plethora of shows coming up from which to choose, including some summer musicals that are sure to set feet a-tapping and a classic drama that's sure to provoke more thought and discussion than perhaps ever before.

Lipscomb University's department of theatre offers up a new production of To Kill A Mockingbird as part of the university's Christian Scholars Conference. Adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel and directed by Mike Fernandez, Dean of the College of Entertainment and the Arts, the limited engagement stars 2015 First Night Honoree Chip Arnold, Eric Pasto-Crosby and Tony Morton, and runs June 9-11 at 7:30 p.m. and June 12 at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults, $12 for Lipscomb faculty and staff, and $5 for students anywhere (college students must have a valid student ID). The full cast of the production includes: SCOUT: Hannah Trauscht; JEM: William Hearn; ATTICUS FINCH: Chip Arnold; CALPURNIA: Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva; MAUDIE ATKINSON: Nan Gurley; STEPHANIE CRAWFORD: Bonnie Keen; MRS. DUBOSE: Denice Hicks; BOO RADLEY: Antonio P. Nappo; DILL: Charlie Webb; HECK TATE: Andy Bleiler; JUDGE TAYLOR: Ronnie Meek; REVEREND SYKES: George Pendergrass; MAYELLA EWELL: Shannon Clark; BOB EWELL: Eric Pasto-Crosby; WALTER CUNNINGHAM: Sawyer Wallace; MR. GILMER: Jim Thomas; and TOM ROBINSON: Tony Morton.

Stella London

Opening at The Larry Keeton Theatre on June 9 is the Tony Award-winning musical Thoroughly Modern Millie. Longtime Keeton favorite Stella London stars as Millie Dillmount, sharing the stage with ome of Nashville's most talented Musical Theatre artists. Playing the undercover rich kids Jimmy Smith and Dorothy Brown are super soprano Tyler Samuel and recent Cumberland Grad, Austin Smith. In the role of the jet-setting nightclub singer-stepmother is the beautiful Lisa Graham as Muzzy Van Hossmere. As the handsome Mr. Trevor Graydon and his office warden Miss Flannery is the chameleon talents of Jason Scott and Marne Matysek. The bitter villainess Mrs. Meers is played by Heather Webber, flanked by her reluctant henchmen Ching Ho and Bun Foo played by Coleton Wood and Eric Grim. Rounding out the cast is an 18-member chorus. Dinner seating for the show begins at 5:45 p.m. with a curtain at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and seating at 12:45 for luncheon with a curtain at 2 p.m. for Sunday matinees. Dinner/show tickets are $19 for children 12 and under, $28 for ages 13 and above. Show-only and group tickets are also available. Call (615) 883-8375 for information and reservations, or visit the website at www.thelarrykeetontheatre.org.

Linda Sue Simmons Runyeon

Linda Sue Simmons Runyeon (who last year delighted audiences and critics alike as Patsy Cline) stars as Judy Garland in JUDY! A Musical Tribute to Judy Garland, running June 16-30 at Dickson's Gaslight Dinner Theatre. Thursday and Friday matinees begin with a buffet at noon, with a 1 p.m. curtain; Friday and Saturday night shows start with the buffet at 6:30 p.m., with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Featuring Garland's most loved songs like "Over the Rainbow," "I've Got Rhythm," "The Trolley Song," "Meet Me in St. Louis," "Me and My Gal,"" Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" and "The Man That Got Away," along with dancing, comedy and highlights of Judy with her most famous screen and stage partners: Mickey Rooney, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Barbara Streisand and daughter Liza. The Gaslight Dinner Theatre is located on the lower level of The Renaissance Center in Dickson.

Matt Baugher and Corinne Bupp

2015 First Night Honoree Martha Wilkinson directs - with musical direction by Tim Fudge, and choreography by Curtis Reid and Lauri Gregoire - the first collaboration from Music City Theatre Collective and Metro Parks Theatre Department of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, running at the Centennial Park Bandshell June 17-July 2. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. with pre-show entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m. All performances are entirely free to the public with a suggested donation of $10 collected at the gates before the show. The high-spirited rivalry between local farmers and cowboys provides the colorful backdrop for the love story between Curly (played by Matt Baugher), a handsome cowboy, and Laurey (played by Corinne Bupp), a winsome farm girl. With these two at the reins, the road to true love is about as bumpy as a surrey ride down a country road. The cast also includes Amanda Lamb as Aunt Eller, Andy Riggs as Jud, Everett Tarleton as Will Parker, Mallory Mundy as Ado Annie, Tyler Evick as Ali Hakim, Sawyer Brown as Andrew Carnes and Joy Todd as Gertie. The ensemble members include: Millicent Martin, Rae Robeson, LaDarra Jackel, Caressa Alan, Ashley Wolfe, Jaclyn Brown, Melissa Silengo, Michael Spencer, Austin Olive, Scot Patrick Wilson, Jess Darnell and Iordanis Ekimogloy

Brooke Ferguson

Woven Theatre presents the world premiere of Giant Squid, a new play written by Miles Gatrell that follows the lives of two sets of young people in their late teens and mid-twenties, will open June 23 at the Belmont Little Theatre, running through July 10. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. Over the course of the play these people grapple with the mistakes and successes of their loves as they try to find acceptance and happiness. Giant Squid speaks directly to what is means to live in this world today. William Kyle Odum directs a cast The cast includes recent Belmont graduate Seth Kays and recent Lipscomb graduate Brooke Ferguson as John and Alex. Also on stage are current Belmont student Jenna Hulsey and recent Father Ryan graduate Bret Carson as Susan and Tony. Current Belmont student Andrew Timms steps in the role of Male Alex. Lending their voice-over work to the play are Josh Kiev as Man/Scientist and Shannon Clark as Woman. Tickets are $10 at the door; Email wkyleodum@gmail.com to reserve tickets at Will Call.

Adele Akin, Clay Jeffries and
Emily Eytchison

Brentwood's Towne Centre Theatre presents the popular musical Bye Bye Birdie, which focuses on the rise of rock and roll superstar Conrad Birdie (played by 2016 First Night Most Promising Actor Brandon Hoyt) who has just been drafted into the army in 1958. Desperate for a publicity stunt big enough to help them survive Birdie's departure, Conrad's management team Albert Peterson (Clay Jeffries) and Rosie Alvarez (Emily Eytchison) hatch a plan: send Conrad to Sweet Apple, Ohio, to perform Albert's new song, "One Last Kiss," followed by Conrad planting his goodbye kiss on one lucky fan (Danielle Threet) for the entire world to see. The selection of that fan, however, sends the wholesome town of Sweet Apple into chaos in this hilarious and heartwarming classic. The cast also features Jim Himelrick, Laura Mee, Aidan Schacht, Tyler Worden, Adele Akin, Emma Williams, Linda Slayton, Bethanie Lyon, Grafton Thurman, Rebecca Nelson, Jimmy Barajas, David Mee, Will Lasley, Kelsey Teegarden, Jaden Hotschlag, Olivia Hope Rice, Jasmine Rose, Lydia Francis, Olivia Mee, Madeline Morales, Caroline Kunkel, Lily Turman, Aubrey Eytchison, Parker Spruill, Praise Perce, and Madalyn Wiatr. Bye Bye Birdie opens June 17 and runs through July 9. Tickets can be purchased online at www.townecentretheatre.tix.com or by calling (615) 221-1174. Showtimes are 8 p.m. for evening performances and 2:30 p.m. for Sunday matinees. Doors open 30 minutes prior to curtain. Tickets are $16 for students, $18 for military and seniors 60 and over, and $20 for adults.


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