TPS Presents 2020 (Virtual) Reading Festival

Performances take place on January 27-29 and February 3-5, 2021.

By: Jan. 02, 2021

TPS Presents 2020 (Virtual) Reading Festival

The pandemic has not stopped Tennessee Playwrights Studio's 2020 Fellows from creating six interesting and thought-provoking new works, which have been developed throughout the year at monthly TPS workshops and will be performed by favorite local Nashville actors on January 27-29 and February 3-5, 2021. These virtual events are free and open to the public. Please visit to RSVP and receive the Zoom link to these events.

TPS is a playwright-development lab and theatre-production company that was founded in 2018 by Kenley Smith and Molly Breen to offer in-state playwrights the opportunity to develop fresh, incisive scripts that reflect a changing world. In 2019, TPS broadened its scope to include the production of theatre projects developed in Tennessee, and our first world premiere was MAIDENS by Kenley Smith. More information about the program and readings can be found at:

The plays in the lineup include:


by Christopher R.C. Bosen

Directed by Lauren Berst


Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. CST

Cast: Jack E. Chambers, Darci Nalepa, Tony Nappo, Evelyn O'Neal, Brian Russell, Abby West, Ayla Williams

Living on dialysis with a rapidly failing kidney, veteran Ray Bolton is guided by a strict code of self-sufficiency, even at the expense of his relationships with his adult daughter, estranged son and granddaughter Charlie who wants to celebrate her 13th birthday with her whole family together for cake -- and fireworks. Ray now confronts once-in-a-lifetime decisions as he excavates the moments both big and small, happy and traumatic, that brought him and the entire Bolton family to this moment. Charlie's birthday is bound to be memorable -- and explosive.

Chris is thankful for the opportunity to learn as a Fellow with TPS. As an actor, Christopher has worked at Nashville Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Studio Tenn, Nashville Children's Theatre, SistaStyle Productions, The Theatre Bug, Blackbird Theatre, Street Theatre Company, ACT 1, 4th Story Theatre, Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre and The Nashville Shakespeare Festival, among others. He directed four professional premieres by local playwrights for Playhouse Nashville, as well as PATHOGENESIS for the Ingram New Works Festival. As a writer, he co-created the award-winning short BEAUX & D'ARIA. He is a graduate of The Groundlings L.A. Writing Lab and also studied sketch writing with The Second City L.A. He is currently an Associate Artist with Nashville Story Garden's Greenhouse.

JUMP THE LINE by Greg Morneau

Directed by Galen Fott
Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. CST
Cast: Robert Chambers, Gregory D. Hicks, Rachel Hip-Flores, Sabrina Moore, JR Robles, Ronald Román-Meléndez

Cast: Robert Chambers, Rachael Hip-Flores, David Ian Lee, Sabrina Moore, JR Robles, Ronald Román-Meléndez

Lena didn't spend her life managing the circulation department of her city's newspaper just to let it slip away. But as she nears retirement and hopes to hand the job over to her wayward son, circulation numbers are in free fall. To save her department, Lena pins her hopes on an ambitious journalist. Does it matter that the journalist's career might be in a tailspin and his home life is imploding? As rumors spread that the paper is going solely online, Lena's newspaper carriers face an uncertain future as they reckon with expectation, failure and desire.

Greg is a playwright, animator, painter and software developer. He studied political science, writing, painting and animation at Phillips Exeter Academy, Amherst College and Santa Monica College. He has shown his paintings in galleries in Nashville and his hometown of Manchester, NH, where for several years he also created the posters for the Mill City Festival. He has workshopped his plays at Nashville Story Garden's Greenhouse Lab and Pipeline-Collective. Greg lives outside Nashville, where he's working on an animated feature and a new play.

American Malady

by Brooke Bryant


Directed by Carolyn German

Friday, January 29, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. CST

Cast: Kathleen Allen, Daniel Brewer, Beth Henderson, Ethan Jones, Josh Kiev, David Ian Lee, Jenny Norris, Maggie Pitt, Fiona Soul, Pat Taber, Lane Wright

As strange dreams and even stranger physical symptoms begin sweeping the United States, a frustrated business professional travels with a one-of-a-kind doctor to a mysterious, enchanted island to unlock the cure. But when they realize the cure itself is more complex than they thought, they must escape powerful opposing forces on the island and decode the cure in time to help America avoid the island's fate.

Brooke has worn many "hats" in this lifetime, including singer, voiceover artist, theater educator and registered nurse, but most of her professional years have been spent acting on Nashville stages with local companies including Nashville Children's Theater, Theatre Craft, People's Branch Theater and Tennessee Repertory Theater (now Nashville Repertory Theater). Her original plays NIGHT WARRIOR and BOXES have been featured as staged readings at Tennessee Women's Work Festival, and she is currently writing the script for a musical with legendary hit songwriter Roger Cook. Brooke shares a wonderful life with partner Kevin, daughter Abby and their two adorable cats, Leo and Ollie.

Sins Of The City

by Shawn Whitsell


Directed by Alicia Haymer

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. CST

Cast: Jack E. Chambers, Milton Jackson, Terry Occhiogrosso, Brittany Nelson, Candace-Omnira, Jamil Parrish, Will Robbins, Elliott Winston Robinson

A popular and successful politician is propositioned by a young, aspiring campaign manager on the eve of an election. What starts out as a seemingly ordinary run for office culminates in a moral reckoning.

Shawn is a father, activist, poet and teaching artist. He is also an actor, playwright, director, producer and founder of the Destiny Theatre Experience. His one-man show "23/1" was named "Best Blend of Theater and Activism" by the Nashville Scene, for its message about solitary confinement and mass incarceration. When he isn't onstage, he visits schools and community spaces, teaching spoken word for Southern Word and drama for a number of arts institutions. He also serves as a volunteer for the School for Alternative Learning & Transformation (SALT) at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Shawn was a 2020 Nashville New Leaders Council fellow and is currently a member of the NLC board. He also serves on the boards of Street Theatre Company and Rooftop Nashville. He is a member of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board and the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Task Force for Nashville Organized For Action and Hope (NOAH).


by Caitlin Myers


Directed by Adam Hughes

Thursday, February 4, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. CST

Cast: Liggera Edmonds-Allen, Tony Nappo, Wesley Paine, Miranda Pepin, Melinda Sewak, Ted Welch

Years ago, Gloria, Rosie, Bugs, Tex and Little Bird found meaning in an anti-pipeline protest camp in rural Louisiana. But when the camp disintegrated, so did their relationships. Now, they've all gone their separate ways, and the hurricane of the century is heading for the Gulf. Their tensions and the intersections of their past, present and branching potential futures drive this story somewhere between memory and reality, between love and resentment, within the buildup to a coming, inescapable storm. And, Gloria forgot to buy groceries.

Caitlin is a writer and educator living in Knoxville. Her work has appeared onstage courtesy of the Bard College Gravitas Festival, Tiger Lily Theatre, and Cattywampus Puppet Council, and has also been independently produced by herself and friends. Her reporting has appeared in print in Scalawag Magazine, 100 Days in Appalachia, and others. She is a recipient of the Kristi Havens Memorial Fellowship for a residency at the Sundress Academy of the Arts. When not writing, Caitlin can be seen teaching environmental ed, supporting workers on the picket line, and getting lost on mountain backroads.

DON'T LOOK BLACK by Preston Crowder

Directed by Kari Lebby
Friday, February 5, 2021 - 7:30 p.m. CST
Cast: Gabe Atchley, David Chattam, Caroline Conner, Preston Crowder, Vida Finley, Ryan Link, Cameron L. Mitchell, Candace-Omnira, Andre Patton, Taryn Pray, Jay Rudolph, Elliott Winston Robinson, Fiona Soul

A group of white friends are enthused after being given a chance to participate in a "Black Immersion Experience." What they figure will be an opportunity to play in their harmful stereotypes quickly turns into a house of nightmares as they are shown the true magic of blackness.

Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Preston Crowder has dedicated his life to the theater arts. Starting as a young actor, he discovered a love for playwriting in high school. He pursued this passion at Oberlin College, where he graduated in 2016 with a degree in Theater with a concentration in Playwriting. Devoted to social justice and activism, Preston aims to create plays that create conversation and address issues facing people of all backgrounds. His work has been presented by University School of Nashville (FLAMES, 2016) and The Juilliard School (BREAK YOUR CHAINS, 2017). Preston currently is pursuing an MFA in Playwriting at The New School.

Read more about Preston and DON'T LOOK BLACK here.

Up next for Tennessee Playwrights Studio: TPS has partnered with Angela Gimlin (Founder and COO of Nashville's own Inebriated Shakespeare Company) for a virtual workshop reading of the to-be-produced-after-the-pandemic play, THAT WOMAN, which explores the stories of women in history romantically linked to John F. Kennedy. Monologues for this piece were written and will be virtually read by Molly Breen (as Mimi Alford), Megan Dianne DeWald (as Mary Pinchot), Angela Gimlin (as Blaze Starr), April Hardcastle-Miles (as Inga Arvad), Alicia Haymer (as Jill Cohen), Nettie Kraft (as Priscilla Ware), Ang Madeline-Johnson (as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis), Mary McCallum (as Ellen Rometsch), Elizabeth Turner (as Judith Exner) and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva (as Marilyn Monroe) on February 24, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. CST. Stay tuned for more details.




While we wait for Ethel Waters to get the large-scale showbiz treatment she deserves, Nashville audiences, for now at least, can show respect and give recognition to the legendary figure who is brought to life onstage once more by Connye Florance and Saaneah Jamison via the Kennie Playhouse Theatre production of Parr’s His Eye Is On the Sparrow: The Ethel Waters Musical. Director Kennie Dozier’s production is somewhat uneven, but his two leading ladies – the aforementioned Florance and Jamison – are mesmerizing, each one creating her own indelible portrait and unique interpretation of Ethel Waters in two acts that feature some of her best-known songs, tunes that are a part of the Great American Songbook and among the most haunting, most beautiful melodies ever written.

Charlotte Morris Latest Album, WILD CHILD, Available On All Platforms Tomorrow Photo
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Charlotte Morris' latest album, WILD CHILD, will be available across all platforms tomorrow.

GHOST, GHOST COME OUT TONIGHT! Comes to Cumberland County Playhouse in October Photo
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October 6 - 29, Cumberland County Playhouse presents Ghost, Ghost, Come Out Tonight, written by Catherine Bush.  Learn more about the production and find out how to get tickets here!

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 Ranch Hands Cowboylesque, the wildly entertaining and one-of-a-kind show, will mark its upcoming momentous 2nd Anniversary celebration with the announcement of their Woolworth Theatre residency!

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