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'Charming and Incisive, if Somewhat Predictable' CALENDAR Marks Playwriting Debut of Jack E. Chambers

For more than 30-plus years, Jack E. Chambers has been a stalwart of the Nashville stage, working with virtually every theater production company to ever exist here during those three-plus decades. And although audiences have seen him in a wide variety of roles (he’s taken on all kinds of characters to exist in an ever-evolving plane of fictional existence), it is perhaps on now, in the fall of 2023, that they have the opportunity to see the once fresh-faced, just-out-of-college Chambers – now grown into the affable middle-aged actor they eagerly anticipate onstage – as the thoughtful, observant and creative everyman he is.

'Imaginative and Original,' 35MM-A MUSICAL EXHIBITION Opens 2023-24 Season for Street Theatre Company

Street Theatre Company’s residency at The Barbershop Theatre continues in its expected fine form as the groundbreaking company heads into the 2023-24 season with a gloriously sung production of 35MM – A Musical Exhibition, a song cycle from one of musical theater’s contemporary power couples: composer/lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver (who’s been tapped for stardom by critics, grantors, showtune lovers and theater-goers alike) and his photographer husband Matthew Murphy (whose pictures provide the inspiration for this particular endeavor and who has become one of the most regularly sought-after production photographers in the business).

The Friday 5(+1): The Cast and Crew of Street Theatre Company's 2023-24 Season Opener 35MM

Street Theatre Company officially opens its 2023-24 season at The Barbershop Theatre with its production of 35MM, opening Friday night and continuing through August 26. Directed by Everett Tarlton, with music direction by Nick Benefield, 34MM features music and lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver, based on and inspired by photographs by Matthew Murphy.

'Heartbreaking, breathtaking and powerful': Kenley Smith's FAN ME WITH A BRICK Provides a Fascinating Portrait of an American Family

Post-pandemic Nashville theater audiences have witnessed a groundswell of creativity as local companies have made the production of original works part of their programming initiatives. While the result might best be described as hit-or-miss depending on perspective, one company’s efforts have been constant, abiding and transformative. Tennessee Playwrights Studio, co-founded by Molly Breen and Kenley Smith, has led this creative renaissance since its very beginnings and over the past several years has been responsible for nurturing the talents of a wide array of artists. We could not be more grateful to TPS and its founders for everything they’ve accomplished; it is truly noteworthy.

Warren-directed FALSETTOS Proves A Potent Reminder of How Life Once Was

It was a part of life only understood completely, if experienced, and its impact continues to be felt today in ways you can sometimes predict, although oftentimes it invokes unexpected memories that take you completely unaware. That explains why I’ve taken so long to compose this review of Falsettos – which ends its three-weekend run this weekend at Nashville’s The Barbershop Theatre in another superb Street Theatre Company musical production – and which I saw last week during its last Sunday matinee performance.

Studio Tenn and CPA Arts' THE SOUND OF MUSIC Provides Pleasant Summertime Entertainment

One of musical theater’s most beloved offerings, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music is again brought to life by Studio Tenn in a lovely – and certainly crowd-pleasing – production through July 16 at Christ Presbyterian Academy’s Soli Deo Center, which marks the welcome return to the Nashville stage of director/choreographer Emily Tello Speck, who helms this production with her confident style and considered artistic vision.

Page and Paulus' Revival of 1776 Offers a New Perspective on The Birth Of A Nation

Imagine walking into Jackson Hall on opening night, as I did, thinking, “Why did the directors reimagine this pleasant, if somewhat plodding, old-school musical with an ensemble of multi-ethnic women, trans and non-binary actors cast in the roles of America’s founding fathers?” Then leaving the theater after the final curtain wondering, “why on earth would anyone ever feel the need to cast the roles with men?” and reveling in the fact that 1776 tapped into my heart in unexpected ways, eliciting an emotional and, I daresay, patriotic response.

Star-studded INTO THE WOODS Tour Comes to Nashville for Eight-Performance Run at TPAC

Truth be told, this may be the most impressive assemblage of talent we’ve ever encountered on the Jackson Hall stage in our 30-some years of reviewing Broadway at TPAC. Seriously.

HERE YOU COME AGAIN Stars Tricia Paoluccio In a Stunning Tribute to Dolly Parton's Down-Home Spirit

For years – for decades, really – I have advocated that Music City tourism would benefit from a sit-down production of a country music-themed musical, one that would appeal to a wide range of aficionados and would showcase the musical library of a beloved figure in the pantheon of Nashville music. Finally, Studio Tenn delivers the perfect vehicle for that with the world premiere production of Here You Come Again, featuring songs written by or recorded by Dolly Parton (the Patron Saint of Tennessee aka The Smoky Mountain Songbird).

Nashville Rep Closes Out 2022-23 Season With Rousing Production of Tesori's VIOLET

With noteworthy performances across the board, Nashville Repertory Theatre’s production of Violet – with a lovely, haunting and emotional score by Jeanine Tesori and a sometimes meandering, oftentimes difficult to follow, libretto by Brian Crawley, based upon Doris Betts’ short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” – closes out the company’s 2022-23 in impressive style that heralds great promise for what is still to come as the Rep moves forward into its 39th season.

Lainey McCarter and Sawyer Curtis To Represent Nashville's Spotlight Awards at 2023 Jimmy Awards in June

Nolensville High School’s Lainey McCarter and Independence High’s Sawyer Curtis were recognized as Outstanding Lead Performers at Saturday night’s presentation of the 2023 Spotlight Awards, assuring them both of a spot at this summer’s Jimmy Awards competition in New York City. Murfreesboro’s Siegel High School’s production of Les Misérables was named Outstanding Musical during The Spotlight Awards.

Joy Tilley Perryman Helms Alabama Premiere of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER Saturday, 5/13 in Gadsden

Described as “a story-telling phenomenon,” Listen to Your Mother debuted in 2010 and has been performed in more than 60 cities. This edition is presented by Tilley Perryman’s Joy’s Jubilations LLC, a new performing arts organization she founded to provide educational theater experiences for young people in the Gadsden area, with the goal of brining professional theater to the region within the next few years.

Colorful, Campy and With All The Fun The Law Will Allow, DISNEY'S ALADDIN Thrills Nashville Audiences

Colorful and campy, fast-paced and royally entertaining – and about as much fun as current Tennessee laws may allow (our state legislature’s supermajority, however, might be clutching their pearls and wailing about “who’ll protect the children?” even as the youngsters surrounding me on opening night were having the times of their lives) – Disney’s Aladdin has arrived in Music City via magic carpet, bus and truck. And grabbing a ticket to the show’s Nashville run should be among anyone’s three wishes (along with, of course, tickets for Taylor Swift, Janet Jackson and/or Trevor Noah, all of whom are upping the entertainment quotient – and demand for parking spaces – this weekend) for pure escapism!

Annabelle Ochoa Lopez on Bringing Eva Peron To Life in Ballet Hispanico's Doña Perón

When her boundless imagination was challenged some eight years ago to create Doña Perón, the acclaimed ballet that depicts the life of Eva Perón – known as Santa Evita to her beloved descamisados and for people all over the world who first became intrigued by her via Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical Evita – it was up to Ochoa to create a vivid portrait of the legendary, if still-controversial woman who died more than 70 years ago.  

Roxy Regional Theatre's Timeless Revival of SPRING AWAKENING Arrives Just When Tennessee Audiences Need It

We’ve been thinking about that 2012 legislation as we prepared to see Roxy Regional Theatre's 2023 production of Spring Awakening, the Tony Award-winning musical by Duncan Sheik and Stephen Sater, which is based on the play of the same name written in the late 19th century by playwright Frank Wedekin, in which he crafted an intricately plotted story of youthful suppression and the subsequent rebellion engendered by an appalling lack of open dialogue between “the adults” and “the children” that still today provides a provocative counterpoint to the nature of current social intercourse, proving the musical’s continued relevance, while underscoring its all-too-prescient message.

At Nashville Children's Theatre, Self-Expression Shines, Sparking Young Imaginations in HIP HOP CINDERELLA

Among attributes audience members have come to expect from a Nashville Children’s Theatre production – fired by significant amounts of imagination and enough creativity to empower the minds of every youngster who has ever been introduced to the transformative power of live theater by the artists of NCT – are unique approaches to live performance, replete with stunning visuals, the casting of actors who look like their young audiences, and refreshingly new and exciting concepts that breathe new life in ages-old tales.

Actors Bridge Ensemble's World Premiere Production of Alicia Haymer's HEAVY

When the history of live theater performance in Nashville, post-pandemic, is written sometime in the future, it’s highly likely there will be a chapter dedicated to and inspired by the significance of the artistry of Alicia Haymer, the actor/director/playwright who grew up in Nashville and whose impact on local theater goes all the way back to her childhood.

Friday 5(+1): Shelby Anderson and Mike Wargo from THE DATE

Playhouse 615 hosts a workshop production of Zach Leon’s musical The Date this weekend, April 14-16. Located at 11920 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet, Playhouse 615 is the latest theatrical endeavor by Joel Meriwether and Ann Street Kavanaugh. Leon’s The Date stars Shelby Anderson and Mike Wargo. A staged reading of Leon’s Buke’s Island was presented in March at Café Coco.

Review: Outstanding Performances Highlight MTSU Theatre's All-Too-Brief Run of Kander and Ebb's Timeless CABARET

To be certain, Cabaret (in every iteration I have ever seen), represents the awesome power of live theater to challenge preconceived notions while creating a world audiences can only visit when in the thrall of a talented cast of actors inspired to indulge in fantasy while maintaining an earthbound realism that illuminates the human condition at any possible time in human history.

Review: 'Stylish, Sophisticated and Uproariously Fun' PRIDE AND PREJUDICE At Lipscomb University Theatre

Confidently directed by Beki Baker, in a stylish and rather sophisticated production led by two of Lipscomb Theatre’s finest – Victoria Griffin as Lizzy Bennet and Bryce Dunn as Mr. Darcy – Pride and Prejudice is clearly one of the most entertaining and quite joyful productions we’ve seen since the pandemic has loosened its grip on theater and allowed a return to near-normalcy stagewise.

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