Over the last few years, we’ve received many requests from the community for a professional production of King Lear,” says Denice Hicks, executive director of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. “We are happy to finally bring the story of King Lear and his three daughters to life.

This just in …King Lear makes rare Nashville appearance!

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Becky Wahlstrom as the Fool and David Landon as King Lear; Photograph by Jeff Frazier

King Lear hasn’t been spotted in Nashville in many a fortnight. The last anyone had heard, he’d gone mad. As with most kings, it didn’t happen all at once; it was a gradual descent. Fortunately, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival has found him, King Lear, buried deep inside a good book and is preparing him for the stage as part of their ninth annual Winter Shakespeare season at Belmont University’s Troutt Theater January 8-31.

This King Lear will be Nashville’s first full, professional production of the famous tragedy—previous productions were presented by community theatres or have been adaptations of the original story—and will feature live, original music. It also features David Landon, Ph.D., professor of theatre arts at The University of the South, Sewanee, who will play King Lear. It’s a role he has studied for decades.

“I am, unsurprisingly, thrilled and honored to be working on Lear with the Nashville Shakespeare Festival, such a vital part of the impressive and thriving Nashville theatre scene,” Landon says. “In a way, this project is a kind of homecoming. I began my acting career in Nashville.”

Landon teaches acting, physical comedy, and solo performance, and is a frequent director and actor for Theatre/Sewanee. He has played leading roles at the Heritage Repertory Company, the Arkansas Rep, Alabama Shakespeare Company, and the New York Shakespeare Festival, as well as roles in film and television. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and holds a doctorate in comparative literature from Vanderbilt University.

Nashville Shakespeare’s King Lear promises to warm our literary hearts this winter. For some, that alone will serve. But, for those looking for a little more fun, how about the Royal Package? This one-of-a-kind Shakespearean gift includes tickets, VIP seating and parking, a pre-show reception, and a post-show meet-and-greet. All proceeds support the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s educational outreach and programming. A Royal package is $100, 75 percent of which is tax deductible.

George Bernard Shaw wrote, ”No man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear.” You decide.

Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s presentation of King Lear will take place January 8–31 at Belmont’s Troutt Theater. For more information, visit www.nashvilleshakes.org


Amanda Card as Cordelia, David Landon as King Lear, Nettie Kraft as Goneril and Shannon Hoppe as Regan; Photograph by Jeff Frazier


Jim Reyland’s new book Circling the Angels – Friendships Famous and Infamous, Real and Imagined.  Available February 15 at Amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle. jreyland@audioproductions.com



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