August 2016

by Jim Reyland

Jim Reyland’s new book, Handmade – Friendships Famous, Infamous, Real and Imagined is available at Amazon.com in paperback and on Kindle. Jim’s new Christmas music comedy, MOTEL NOEL, starring Barry Scott and Jamey Green, opens December 1 at the 4th Story Theatre. jreyland@audioproductions.com

About the Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Founded in 1988, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival educates and entertains the Mid-South community through high-quality Shakespearean experiences. The company is one of the region’s leading professional theatres, and since its inception, more than 460,000 Tennesseans have experienced the arts through one of their programs, which include Shakespeare in the Park, Winter Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Action, and other educational initiatives.

Macbeth Witches_credit Jeff Frazier

Nashville Shakespeare Festival Apprentice Company members Ara Vito as Hecate, Lily Grace Lewis as Witch 2, Regan Holmberg as Witch 1 in the upcoming summer production of Macbeth; Photograph by Jeff Frazier

“One of the things I find special about the NSF Apprentice Company experience is the growth of the group as a whole. . . . I am excited to see how that plays out this year with Macbeth.”
—Jonah Jackson

One of the great things about Shakespeare in the Park is that you run into the nicest people. Old friends, new friends, and folks you’ve never met, or don’t see any other time but at this wonderful Nashville event. They’re like minds who enjoy the great outdoors and the captivating and transforming words of our greatest scribe. This year, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival begins its 2016 season of Shakespeare in the Park on August 11 at Centennial Park’s band shell. The annual summer program features two of Shakespeare’s most beloved works, Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors.

NSF-Comedy_of_Errors-3_by Jeff Frazier

The Comedy of Errors gets a uniquely Music City spin with the show set in 1960s Nashville; Photograph by Jeff Frazier

“We are happy to bring two of Shakespeare’s most popular and contrasting works to the stage for this season of Shakespeare in the Park,” says Denice Hicks, artistic director of the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. “Each performance is unique to Nashville and offers a new artistic interpretation of the well-known shows performed by Nashville artists.”

Macbeth is set in modern times and performed by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival Apprentice Company, featuring young, local actors who’ve received at least four weeks of intensive NSF training.  Andrew Johnson has been part of the learning since 2014. “When I apprenticed in 2014 I learned so much about not only theatre but myself. I can’t wait to work this summer on Macbeth under the guidance of so many exceptional artists.” Macbeth is Shakespeare’s bloody tale that takes on new levels of horror as Macbeth and the audience are caught in the spell of three weird sisters and the witchy Queen Hecate. The performance is played in the round, immersing all in the story’s murder and madness (parental guidance is advised). Macbeth will be performed August 11–14, August 18–19, August 25–26, September 1–2, and September 8–9.

The Comedy of Errors gets a uniquely Nashville spin with original music by David Olney, Lari White, Stan Lawrence, and Jack Kingsley. As Shakespeare’s shortest and zaniest play, the show is a Nashville Shakespeare Festival signature work set in 1960s Nashville. This family-friendly performance is directed by Nashville Shakespeare Festival Executive Artistic Director Denice Hicks and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. The Comedy of Errors will be performed August 20–21, 27–28, September 3–5, 10–11, and 15–18.

NSF Park BandshellPhoto by Rick Malkin, NSF

Nashvillians enjoy the annual Shakespeare in the Park event at Centennial Park’s band shell; Photograph by Rick Malkin

Don’t be late. The best blanket and lawn chair spaces or available band shell seats go to those who arrive early. Food trucks begin serving at 6 p.m., and featured vendors include Jeni’s Ice Cream, Moosehead Kettle Corn, and DegThai. The free Talking Shakespeare series with nightly special guest speakers also begins at 6 p.m. with pre-show entertainment starting at 6:30 p.m. The featured performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

So let’s all get together at the park this summer. Pass around a few new hugs and catch up with some old friends. General admission is open to the public, with a $10 per person donation suggested. Royal and noble packages are available for those seeking the ultimate VIP experience. The two packages are the festival’s signature fundraiser and include reserved parking, prime seating, a gourmet boxed picnic dinner, and personal welcome from the Shakespeare Festival staff.

A Midsummer Night's Dream 2013, Photo by Rick Malkin, NSF

Performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Centennial Park; Photograph by Rick Malkin

The Nashville Shakespeare Festival returns to Centennial Park for its 29th season on August 11. This year is offering something for everyone with not one but two Bard classics in repertory. For more information and to purchase Royal and Noble Packages, visit www.nashvilleshakes.org, email rickeychick@nashvilleshakes.org, or call 615-255-2273.

 

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