Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a city to make a
really brilliant theatre scene. Just think of London, Paris, Moscow,
New York. Nashville.
Everything about the city of Nashville recommends it as the next
chapter in the history of the American theatre.
Long before the entertainment industry got here, Nashville was know as
The Athens of the South, as the Southern city with the most universities
- and it's our university theatre departments that are really fueling
this Nashville theatre fever - especially Belmont and Lipscomb, who not
only put on awesome shows but also know how to get the audiences in to see them. Instead of treating the theatre departments like "this is
where we keep the weird kids," these two fine schools are putting their
young actors and designers on the front line where most universities
put the football and basketball teams.
Long before country music came to town, Queen Victoria gave "Music City USA" its moniker after hearing - not Tammy Wynette but The Fisk
Jubilee Singers. Today, Nashville has possibly more African-American
theatre companies than any other city in the country. Queen of the heap
would be Sista Style Productions, so google that when you have a moment.
Speaking of Sistas, while there are a few interesting men in the
Nashville theatre scene, I have to say that it's the women that are
really kicking butt. I have found that dealing with women is so much
easier than dealing with men - I think it has something to do with
testosterone, so here, in no particular order, is my list of awesome
Nashville theatre women.
Shannon Wood, Carolyn German, Denice Hicks, Helen "Olaketi"
Shute-Pettaway, Maryanna Clarke, Marjorie Halbert, Beki Baker, Cathy
Street, Martha Wilkinson, Deb Holloway, Mary McCallum, Persephone
Felder-Fentress, Wesley Paine, Alexis Lherrison, Susan DuPont, Courtney McClellan, Halee Culicerto, Vali Forrester. I shouldn't stop here but I have to so we can get on to other things.
Of course, I should mention the contribution from the gay community,
but I, being extremely "Southern" myself, don't want to make anyone
nervous or accidentally "out" anyone (like myself), so let's keep that
one in the closet, right? Just remember Bianca Paige in Torch Song
Trilogy at The Darkhorse. Sold out a three week run three weeks before
it opened at @ $25 a ticket.
Kinda like "Crowns" is doing now!
And how about a hand for our great critics - Martin Brady, Evans
O'Donnell, Jeffrey Ellis and Amy Stumpfl.
And Fiona Soltes at The Tennessean.
Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre.