NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Shakespeare Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary season and kicks off with Hamlet, Shakespeare’s most famous work, Jan. 4-28 at Belmont’s Troutt Theater in Nashville and Feb.1- 3 at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre in Murfreesboro. Tickets are $29 in advance and $32 at the door.
Performances at Belmont’s Troutt Theater (2112 Belmont Blvd, Nashville) are 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturdays; and 2:30 p.m. Sundays Jan. 4-28. Performances at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre (615 Champion Way, Murfreesboro) are 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday Feb. 1-3.
Denice Hicks directs this intimate production that takes audiences on a journey into the minds and hearts of the royal family of Denmark in their darkest time. Prince Hamlet is torn between two unbearable situations: either living with his father's murderer or committing murder himself.
Making his Nashville theatre debut in the title role is Sam Ashdown, a magnetic up-and-coming film and stage actor who boasts an impressive resume, having performed with companies across the country. Also a stand-out among the cast is Cheryl White (Gertrude), a Los Angeles transplant who has more than 60 TV shows under her belt, including Major Crimes and Resurrection.
Two of the traditionally male roles in the play are being played by women: Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend, will be played by Melinda Paul, and Lauren Berst will play Marcellus.
An original score has been composed and will be played live by Natalie Bell and Jack Kingsley. Sam Lowry designs the set and projections that will take the audience into each location in Elsinore, from graveyard to castle battlements to the great hall. The costume designer is Jessica Mueller. Lights are designed by Anne Willingham and fights choreographed by David Wilkerson.
For tickets and more information, visit www.nashvilleshakes.org.
Coming soon in Nashville Shakes’ 30th anniversary season in April is a benefit performance by Denice Hicks of a new, one-woman show written and directed by Mark Cabus, called “The Maiden Phoenix.” Then, there will be a “Bard’s Birthday Bash” on April 23 in collaboration with Vanderbilt University. The 30th anniversary Shakespeare in the Park in August and September 2018 will be a production of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” And in the Pop-Upright Shakespeare series, six directors will mobilize Shakespearean casts to diverse locations around Nashville to perform edited versions of Shakespeare's most unusual plays "Upright" style.
All of Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s programming is supported in part by Metro Nashville Arts Commission and the Tennessee Arts Commission. “Hamlet” is supported in part by Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. The Nashville Shakespeare Festival is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle and high school students in communities across the United States.
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