Ten Minute Playground Has Twelve Plays in Two Nights
Twelve brand new plays by Middle Tennessee playwrights will be presented as staged readings. The plays are paired with some of Nashville’s finest actors and directors, all volunteering their time to present these exciting new scripts. With only an hour of rehearsal, these plays take on a life of their own in front of a live audience.
“I am so seriously thrilled to see Nashville creating and supporting all kinds of new works. I think writing a play is like building your own house. It’s exciting, but incredibly stressful and at some point you’re going to be in the fetal position and fighting with your spouse. But in the end you’re really proud of it. This feels like two evenings of a barn raising, with the theater community and supporters coming together to help the playwrights raise the walls,” says Rachel Agee, one of the curators of the event.
Dozens of submissions were accepted from playwrights across the region and narrowed down by Playground curators to the final twelve that will be presented in staged readings. Six plays by a combination of experienced and emerging Middle Tennessee playwrights will be presented each night.
“The TMPG isn’t only a place for playwrights to hear their words aloud, it’s also a chance for actors and directors from the Nashville theatre community to collaborate with each other in ways they may not have had the opportunity to on full length plays. It’s fun and energizing to bring something new to life, not just for the audience but for all of the artists involved.” says lead curator Rebekah Durham.
The Playground is another opportunity for Nashville audiences to connect with artists creating exciting and vital art right here in their hometown. “The Playground is proud to be part of the surging wave of new play projects in Nashville, including the Nashville Rep Ingram New Works Festival and the Women’s Work Festival presented by Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project,” says co-curator Nate Eppler, “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nashville loves new plays.”
Playwrights with new work to be featured include Keri & Joe Pagetta, Laura Crockarell, Tom Angland, Kenley Smith, Erica Elam, Garret Schneider, Rachel Agee, Carson McCain, Amanda Hendricks, Michelle Benson, Jenny Noel, and Eppler.
Performances start at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 cash at the door. For more information please visit TenMinutePlayGround.com, follow them on twitter @tenminplay or like them on Facebook at Ten Minute PlayGround.
Amatrudo and Denison Lead ‘The Last Five Years’ Cast
VWA Theatricals has found its Cathy and Jamie for the upcoming production of Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years” : Delaney Amatrudo and Luke Denison. Amatrudo and Denison will lead the cast for the musical, which runs Aug. 13-22 at Nashville’s iconic Darkhorse Theater. Amatrudo currently studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Denison is a recent graduate of Indiana University.
Andrew Cannata and Audrey Johnson will be stand-bys for the leading roles in the production, which will be directed by veteran Nashville director Jeffrey Ellis (Company, The Rocky Horror Show, Gypsy, Damn Yankees and La Cage Aux Folles), with musical direction by Micah Snow and vocal direction by Lisa Van Wye. Van Wye will produce with Ed Amatrudo; Van Wye and Amatrudo are the principals in VWA Theatricals.
“We saw some of Nashville’s most talented performers during auditions for this, our first show for VWA Theatricals,” says Van Wye. “And we couldn’t be happier with the actors we’ve cast as our leads and stand-bys.”
VWA’s production of “The Last Five Years” will feature live music performances prior to each performance, featuring some of Music City’s up-and-coming musicians, Ed Amatrudo explains: “It’s our way of introducing some remarkable young musicians to the theater community and vice-versa.”
Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. for each performance, with pre-show music starting at 7 p.m. at Darkhorse Theater. Click here to buy tickets online. For more information stay updated through their Facebook page by clicking here or their Twitter account by clicking here.
About the Show
“The Last Five Years” is a musical written by Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County, Honeymoon in Vegas). It premiered at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre in 2001 and was then produced off-Broadway in March 2002. Since then it has had numerous productions both in the United States and internationally.
The story explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress. The show uses a form of storytelling in which Cathy’s story is told in reverse chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage), and Jamie’s is told in chronological order (starting just after the couple have first met). The characters do not directly interact except for a wedding song in the middle as their timelines intersect.
“The Last Five Years” was first produced in Nashville in 2012 by Street Theatre Company and directed by Cathy Street with musical direction by Rollie Mains.
Delaney Amatrudo (Cathy Hiatt) is thrilled to make her return to the Nashville stage in VWA’s inaugural production of “T” . She is perhaps best known locally for her role as Patrice in Circle Players’ production of 13 the Musical. Some other favorite roles include: Emily Webb in Our Town, Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Lucy in You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown and Janet Van De Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone. Delaney is studying musical theatre at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she made her theatrical debut as Vivienne in Legally Blonde this past spring. Most recently, Delaney originated the role of Jen Talbot in an early reading of the new musical Among the Hidden. She was a 2013 First Night Most Promising Actor. Delaney would like to thank her friends and family for their continued support, as well as everyone at VWA for giving her this incredible opportunity.
Luke Denison (Jamie Wellerstein) recently graduated from Indiana University where he earned a degree in Musical Theatre. While at IU he undertook a number of roles in shows such as Spring Awakening (Melchior) and The Three Musketeers (Aramis). Luke is a native of Nashville, and a graduate of Hume-Fogg Academic High School where performed numerous times in musicals and shows throughout his four years there including Les Miserables (Valjean), Into The Woods (Baker) and Beauty and The Beast (Gaston). Other notable credits include Fiddler On The Roof (Perchik) at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theatre and The Truman Show at the Bloomington Playwrights Project. Luke is an LGL Emmy nominee for his work on The Friday Zone, a children’s television show that can be seen every Friday on PBS channels throughout the Midwest.
Andrew Cannata (Jamie stand-by) has starred as Motel in Fiddler on the Roof and as Albert in Bye, Bye Birdie, both at Nashville’s The Larry Keeton Theatre. A recent Nashville transplant from Austin, Texas, he has also played J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for Archangel Theatre, the Balladeer in Assassins for Soubrette Productions, Matt in The Fantasticks for JCC Rep, Marius in Les Miserables for Zach Theatre, Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors for Zilker Theatre Productions and Younger Brother in Ragtime for Zach Theatre. He was named winner of the Austin Critics Table Award for 2014 Best Supporting Actor in a Musical.
Audrey Johnson (Cathy stand-by) is thrilled and humbled to be a part of the telling of this beautiful story. Favorite credits include Dogfight (Rose) and Memphis with Street Theatre Company, Carrie: The Musical (Carrie) for Austin Theatre Project, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Leaf Coneybear) for Soubrette Productions, Closer Than Ever (Woman 2) for RWCMD and The Wedding Singer (Julia) and The Winter’s Tale (Perdita) for Webster Conservatory. Training: BFA Musical Theatre, Webster Conservatory; MA Musical Theatre, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Thank you times infinity to my Family and Friends who have been there to support me always. Especially to Andrew and Cado J. LOVE.
The Creative Team
Jeffrey Ellis (director) is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who has been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 30 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association’s Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor outstanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premieres of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. He directed Picnic earlier this year for Circle Players and will direct Beth Henley’s The Miss Firecracker Contest next spring for The Larry Keeton Theatre. He is senior contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com, the world’s largest theatrical website.
Micah Snow (musical director) is an accomplished pianist in Nashville and the greater-middle Tennessee area. He holds a Master’s Degree in Collaborative Piano from Middle Tennessee State University (’13). Known for his skilled and versatile playing, Snow serves as a freelance pianist and staff musician for the MTSU School of Music and Department of Theatre and Dance, respectively. He performs frequently in Nashville and throughout the southeast with Music City’s #1 ranked wedding and event band, The Downtown Band, and also holds the title of pianist and organist at Vine Street Christian Church. His most recent credits include assistant musical director for MTSU’s production of La Cage Aux Folles and The Drowsy Chaperone, as well as work with country entertainer Steve Azar.
Lisa Van Wye (producer/vocal director) is a vocal coach in Nashville, who has worked with country recording artists from Sony, Arista, Giant and Capitol Records as well as jazz, pop, and rock and theatrical artists. Her techniques increase range and power, reduce strain and helps perfect pitch. She’s very excited to co-produce VWA’s first theatrical production!
Ed Amatrudo (producer) is perhaps best known as Glenn Goodman, Juliet Barnes’ long-suffering manager on ABC’s hit television series Nashville. Yet Amatrudo may well be better known as a real estate magnate in Music City USA and the surrounding area, as well as one of the region’s most sought-after film, television and stage actors. He played George in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, directed by Michael Roark for ACT 1.