Ed. Note: This is the first in what we plan to be an occasional ongoing theater column by local theater enthusiast and supporter Robert Stone. Robert loves the theater and sees as may productions as is humanly possible. He saw the first production of Shakespeare in the Park, when it was lit by car headlights, and was in the room when Act 1 was formed. We’re pleased to have him share his thoughts and insights with us on what he’s seen, and what he’s planning on seeing.
That holiday which brings love and cheer to some and dread and fear to others is upon us.
First, what I’ve seen that you might have missed. The Darkhorse Theatre hosted a holiday variety show on Sunday night, November 30 — Gift of the Magi Holiday Extravaganza — presented by SistaStyle Productions & Nobleman Productions. Shawn Whitsell’s Holidays at Mama Dee’s only ran for three performances the first weekend of December. Shawn is the founder of Destiny Theater Experience and presented seven of his plays on seven successive days earlier this year. His plays are about family situations which ring true.
Coming up that you still have time for. The Murfreesboro Little Theatre (702 Ewing Street in Murfreesboro) has Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol by Tom Mula running through December 20. Four actors narrate and act scenes of Marley’s quest to reclaim Scrooge. I enjoyed this approach to moving the story along. MLT truly is a little theater and its intimate atmosphere will be fascinating if you are only used to going to large venues. Last Sunday I was there for a Christmas party. This group of community volunteers is friendly and hard working. They do lighter plays but also recently presented an excellent Hamlet.
The Coal Camp Madonna by Daniel S. Kehde is at Encore Theatre Company (on Highway 70/ 6978 Lebanon Road, just west of Highway 109, in Mt. Juliet) through December 20. It’s a harsh winter at the coal camp and everyone has problems but a foundling baby girl gives everyone a new perspective. The musical selections for the background were excellent.
Also in Murfreesboro at the Center for the Arts (110 W. College Street in Murfreesboro), “The Christmas Schooner: A New Musical” by Julie Shannon and John Reeger is running through December 21. An inland sea captain decides to deliver Christmas trees to Germans in Chicago from 100 miles north during wintry weather. His wife doesn’t want him to take the risks but he believes young immigrant Germans deserve to enjoy their heritage. Their son Karl is 11 years old in the first part of the play and 17 at the end. This role is being played by brothers Jordan and Jared Taylor.
I’m looking forward to Mark Cabus‘ presentation of his one-man Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at First Unitarian Universalist Church (1808 Woodmont Boulevard in Nashville), on Wednesday, December 10. I saw it there the last two years and before that saw the longer version at the Darkhorse and at the Belmont Black Box theaters.
M. J. Stephens‘ Being Ebenezer: One Family’s Christmas Carol, a GroundWorks Theatre presentation is at the Darkhorse Theater (4610 Charlotte Ave in Nashville) December 12 – 20. Much has been said about women playwrights this year. Here is your chance to show your support for more ‘women’s work’ as Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project head Maryanna Clarke puts it.
The Theater Bug (2618 Gallatin Pike in Nashville) presents The 3rd Annual Winter Concert December 12 and 13. It will sell out as the forty children on stage will have enough family and friends to fill the seats. I have seen several shows at The Theatre Bug and it is amazing.
Many churches are having Christmas music. Monday (12/8) I was at A Festival of Carols at First Baptist Church, Lebanon. It had more congregational singing than most. Seven carols, all stanzas.
Not all is seasonal. Lakewood Theatre (2211 Old Hickory Boulevard in Old Hickory) has Father of the Bride from December 5 through 21. This is another intimate space with a long history. Cinda McCain first appeared on stage in Nashville at this location.
Spaghetti Theatre (100 Taylor Street in Nashville) is presenting Seascape with Sharks and Dancer by Don Nigro through December 14. This little venue is in a warehouse converted into artist spaces on Taylor Street, not too far from the new Sulphur Dell baseball park being built in Nashville. This show has adult language and situations. A ‘writer’ who ‘works in a library’ rescues a woman from drowning and discovers he has someone with lots of problems on his hands. I think Sharks refers to her and Dancer refers to him. An intense drama, well done.
Of course there is much more. Our area is now a place where five shows might be opening on the same day. A few months ago Howard Snyder listed nine plays running that weekend and I commented, yes, there is a lot of theater because I saw three plays this weekend and they are not on your list.
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Visit NowPlayingNashville.com’s Theatre page for a more comprehensive list of area productions.