OZ Second Season: Conversation, Contemplation and Connection

It’s an exciting time for Nashville’s contemporary arts center OZ. Artistic Director Lauren Snelling is very happy with the rapturous response such first-season offerings as Peter Brook’s The Suit and the music of Philip Glass and Tim Fain received, and she’s thrilled to talk about what’s coming up at 6172 Cockrill Bend Circle. “I don’t […]

Film Review: A Funny and Compassionate ‘Obvious Child’

When I first heard someone talking about writer-director Gillian Robespierre’s new feature Obvious Child I wasn’t sure what to think – a romantic comedy entwined with the subject of abortion? No matter what one’s stance on that hot-button topic, I’m confident I’m not the only one who was wondering how – or if – that […]

New Satire-in-Song ‘Casey Stampfield’ Next Up for MCTC

Political satire has long been a theatrical staple, and when there are politicians that invite such attention regularly it’s hardly surprising to find a new show on the subject is in the works. Music City Theatre Company is now preparing the world premiere of Casey Stampfield: The Musical, featuring an original script, lyrics and music by […]

Theater Review: ‘War Horse’ Tour a Purebred Spectacular

The National Theatre of Great Britain’s War Horse is a theatrical purebred that fills the senses like no other show. The US tour of this award-winning heart-warmer is now commanding the stage in Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Jackson Hall like the champion it is. Michael Morpurgo’s beloved 1982 novel of the same name spawned the […]

Theater Review: ‘Roger’s Version’ From Flat Page to Vibrant Stage

“You have to let people have the dignity of their choices.” – Dale Kohler in Roger’s Version With his vibrant new stage adaptation of John Updike’s 1986 novel Roger’s Version Blackbird Theater Artistic Director Wes Driver nimbly walks the tightrope between intellectual rigor and emotional engagement. Yes, he’s aided by a splendid cast led by David Compton […]

International Theater Phenomenon ‘War Horse’ Opens at TPAC

A bit of “experimental” theater originally intended for young adults goes from a 50-show run at London’s National Theatre to stages around the world. Millions have now seen War Horse, and it’s a safe bet millions more will see it through various tours and sit-down productions. As the international phenomenon rides into Nashville today for […]

Theater Review: A Stupendous ‘Suit’ Fits Perfectly at OZ

With Peter Brook it’s the tale and not the teller that matters; many theater artists pay lip service to that idea, but Brook and his Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord colleagues actually show how that’s done. And because they have more interest in the questions than the answers we become active participants in the story […]

Film Review: Loyalty and Friendship in Gentle ‘Ernest & Celestine’

Ernest and Celestine packs a potent message about loyalty and friendship into its soft-pastel look. The Oscar-nominated and Cesar-winning film from the creative team behind Triplets of Belleville and The Secret of Kells is overall a gentle (though entertaining and at times quite boisterous) tale that is certainly geared for children but can be appreciated for its artistic value and thoughtful story […]

Theater Review: A Beautiful ‘Violet’ at Street Theatre Company

After viewing one of this weekend’s performances of Violet at Street Theatre Company I can see why Sutton Foster is leading a Broadway production of this lovely musical for the Roundabout Theatre Company. More importantly for here, though, I can also see why Cathy Sanborn Street, the multi-talented leader of STC, has been starring in […]

Theater Review: Grandeur and Ecstasy from Studio Tenn’s ‘Les Mis’

I knew those involved with Studio Tenn Theatre Company’s Les Misérables are first-class theater practitioners; the professional credits from local, New York and London productions on various bios attest to that, as does the consistently high quality of the troupe’s work since its 2009 founding. I’ve been in the Schermerhorn Symphony Center many times, so I […]

Film Review: Absolutism’s Destructive Power in ‘As It Is in Heaven’

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 “For the wisdom of this […]

‘Once’, ‘Kinky Boots’ & ‘Newsies’ in ’14-’15 Broadway@TPAC Season

‘Book of Mormon’ Among Special Presentations in Strong Slate   The Tennessee Performing Arts Center today announced its upcoming 2014-15 HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series as well as special engagements that comprise one of its strongest slates ever. CEO Kathleen O’Brien unveiled the seven-show season package that features four productions in their first year on tour, […]

Film Review: Ambitious Genius and a Touch of (Delightful) Madness in ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’

“What if (director) had made (film)?” is a favorite game for movie lovers. What if Stanley Kubrick had made Napoleon? What if David Lean had made Nostromo? What if Terry Gilliam had made Don Quixote (wait, he still may)? One of the more intriguing what-ifs concerns Chilean-born filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, who came to be known […]

Book Review: A Loving Thanks for Life in ‘Shoebox Full of Toads’

“I had to laugh,” Tim Ghianni writes early in his touching and intimate “Shoebox Full of Toads: Farewell to Mom” tribute. “You take joy on its own terms.” Ghianni’s insightful words come after one of his mother’s frequent battles with the effects of the genetic lung disorder that eventually claimed her life. In a book where […]

Film Review: Captivating and Suspenseful ‘Closer to God’ Cuts to the Marrow

“‘When younger…I believed myself destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound, but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements. This sentiment of the worth of my nature supported me when others would have been oppressed, for I deemed it criminal to throw away in useless grief those talents […]

Theater Review: Friendship the Perfect Blendship for NCT’s ‘Lyle’

  “It’s friendship, friendship, Just a perfect blendship, When other friendships have been forgot Ours will still be hot!” – From “Friendship” by Cole Porter The lyrics cited above were going through my head again and again while watching the very entertaining Lyle the Crocodile at Nashville Children’s Theatre. Indeed, friendship, Lyle and NCT are a perfect […]

‘The Identical’ Kicks Off 10-Day 2014 Nashville Film Festival Today

The world premiere of a film shot here in 2012 opens the 45th Annual Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) today. The expanded festival runs through April 26. The Identical, an appealing family drama about musically-gifted separated twins with a cast that features Ashley Judd, Ray Liotta, Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano and newcomer Blake Rayne in the leading […]

Opera Review: A Timeless ‘Otello’ for All from Nashville Opera

In the worlds of theater and opera William Shakespeare and Giuseppe Verdi are, among their other accolades, the masters of tragedy. The opera Otello is a work by Verdi and librettist Arrigo Boito that distills the Bard’s story of passion, love, jealousy and hate into four gripping acts. Nashville Opera General and Artistic Director John […]

‘Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me’ and ‘The Lunchbox’ Come to Nashville

Two exclusive-run films open in Nashville Friday, one at Belcourt Theatre and the other at Regal Hollywood Stadium 27 & RPX. The first is a candid look at a Broadway legend while the second is about two people seeking to free themselves from lonely lives. Both are gems that shouldn’t be missed while they’re here. Elaine […]

Theater Review: The Heightened Realism of Fine Acting in ‘Next Fall’

Geoffrey Nauffts’ Next Fall is that rare play that delves into a hot-button issue without quickly resorting to stereotypes. Yes, you’ll recognize the characters, but that’s because the playwright’s wit is delivered by Actors Bridge Ensemble performers that make every moment believable. There’s Luke, a young aspiring actor and fundamentalist Christian; Adam, a hypochondriac and […]