‘Clybourne Park’ September Premiere Starts TN Rep Season

Clybourne ParkTennessee Repertory Theatre will present the Tennessee premiere of Clybourne Park, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 2012 Tony Award for Best Play, Sept. 8–22 at TPAC’s Johnson Theater (with preview performances Sept. 6-7).

The production stars Nate Eppler, Shannon Hoppe, Tony Morton, Shelean Newman, Eric D. Pasto-Crosby, Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva, and Derek Whittaker.

LookIt is said that home is where the heart is.  But Clybourne Park—a “buzz saw sharp comedy” which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and  2012 Tony Award for Best Play—questions that in ways that are every bit as provocative as they are entertaining.

Riffing on the flip side of the story that Lorraine Hansberry told in A Raisin in the Sun, in Act One a white neighborhood in 1959 Chicago grapples with the news that a black family is about to move in. Fast-forward to 2009 for Act Two, and a white family wants to move into the same house which is now in a neighborhood of very different demographics.

Jokes fly and hidden agendas unfold as two vastly different generations of characters tip-toe the delicate dance of social politics, pitting race against real estate at the crux of two seminal points in the history of a neighborhood.  These hilarious and horrifying neighbors pitch a battle over territory and legacy that reveals how far our ideas about race and gentrification have evolved… or have they?

Chaffing Dish“I read Clybourne Park before it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and knew that Tennessee Rep had to do produce this scathing comedy,” says Tennessee Rep Producing Artistic Director René D. Copeland. “I later saw it at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, which only confirmed my zeal for this play.

“However, a New York run was pending and so rights to produce the play were not going to be available to us for 2012-13.  But at Christmastime, when I was already deep into season selection without Clybourne Park, I received word that it would be available to us after all.  I was so elated that I immediately threw out my season plans as they stood at that time and started recreating the season to lead off with Clybourne Park.

“Bruce Norris has written a contemporary masterpiece that is brilliant, funny, and very provocative.  I’m excited and proud that we get to bring it to Tennessee first. When I saw it in Chicago one of the amazing things about the experience was sitting in a racially diverse audience and finding that everyone had reason to do some squirming….black or white, it will make you think about your assumptions and what you think is or isn’t offensive to the race that’s not you.  Norris’s ear for dialogue is uncanny, and the story he tells will pull you in and not let you go from start to finish.”

Tennessee Repertory TheatrePerformance Schedule at Johnson Theater:

Thursday, September 6, 6:30 pm (PREVIEW)

Friday, September 7, 7:30 pm (PREVIEW)

Saturday, September 8, 7:30 PM

Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 PM

Wednesday, September 12, 6:30 PM

Thursday, September 13, 6:30 PM

Friday, September 14, 7:30 PM

Saturday, September 15, 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM

Tuesday, September 18, 6:30 PM

Wednesday, September 19, 6:30 PM

Thursday, September 20, 6:30 PM

Friday, September 21, 7:30 PM

Saturday, September 22, 2:30 PM and 7:30 PM

Tickets:  Starting at $42.50 (starting at $11.50 for students with valid ID, some restrictions apply).  Tickets are on sale at the TPAC Box Office (at 505 Deaderick Street, Downtown Nashville).  Tickets are available by phone or internet order at the following:  (615) 782-4040 or www.tennesseerep.org.

*Images including photos by Shane Burkeen courtesy Tennessee Repertory Theatre.

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