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Well-Regarded ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Seder’ Runs This Week

SederIt’s pretty rare for a work to be considered for a prestigious award when it’s not even completed. That essentially happened with Guess Who’s Coming to Seder? A Delicious New Musical, a musical by Nashville playwright/composer/lyricist Randi Michaels Block that has its first full Music City production this week.

Block was one of eight finalists for the 2010 Fred Ebb Award for aspiring musical theater songwriters based on a submission of four songs, an outline and character descriptions that later evolved into the show presented this Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at Gordon Jewish Community Center (801 Percy Warner Blvd.). The aid and encouragement of Ted Swindley (Always…Patsy Cline, which will be on Broadway later this year) was instrumental in the show’s development; its first readings were at Darkhorse Theater in 2011, followed by a staged reading at New York City’s York Theatre and a production at the Tulsa Project Theatre in Oklahoma in 2012.

What’s Guess Who’s Coming to Seder? about? Sarah Friedman decides to hold her first Passover Seder dinner for eight non-Jewish friends (incidentally, Passover this year began Monday evening and ends the evening of Tuesday, April 2). As the dinner progresses and the wine flows, according to the description provided by the production, “their hilarious, irreverent and sometimes poignant stories and confessions reveal personal truths and conflicts about God, love, money, friendship, faith and the pursuit of freedom…and by the end of the show, everyone at the dinner table has been transformed!” The show is recommended for ages 15 and up.

In addition to penning book, music and lyrics Block directs this production with Dan Serafini as musical director. The cast is led by actress and country music artist Lari White. Also featured are Michael Visconti, Joshua Payne, Charlynn Carter, David Williams, Tatum Harvey, Francine Berk, Jonathan Scott Roth and Sandy Flavin.

Performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (March 28) and Saturday (March 30) and 3:30 p.m. Sunday (March 31). For tickets ($25-$29) visit ticketsnashville.com or call (615) 713-0928; visit guesswhoscomingtoseder.com for more details about the show.

*Logo courtesy Guess What’s Coming Productions, LLC.

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About Evans Donnell

Evans Donnell is the chief theater, film and opera critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He wrote reviews and features about theater, opera and classical music for The Tennessean from 2002 to 2011. He was the theater, film and opera critic for ArtNowNashville.com from 2011 to 2012. Donnell has also contributed to The Sondheim Review, Back Stage, The City Paper (Nashville), the Nashville Banner, The (Bowling Green, Ky.) Daily News and several other publications since beginning his professional journalism career in 1985 with The Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat. He was selected as a fellow for the 2004 National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) arts journalism institutes for theater and musical theater at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2006 and classical music and opera at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 2009. He has also been an actor (member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA), founding and running AthensSouth Theatre from 1996 to 2001 and appearing in Milos Forman's "The People vs Larry Flynt" among other credits. Donnell is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (www.americantheatrecritics.org).