Tennessee Shakespeare Company revives Elizabethan dramatic literature for the mid-South through seasonal indoor and outdoor performances of the Bard's many masterpieces. Directed by Seattle Shakespeare Company's seasoned Artistic Director Stephanie Shine, Romeo and Juliet is a site-specific foray tailored to the beauty of the various lush nooks and crannies within the Dixon Gardens. The production immerses viewers in the torn world of Verona as theatrical travelers are swept along by the inexorable pull of doomed love and deep-seated grudgery. The play also has some very quotable dialogue, such as "Get thee to a chopper!" and "Noooooo!"
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
As co-founder of local-favorite Bluefin Sushi Lounge, Minh Nguyen is no stranger to the restaurant biz. Now as VP and executive sushi chef of Memphis' new Rain Premiere Bistro, Minh has rallied a fresh and innovative menu of sushi rolls, fresh-cut sashimi, and steaming Asian entrees. While waiting on a steak or chicken stir-fry to cool, diners can grab a cocktail from the full bar, or hasten cooling by dropping the plate into the restaurant's neon fish tank.
The interactive exhibits and programs compiled by the Pink Palace Family of Museums reinforce a mission that has stayed constant for 80 years: to "inspire people to learn how history, science, technology, and nature shape the Mid-South." Attached to Clarence Saunders' mansion built in the 1920s, the museum's permanent exhibits take an eclectic approach to chronicling the past, revealing everything from ancient fossils to contemporary southern history. Inside, visitors can chart the history of Memphis from the early Spanish explorers through the Civil War or walk through a replica of Saunders' original Piggly Wiggly—the country’s first self-service grocery store, and even see a shrunken head. Global adventures are chronicled on a four-story screen at the CTI-IMAX theater, and the Sharpe Planetarium explores the cosmos from the comfort of a 130-seat theater.
Traveling to east Memphis, one can discern the natural side of the Pink Palace Family of Museums. Lichterman Nature Center encompasses 65 acres of lush gardens filled with native wildflowers, trees, and wildlife. The center combines self-guided nature walks with plant sales and educational activities to expose visitors to the natural world.
Rumba Room infuses downtown Memphis with a dose of Latin culture through fusion food, tropical mixed drinks, and monthly live music and dance events. Guests can shake along to Latin rhythms at regular reggaeton, swing, and salsa events, or hone their skills in salsa lessons and dance competitions.
Voices of the South adapts the literature of Southern writers such as Eudora Welty and William Faulkner for the stage with minimal alteration, letting audiences experience books as living things that sprout leather-bound arms and legs and roam the country in search of fast cars and faster women. Sister Myotis's Bible Camp tells the comedic story of three devout Southern ladies on a mission to save souls. In addition to writing the screenplay, Steve Swift also stars as Sister Myotis, the head deaconess of an 80,000-member church who takes on backsliders, "the chronically mediocre," and, as depicted in a YouTube clip that has earned more than 2.5 million views, thongs. Accompanied by Ima Lone and Velma Needlemeyer, Sister Myotis hosts an annual women's retreat to tend the flock, coaxing wayward members with strong words and a giant licorice lasso. This performance will run at TheatreWorks, a nonprofit organization that offers low-cost office, rehearsal, and performance space for emerging artists. Call to reserve your ticket after purchasing today's Groupon, and simply pick it up at will-call on the night of the show.