One of the oldest community theaters in the country, Theatre Memphis has been putting on high-quality productions for 90 years. The 2010–2011 season features six highly acclaimed plays and musicals fit for auditory and sensory feasting. Tony Award nominee for Best Book of a Musical, [title of show] (January 14–30), is a love letter to the musical theater that follows two struggling writers in a race to craft an entry to a musical theater festival. Amadeus (February 4–20) traces Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as he rises to become the number one ranked composer in the eyes of Austrian Emperor Josef. March 11–April 3, the stage and its reddest curtains dance to Cabaret, along with a charmingly carefree nightclub performer. Richard III, the third in William Shakespeare’s acclaimed three-part Richard series, appears April 8–24, preparing the stage for Picnic (April 29–May 15) and Crazy for You (June 3–26).
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has been breaking strings and the hearts of screaming fans since its inception in 1952. This year, the orchestra will once again resonate throughout the elegantly crafted Cannon Center, sending seasonal shivers down the tickled spines of all audience members. The Home for the Holidays performance includes vocal joys from soprano Ashley Brown, best known for her portrayal of Mary Poppins on Broadway, in addition to a medley of carol-worthy classics performed by the Memphis Symphony Chorus and the University of Memphis Concert Singers. The evening's combination of power and cheer will cause many to be moved to tears, which will likely form puddles in the theater, making exiting nearly impossible without an inflatable raft.
Experienced gymnasts twirl and flip at one end of Gymcats Gymnastics’ floor as they train for advanced events. At the other end, toddlers learn introductory rolls and coordination. That’s the studio’s philosophy at a glance: real gymnastics taught in classes designed to suit all students. Kids aged 3–4 learn the basics of tumbling while increasing attention spans, learning social skills, and practicing human pyramids to reach cookie jars. More-seasoned athletes can receive instruction on the vault, bars, balance beam, and floor. After they graduate, students can apply their skills toward other sports or practice to become a part of Gymcats’ competitive teams. The gym also caters to grownups by hosting parents’ nights out on select Fridays and overseeing birthday parties.
Canada's Classical Theatre Project shatters modern preconceptions about the dryness of Shakespeare by infusing the romantic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet with a potency and youthful electricity that snuffs reluctance in the Bard-averse. On an inventive chalk-circle set, the Toronto players whisk viewers to an Elizabethan marketplace in the 16th century, engaging the imagination without relying on cumbersome stage props. Hearts melt as Romeo, the Montague, and Juliet, the Capulet, fall in love against the odds, sweeping the audience along on their way to ghost prom. Shakespeare’s colloquies come naturally from the mouths of the virile acting talents, who translate the text for this generation’s ears without changing a word. Classical Theatre Project's rendition of Romeo and Juliet, intended for ages 11 and older, treats Shakespeare's tragedy like a rock concert, except with better enunciation and a higher mortality rate. A surviving artifact established in 1890, the historic and lovingly restored Orpheum Theatre adds majesty to the performance with its brocade draperies and crystal chandeliers.
Push Pilates owner Val Russell draws from her 10 years of experience studying human physiology and lifelong practice of dance, gymnastics, and circus arts to construct the studio's curriculum of movement-based workouts. During Pilates sessions, students can either learn to perform floor-based mat exercises or opt to work out on the spring-loaded Reformers, Cadillacs, and Wunda Chairs. Yoga-class instructors incorporate athletic poses into flowing Vinyasa-style sequences, linking one pose to the next with balance-challenging movement and breathing exercises. During aerial-arts lessons, students learn to reenact scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey as they dangle from ceiling-mounted silk slings or metal hoops. Outside of the classroom, the center's massage services can soothe and rejuvenate any weary muscles or vestigial wings.
With more than 30 years of kid-entertaining experience, The Little Gym rolls out a safe and noncompetitive environment wherein wee ones can exercise their brains and bodies. Infants to 12-year-olds glean social, intellectual, and emotional skills from the facility's professionally developed programs in gymnastics, sports, karate, and dance, which cater to differing ages, levels of muscle development, and degrees of hatred for vegetables. Each session's hands-on activities keep the motors of little tykes revving, facilitate bonding, and boost listening skills, attention spans, and confidence. Check the schedule for class dates and times.
As the head trainer at Raintree Equestrian Center—and in previous roles—Shannyn Welsh has worked in riding disciplines including Western pleasure, hunter/jumper, and barrel racing with horse breeds ranging from all types of top-bred warmbloods to arabians, andalusians, and tennessee walkers. Equestrians from all over the country and from Europe trust Shannyn’s experience so much that they routinely send her their own horses to help with problem solving, preparation, and training. Students of all riding levels also seek out Shannyn’s expertise to improve their skills. While practicing within the 60-foot round pen or the 100’x200’ lighted arena, or experimenting with a Fosbury flop on the full-jump course, students learn to exhibit the hallmarks of good riding technique, including center balance, soft hands, and firm legs.