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.
Your Groupon is good for one of the company's final three productions of its 40th season. Reacquaint yourself with the classic Oliver! and sing along to the musical tunes of your childhood, such as "Food, Glorious Food," and "Consider Yourself," as the rapscallion orphans of Dickens's tale tear through the streets of 19th-century London. Or opt for a ticket to the regional premiere of Red, White, and Tuna, a two-man portrayal of the inhabitants of a small Texas town with more than 15 characters and 40 lightning-quick costume changes. Or take in the musical Hairspray to relive the trials and tribulations of Tracy Turnblad as she breaks into the 1962 Baltimore dance-show circuit. Instead of threatening lawsuits or vicious revenge, the cast of local Memphis actors will dazzle audiences with their triple threats of singing, dancing, and acting.
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).
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.
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra has been breaking strings and the hearts of screaming fans since its inception in 1952. Three of the four scheduled performances will resonate throughout the elegantly crafted Cannon Center. The architecturally stunning venue will host Mozart's Requiem in a performance guest-conducted by Ward Stare and dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Requiem, a piece written in Mozart's last days, will run on April 10 at 8 p.m. at the Cannon Center. On April 11, the intimate 900-seat Germantown Performing Arts Centre will host a matinee encore of Mozart's Requiem at 2:30 p.m.