Theater should inspire wonderment. That's the view at Tennessee Shakespeare Company, an artistic organization dedicated to bringing new life to William Shakespeare's words. Each of its productions aims to burrow beneath the play's familiar surface, finding deeper explorations into psychology, government, and philosophy. This approach brings new life to the timeless works—TSC's Macbeth, for instance, highlighted the civilian cost of civil war, while an all-female Julius Caesar embodied "a bold new way to look at honor, womanhood, and power," according to The Commercial Appeal. That same sense of exploration is extended to contemporary pieces. Once a year, the company members hang up their iambic pentameters to produce the Southern Exposure festival featuring new works from the region.
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.
Providing a stage for bands of roaming musicians to ply their melodic wares, Hi-Tone Café also feeds hordes of Memphis's hungry with its wide-ranging menu. Start things off with a Middle Eastern staple, hummus and a handmade pita ($4), or go for the gustatory gold of upstate New York with nine hot wings plus celery and carrots ($7). Six-ounce burgers ($6) use beef from local Neola Farms, except for the handmade veggie burger, which eschews meats both domestic and foreign for oats, veggies, soy, and sesame. The New York–style cheese pizza (slice $2.50/small $9.50/large $12.50) pays homage to sewer-dwelling, martial-arts-competent teenage reptiles whose genetic mutations make pizza their only digestible option, while eclectic topping posses grace the varied house specialty pizzas (slice $4/small $13/large $16). The barbecue pizza puts grilled chicken or pulled pork in barbecue sauce instead of marinara, and the Greek pie is comprised of eggplant, artichoke, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese. Toppings ($.50 per topping for a slice/$1 per topping for a small/ $2 per topping for a large) such as bacon and Roma tomato can be annexed and terminated at will, unlike tenancy on Russia's first mandatory moon colony.
Devised by the crew of Strictly Jazz Entertainment, the 2nd annual Pianos in the Park JazzFest palliates families and friends with a relaxing evening of jazz and soul, filling Overton Park with the mellow tones of assorted ivory-ticklers, saxophone maestros, and groove engineers. This year’s festival features the esteemed Philadelphia trio Pieces of a Dream, whose blend of smooth jazz has charmed audiences since 1976. Adding to the evening’s jubilant spirit, Sal Crocker and the Sax on Sunday Quartet deliver straightforward jazz free of air guitars and electronic gongs. Former Bar-Kays keyboardist and platinum-selling gospel jazz artist Winston Stewart bears witness with an uplifting set of rhythm and praise, and Will Graves & Soul fills the air with old fashioned R & B. Food and beverage vendors are on hand for fueling finger snaps and belly dances, and a moon bounce allows jazz-savvy children to eschew gravity and intercept floating quarter notes. This event allows BYOB.
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.
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.