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).
Located on a private airfield about 45 miles east of Memphis, West Tennessee Skydiving drops parachute-wielding thrillseekers into freefall with the assistance of a USPA-licensed instructor. For those who don't feel comfortable skydiving solo, tandem skydiving allows rookie divers to experience parachuting while harnessed to a professional instructor. Aspiring air-plungers start by learning skydiving basics with a 20-minute video briefing and short lesson from their tandem instructor. After climbing up to 14,500 feet in one of West Tennessee Skydiving's planes, you'll securely hook suits with an instructor and leap out for a 50–60 second freefall, reaching speeds of 120 mph. Once your parachute opens, you'll serenely glide above the globe for five minutes, then steer your canopy in for a cushy landing with the help of your newly minted Siamese un-twin. Afterwards, divers receive a certificate verifying their obedience of the laws of gravity and have the chance to discuss the experience with their figuratively down-to-earth instructor. You can also use this Groupon to get 10% off a DVD of your jump made by a professional freefall photographer ($100).
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.
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.
Fun Junction delivers safe and futuristic fun within its 3,000-square-foot Lazer Runner arena, capable of handling up to 20 players at a time. After splitting up into four teams of elite commando squads, you and your friends will blast your way into the battle-station-themed arena, zapping your way through black lights, fog, and obstacles. Although laser-tag rounds tend to turn into apocalyptic sci-fi scale battles, combatants must still obey the basic rules of laser engagement, which include no climbing, no lying on the floor, no covering sensors, and no using unauthorized jetpacks.
Cedar Hill Farm Paintball Park arms its guests with a gun, an air tank, a face mask, a 200-round hopper, and 500 rounds of splattering ammunition to defend humanity against the sinister forces of boredom. Sporting seven separate courses over 14 acres of park, Cedar Hill can accommodate large-scale battles and special-forces strikes in the Woods, Ambush, or Bunker Hill courses, and anyone looking for high-frequency action can test their trigger fingers on one of the farm’s speedball courses. Because war has no rules, except for a few necessary ones for safety, battle pacing and game types are left up to the players themselves, though Cedar Hill estimates that players can clean out their clips in two or three hours and are happy to suggest favorite scenarios for squads who’ve come up short.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award–winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.