Long before My Fair Lady and ages before Pretty Woman, there was George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, a comedy about the pleasures and perils of making someone else over to suit your own ideals. ACT I launches another season of stage classics with its take on the show, Sept. 15-Oct. 1 at Darkhorse Theater. The main characters are still Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, and the action still revolves around passing off a Covent Garden flower girl as a member of high society. It’s just that with Shaw’s version, actors are constantly breaking into witty dialogue instead of song. For information, call 726-2281.
♦ Tennessee Repertory Theatre embarks on what is easily its most adventurous season ever with Wit, the Broadway smash about one woman’s battle with cancer, the medical establishmentand herself. Tandy Cronyn, daughter of Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, stars in the Rep production as Margaret Edson, an English professor undergoing experimental treatment for ovarian cancer. As the title implies, the heroine uses her witsand her witas she reevaluates her life and work in the face of a type of cancer that remains, for all medicine’s advances, a virtual death sentence for women. Performances are Sept. 20-Oct. 7. For information, call 244-4878.
♦ Everyone loves a good whoduniteven Stephen Sondheim, who’s best known for his musicals but couldn’t resist trying his hand at writing a mystery. The result is Getting Away With Murder, presented by Circle Players Oct. 13-Nov. 5 at TPAC. Set in Manhattan on the trendy Upper West Side, the plot revolves around a missing Pulitzer Prize-winning therapist and his neurotic patients, any one of whom may have been crazy enough to kill. For information, call 254-0113.
♦ The theatrical forecast is filled with stormy weather when Mockingbird Public Theatre presents Richard Greenberg’s intriguing Three Days of Rain, Oct. 27-Nov. 18 at the troupe’s new home, the Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village. In the first act, we meet the children of a famous architect and his institutionalized wife as they dissect their parents’ lives and relationship. In the second act, the tables are turned and we meet the parents and learn the truth, which differs drastically from the glib speculations of the kids. The kicker is that the same actors play both the Gen-X children and their baby boomer parents. For information, call 242-6704.
♦ The Broadway revival of the Irving Berlin musical Annie Get Your Gun hit the bull’s eye at last year’s Tony Awards, bringing home a slew of honors. Now the touring company of the Tony-winning show takes aim at Nashville’s audiences in TPAC’s Broadway Series opener Nov. 7-12. Marilu Henner (Taxi) and Tom Wopat (The Dukes of Hazzard) star as Annie Oakley and Frank Butler, sharp shooters who flirt and fire their way across the country as part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late 1800s. For ticket information, call 255-2787.
♦ After five years, Mockingbird Public Theatre has retired its much-loved but well-worn Southern Christmas Sampler in favor of a new holiday confection called Christmas With Mockingbird, set for Dec. 7-9 at the Belcourt Theatre. Like its predecessor, the show is filled with seasonal music, both traditional and original, and stories and poems by Southern writers inspired by the season. This time around, though, the cast features not only company founder David Alford and guitarist/composer Paul Binkley but also country recording artist Lari White, who is writing some original songs for the show. The new show’s format is more in a cabaret/concert vein. Holiday refreshments are once again included in the ticket price. For information, call 242-6704.
♦ What happens when a 30-year-old slacker takes a job as a Christmas elf at Macy’s? Writer David Sedaris knowsand tellsin his autobiographical play Santaland Diaries. The hilarious comedy kicks off Tennessee Repertory Theatre’s new Off-Broadway Series in TPAC’s Johnson Theater Dec. 13-22. The series is dedicated to presenting an edgier kind of theater than The Rep usually attempts, so be warnedthis Christmas story is definitely for adults only. For information, call 244-4878.
♦ Nashville’s newest theater company, People’s Branch Theater, opens with My Own Brother, Vincent Oct. 6-21 at Zeitgeist Gallery. Written by and starring company founder Brian Niece, the original one-man show explores the life of Vincent Van Gogh through the eyes of the artist and the artist’s brother Theo. The production’s creative twists include its art gallery venue and a scenic design by local artist Lain York that features projections of Van Gogh’s famous paintings. Factor in Denise Hicks as the director, and there’s potential here for a potent combination of performance and visual arts.
♦ In A Walk in the Woods, playwright Lee Blessing invites us along for a Cold War stroll through U.S. and Russian relations. The 1988 play follows an unconventional nuclear arms reduction negotiation between American and Russian diplomatsthe Russian suggests they talk while walking in the woodsand examines the many issues, both personal and political, at work in international relations. Actors Bridge presents a new production of the still timely play in conjunction with “Symposium 2000: World Peace Through Reverence for Life,” a cultural conference and festival honoring the legacy of humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, scheduled for various Middle Tennessee venues. The play is performed Oct. 7-15 at the St. Augustine Chapel at Vanderbilt University.
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