What’s the biggest challenge currently facing Nashville Rep? Returning to full production after an 18-month hiatus is like returning to the gym after a year off. The muscles are sore; the processes are rusty. Plus, there is a whole new set of muscles and processes we need to add to produce theater safely in this new reality. I am in awe of the way our artists and staff have grown and adapted to meet the challenge. They cannot wait to be back onstage to entertain Nashville.
What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic? There are many ways to emulate live performance, but there is nothing that truly equals gathering as a community, at one place and time, to experience live theater. When we returned to production this summer, so many of us were moved to tears. Not only were we incredibly happy to be back, but we were filled with anticipation of the opening night yet to come.
What is in store for the 2021-22 season for Nashville Rep? It’s a big year for us. The main stage season at TPAC includes two big musicals, Ragtime and Mary Poppins. Also, due to audience demand, we are bringing back our traditional A Christmas Story for an 11th year, and we are presenting the Nashville debut of one of the most popular plays in the country right now: School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play. But on top of all that, we are moving our community engagement and education programs to a new prominence, taking theater outside the walls of TPAC and into our community.
Is there a particular show or event you’re most excited about? Ragtime. It’s the largest production in well over a decade, and it marks our first time in TPAC’s Polk Theater since 2008. More than that, it’s an important show that addresses one of the most important issues we face today: how we treat those who are different from us.
For those wanting to support Nashville Rep, what are the greatest needs or ways they can help? Like most nonprofits in the Nashville area, we always have a need for financial support and for space, including venues for classes, shows and events. However, there are so many ways you can be a supporter. Most important? Come see a show, and bring a friend!