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Midsummer Night

Live music, glow sticks, and power chords!
Featuring Broadway’s Katrina Lenk and Eric B. Anthony


Memphis, TN (June 15, 2015) – Tennessee Shakespeare Company, in partnership with the University of Memphis’ Department of Theatre & Dance, presents its second developing musical reading on the U of M mainstage with Midsummer Night by Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn on June 27 at 7:00 pm.

Tickets for the reading are just $15, or $10 for Students and Seniors.

Midsummer Night, directed by Janet Roston, is the second of three developing musicals in TSC’s inaugural Showplace Memphis: Musical Works in Progress.

Broadway's Katrina Lenk

 Eric B. Anthony

Broadway's Katrina Lenk and Eric B. Anthony 

Sponsored by one of Broadway’s elite musical licensing companies, Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW) and President/CEO Steve Spiegel, based in New York City, Showplace Memphis has been devised as the next creative stage for three musicals en route to full productions in New York and on the regional theatre circuit across the U.S.  The first musical in Showplace Memphis last month was a very successful reading of Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical.  The final musical will be a charming and surprising new piece, The Oliver Experiment (August 15).

TRW has selected the musicals, and the Actors’ Equity casts and directors are coming from all around the country and Memphis.

The cast includes Broadway’s Katrina Lenk (Once; Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark; The Miracle Worker) as Titania and Eric B. Anthony (The Lion King; Hairspray; Mary Poppins) as Puck.

Songwriters Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda join with co-creator/director Janet Roston (Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Rock Opera Company) for this new take on William Shakespeare’s beloved comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  The musical is set within a modern-day rock festival.  It’s a rollicking collision of rock music, iambic pentameter, and hipsters – where rock stars Titania and Oberon quarrel, festival assistant Puck creates havoc, and roadie Bottom gets a chance to shine.  

Keyboardist Milburn and electric violinist Vigoda have been singing and writing songs together for over 20 years, first for their band GrooveLily, and more recently for musical theatre and film.  Theatre:  Striking Twelve, Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Beautiful Poison, Wheelhouse, Toy Story: The Musical, Long Short Story, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, its complete reworking as the rock musical Midsummer Night, and Ernest Shackleton Loves Me.  Film: many songs for Tinker Bell for Disney animated movies.  Additional music is provided by Gene Lewin.   

The Midsummer Night creators and cast will collaborate and rehearse at the U of M for ten days leading up to its reading.  Though it will be going through both script and music changes, Midsummer Night will be played and sung in its entirety and with musical accompaniment on the U of M’s mainstage.  No other design elements (scenic/costumes/lights) will be integrated.

Audiences will have an opportunity to speak with the actors and creators of Midsummer Night immediately following its reading.  Audiences also will inform the production by completing an audience survey that will help the creative team in future development phases.

Midsummer Night Artist Bios

Eric B. Anthony* (Puck)  Broadway: Mary Poppins, Hairspray, The Lion King.  Off-Broadway/Regional: Kiss Me, Kate; Dreamgirls; The Producers; The Wiz; RENT; Sophisticated Ladies; Jelly’s Last Jam; Damn Yankees; Grand Hotel; Bye Bye Birdie; Golden Boy; FAME; Recorded in Hollywood; Stay on the Line; Naked Boys Singing; Hangin’ Out; Don’t Quit Your Night Job; The Difficulty of Crossing a Field; Queenie Pie; bonded; and Something Happened.  Film: “Waiting in the Wings: The Musical,” “Sexina,” “Running the Code,” “G Love,” “LoveDorable,” “Camelot,” and “Voodoo Doll.”  TV: “Tosh.0,” “Exposing the Order of the Serpentine,” “The Interns,” “Monogamy,” and “Bozos.”

Leigh Golden (Helena) Regional credits include Piper Chapman in Orange is the New Musical at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, Carrie White in Richard Hochberg’s Scary Musical The Musical, Woman 1 in I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in Spelling Bee at the El Portal, and Maureen in RENT.  Leigh has studied theatre at the Moscow Art Theatre, in New York, Germany, and also majored in Theatre at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

David Haverty (Bottom) attended the Broadway Theatre Project for two summers and then went on to attend Marymount Manhattan College for Theatre. Recently, he was in the new musical Romeo and Juliet: Love is a Battlefield at Rockwell Table and Stage in Hollywood, swinging for four roles.  In 2014 he performed opposite Emmy-winner Brittany Allen in the two-hander play Ryan is Lost (directed by TV veteran Michael Nankin), which they performed at Sacred Fools in LA and then at the NYC Fringe Festival.  Other leading roles include The Werewolves of Hollwood Blvd, Sketches from the National Lampoon by Matty Simmons, Groovelily’s  LA Premiere of Midsummer Nighs, Orgasmico’s Doomsday Cabaret, and Sacred Fools' Carnevil. 

Alex Robert Holmes* (Lysander) just got back from San Francisco where he was debuting a new musical, Home Street Home.  A few of Alex’s other professional credits include Cats, Man of La Mancha, and The Courier in 1776.  In L.A., Alex has been seen in Glory Days as Skip, Dracula as Renfield, and Jon in Pest Control.  Some of his other favorite credits are Jack in Into the Woods, Pippin in Pippin, and Micky in Blood Brother.  Alex would like to thank three very special people for their continuous support: Joani and Bob Holmes, as well as the amazing, beautiful, and talented Tuffet.

Katrina Lenk* (Titania) Broadway: Once (Reza), Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark (Arachne), and The Miracle Worker.  Regional credits include:  Cloudlands (Caroline), Elemeno Pea (Michaela), and Caucasian Chalk Circle (Grusha) at SouthCoast Rep, iWitness (Margaret) at the Mark Taper Forum, Lost Land (Anna) at Steppenwolf Theatre, and Lovelace: A Rock Opera (Linda Lovelace) at The Hayworth, et. al.  TV: Elementary, The Blacklist.  Katrina is a member of several bands, including her own original music project, moxy phinx.

Lynden Lewis (Titania’s All-Star) has most recently been seen at Playhouse on the Square in the title role of Mary Poppins and is excited to be returning there to perform in their upcoming season.  Some of her other favorite credits include Elizabeth Benning (Young Frankenstein), Val (A Chorus Line), Mae (Reefer Madness), and Maureen (Rent).  She currently teaches voice and theatre at e.Studio Performing Arts in Cordova and is loving building a theatre department at Riverdale Elementary.  Lynden is a native Memphian and attended the University of Tulsa for musical theatre with a vocal performance minor.

Meredith Lesley (Titania’s All-Star) currently resides in New York City, where she recently graduated with a BA in Musical Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College. Her most recent credits include Broadway by the Year concert series, Children of Eden in concert (with Stephen Schwartz), Broadway's Rising Stars, and Rusty in Marymount Manhattan's production of Footloose. 

James Lynch (Demetrius) recently starred as The Phantom in Vox Lumiere's Phantom of the Opera in L.A., which received critical acclaim.  The production was also nominated for seven 2014 Ticket Holder's Awards, winning the award for Special Events and Performances.  Other recent credits include Captain Hook in Vox Lumiere's Peter Pan, Danny Farinelli in Sacred Fool’s CarnEvil, Freder in Vox Lumiere's Metropolis, and Jeff Gillooly in A.R.T.'s production of Tonya and Nancy in Boston.

Brendan Milburn (Co-Author) writes songs for theatre and film, produces records, and is a stay-at-home dad when he's not off rewriting the opening number at some regional theatre somewhere.  Musicals: Striking 12 (Off-Broadway & regional), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (CTG, McCarter, La Jolla, 5th Avenue), Wheelhouse (TheatreWorks), Toy Story: The Musical (Disney), Long Story Short (regional and Off-Off Broadway), Midsummer Night (in development), Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Seattle Rep/George St. Playhouse) Watt?!? (Village Theatre), The Behavior of Broadus (CTG, Sacred Fools), Beautiful Poinson (5th Avenue).  Film: four movies about Tinker Bell (Disney). 

Ryan O’Connell (Music Director/Accompanist) As music director: Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (George Street Playhouse), The Grammy Experience (Norwegian Cruise Line), Nightline: JFK Anniversary Special (NBC), Midsummer Night (LA Premiere), Bronies (Hollywood Fringe), Real Housekeepers of Studio City (Hollywood Fringe), Edges (LA Premiere).  As orchestrator: Loch Ness: The Musical (Chance Theater), Browsers (Amazon), The Fourth Messenger (LA Premiere), Bronies (3rd Street Theater), Wild Things (NRDC Films).  As composer/arranger: Dragons: Defenders of Berk (Cartoon Network), I Am Big Bird (Copperpot Pictures), Calgary StampedeThe Freddy Awards (State Theatre), Learning Town (Geek & Sundry), Ladies Knight (USC) (Annie Award nominee), choral arrangements for Shawnee Press and Alfred, two original musicals - Horror High and Horrible Shakespeare

Janet Roston+ (Director) as director/choreographer: Tonya and Nancy, The Rock Opera (American Repertory Theater, Boston; King King Nightclub, Hollywood), Midsummer Night (Lillian Theater, Hollywood; Texas New Musical Workshop), CarnEvil (Sacred Fools Theater), and Walk’n thru the Fire (Hayworth Theater).  Janet is Artistic Director of The Los Angeles Rock Opera Company, director/choreographer for LA ROC productions: shAme (King King Nightclub), The Wanting (Highways), Possession (Unknown Theater), and Push Play (Highways).  As a theatre choreographer: Tommy, East West Players; Psyche, A Modern Rock Opera, Greenway Court Theater; The Color Purple, Celebration Theatre (Choreography Awards: Ovation Award, NAACP Award, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award Nomination); Justin Love, Celebration Theatre (LADCC Award); Once on this Island, International City Theater (NAACP Nomination); Avenue X, Odyssey Theater (LA Weekly Award, Ovation Award Nomination).  Janet has received two American Choreography Awards and is a proud alum of the Directors Lab.

Hannah Mae Sturges (Hermia) Before originating the role in Hollywood, Hannah Mae studied Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford.  Earning her BFA in Acting from California State University Fullerton, she was a national finalist at the American College Theatre Festival and performed at the Kennedy Center in D.C.  Past roles include Peter in Peter Pan, Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew, and Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank.  You may have seen her in the Dell commercial: Center for Selfie Improvement.  Look for her in the short film “Into the Sand,” soon to be released.

Matthew Tyler* (Oberon) has been performing for stage and film since the age of ten.  Favorite theatre credits include Chicago (Hollywood Bowl) directed by Brooke Shields, Phantom of the Opera in London’s West End (Andre) directed by Hal Prince,Mamma Mia Broadway National Tour (Sam/Harry), The Rocky Horror Show European Tour (Brad/Frank N Furter), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Hedwig), Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus), The Last Five Years (Jamie), The Scarlet Pimpernel (Chauvelin), and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Jasper)In his spare time, Matthew enjoys directing, writing, and performing his own cabarets.

Valerie Vigoda (Co-Author) balances writing with performing as an electric violinist-singer-actor.  She has toured the world with Cyndi Lauper/Joe Jackson/the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and is about to release her solo live-looping project, “Just Getting Good.”  Musicals: Striking Twelve (NYC/regional), Sleeping Beauty Wakes (CTG/McCarter/La Jolla/5th Avenue), Wheelhouse (TheatreWorks), Toy Story: The Musical (Disney), Long Story Short (NYC/regional), Ernest Shackleton Loves Me (Balagan/Seattle Rep/ACT/George Street, now NYC-bound), Beautiful Poison (5th Avenue).  Film: Four Tinker Bell movies (Disney).  Awards: Jonathan Larson (2006/2008), LA Ovation (2007), ASCAP Richard Rodgers (2009), Broadway World Seattle Critics' Choice Award (2014).

* AEA member; + SDC member

Seating is general admission; first come/first seated.  Tickets are just $15 and are on sale now.  Students 22 and younger and Seniors 62 and older receive discounted $10 tickets.

Midsummer Night will be presented on the Mainstage inside the University of Memphis Theatre Building, which is located on the main campus at 3745 Central Avenue in Memphis, TN.

Purchase tickets in person Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm at TSC’s office located at 3092 Village Shops Drive in Germantown, or by calling 901-759-0604, or by going on-line to www.tnshakespeare.org

The TSC Box Office inside the University of Memphis Theatre Building will begin selling tickets one hour prior to the performance on-site.  Free parking is available in the Central Avenue parking lot, beginning at 7:00 pm, directly across from the U of M Theatre Building.  No refunds.  Cast is subject to change.

Theatrical Rights Worldwide

Theatrical Rights Worldwide represents musicals from Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as shows originating in regional theatres.  TRW cultivates and introduces new work along with extending the production life of musicals to all theatrical marketplaces worldwide.  TRW licenses productions to a broad range of customers, from schools to Broadway.  As agents for the authors, TRW grants live stage production rights and provides performance and rehearsal materials and tools to enhance the actor, musician, and audience experience.  Its Broadway collection includes Memphis-centric musicals All Shook Up: The Music of Elvis Presley, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, and the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis.  Its internationally-popular collection also includes Jersey Boys, Monty Python’s Spamalot, which won the Tony for Best Musical, Kander and Ebb's Curtains, The Color Purple, and recent releases Ghost the Musical, Big Fish, and The Addams Family.

Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare indoors and outdoors seasonally; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally; and provides year-round educational and training programming.  Now in its seventh season, Tennessee Shakespeare Company seeks to sustain a Mid-South classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; be a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare’s works.  For more information:  www.tnshakespeare.org.

University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance

The University of Memphis' Department of Theatre & Dance offers both the BFA and MFA degrees in theatre and is successfully training our next generation of theatre artists. The Department mounts a full season of plays and dance concerts in a variety of performance venues, large and small.  With an emphasis on diversity and a breadth of experience only the performing arts can provide, the Department of Theatre & Dance provides audiences with the best in local theatre and dance.  Upcoming productions feature a delightful mix of comedy and drama, music and dance.  For more information: