As spring slides into the dog days of summer (and as Bonnaroo sucks most of the music industry into Middle Tennessee this weekend, leaving Knoxville’s music calendar unusually bereft for a few days), it gives us all a moment to step back, take a breath, and look ahead. Conveniently, a bunch of local arts organizations have recently announced their fall schedules; here’s a quick rundown of some of what’s ahead later this year.
The University of Tennessee’s Clarence Brown Theatre kicks off its 40th season with a production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway, a musical based on the life of the legendary country singer who may or may not have died in Knoxville. The 2003 play, written by Randal Myler and Mark Harelick and directed by Karen Kessler, features more than 20 of Williams’ classic songs, including “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Honky Tonk Blues,” and the haunting title track. Hank Williams: Lost Highway runs Sept. 4-21 at the Carousel Theatre.
CBT’s 2014-15 season continues with The Miracle Worker, William Gibson’s venerable adaptation of the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan (Oct. 2-19); Amy Herzog’s bittersweet drama 4000 Miles (Oct. 30-Nov. 16); yet another production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Nov. 26-Dec. 21); Athol Fugard’s award-winning 1982 drama “Master Harold” … and the Boys, set in apartheid-era South Africa (Feb. 5-22); William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Feb. 19-March 8); Barbara Lebow’s Holocaust drama A Shayna Maidel (March 26-April 12); and Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s enduring Threepenny Opera (April 16-May 3).
The Tennessee Valley Fair reliably brings in a surprise or two among its lineup of country, classic rock, and vintage R&B, soul, and hip-hop acts every September. Two of this year’s headline acts seem like the exact kind of thing you’d find at a county fair: soft-rock icons Air Supply (Sept. 5) and ’80s and ’90s country stars Sawyer Brown (Sept. 14). The fair’s third major performer, though, hails from a much more recent era—turn-of-the-millennium star and Timbaland collaborator Ginuwine has been in the top 10 of the R&B charts as recently as 2009 and scored a hit last summer with Three Kings, an album recorded with TGT, a supergroup featuring Ginuwine, Tyrese, and Tank. Ginuwine headlines the fair on Sept. 12.
The Tennessee Valley Fair schedule also includes country up-and-comers Joe Pardi (Sept. 7), Cole Swindell (Sept. 8), and Parmalee (Sept. 9); Christian rock band Big Daddy Weave (Sept. 10); American Idol winner Scott McCreery (Sept. 11); and local country/Southern rock band the Fairview Union (Sept. 13). Tickets for the concerts range from free to $15, in addition to fair admission.