The new season in Knoxville theater and dance is a lot like prior Knoxville seasons in theater and dance: full of familiar titles and touring shows, light on innovation or experimentation. That's not a surprise—nobody really expects a local production of, say, Sarah Kane's Blasted, with its onstage rapes and mutilation. But there are worlds of invention happening in the performing arts, and it would be nice if Knoxville reflected them a bit more often.
That said, there is plenty to look forward to, even beyond the usual, affable assemblage of farce, chestnuts, and holiday fare. The Clarence Brown season at the University of Tennessee has Molière's Tartuffe, with its always-timely theme of religious hypocrisy, along with the crowd-pleasing recent Broadway smash 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Next month, Maryville College is staging The Laramie Project, about reaction to the 1998 murder of gay teenager Matthew Shepard. (Recommended for our local state legislators, among others.) On the touring front, the Clayton Center in Maryville is bringing the 2008 Tony winner In the Heights, with its hip-hop/Latin production numbers and vivid scenes of Dominican-American street life. And in the spring, the Broadway at the Tennessee series welcomes the recent revival of South Pacific, which wowed 'em at Lincoln Center.
And the most interesting thing not on the list (because details are still being firmed up) is a Tennessee Williams Festival planned by the Tennessee Stage Company for later this fall. Stay tuned.
—Jesse Fox Mayshark
BROADWAY AT THE TENNESSEE
604 S. Gay St. • tennesseetheatre.com
Mel Brooks' stage adaptation of his 1974 film comedy.
Tennessee Theatre • Tuesday, Nov. 8, and Wednesday, Nov. 9 • 7:30 p.m.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical about, you know, cats.
Tennessee Theatre • Friday, Dec. 9 • 8 p.m. • Saturday, Dec. 10 • 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. • Sunday, Dec. 11 • 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Les Misérables (Jan. 11-15)
Shrek the Musical (Feb. 14-16)
South Pacific (March 30-31)
Riverdance (May 5)
CHILDREN'S THEATRE OF KNOXVILLE
800 Tyson St. • (865) 599-5284 • childrenstheatreknoxville.com
Anne of Green Gables
Sept. 16-Oct. 1
CLARENCE BROWN THEATRE
1714 Andy Holt Avenue • (865) 974-5161 • clarencebrowntheatre.com
A behind-the-scenes romp through the turmoil and intrigue of David O. Selznick's famously troubled film production of Gone With the Wind.
Clarence Brown Theatre • Through Sept. 25
Molière's 17th-century satirical comedy about a lecherous con man posing as a devout Catholic.
Clarence Brown LAB Theatre • Oct. 6-23
25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
A whimsical, Tony-winning one-act musical comedy set during a middle-school spelling bee.
Carousel Theatre • Oct. 27-Nov. 13
A Christmas Carol
CBT's annual adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic holiday ghost story.
Clarence Brown Theatre • Nov. 23-Dec. 18
It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play
Try to keep up: a play about a radio broadcast based on Frank Capra's holiday classic.
Carousel Theatre • Dec. 1-18
Fuddy Meers (Feb. 9-26)
Black Pearl Sings! (Feb. 23-March 11)
Dead Man's Cell Phone (March 29-April 15)
Kiss Me Kate (April 19-May 6)
CLAYTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS
502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway • (865) 981-8590 • claytonartscenter.com
A World Kicked to Pieces: Mary Boykin Chesnut on Love and War
The Clayton Center for the Arts presents Kenneth Graham's one-woman play to commemorate 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
Friday, Sept. 16, and Saturday, Sept. 17, at 8 p.m. • $10-$15
A Hillbilly Homecoming
All the hijinks of a fictional small-town homecoming weekend in 1961.
Thursday, Oct. 13-Saturday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 16, at 2 p.m. • $12
In the Heights
The 2008 Broadway production of this musical portrait of a Dominican-American neighborhood in Manhattan won four Tony Awards.
Saturday, Nov. 19 • 8 p.m.
Appalachian Ballet: Bluejeans and Ballet Meets the British Invasion
Thursday, Sept. 29 • 6 p.m.
Maryville College Theatre Department: The Laramie Project
Thursday, Oct. 6-Friday, Oct. 7, Saturday, Oct. 8-Sunday, Oct. 9 • $7-$10
Imago Theatre: ZooZoo
Thursday, Oct. 13 • 7 p.m. • $12-$25
Appalachian Ballet: The Nutcracker
Saturday, Dec. 10 • 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
"Master Harold"... and the Boys (April 13-15)
FOOTHILLS COMMUNITY PLAYERS
(865) 712-6428 • foothillscommunityplayers.com
FCP presents William Inge's 1955 play about a group of strangers stuck in a Kansas diner during a snowstorm.
The Capitol Theatre (Maryville) • Sept. 29-Oct. 2 • $15-$17
Lend Me a Tenor
An opera-world farce set in Cleveland during 1934.
The Capitol Theatre (Maryville) • Nov. 17-20
The Dining Room (Feb. 3-12)
Anything Goes (July)
OAK RIDGE PLAYHOUSE
227 Broadway (Oak Ridge) • (865) 482-9999 • orplayhouse.com
On Golden Pond
Ernest Thompson's 1979 play brings together an aging couple and a teenage boy at a summer retreat in the woods.
Oct. 7-23 • $18-$20
Little Women: The Musical
A 2005 Broadway musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel.
Nov. 24-Dec. 4 • $16-$18
Robin Hood (Jan. 21-22)
Brighton Beach Memoirs (Feb. 17-March 4)
Charlotte's Web (March 31-April 1)
Chicago (April 27-May 13)
THEATRE KNOXVILLE DOWNTOWN
319 N. Gay St. • (865) 544-1999 • theatreknoxville.com
Grace and Glorie
A big-city transplant and a feisty dying woman come together and learn from each other in this small-town drama.
Through Sept. 25 • $10-$15
Agatha Christie's 1952 play is the longest-running dramatic production in modern history. Don't spoil the twist ending!
Dashing Through the Snow
Dark holiday humor from the creators of Dearly Beloved and The Hallelujah Girls.
Nov. 25-Dec. 11
Heroes (Jan. 13-29)
Bedroom Farce (Feb. 24-March 11)
Tennessee Stage Company New Play Festival (March 12-April 8)
Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage (April 27-May 13)
Red Scare at Sunset (June 1-17)
SATURDAY, OCT. 15, AND SUNDAY, OCT. 16
Momentum Dance Lab: Divergent Connections
Pellissippi State Community College • Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. • $13-$18
WEDNESDAY, NOV. 2
Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! It's Time to Dance!
Tennessee Theatre • 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. • $29-$119
SATURDAY, NOV. 19, AND SUNDAY, NOV. 20
UT Chamber Orchestra and the Oak Ridge Civic Ballet Association: The Nutcracker
Oak Ridge High School • 8 p.m.
SATURDAY, NOV. 26
Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Tennessee Theatre • 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. • $27.50-$109.50