Nashville's Theatre Economy — Jaz Dorsey , Nashville theatre — AAPEX

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nashville's Theatre Economy

Like any good actor, I seek to be "in the moment" and being in the particular moment of right now and looking around me, it looks like Nashville is on the verge of blossoming into a major theatre economy in the context of the mid-sized American city state at the beginning of a new millennium. Certainly the pictures which Jeffrey Ellis just posted on Facebook of last night's First Night Ceremonies are vibrant with charisma and talents who all of us who live here in Music City USA work with, know and respect.

Of course, we can't duplicate the geographic model of NYC, with a centralized theatre district that makes it easy for tourists to find theatre and theaters, but what our theatre model does offer is plenty of excuses for tourists to roam around to different areas, from Elm Hill Pike to Dickson to TPAC to Chaffin's Barn to Brentwood to Charlotte Pike to the Gulch to Franklin to Metro North (the highlight of our last reading at the Looby was the lady from DC who just saw it online and decided that, of all the offings in Nashville, she wanted to go to a new play reading! Who knew?)

Lots of new musicals skittering around, too - like THE GYM which opens at Lakewood in a couple of weeks.

Not to mention more than our fair share of kick ass university theatre departments. If you think university athletics deserve support, check out the home team on the stage. If only folks around here could play football as good as these kids can act - but see for yourself.

The next thing we look for is gentrification, which is when the neighborhoods in which the theatres are located begin to experience an economic upswing as a result of a theatre being in the neighborhood mix. This usually starts with the nearest restaurant or pub, especially if it's a place that the actors can hang out at after rehearsals and make friends with the managers and wait staffs. In the best case scenario, this can lead to a situation where theatres and eateries cross promote one another.

Presently the perfect evening of theatre can best be had at The Boiler Room because you always get brilliant theatre and you can also get great food and a cocktail within ambient walking distance of the theatre. Not to mention the parking. Upcoming at The Boiler Room are the Pressure Cooker new musicals competition and an awesome production of PARADE, the Alfred Uhry musical about the trial and lynching of Leo Frank. Great family fun! (Well, not for my family, as my grandfather happens to be the villain in this play.)

A great total theatre evening is also to be had in the Bongo-Belmont theatre matrix.

If we could just get McDonalds to give DarkHorse patrons a theatre special, then we'd really be rocking! Sooner or later, every tourist wants a Big Mac and a little drama.

Come to Nashville and Go to the Theatre!

(Find out all about it at

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