BWW Review: Theater Bug's Funny and Wry New Musical IF I WERE YOU

Photo and Poster Design by MA2LA

Photo and Poster Design by MA2LA

Once again, Cori Laemmel and Laura Matula - along with their team of creative collaborators and their always surprising and courageous troupe of young actors at The Theater Bug - have achieved much with their latest original musical. If I Were You,which focuses on four young protagonists (an eight-year-old girl suffering from anxiety disorder, an 11-year-old girl on the brink of young womanhood trying to find her place in the ever-changing world of middle school, a 15-year-old Muslim girl who is the only person of her faith attending her predominantly white high school, and an 18-year-old young man who has been home-schooled throughout his life and is now preparing to leave for college), gives the youthful Theater Bug company of actors an opportunity to explore the depths of their own emotions amid the turmoil of their formative years and, in so doing, they give every audience member a chance to examine their own emotions and preconceived notions of the people around them.

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Laura as The Lady of the Lake in Studio Tenn's production of Monty Python's SPAMALOT

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Monty Python's Spamalot
Book and Lyrics by Eric Idle, Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle
Jamison Theater in The Factory at Franklin
May 4 — 21, 2017

Studio Tenn is pulling out all the stops to present a musical comedy of truly epic proportions for our 16/17 season finale. Monty Python’s Spamalot is a hilariously irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend, inspired by the 1975 cult classic movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Marking their first performance together in a Studio Tenn musical, our own Matt Logan and Jake Speck will lead the cast of local and national all-stars. These ragtag Knights of the Round Table bring our exploration of perspectives full circle with a side-splitting reminder to “always look on the bright side of life.”

For tickets and more information, visit studiotenn.com

Staged Reading for New Dan Fogelberg Musical PART OF THE PLAN

Tony Award-nominated director Lynne Taylor-Corbett (Swing!) helms Part of the Plan, an original musical featuring the songs of the late, celebrated singer-songwriter Dan Fogelberg, currently in development at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center which this week will receive a 29-hour Equity staged reading with three invitation-only presentations September 22-24.

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PHOTOS FROM READING IN NASHVILLE, TN

Laura in EVITA at TPAC

Laura is excited to be a part of the stellar ensemble of Nashville and New York based performers for Studio Tenn and TPAC's EVITA, opening the Broadway series in downtown Nashville. Laura will also be the understudy for EVA. 

MORE ON EVITA:

The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) launches its 2016-17 HCA/TriStar Health Broadway season in September with a stunning new production of EVITA, created in collaboration with the Franklin-based Studio Tenn Theatre Company and featuring the best and brightest talents from both Nashville and Broadway.

With its debut in TPAC's Andrew Jackson Hall for an extended engagement Sept. 9-18, EVITA marks Studio Tenn's first time presenting a musical on TPAC's annual Broadway series. EVITA blends the strong artistic aesthetic that is the hallmark of Studio Tenn productions with the area's signature Broadway series while celebrating Nashville's creative capacity.

"EVITA is a popular, often-requested title for our Broadway series, and this particular production is a true artistic celebration for the City of Nashville," said Kathleen O'Brien, TPAC president and chief executive officer. "As our creative community grows, we are seeing the exceptional quality of art and music created right here in Nashville and in Middle Tennessee.

"Studio Tenn's vision and creative choices are stunning, and audiences will enjoy both the production value and the story of Eva Perón told from a new perspective. I'm thrilled by the opportunity to create a new dialogue about how to produce world-class Broadway theatre here at home for our audiences."

Led by Nashville natives and Broadway veterans Matt Logan and Jake Speck, Studio Tenn is known for its innovative, design-driven productions, celebrating and elevating the creation of professional live theatre in Middle Tennessee.

Broadway powerhouse Eden Espinosa (Wicked, Brooklyn the Musical, RENT) will star as Eva Perón, with additional cast members from Nashville and New York bringing their diverse musical backgrounds together for a production unique to Music City. The production, including sets and costumes, is being built and cultivated from Nashville's local creative community with Perón's life story as inspiration.

"Studio Tenn has long dreamed of doing EVITA, and we are beyond thrilled to have recruited the incredibly talented Eden Espinosa as our leading lady - a role she was born to play," said Matt Logan, Studio Tenn's artistic director. "This story powerfully combines passion, tenacity, and grit with mythos and romance. Studio Tenn is developing original costume and set designs that will embrace the power of color and fluid staging to bring to life EVITA's vibrant and dynamic emotional landscape."

EVITA tells the unforgettable life story of Eva Perón: activist, suffragist, and venerated celebrity. Perón captivated a nation as Argentina's First Lady, and inspired others with her dedication to helping the poor. The international musical sensation EVITA chronicles her life and work, from her humble beginnings in the rural lowlands of South America through her ascent to fame, fortune and untimely death.

"We are so honored and proud to be the first local company ever to design, build, and co-produce a show for TPAC's prestigious Broadway series," says Jake Speck, Studio Tenn's managing director. "This historic collaboration will showcase the incredible creative capacities of both Nashville and New York in a way that's never been done before."

EVITA
Starring Broadway Powerhouse Eden Espinosa and Tony Award Winner Anthony Crivello
September 9 - 18, 2016
Tennessee Performing Arts Center

WWW.STUDIOTENN.COM for more info

Laura as part of Studio Tenn's THE RAY LEGACY

The Cast of The Ray Legacy

The Cast of The Ray Legacy

Whether it was gospel, rhythm and blues, country or rock and roll, Ray Charles had a way of bringing his own unique style to every song he ever sang. And with “The Ray Legacy: A Tribute to the Soulful Genius,” Studio Tenn Theatre Company promises a unique celebration of Charles’ vast influence and unmistakable sound.

As with the company’s previous Legacy productions, “The Ray Legacy” offers no narration or dialogue. But according to artistic director Matt Logan, this “theatrical concert” format “allows the music to speak for itself.”

“One of the things that really separated Ray Charles was his ability to interpret the music,” he says. “His stylistic diversity allows us to go a little deeper, looking at some of his early stuff and exploring different sounds. It’s a fine line, because we certainly don’t want it to feel like a cover band. And yet we don’t want to lose those elements that are identifiable as Ray, either.”

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MAS ANNOUNCES 'MAS PRODUCED' at The Belcourt Theatre October 19th!


Presented by MAS
Doors at 6:30pm | Show at 7:30pm
MON, OCT 19 AT 7:30PM - $25

A Concert-Cabaret Experience
Music, Comedy, Cleavage & Class
Live On Stage

General Admission: $25* (+Belcourt Preservation Fee) | Click here to BUY TICKETS
*Day of show ticket price increases to $28 (+Belcourt Preservation Fee)

MAS is a Mutual Admiration Society of 5 Nashville-based singer-actresses who bring music, comedy, cleavage & class to the stage. Their live shows are described as a "concert-meets-cabaret experience".(If Celtic Women and Amy Schumer had a baby, it would look a lot like MAS.) In their latest offering, 'MAS Produced', Cori Laemmel, Erin Parker, Laura Matula, Megan Murphy Chambers & Melodie Madden Adams bring you songs from their debut album 'Cover Stories', plus new numbers, new arrangements, new parodies, and a lot of the "Same Old S#&%" -i.e. fantastic harmonies, glitter, high heels & humor in the polished-yet-irreverent way that only MAS can deliver.

LAURA TO JOIN THE CAST OF 'THE CASH LEGACY: A Musical Tribute to the Man in Black' with Studio Tenn

Laura is thrilled to be joining the cast of the musical review The Cash Legacy with Studio Tenn. Full press release below. 

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS 

STUDIO TENN DEBUTS ORIGINAL JOHNNY CASH MUSICAL REVUE. The Cash Legacy: A Musical Salute to the Man in Black opens  Feb 19. 

Studio Tenn Theatre Company gets rhythm this February with an all-new original production celebrating the music of the legendary Johnny Cash.    

"The Cash Legacy: A Musical Salute to the Man in Black" opens February 19 in The Factory's Jamison Hall, located at 230 Franklin Road. The show runs through March 1st--including a performance on Johnny Cash's birthday, Thursday February 26th. Performances are held at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Studio Tenn Managing Director Jake Speck said the creation of "The Cash Legacy" was spurred by the success of the company's first original production in 2013, featuring the music of Hank Williams. "Thanks to the overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to 'The Hank Legacy' from audiences, critics and the greater Nashville music industry and community, we are thrilled to continue this new Studio Tenn tradition of honoring Music City legends," he said.

Through an innovative musical revue format, an ensemble of singers and instrumentalists will present the Man in Black's colorfully Americana catalog in all its glorious shades of rockabilly, country, gospel, blues and folk--including timeless classics "Folsom Prison Blues," "The Man in Black," "I Walk the Line," "A Boy Named Sue," "Jackson," "It Ain't Me Babe" and dozens more.

But while the "The Cash Legacy"'s framework harks back to its Hank-inspired predecessor, Artistic Director Matt Logan notes that its music requires a different treatment : the bones of Hank Williams' songwriting transcended genrefication-"this is essentially what our 'Legacy' series is all about," Logan said-but the trappings of Williams' output were foremost country-western. "However, in the case of Johnny Cash, there are many different tones and traditions in his music, by his own doing," Logan said. "Where we injected stylistic variety into Hank Williams songs to showcase their universality, we have only to tease out and amplify the stylistic diversity that Johnny Cash's catalog already embraces."

Born in Depression-era Arkansas, Cash became famous for his rumbling baritone, rebellious spirit, prison concerts and of course, persistently dark wardrobe. His prolific career spanned more than fifty years and produced nearly twice as many albums. The last performance of his life took place at the 2002 awards ceremony of the Americana Music Association (AMA)--a fellow tenant of The Factory at Franklin, with offices just steps away from Studio Tenn.

AMA Director Jed Hilly said he's excited that his Studio Tenn neighbors are paying tribute to an Americana mainstay in a fresh and powerful way. "Studio Tenn's professionalism and artistry combined with such legendary, celebrated music as that of Johnny Cash is a recipe for greatness," he said. "I cannot wait to experience 'The Cash Legacy,' and I'm so proud that it's taking place right here in our community."

MAS NASHVILLE PRESENTS "UNDER THE MASTLETOE" DECEMBER 8TH AT 8PM AT THE BELCOURT THEATRE

Under the MAStletoe will play at the historic Belcourt Theatre on Monday, December 8th, 2014 

On the heels of their successful “MORE MAS” Kickstarter Campaign, the ladies of MAS are excited to have the opportunity to bring Nashville audiences MORE as they gear up for a festive 2014 Holiday production. 

Best described as “A concert-cabaret experience where Celtic Women meets Sex and the City and class meets hilarity”, the five-woman group “MAS” has been mounting cabaret-meets-concert-style productions and wowing local audiences (and beyond) at each turn since its inception in 2011. Now the ladies of MAS are at it again with Under the MAStletoe at the historic Belcourt Theatre on Monday, December 8th. 

Under the MAStletoe will treat audiences to yet another uniquely MAS cabaret/concert production that will celebrate holiday standards, winter songs, and melodious mash-ups, as well as some just-plain-festive non-holiday tunes. The 5 MAS gals - Melodie Madden Adams, Megan Murphy Chambers, Cori Laemmel, Laura Matula, and Erin Parker – plan to impress and entertain with this delightful holiday cocktail of music and comedy that will most likely be shaken, stirred, AND spilled! 

Expect an evening of fantastic harmonies, holiday cheer, glitter, high heels and humor in the polished-yet-irreverent way that only MAS can deliver! 

Under the MAStletoe, presented by MAS 

Monday, December 8th, 2014 at 8:00pm 

The Belcourt Theatre 2102 Belcourt Avenue Nashville, TN 37212 

$20 Presale Tickets | $25 Door Tickets | $18 group of 10 or more 

CLICK HERE to purchase tickets  

*This show has a “PG” rating for some innuendo 

MAS ANNOUNCES THEIR "MORE MAS" KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN

MAS is asking for your help in creating "MORE MAS!".  Join us we raise funds during the month of September to RECORD OUR FIRST ALBUM, become a legit business, & start producing our holiday show! CLICK HERE TO VIEW OUR KICKSTARTER PAGE and watch our fun video!

We do our best to make our shows seem effortless, but it ain’t as easy as it looks. Making it look easy is part of the fun. We want to live up to our name and do MORE. So we’re asking for your help.  We understand that "times is hard", so if you don't have money to give, sharing this project with others via email or social media can be just as helpful!   Just copy and paste this link, and put it anywhere and everywhere you see fit!  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erinparker/more-mas-our-debut-albumand-more

We hope you’ll consider supporting five gals who are doing their best to raise the standard, demand more of themselves and each other, and create more cool stuff. MAS is all about working hard, laughing harder, and inspiring others to follow their own hearts. Making it happen isn’t nearly as hard as sitting in your room wishing it would happen. We promise. Please join us and help us do MAS!

Laura performing at Studio Tenn's One Night Only Gala

STUDIO TENN GOES TO THE MOVIES FOR "ONE NIGHT ONLY" GALA

Annual Fundraising Event set for July 18th at The Factory.

Music of the silver screen will take center stage at Studio Tenn's 4th annual fundraising gala "One Night Only," set for Friday, July 18, 2014 in The Factory at Franklin. Tickets start at $100 and can be purchased online atStudioTenn.com or by calling the Studio Tenn Ticket Hotline at 888-664-6362.

Proceeds from the gala will benefit the nonprofit professional theatre company, whose mission is to use a rich combination of talent from Nashville and Broadway to bring classic works of drama and musical theatre to life in Middle Tennessee, and to provide innovative educational programs designed to entertain, educate, and inspire the rising artists of our unique community.

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Laura performing with MAS Nashville for NECAT fundraiser June 27, 2014

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 NECAT's Press Release:  

By special invitation, performing live in NECAT studios, the sexy, sassy, and hilarious songstresses of MAS Nashville and GMA/AMA award-winning artist Mike Farris serving up his spectacular blend of gospel, soul, and straight-up rock 'n' roll.

Tickets are 100% tax deductible and help keep public arts television on the air every day, sharing the work of high-quality singers and musicians like Mike Farris and MAS Nashville with television viewers throughout middle Tennessee and internet audiences around the world.

Read more HERE

MAS NASHVILLE IS BACK WITH 'MAS AMOR POR FAVOR'

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MAS Nashville is back with a February show about love. MAS AMOR POR FAVOR runs February 16th and 17th at The Theater Bug in East Nashville. This show will celebrate ALL aspects of love: the agony, the ecstasy, the joy, the despair, and of course, the insanity. This time you’ll have two chances to partake in an evening full of raucous entertainment and glorious music, all within an intimate local venue.  Who better than the ladies of MAS to celebrate this crazy thing called love – complete with glitter, high heels, and humor. 

MAS AMOR POR FAVOR stars MAS Nashville’s founding members:  Melodie Madden Adams, Megan Murphy Chambers, Cori Laemmel, Laura Matula, and Erin Parker. These local talents will forge ahead with their “part-cabaret, part-concert” style, which has been the successful hallmark of previous MAS shows (FIVE: A Cabaret; FIVE: An Encore Performance; A Christmas Holiday Hangover; The Linda Lane Show; FIVE: At the Barter)MAS AMOR will feature original vocal arrangements of classic love songs, modern pop songs, plus some surprises you won’t ever see coming, all accompanied by a single dynamic piano.

Why after Valentine’s Day?  Erin Parker, MAS Nashville’s Artistic Director says, “We are of the opinion that everything Valentine-related is better a day or two after… like, 50% off CANDY!!  Plus, by not having an actual Valentine’s Day show, we hope to appeal to those people who would otherwise boycott the holiday. We are excited that The Theater Bug could accommodate us since we were looking for a smaller, more personal venue than we’ve had for our past few shows.”

The ladies of MAS promise to deliver the powerhouse vocals and irreverent humor that audiences have grown to expect and love – without a filter. Parents, leave the kids at home. Pre-teens, you may want to sit this one out. Everyone else, get your tickets now because seating is limited in this intimate space! And hey, even if music isn’t your thing, you should  come for the camp and cleavage.

MAS AMOR POR FAVOR, presented by MAS Nashville

Sunday, February 16th, 2014 at 7:30pm, doors open at 7:00pm
Monday, February 17th, 2014 at 7:30pm, doors open at 7:00pm

The Theater Bug
2618 Gallatin Pike
Nashville, TN 37216

$10 Presale Tickets | $12 Door Tickets

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE ABOVE PRESS RELEASE