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June 23, 2024

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Nashville Ballet’s ‘Black Lucy and The Bard’ to Premiere on PBS

A cross-disciplinary tour de force performed by Nashville Ballet, Great Performances: Black Lucy and The Bard explores the love life of William Shakespeare and his muses, the “Dark Lady” and the “Fair Youth,” presenting the idea that these subjects and inspirations in his love sonnets were a Black woman and a young man.

Mixing present-day and historical characters, the ballet is set to an original score by Grammy-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens and co-composer Francesco Turrisi. Author and performer Caroline Randall Williams narrates the ballet with her own spoken word poetry from the 2015 book on which the show was based, “Lucy Negro, Redux.”

Great Performances: Black Lucy and The Bard premieres Friday, September 16th, 2022 at 8 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app as part of Great Performances’ 50th anniversary season.

About Black Lucy and The Bard

Exploring themes of love, otherness, equality and beauty, the cast includes an ensemble of Nashville Ballet dancers. Claudia Monja leads the cast as Lucy along with Owen Thorne as Shakespeare and Nicolas Scheuer as Fair Youth. Choreographed and directed by Nashville Ballet’s artistic director Paul Vasterling, the ballet was recorded in March 2022. Playing onstage alongside the dancers in front of a minimalist set, musicians Rhiannon Giddens and Francesco Turrisi play several instruments including violin, banjo, mandolin and piano.

Great Performances is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO.

To learn more about Nashville Ballet, please visit



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.