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May 23, 2024

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Summer Shakespeare Festival 2021 Opens This Week with August Wilson’s ‘Jitney’

Music for the show will be by 5-time Grammy Winner Victor Wooten.

The 33rd annual Summer Shakespeare Festival opens this Thursday, August 12th, with two productions from two of the greatest playwrights of all time: August Wilson and William Shakespeare

Nashville Shakes has joined forces with Kennie Playhouse Theatre to produce August Wilson’s Jitney, directed by Chuck Smith of the Goodman Theatre in Chicago with original music composed by 5-time Grammy Award-winning Victor Wooten. Jitney is a snapshot of Black life in 1977 Pittsburgh as seen through the lens of a tight-knit group of independent cab drivers, playing Thursdays- Sundays, August 12-22, at 7 p.m. Then, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, a comedy of mistaken identity, directed by Jim Warren of the American Shakespeare Center,.plays Thursdays – Sundays, Aug 26 – Sept 12 and Labor day Monday at 7pm. The Festival is held at oneC1TY, (Nashville.(8 City Blvd) and then has an encore weekend at Williamson County Performing Arts Center at Academy Park in Franklin, TN from September 16-19.

The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with “INSIGHT,” free scholarly discussions at Sump Coffee featuring guest experts on August Wilson and Shakespeare. At 6 p.m. the nightly pre-show concert begins, featuring local entertainment. At 6:45, the children participating in Elf & Fairy camp will perform, followed by the Apprentice Company, leading straight into the main performance at 7 p.m.

Food trucks will be on-site and adult beverages will be available for purchase. Dogs on a leash are welcome, and while 12th NIGHT is a family-friendly show, JITNEY is rated MA for Mature Audiences. The Festival is free, but a $10 donation is strongly encouraged to help us provide the best outdoor theatre experience in Nashville. This year there will also be reserved “Noble” seating available for $40. VIP Royal Packages, which include reserved parking, comfortable reserved seating, and dinner catered by Bacon & Caviar Gourmet Catering, are $100 each and support the Festival’s programming. Go to to purchase.

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Let’s Get Dramatic! Summer Shakespeare and More Theater in 2021-22


Let’s Get Dramatic! Summer Shakespeare and More Theater in 2021-22

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.