The Cumberland County Playhouse celebrates Black History Month and looks ahead to St. Patrick’s Day as it opens its 2013 concert/special event season with a special last-minute booking of internationally-acclaimed Christian rockers Rend Collective Experiment; and an original musical piece of Tennessee history, Tales of the Crossroads, featuring Michael Ruff and CCP singers and musicians.
Audiences will recognize “Crossroads” creator/director Ruff — who conceived the show with Tennessee history buff Jim Crabtree — from many CCP shows, including last season’s Driving Miss Daisy and 2011’s Dreamgirls.
Tales of the Crossroads celebrates the Cumberlands as an imagined and actual “crossroads” through which the diverse cultures of America have passed, as they crossed the Appalachians to find homes in Tennessee, Kentucky and the great American West. It features songs of Moses Hogan and other African-American and other diverse songwriters, along with stories of lives and journeys of generations of Tennessee travelers. Performers include local favorites Daniel Black, Austin Price, and Chaz Sanders; Atlanta blues stylist Danielle Hill; musicians Ron Murphy, John Dobbratz and Marian Sullivan; plus the cast of CCP’s current Steel Magnolias, and talented teens from CCP musical theater and dance classes. This world premiere will be onstage here for one night only, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets for Tales of the Crossroads are only $10 to $16.
Rend Collective Experiment is a band of singer/musicians from Northern Ireland. United by a desire for something spiritually substantive in an increasingly artificial world, these twenty-somethings began exploring the intersection between God, life and community. After many years in Ireland, the band felt the call to step out again into the unknown as the five core members felt called to reach more people.
“We are ….people like a family and not just a band,” member Gareth Gilkeson comments. “We want our music to be what we call Organic worship, an honest and natural connection with God.”
The group kicks off its new American Tour with this special $5 and $8 Playhouse concert on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. It is sponsored by Philip and Jane Burnett. All attending are asked to bring “a pair of wearable shoes” for people in Haiti, in association with Soles4Souls.org. The concert and “shoes” benefit is sponsored by Philip and Jane Burnett and family.
Currently onstage at CCP are Steel Magnolias (rated PG, through March 29, sponsored by Dr. Stanley Bise, M.D.) and Footloose (rated PG, through February 24, co-sponsored by TAP Publishing Co. and Plateau Properties). Coming soon to the Playhouse are Les Misérables (March 8-May 3, rated PG-13 and co-sponsored by Tennessee Plateau Oncology/Dr. Dirk C. Davidson, MD, and Dr. Vianney E. Villaruz, MD) and The Miracle Worker (April 5-May 17, rated G and co-sponsored by Lauren and Mason Fox, and by Crossville, Inc.). Tickets and information are also available for the Southern Stars Symphonic Brass Band, and other events.
All CCP productions are made possible through sponsor support, with additional support provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.