Out of Town
May We All: A New Country Musical Starts at Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, TN
Feature the songs from Brooks & Dunn, Chris Stapleton, Dolly Parton, Florida Georgia Line, Jessica Andrews, Johnny Cash, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, LOCASH, Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Runaway June, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band, and debuting two original songs co-written by Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard in the new musical May We All: A New Country Musical.
The show is being produced by Lively McCabe Entertainment (Executive Producer Michael Barra) and CuzBro Productions – the production company founded by Brian Kelley of the multi-platinum, award-winning duo Florida Georgia Line. The musical will have its world premiere engagement at Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville, TN June 7 – July 17, 2022. Opening night is set for June 15, 2022. TPAC.org, by phone at 615-782-4040, or at the TPAC Box Office (505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, TN). For groups of 10 or more, call 615-782-4060.May We All features a book by Troy Britton Johnson, Todd Johnson, and Eric Pfeffinger, with arrangements and orchestrations by Brian Usifer, choreography by William Carlos Angulo and is directed by Shelley Butler. Joining the creative team is Timothy Mackabee (Scenic Design), Lex Liang (Costume Design), Zach Blane (Lighting Design), Cody Spencer (Sound Design), Geoffrey Ko (Music Director) and Casting by Eisenberg / Beans Casting (Daryl Eisenberg, CSA, Ally Beans, CSA), with more to be revealed. May We All is the story of Jenna Coates, a small-town girl whose big-city singing career is over before it even begins, and how she returns to the people and the places of her past to find a path to the future. But going home is never easy. A lot has changed in Harmony, Tennessee, since Jenna left, and not necessarily for the better. If Jenna and Harmony are going to dig themselves out of their current crises, they’re going to need each other. And they’re going to need music. “I’ve been dreaming and scheming on a musical for a while now, and for May We All to debut in Nashville next June is so surreal. It wouldn’t be a Country music party without some special guests and surprises,” shares Brian Kelley. “I’m thrilled to welcome my friends and fellow artists to the cast, and can’t wait to see what each one brings to the character of ‘Bailey Stone.’” Adding to the excitement of this can’t-miss multi-week event is the rotating lineup of Country music guest artists who will step into the role of “Bailey Stone.” The star-studded roster expected to perform includes Alana Springsteen, Alexandra Kay, BRELAND, Brian Kelley, Canaan Smith, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Chris Ruediger, Cooper Alan, Danielle Bradbery, Jamie O’Neal, Lainey Wilson, Lindsay Ell, LOCASH, Nick Fradiani, Robyn Ottolini, Scarlett Burke, Thomas Mac, Tigirlily, Trent Harmon, and many more. Casting for the musical will be announced in the near future. Executive Producer Michael Barra adds, “From the very beginning, we’ve dreamed of bringing this musical to Nashville, and are thrilled that the good folks at TPAC have provided us with the opportunity to do just that. As soon as we knew we’d be in residence here, we conceived the role of ‘Bailey Stone’ to be able to tap into the embarrassment of riches that is the music talent that resides here. We can’t wait for our audiences to be able to experience not only our company of actors, but a different one of their favorite recording artists on stage at every performance.” Tickets for May We All are available via
The Olivier Awards Return
Celebrate the very best in British theatre in a star-studded evening as the Olivier Awards return to the Royal Albert Hall on April 2nd.
Three-time Olivier Award nominee & Primetime Emmy winner, Hannah Waddingham will be hosting the awards for the first time.
The event will feature performances from all of the Best New Musical nominees, including The Band’s Visit, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, Sylvia and Tammy Faye. Also performing will be Oklahoma! and Sister Act, both nominated for the Best Musical Revival award, as well as Disney’s Newsies, which has been nominated for Matt Cole’s choreography.
The multi-Olivier Award winner The Book of Mormon, will be performing to mark its ten-year anniversary in the West End. Additionally, special award winner Arlene Philips will be honored with a tribute from the cast of Grease.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on Magic Radio from 6pm with Ruthie Henshall and Alice Arnold hosting.
The highlights program will also be aired on ITV1 and ITVX at 10:15 pm in the UK and via Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel elsewhere.
And the nominees are:
Out of Town
The Unpacking of the First Métis Man of Odesa, An Interview
Punctuate! Theatre is unpacking a love story. A love story about a couple. A love story about Ukraine. And a love story against an unbelievably complicated backdrop. Starting at The Theatre Centre in Toronto, the company is ushering forth the world premiere of First Métis Man of Odesa before it spins itself out on stages across Canada. Spanning continents and set against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Métis playwright and Punctuate! Artistic Director, Matthew MacKenzie (Dora Award-winning playwright for Bears, After the Fire, The Particulars) joins forces with his wife, the award-winning Ukrainian actress Mariya Khomutova (Odesa Film Festival Grand Prix – The Golden Duke award-winner NONNA, Two People), to tell the story of their COVID courtship and share an intimate perspective on the personal impacts of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Drawn from their real-life love story, a story that is ultimately still unfolding to this very day, First Métis Man of Odesa unpacks the journey of Matt and Masha’s love that spans continents where distance and conflicts can’t tame their passionate connection. After meeting on a theatre research trip in Kyiv, a spark is struck, and a romance between a Métis Playwright and a Ukrainian artist is ignited, taking them from the beaches of the Black Sea to the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, within the onset of a global pandemic, the eruption of a brutal war, but also the many joyous moments that this union begets, including marriage and the birth of their son.
During the height of the lockdown in 2021, an initial version of this piece was presented as a radio play at Factory Theatre, written by MacKenzie and directed by Nina Lee Aquino. This March, First Métis Man of Odesa, as directed by Lianna Makuch (Pyretic Productions/Punctuate!’s Barvinok), makes its stage debut, offering a compelling continuation of the initial story told in that first radio play. The couple, Matthew MacKenzie and his wife, Mariya Khomutova, sat down with Frontmezzjunkies and thankfully answered a few questions about their incredible journey from that first love-struck connection to its World Premiere at The Theatre Centre in Toronto.
Tell me, how you decided to embark on telling your own story and what the beginning of this creative process looked like for you two?
Initially, Matt wrote an audio play for Factory Theatre about our romance, then getting married and having their son during the pandemic. The plan had been to expand the piece for the stage, a plan that took on much urgency after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Both the pandemic and war have a deeply dehumanizing effect, so our hope in telling our love story is to share the human side of these major world events; a human side that headlines and news clips can’t fully capture.
What aspect of your character, or your involvement with/creation of this play resonates the most powerfully inside you?
For both of us, the opportunity to share all the joy, humour, anger, and frustration we’ve experienced in the past few years is a really therapeutic process. Many of our friends and family only know snippets of what we’ve been through, so the opportunity to tell our story across the country is one we are deeply grateful for.
The phrase “you don’t know what someone is carrying with them” has really hit home over the past couple of years, as we have had to contend with some pretty epic challenges as a couple and as individuals.
Tell me a bit about what it is like to bring your character to the stage? What does mean to you to be telling this story?
We play ourselves in the play, but we very much play versions of ourselves in the play. We had to mine conflict between us out of a few outbursts, as there haven’t actually been a lot of [conflicts] in our relationship so that we could bring the drama of what we are going through to the fore.
Challenges of playing ourselves have included the fact that [Matt] is not a trained actor, while Mariya is. Mariya though comes from a theatre tradition that was almost entirely focused on the classics, so playing herself in a play based on her life is definitely a new and challenging experience!
Tell me a bit more about your development process? Was there a typical ‘first read’ or was it different, given your own story inspired the work…
We were able to conduct several development workshops over a period of six months. There was no shortage of content that we could derive from our lives, so the challenge was determining what to keep and what to let fall away. Even after our first read, we cut 15 pages from our rehearsal draft. Events in our lives and in Ukraine will no doubt continue to necessitate the evolution of our script.
What’s been the most challenging part of this process for you?
For Mariya, it was buying into the idea (that is quite a common one in Canada) that a play about someone’s real life can be art. Seeing Hailey Gillis’s My Ex-boyfriend Yard Sale, really helped her believe this was possible.
For Matt, it met the challenge of performing for the first time in ten years. The last time he performed, he made his friends promise they would never let him perform again, but all agreed it didn’t make much sense for anyone else to play him in this piece.
The most rewarding?
Having already performed several shows in Kamloops, the most rewarding part of this process is sharing this story with refugees from Ukraine. Their responses have been incredible and have really encouraged us to share our story with as many people as possible.
What do you want the audience to get from this play, and from your character?
We want the audience to join us as we relive our sweeping love story, from Odesa to Toronto. We want the audience to see the human side of the conflict in Ukraine. And we want the audience to leave the theatre with the hope that love can and will conquer all.
First Métis Man of Odesa is in Toronto for its world premiere run at the Franco Boni Theatre @ The Theatre Centre from March 30 – April 8, 2023 (opening March 31). Following the world premiere in Toronto, First Métis Man of Odesa will appear at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, The Cultch in Vancouver, and the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg. For information and tickets, please visit theatrecentre.org/event/first-metis-man-of-odesa/
Florence Welch, Martyna Majok, Rachel Chavkin and More On New Musical Gatsby Coming To A.R.T
Florence Welch Photo by De Wilde
Producers Amanda Ghost and Len Blavatnik for Unigram/Access Entertainment, Jordan Roth, and American Repertory Theater(A.R.T.) at Harvard University announced today that Gatsby, a brand-new musical stage adaptation of the legendary F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, will make its highly anticipated World Premiere at A.R.T. in 2024, and will be directed by Tony Award® winner Rachel Chavkin and choreographed by Tony Award winner Sonya Tayeh.
Gatsby will feature music by Florence Welch, the Grammy Award-nominated international rock star of Florence + the Machine and Thomas Bartlett, the Oscar and Grammy Award nominee, with lyrics by Ms. Welch, and a book by Pulitzer Prize® winner Martyna Majok.
Gatsby will be produced at American Repertory Theater by special arrangement with Amanda Ghost and Len Blavatnik for Unigram/Access Entertainment, and Jordan Roth, in association with Robert Fox. Hannah Giannoulis serves as co-producer.
American Repertory Theater (Diane Paulus, Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director; Kelvin Dinkins, Jr., Executive Director) at Harvard University produces groundbreaking work to catalyze dialogue and transformation. Tony Award-winning and nominated productions include Jagged Little Pill; Waitress; Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; All the Way; The Glass Menagerie; Pippin; Once; and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Its revival of 1776, a co-production with Roundabout Theatre Company, is currently touring nationally. Learn more at AmericanRepertoryTheater.org.
Additional Gatsby news will be announced soon.
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