NASHVILLE, TN — Social occasions to entertain supporting patrons of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center this month start with a tip of the hat to the historic musical “Hamilton.”
The Broadway blockbuster makes its Nashville debut New Year’s Eve followed by a three-week run through Jan. 19. Various TPAC programs are possible with its annual fundraiser; TPAC Gala. This year, the party starts at 6 p.m. Aug. 24 in Jackson Hall. It includes fine-dining on stage, presentation of TPAC’s Applause Award and special performances.
With a score blending hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway, “Hamilton” is the story of America then, as told by America now through Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War. Hamilton was America’s first treasury secretary.
Just as TPAC itself presents that wildly successful musical, the state building is also the venue for another important play opening next month. “Pipeline” is about a mother’s hopes for her son clashing with an educational system rigged against him. Separately, those circumstances are extrapolated in a chain-breaking book: “The New Jim Crow; Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness” by Michelle Alexander.
Dominique Morisseau’s play, “Pipeline,” furthers an urgent conversation for school systems and how practices there twist at-risk children toward the criminal justice system. Previews are Oct. 17-18. Its regular run is Oct. 19 – Nov. 3. “Pipeline” is brought to the stage at 505 Deaderick St. by the Nashville Repertory Theatre, one of three professional resident companies.
Both plays demonstrate a commitment among theatrical artists, their institutions, managers and supporters to make literature and stagecraft a force for social change. Hired in January, TPAC CEO Jennifer Turner started in May and says she intends to continue with presentations that have “some resonance with the community, or … impact on history of the region … It’s very important to not only bring things that our audience might love, but things that make our audience think and respond.”
Co-chaired by David and Lisa Minnigan and Gary Bynum, TPAC Gala [$450 per person] provides critical resources for TPAC’s educational and cultural programming. The social event starts with cocktails and an online silent auction in Jackson Hall’s lobby. The 8 p.m. Late Party [$50 per person] starts on TPAC’s Polk Theater stage with an open bar, appetizers and live entertainment. Read TPAC.org or call (615) 782-4040 for more ticket information.
The title sponsor for TPAC Gala is Delta Dental of Tennessee. Additional sponsors include Belmont University, Phillips Printing, Nashville Convention Visitors Corporation, Dollar General Inc., Earl Swensson Associates, Barbara and Jack Bovender, Vanderbilt University, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, Compass Partners, Woodmont Investment Counsel, Nissan North America, R.C. Walker Contractor, Delek Fund for Hope, HCA, Inc., JohnsonPossKirby, I.C. Thomasson Associates, Inc., Smith Seckman Reid and Layton Construction.
The online silent auction includes exclusive access to unique TPAC experiences during the upcoming 2019-20 season, including backstage tours, downtown hotel stays, restaurants and more.
TPAC administers one of the most comprehensive, curriculum-based arts education programs in the United States, offering a variety of learning opportunities for children and adults. Programs include ArtSmart, Disney Musicals in Schools, Humanities Outreach in Tennessee, Spotlight Awards, TPAC InsideOut and Wolf Trap Early Learning Through the Arts. TPAC is home to an annual Broadway Series, supported by the HCA Foundation on behalf of HCA and the TriStar Family of Hospitals, special engagements and the work of three professional resident companies, Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theatre. Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission.
Tony Marks contributed to this story.