Socially conscious theatre in the heart of Church Street
From the locally written and produced hit Casey Stampfield: The Musical to this month’s production of The Vagina Monologues and April’s staging of The Normal Heart, Music City Theatre Company and its artistic director, Bradley Moore, have brought theatre to Church Street. Quite appropriately, many of these productions, staged at Vibe Entertainment Complex, have explored important LGBT themes. Moore was kind enough to answer a few questions about his history with the theatre and what his company is seeking to accomplish in Nashville.
O&AN: What role did theatre and the arts play in your childhood and upbringing?
Bradley Moore: My folks actually started me in theatre when I was very young. I did my first show when I was five-years-old and really never stopped. I seemed to really hit a theatrical stride my freshman year of high school when I started to branch out into community theatre, as well as performing in my school shows. My high school was just a regular public school, but our theatre program did six or seven shows a year. I did about thirty shows during my high school years. Theatre kept me focused, taught me dedication and commitment, and really shaped the person I am today.
O&AN: When was the moment that you knew that theatre was an important part of your journey, and what happened from there?
BM: When I was 17, I was rehearsing the play Marvin’s Room. We had just begun tech week, and we found out that my grandfather was not doing well. With the blessing of my cast and director, I flew to Ohio to see my grandfather. I got to see him right before he passed away. I flew back to open Marvin’s Room. In the play, there is a scene where my character is looking through an old toolbox and talks about his grandfather, who has passed away. Well, my grandfather happened to be a carpenter and when I was young, we used to build a lot of things together. It was my first taste of “art imitating life.” That is when I knew that theatre was real. It meant something, and it had to be a part of my life forever.
O&AN: What is the mission of the Music City Theatre Company? What shows have you done and what’s on your plate for 2015?
BM: Music City Theatre Company’s mission is to provide the Nashville community with thought-provoking, socially relevant work with a strong vision. Our past shows include several original musical reviews called “Songs We'll Never Sing,” where men and woman sing songs originally performed by performers of the opposite sex, the Tennessee premieres of Venus In Fur and Other Desert Cities, and the critically-acclaimed original musical Casey Stampfield: The Musical. Coming up in 2015, we will present The Vagina Monologues (February 12–14) as a benefit for the YWCA of Nashville, to which all proceeds will be donated. Then, we will present The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer (April 9–18). Also, look for an original Christmas musical in December.
O&AN: What are your thoughts on Nashville as a theatre town?
BM: I find Nashville to be an interesting theatre town. Having started my theatre company seven years ago without knowing a single person in the theatre community, I have learned a lot along the way. Nashville can seem theatre company saturated at times, but I think it is great to have that many creative outlets. I love the folks that take risks and don’t do the same shows that everyone else has done, or the same shows that have been done over and over again for fifty years.
I come from a very liberal theatrical background, so sometimes I don’t understand when people tell me that certain words or themes will be offensive to people because we are in the south. Well, I guess I give my audiences more credit than that. I am not into shock for shock value sake. I am into finding pieces that incite strong feelings, pieces that make me feel something real. After all, if theatre doesn’t make you feel something, then what is the point?
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