What better way to celebrate the announcement of TPAC’s BOLD 40th anniversary season than by looking back at the memories the local nonprofit has helped make for Nashvillians over the past four decades.
We asked the people of Middle Tennessee to share their favorite TPAC memories with us — here are some of our favorites:
“As I walked to the parking garage, I fell in step with a gentleman doing the same. He said something, and I realized it was Garth Brooks,” says Catherine Parker Brown, who told us her story on Facebook about leaving a performance of Peter Pan in the ’90s. “I was young and new to Nashville, but I knew not to ‘fan girl.’ We had a friendly chat, and he was incredibly nice. You never know who you will meet at TPAC!”
For a lot of Nashvillians, TPAC has been a huge part of their lives since childhood.
“Chorus Line was my very first production at 10 years old, then Phantom [of the Opera], Les Misérables, CATS and many others,” said Kasey Joiner on Facebook. “I love the smell of the building and the excitement I get when the house lights go down right before the music starts. There’s nothing I don’t love about this place!”
Though most of her TPAC memories come from years past, Joiner says her favorite of them all happened most recently.
“30 years since my first performance at TPAC, my most cherished memory was a few months ago when we finally got the pleasure of seeing Hamilton,” Joiner continues. “I saw it in NYC and I’m confident that the Nashville production blew the prior show I saw out of the water! Thank you TPAC for always being a part of this theater lovers’ heart.”
For Trisha Lalumondler, it was impossible to just pick one memory.
The first — seeing Camelot with her mother, who inspired Trisha to “be just like her and teach theatre.” The second — taking her mother-in-law, who is deaf, to an interpreted performance of School of Rock.
“She had never been to a Broadway show,” Lalumondler explained on Facebook. “We all shed tears that day. Thank you TPAC for making the arts available to everyone!”
Ben Mickelson was another person having a hard time just picking one memory.
“First is taking my mom to see Phantom [of the Opera] just a year or so before she passed,” Mickelson told us on Facebook. “Second, my wife and I had tickets for Book of Mormon and my brother — who is serving in the navy — made a surprise visit home that weekend. We were able to snag a last-minute seat for him to join us.”
Even for art appreciators out-of-state, like @debbridds73, TPAC is worth the drive.
“We are season ticket holders, and I love the fact that for 20 years we have traveled from Georgetown, KY, to meet dear friends who travel from Paducah, KY,” she told us on Instagram. “We enjoy a Saturday matinee and dinner afterwards.”
@broadwaygal24 is another patron who doesn’t mind taking a road trip for high quality theater.
“Loved seeing Part of the Plan first preview! My mom and I traveled 3 hours to see the show,” she told us on Instagram. “It was a magical experience and I ended up seeing the show a total of 5 times! I’m hopeful it will make it to Broadway soon.”
People like Heather Strange Baker remind us that art appreciation all starts in our schools.
“My love for TPAC started in high school when my drama teacher took us to several plays and musicals,” Baker told us on Facebook. “We saw Fiddler on the Roof, Sound of Music (and got to stay after the show to talk with the actors and a Von Trapp family member) and Death of a Salesman with Hal Halbrook. Just so many memories and I can’t wait to make many more!”
TPAC is so grateful for all the special times our audiences have shared with us. We can’t wait to make many more memories during our BOLD 2020-21 Broadway at TPAC season!
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
By Maya Koziol