TSF cast, crew to bring Top 40 to life at annual Talent Showcase

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Texas Shakespeare Festival company members get plenty of opportunities to showcase their acting skills but on Wednesday, July 25, they will get a chance to wow the crowds with their musical chops.

Each year, the festival company stages an exclusive performance unlike their usual performances of classical and contemporary theater. Instead of reciting Shakespearean sonnets or acting out the Bard’s famous scenes, company members perform musical numbers, often from Broadway plays or famous movies and TV shows.

This year, the theme of the talent showcase is “Twentieth Century Top 40,” featuring popular song selections from the past century as well as more recent tunes.

TSF Associate Artistic Director Meaghan Simpson said the show will feature a variety of performers and song styles.

“We have 24 company members and 7 members from the SummerTime Theater Company from Chongqing, China featured in the show. They are not all actors, but from various departments like stage management, properties, carpentry, and lighting,” Simpson said in an email. “Like in previous years, we will feature musical numbers that are woven together by a narrative thru-line featuring company members Matthew Simpson and Kyle Miller. The theme of this year’s show is “Twentieth Century Top 40”, which will showcase the most popular songs through the entire century decade by decade. A few of the featured numbers are: ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’ from 1928, ‘La Vie En Rose’ from 1945, ‘Jailhouse Rock’ from 1957, ‘Killing Me Softly’ from 1973, and ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ from 1981. Throughout the evening, you will see the company members play piano, guitar, ukulele, drums, banjo, violin and cello.”

Due to popular demand, the musical event is being staged at a 2 p.m. matinee performance in addition to the 7:30 p.m. evening performance, both on July 25. Simpson said the evening performance is almost sold out but tickets are still available for the matinee show.

The TSF Guild will present an ice cream social event in the lobby of the Anne Dean Turk fine arts building just outside the Van Cliburn auditorium between the two performances. The first event will directly follow the matinee show and the second event will be at 6:30 before the evening performance.

Tickets to the talent showcase are available now but must be purchased separately from tickets to the regular shows. Season pass tickets do not cover entrance to the showcase event. Purchase tickets online by visiting TexasShakespeare.com or by calling the TSF Box Office at 903-983-8601 Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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