It’s Shakespeare time in Tennessee!

Betsy PickleOur Town Arts

It’s a weekend of firsts and lasts on the local theater scene.

Tonight launches the Tennessee Stage Company’s 29th season of Shakespeare on the Square with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The comic tale of mixed-up lovers and mischievous fairies alternates nights with “The Comedy of Errors,” which begins tomorrow night (7/12).

Shows are at 7 p.m. on Market Square, with “Dream” running July 11, 13, 19, 21, 25, 27, Aug. 2, 4, 8, 10, and “Errors” playing July 12, 14, 18, 20, 26, 28, Aug. 1, 3, 9, 11. General admission is free, with $10 donations encouraged. There will also be reserved VIP seats for $15.

For those who prefer their Shakespeare with a soupçon of AC, there will be a matinee of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 21, and one of “The Comedy of Errors” at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 28, both at Scruffy City Hall. Admission for each is $15.

There will also be a free indoor performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, July 29, at the Blount County Library in Maryville.

As for lasts, “Circle Mirror Transformation” wraps up Sunday, July 14, at Flying Anvil Theatre in Rocky Hill, and “45 Seconds From Broadway” ends its run the same day at Theatre Knoxville Downtown.

Live from Market Square, etc.

Greg Tardy

Market Square will continue its Jazz on the Square series throughout Shakespeare season – the jazz dates fall on Tuesdays, when the Bard troupers take a break. That means you have two chances to catch the Greg Tardy Quartet this month: July 16 and July 30. Shows are 8-10 p.m. The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra will move inside the Square Room on July 23, but it’s still a free show.

If you need a live-music fix tonight, catch Clark Paterson performing on host Wayne Bledsoe’s Six O’Clock Swerve at Barley’s, broadcast live on WDVX.

‘Jaws’ makes ‘Mermaid’ sing (kind of)

Summer Movie Magic continues at the Tennessee Theatre this weekend with “Jaws” at 8 p.m. Friday, July 12, and “The Little Mermaid” Sing-Along at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 14. (You’ve gotta dig the oceanic theme, but I somehow think there won’t be much overlap in the audience.) Then, mark your calendars for next weekend’s classics: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (“It’s just a flesh wound!”) on Friday, July 19, and “The Wizard of Oz” (“I’ll get you, my pretty!”) on Sunday, July 21.

Knoxville native Betsy Pickle is a veteran entertainment, features and news reporter best known as the longtime film critic for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

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