NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Actors Bridge Ensemble (ABE) has today announced its 2022 Season which will include THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES by Eve Ensler, TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Nia Vardalos based on the bestselling book by Cheryl Strayed, ACT LIKE A GRRRL 2022 and the world premiere of THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY by Nashville’s Cynthia C. Harris, plus their monthly storytelling series, FIRST TIME STORIES.
The professional troupe’s COVID Safety Protocols have allowed ABE to return to in-person programming while caring first and foremost for the well-being of actors, designers and audiences, according to a press release. Consultation with medical advisors has given the company confidence that it can proceed with producing plays again in 2022.
“Our last in-person production was THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at City Winery in February 2020. It feels fitting that our return is with this Actors Bridge classic, which Nashville keeps saying they still love to hear,” says Vali Forrister, ABE Producing Artistic Director. “We first produced THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES in 2000. While it’s not as controversial as it used to be, it continues to inspire and change people’s lives when they experience it.”
The proceeds from THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES will help support Act Like a GRRRL and offer teenage girls in financial need the tools to find their voices, speak their truths and develop the confidence to stand up for themselves and their beliefs.
TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS was slated to be part of ABE’s 2020 season that was canceled due to COVID-19. Variety calls it a “theatrical hug for turbulent times” – exactly what Nashville needs right now.
Forrister will return to the stage for the first time in seven years (since ABE’s production of THE NETHER) to play the role of “Sugar.” Founding board member and program committee chair Pierre Johnson explains, “Vali spends so much time teaching, producing and administrating for Actors Bridge that she rarely gets time to be onstage. We think it is important for our students to see her in action.
“I remember the first time I saw her perform. It was in TALLEY’S FOLLY (by Lanford Wilson, which ABE presented in its 1996-97 season). I had been studying Meisner for a while, but it was in seeing Vali act that I finally understood what the technique was really all about. Some moments are burned in your memory. That’s one for me.”
ACT LIKE A GRRRL will perform at the end of June as the GRRRLS do every summer. ABE will wrap up its 2022 Season with the World Premiere of Cynthia Harris’ new play THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY which was initially sparked by a conversation between Cynthia and Vali exactly seven years ago.
“With this season, we are continuing to dig deep into the power of stories to make us feel less alone and help us feel more deeply known,” says Vali. “Our mission is to tell the stories Nashville needs to hear.
“Right now, those are stories of hope and belonging.”
Actors Bridge is both a professional theater company and Nashville’s longest-running acting school. It trains actors in the Meisner Technique and supplements that training with other courses. Beginning in March 2022, ABE will partner with the René Millan Acting Studio to provide classes in the Suzuki Method and Acting for the Camera.
Actors Bridge Ensemble 2022 Season
First Time Stories
Third Friday of the month, 6-8 p.m.
Venue: Actors Bridge Studio (4610 Charlotte Ave) Tickets: $5
Ticket Link: https://bit.ly/FTS-12-19-21
First kiss, first heartbreak, first bike ride, first time you broke the rules. The firsts in our
lives form compelling and touching moments of real-life theater. And, we all have an endless
supply. Now in its 10th year, FIRST TIME STORIES is a great way to meet new people, connect across shared experiences and radical differences. You may come in knowing no one, but you will leave with a room full of friends. That’s the power of stories.
THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES
by Eve Ensler
A benefit for Act Like a GRRRL
Director: Vali Forrister
Date: Wednesday, Feb 9 at 7 p.m.
Venue: City Winery Nashville (609 Lafayette St) Tickets: $25-40
Ticket link: https://bit.ly/TheVaginaMonologues2-9-22
Twenty years ago Actors Bridge Ensemble was the first to bring THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES to town in what has become known as a “very high-profile annual communal event in Nashville ” (Nashville Scene). The play introduces a wildly divergent gathering of female-identifying voices including a six-year-old girl, a 70-something New Yorker, a vagina workshop participant, a woman who witnesses the birth of her granddaughter, a Bosnian survivor of rape, and a feminist, happy to have found a man who “liked to look at it.” All proceeds benefit Act Like a GRRRL, a writing and performance program that inspires teenage girls to find their voice and speak their truths on stage and in life.
Presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS
Based on the Book by Cheryl Strayed Adapted for the Stage by Nia Vardalos
Co-Conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail, and Nia Vardalos
Director: Leah Lowe
Dates: April 1-3 and 6-10, 2022 Venue: Actors Bridge Studio Tickets: $25-30
Ticket Link: https://bit.ly/ABE-TBT
Based on the best-selling book by Cheryl Strayed (author of WILD), TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS follows the relationships between an anonymous advice columnist named Sugar and the many real-life readers who pour out their hearts to her. Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) adapts Strayed’s book into an enrapturing and uplifting play rich with humor, insight, and compassion. TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS is about reaching when you’re stuck, recovering when you’re broken, and finding the courage to ask the questions that are hardest to answer. Contains adult content.
Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.
Act Like a GRRRL 2022 By the GRRRLS
Director: Vali Forrister
Dates: June 24-25 Tickets: $10-15
Celebrating our 18th year, Act Like a GRRRL is a devised theater piece created by a group of teenage girls who come together to tell the stories of their lives. Join us for wit, wisdom and inspiration from the cusp of adulthood.
About Act Like a GRRRL:
Created and developed by Vali Forrister in 2004, Act Like a GRRRL (ALAG) is an autobiographical
writing and performance program that empowers teenage girls to write about their lives, and
transform their thoughts into monologues, dances, and songs for public performance. As GRRRLS find their voice and speak their truths on stage, they develop the self-confidence and leadership skills to live more empowered lives. Participants report a significant increase in self-respect, academic excellence, improved relationships with family / friends, intolerance for bullying and hope for the future. Now accepting applications for ALAG 2022. Click here to learn more.
THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY
by Cynthia C. Harris
Director: Cynthia C. Harris
Dates: July 2022 (exact dates and venue to be announced in the spring) Tickets: $25-30
THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY is an exploration of memory, purpose, community and environment. Local playwright Cynthia Harris (HOW TO CATCH A FLYING WOMAN) again combines her passion for art and public health, as she explores a foundational relationship with early local HIV educator and radical trouble maker, the late and beloved Deidre Williams. THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY is part of Ms. Harris’ forthcoming THE MAGNOLIA TRILOGY. Ms. Harris is a member of our Directors Inclusion Initiative.