There’s Still More To Come As 2016-17 Arts and Music Season Winds Down

If you are like me, the on-rushing signs of summer seem to bring a bit of sadness that the organized arts season is coming to an end. While I used to temper those feelings with remarks about just how much the Knoxville arts scene has grown over the last few years, such remarks now feel simplistic and obvious. In 2017, that growth has become pretty much a given.

Although the arts scene is beginning its summer mode, there is a load of things to catch before Memorial Day in almost every arts category. Here are a few hints.

Marble City Opera


On Thursday and Friday of this week, May 18 and 19, Marble City Opera closes out their season. MCO is offering Hugo Weisgall’s The Stronger at Holly’s Gourmet’s Market (5107 Kingston Pike) at 8pm. Tickets are $20. Although not included in the ticket price, a 6:30 pm pre-show Dinner provided from a special menu prepared for the occasion is available.

The libretto is adapted from Strindberg’s one-act play “the Stronger”

Two women, both actresses, meet in a quiet uptown bar. Estelle (Julia Metry) is very pretty, a brittle vivacious chatterbox. Without invitation she joins Lisa (Denisha Miller) and bombards her with patronizing gosip about her marital happiness, the devotion of Harold, her husband, and her children. The two had been close friends, but Estelle’s intriguging had broken up the friendship. Becoming slightly drunk she works herself into a crisis of nerves, jealousy and self-pity. Carried away by her hysterical suspicions she paints Lisa as a monster of hatred and guile. Suddenly her mercurial nature asserts itself and she relaxes and becomes almost her charming artificial self. Lisa remains silent the entire time and we are left to wonder which woman is “the stronger.”

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra

Also on Thursday and Friday, May 18 and 19, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra closes out its season with an unbelievably eclectic program. The second half of the evening is anchored by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, a work that transcends those all too familiar opening four notes. It’s been several years since Knoxville audiences have heard a performance of the work—don’t miss this one.

When I said “eclectic,” I really meant it. The first half of the program includes three works that run the gamut from turn-of-the-20th Century to practically yesterday. Mason Bates Mothership from 2011 will feature local soloists Christina Horn ( Hudson K ) and UT music faculty member Jorge Variego on bass clarinet.

Following the Bates work comes Richard Strauss’ tone poem, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, a feast for the orchestra. Closing the first half will be a suite of music, Escapades, taken from his score for the film Catch Me If You Can by John Williams. That piece will feature guest saxophonist, Timothy McAllister.

Returning as guest concertmaster for the evening is William Shaub. KSO music director Aram Demirjian conducts. The concerts are at 7:30 pm in the Tennessee Theatre. Tickets.

Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus

“We Are Family”
Saturday, May 20, Bijou Theatre, 8:00 PM

Knoxville Choral Society

2017 Choral Masterworks Concert: Mozart Requiem, KV 626
The Robert Levin edition of this great choral orchestral masterwork, a first time performance in East Tennessee.
Saturday, May 20, at 6:00 P.M.
West Hills Baptist Church, 409 Winston Road
Tickets: Adults: $15; Students: $5
Tickets may be purchased at Rush’s Music, from any choral society member, at the door, or online at
For more information, please visit web site at

Music on the Square (Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Thurs. May 18 – Sixteen-piece big band Ensemble Swing Time at 7:00 p.m.
Tues. May 23 – Jazz on the Square by Marble City 5 at 8:00 p.m.
Thurs. May 25 – Singer-songwriter Jonathan Sexton at 7:00 p.m.
Tues. May 30 – Jazz on the Square by Marble City 5 at 8:00 p.m.


River & Rail Theatre Company: Every Brilliant Thing
Emerald Academy, 220 Carrick Street
Wednesday (May 17) – Saturday (May 20) at 7:30 PM
Sunday (May 21) at 6:30 PM
Saturday (May 20) and Sunday (May 21) at 2:30 PM
See preview in the Knoxville Mercury

Knoxville Children’s Theatre: The Island of Dr. Libris
Knoxville Children’s Theatre, in partnership with The Ritchie Company, will present a world-premiere production of “The Island of Dr. Libris,” based on the 2015 New York Times best-selling novel by Chris Grabenstein.  The play, adapted by Chris Grabenstein and Ronny Venable, will be performed May 5 through May 21, Thursdays and Fridays at 7 PM; Saturdays at 1 PM and 5 PM; Sundays at 3 PM.

Carpetbag Theatre: Cultural Odyssey’s Fully Awake Facing Seventy “Heaven Betta Bea Honky Tonk!”
An evening cabaret with live music, addressing aging and growing old with dignity and security
Beck Cultural Exchange Center, 1927 Dandridge Ave,
Friday, May 19, 2017 & Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 7:30PM.
Tickets are available in advance for $15 at or $20 at the door.

Seventy Thirty Creatives: William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Edited to run approximately 75 minutes
Modern Studio, 109 Anderson Avenue in Happy Holler
8:00 PM on Saturday May 27th

On a Midsummer’s night, four young lovers find themselves tangled about an enchanted forest where sprites lurk and fairies rule. A feuding Fairy King and Queen cross paths with Bottom (Billy Kyle Roach), Quince (Caleb Burnham), and their gang of “rude mechanicals” presenting a play within the play. Chief mischief-maker Robin Goodfellow aka Puck (Raine Palmer) is on-hand to make sure the course of true love is anything but smooth. Games of mayhem, love and fantasy ensue in Shakespeare’s most magical comedy.