BWW Review: Nolan Makes Impressive Nashville Children's Theatre Debut With THE HUNDRED DRESSES Taylor Kelly, William Barry Scott, Tamiko Robinson and Catherine Birdsong Ernie Nolan , Nashville Children's Theatre's new executive artistic director, makes an impressive debut with The Hundred Dresses, the initial show of his first official season as the leader of the country's oldest theater for younger audiences. Nolan's predecessor, the late and great Scot Copeland , led NCT through tremendous growth during his tenure and he is, without question, a hard act to follow. But with the lyrical, graceful and heartfelt The Hundred Dresses, Nolan proves himself both capable and imaginative, ensuring that Copeland's legacy - indeed the legacy of every individual who has contributed to Nashville Children's Theatre's stellar reputation in the world of theater for younger audiences, will live on. In fact, there is no doubt that Nolan (whose own resume rivals that of Copeland as a director, playwright and arts administrator - and a leader in his field) is the man for the job. Playwright William Kent Williams' adaptation of Eleanor Estes' beloved book, which focuses on bullying and prejudice in an American school more than half a century ago, could not possibly be more relevant or prescient in today's atmosphere of bias and distrust that permeates every segment of our lives. The Hundred Dresses opens NCT's 2017-18 season with style and assurance, set to run through October 3, touching the hearts of audiences with its eloquent tale of young Wanda Petronski (who is played with tremendous spirit and warmth by Kristin McCandless), a Polish immigrant assigned to Room 13 of Jefferson School in an unnamed town (although Estes' book tells us it's in Connecticut), which like so many others like it, is resistant to change and suspicious of newcomers, particularly those who speak with an accent and come from far away countries of which the other children are only vaguely aware. Directed with confidence and commitment by Nolan, and featuring a cast of five accomplished Nashville actors who bring to vivid life the characters from Estes' book to tell its story that is sure to challenge every member of its audiences to be better people, to treat one another with respect and to celebrate the differences found among them. Although perhaps that description seems heavy-handed and fairly predictable, The Hundred Dresses is anything but that - rather, it offers, in compelling fashion, a universal story that continues to deliver much-needed lessons about the dangers of foolishly and needlessly allowing oneself to be swayed by the misguided notions of the more popular kids in class: succumbing to peer pressure เสื้อคู่ ราคาถูก in order to fit into some preconceived grammar school archetype and to avoid the new and different things in life while perceiving them as foreign and mysterious. Nolan's cast, led by iconic Nashville actor William Barry Scott as the avuncular Mr. Mason , the teacher of Room 13, represents in some ways the evolution of the local theater community. With the wealth of Scott's experiences leading them, the younger, less experienced, members of the ensemble benefit from his generosity as an actor that somehow comes across the footlights as a palpable, and in many ways remarkable, demonstration of his creative gifts.
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