Sunday Miller is a 15-year-old girl with a secret. She has super powers. After deciding to use one of them to see her own future, she decides to go back in time and re-live the same day, using her super powers to try and change the outcome. On the way she uncovers the secret pain of her family and friends and does her best to reach out and connect.
Got a theater-loving child who’d love to get involved locally? Take him to the theater! Catch a performance of “Showmance,” presented by The Theater Bug and Studio Tenn this weekend. The upshot? “The Bug” — as it’s nicknamed — offers remarkable and original opportunities for kids.
The Theater Bug partners with Studio Tenn this month to present a cast of 45 actors ages 6 – 17 in Showmance (March 11 – 13), a new musical written by Theater Bug Founder Cori Anne Laemmel and composer Eric Fritsch. Theater Bug first produced the show in 2013; Studio Tenn’s Jamison Hall theater is providing space for the remounting.
“We are thrilled to be taking our partnership to the next level and work together with The Theater Bug to bring their incredibly talented and hardworking young performers to our main stage,” says Jake Speck, Studio Tenn’s managing director.
Showmance is about kids with all different kinds of backgrounds and interests finding community in the theater. “Theater is such a melting pot,” Laemmel says. “It has a way of bringing all kinds of people together and creating mutual empathy, understanding and admiration,” she adds.
I can vividly remember my first speaking role in the theater. Well, theater is a bit much—it was my third grade class play. I was Cowslip, a 13-year-old slave girl, in a play adapted from the children’s book of the same name by Betsy Haynes. In an astonishing twist of color-blind casting, my teacher let me have this part full of anguish and soliloquy. I can still remember my sweaty hands, the nights spent memorizing lines at home (with my trusty pink highlighter), and the weekends spent sewing my costume with Mom.
The moment I first heard applause, I was hooked. Something about the entire process of characterization, blocking, rehearsing, and, of course, audience response was deeply addictive. And so began my life shuffling from audition to audition, constantly seeking the unequaled thrill of the stage.
In East Nashville, actress-entrepreneur Cori Anne Laemmel is nurturing this same electric and supportive world for kids through her program The Theater Bug. Laemmel grew up auditioning and performing just like me. She found herself a few years ago post-college in a non-theatrical job longing for that sense of community and support you find with other theater kids and families. She transitioned back to acting, landing roles with the Rep and NCT but still missing the ping of working directly with students. Enter stage left: The Bug.
A look into the beginnings of rehearsals for 7 Ways to Sunday, a new original musical.
7 Ways to Sunday
The Theater Bug
Friday, Jan 29, 2016 7:00 PM
Sunday Miller has secret super powers and has seen her own future. She decides to use her power to travel back in time to relive the same day 7 times in an effort to change the outcome. 7 Ways to Sunday is an original musical that deals with mature themes about teen depression and suicide. We urge discretion to anyone attending with children or those with sensitivities to the subject of depression or suicide.
Anyone who knows Cori Anne Laemmel can’t help but be inspired. As artistic director of The Theater Bug, she has created a remarkable community of young performers through a variety of programs, classes, original plays and musicals. Many of these projects have tackled delicate topics, including everything from bullying and adoption to kids dealing with serious illness or special needs. But The Theater Bug’s latest musical, “7 Ways to Sunday,” may be its most ambitious yet.
For the past couple of years, Cori Laemmel, artistic director of the Theater Bug, has introduced children and audiences to often-challenging topics with grace, imagination and sensitivity. There was “The Barefoot Children in the City of Ward,” exploring serious illness in kids. There was also “Oddly Puddle Is From Inner Space,” about a child on the autism spectrum.
The Tennessean. 2014
The caring and compassionate artists at The Theater Bug – from Artistic Director Cori Anne Laemmel to very young performers – look at the needs, wants, hopes and dreams of children and their families in their programs. Today (Jan. 30) they open Oddly Puddle is from Inner Space, which centers on a non-verbal boy’s world, for a run that ends Feb. 23.
The show is in partnership with The Special Education Advocacy Center (SEAC). The Saturday, Feb. 1 show is free of charge to SEAC families; ticket sales from the Saturday, Feb. 15 performance will benefit SEAC.
Great things in theater really can happen in a strip mall. Case in point: The Theater Bug, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire young people to create community and develop their own confidence through the performing arts.
Founded two-and-a-half years ago by actress/teacher Cori Anne Laemmel, The Theater Bug began life at Donelson's Keeton Theatre, then moved to the Family Wash building in East Nashville. Since October, the company has been operating out of a strip mall at 2618 Gallatin Pike.
Now Laemmel and 50 performers ages 4 to 20 will present the company's first major production at the new venue: The Barefoot Children in the City of Ward, an original play inspired by young people with long-term illnesses. Gilda's Club is a co-sponsor.
Incorporating her own research, feedback from Gilda's Club staffers and interviews with affected families, Laemmel uses both fantasy and symbolism to craft a moving tale set in a pediatric oncology ward, where the children invite the audience into a world of their imagination. It's an all-ages show, though the production features some mature themes.