A fast-paced farce packed with memorable characters, “The Busy Body” runs in the Clarence Brown Theatre’s Carousel Theatre February 22 – March 12, 2017. 

A Pay What You Wish Preview performance, where patrons can name their own price, will be held Wednesday, February 22 from Noon to 7 pm at the theatre. 

A Talk Back with the actors will take place Sunday, March 5 following the matinee. A panel discussion in association with the Commission for Women will take place on March 9 at 3:30 pm in the Carousel Theatre. The Open Captioned performance is Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 pm.

The production is sponsored by the journal “Restoration,” WUOT, WUTK, the Daily Beacon, the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Knoxville Mercury. Free and convenient parking is available in the McClung Tower Garage on Volunteer Boulevard.

In this hilarious restoration comedy, a young woman, her handsome lover, and their friends plot to escape a controlling guardian. Will a nosey nobleman ruin the plan or save the day?

The play was written by Susanna Centlivre in 1709, with adaptations by UT Faculty Misty Anderson and John Sipes.

According to Restoration scholar Anderson, Centlivre’s comedy was the most popular play written by a woman in the eighteenth century and among the 10 most popular plays of the entire period. Audiences in Charleston, Williamsburg, Baltimore, New York, and other colonial theatre towns in the early days of America flocked to it. It even played in Havana and Kingston, Jamaica! 

The play’s pace calls for the kind of physical comedy one might have seen on “The Carol Burnett Show.”  “The Busy Body” gives us a window into the world of marriage at a time when women’s roles were just beginning to change, and playwrights like Centlivre were beginning to see women as equals to men. Manners and codes of conduct required curtsies, bows, and polite forms of address, but marriage contracts were also big business. The two heroines struggle against arrangements that would turn them into mere goods traded between men using secret identities, tricks, messages in code, and helpful waiting maids. The results are hilarious and surprisingly modern; the young women are frank, spunky, and unstoppable, and their lovers seem to love them all the more for it. 

JOHN SIPES (Director) is a Professor in the Department of Theatre at the University of Tennessee. Before joining the UT faculty, he was a Director and the Resident Movement Director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 15 seasons. Prior to his residency at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, he was a Director and Movement Director for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival for 12 seasons, and served as the Festival’s Artistic Director for five seasons. CBT directing credits include: “Titus Andronicus,” “I Am My Own Wife,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Whipping Man,” “RED,” “Fuddy Meers,” “Woyzeck,” “Oedipus the King,” and “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” He also has directed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Illinois Shakespeare Festival and the Milwaukee Rep.  

Musical Director Terry Silver-Alford is a member of the UT Theatre faculty and teaches Musical Theatre Performance, Introduction to the Theatre and Acting. He has worked professionally as a director, musical director, performer and composer at theaters across the country, including the California Theatre Center, Madison Repertory, Madison Children’s Theatre, University of Madison Theatre and Opera Programs, Omaha Playhouse, Nebraska Caravan, Augusta Barn-Michigan, Fireside Theatre-Wisconsin, Light Opera of Oklahoma and the Clarence Brown Theatre. Terry has directed or musically directed numerous productions and has created the scores for four original musicals and a variety of chamber and vocal music pieces. CBT directing credits include: CBT directing credits include “A Shayna Maidel,” “CTRL+ALT+DELETE,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “The Little Shop of Horrors,” “Guys and Dolls,” “Assassins,” “Tick, Tick, Boom,” and “Parade,” among others.

The production features visiting guest artists along with UT Theatre faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

Visiting guest actor, Brain Mani (Sir Francis Gripe) is making his debut with the Clarence Brown Theatre. He begins his 18th season with the American Players Theatre as a core company member in Spring Green, WI this summer.

Visiting guest actor, Charles Pasternak (Marplot) hails from Los Angeles. Previously at the Clarence Brown Theatre, he performed Saturninus in “Titus Andronicus.” He has performed at such regional theaters as Indiana Repetory Theatre, Sierra Repertory Theatre (Sonora), Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Shakespeare Theatre New Jersey, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and the Denver Center.  He is the Artistic Director of The Porters of Hellsgate Theatre Company in Los Angeles.

The UT faculty, graduate and undergraduate actors include: Terry Weber (Sir Jealous Traffick); Jeffrey Dickamore (Sir George Airy); Miguel A. Faña (Servant); Emily Kicklighter (Patch); Charlotte Munson (Miranda); Aaron Orlov (Whisper); Lauren Pennline (Isabinda); Carlène Pochette (Scentwell); Jude Vincent (Charles);Connor Hess (Understudy); Preston Raymer (Servant); and Scott Serro (Servant).

The creative team for this production includes:  UT Faculty Marianne Custer (Costume Designer) and Misty Anderson (Dramaturg); UT MFA candidates Nevena Prodanovic (Scenic Designer) and Maranda DeBusk (Sound Designer); visiting guest designers John Ambrosone (Lighting Designer); and Philip Thompson (Voice and Text Director).  Also contributing to the production are Pedro Tomas (Spanish Dialect Coach), and Caleb Cook (Stage Manager).

The Preview for “The Busy Body” is Wednesday, February 22 followed by Opening Night Friday, February 24. The production runs through March 12. UT faculty/staff, senior citizens, military personnel and families, children and students receive discounts. The Clarence Brown Theatre only sells tickets online through Knoxville Tickets. 

For tickets, call the Clarence Brown Theatre Box Office at 865-974-5161 or order online 24/7 at www.clarencebrowntheatre.com   

With grants from the journal “Restoration,” the UT Office of Communications, and the Office of Experience Learning, selections from the “The Busy Body” will be captured as part of a short documentary film about staging period movement, the work of early women writers, and the opportunities for training graduate and undergraduate students that the UT Theatre program affords.

The non-for-profit documentary will be available at http://theatre.utk.edu/the-busy-body/ and will also be featured in the forthcoming “Routledge Anthology and Sourcebook for Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre,” edited by Misty G. Anderson, Daniel O’Quinn, and Kristina Straub.

With a dual mission to train the next generation of theatre artists and to provide top quality professional theatre, the Clarence Brown Theatre at the University of Tennessee Knoxville is one of only 13 academic LORT (League of Resident Theatre) institutions in the nation.  Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Calvin MacLean and Managing Director David B. Byrd, the CBT season runs from August through May and features eight productions ranging from musicals to drama. 

The CBT provides a cultural resource for both the university and the larger East Tennessee community and affirms diversity and inclusivity in all their forms.

The 2016/2017 remaining season productions include: “Top Girls” and “Around the World in 80 Days.” For more information or tickets, call the CBT Box Office at 865-974-5161 or visit us online at http://clarencebrowntheatre.com/.  Stay connected to the Clarence Brown Theatre on Facebook (Clarence Brown Theatre), follow us on Twitter (@ClarenceBrown) and view Clarence Brown videos on YouTube (Clarence Bro).