Art Rocks Tupelo: Professionals enhance major productions

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Nearly all of Tupelo’s arts organizations are celebrating what they have to offer in one weekend.
Tupelo Ballet presents “Cinderella,” Tupelo Symphony Orchestra will stage “The Mikado,” Tupelo Community Theatre will produce “To Kill A Mockingbird” and Tupelo Concert Association presents “The Legacy of Floyd Cramer,” all this weekend, as a part of Art Rocks Tupelo.
In addition to the many locals who’ll share their talents this weekend, there are a few professionals – and locals with professional experience – who’ll help make Art Rocks Tupelo a memorable time.
Nicholas Wuehrmann returns to Tupelo to star in “The Mikado.”
He also performed with the symphony the last time they staged an opera. He’ll star as Ko-Ko in “The Mikado.”
“It’s hysterical,” Wuehrmann said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “The dialogue is very witty, and there are plot twists.”
The New York City-based actor has performed in more than 300 productions, ranging from Shakespeare to singing with the London Symphony Orchestra. He’s also directed a number of productions and has recently starred in TV and film, including “Redrum” on Investigation Discovery and Biography Channel’s “Celebrity Ghost Stories.” He just wrapped filming a scene as a murder victim on CBS’s new drama, “Elementary.”
Theater, however, is his first love.
“I love the immediacy of theater, and the connection with the theater audience,” he said. “I love that you can take a character from beginning to end in one performance.”

‘Mockingbird’ sings, ‘Cinderella’ shines
Tupelo native Suzye Sheffield is directing TCT’s “To Kill A Mockingbird,” and she’s bringing her professional experience from her time at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre with her.
“The most important thing to me is that I want to convey the author’s intent,” she said of Harper Lee’s “Mockingbird.”
Her crew includes more theater professionals. Stage design expert Steve Miller designed the set, and Cheryl Sproles, a Tupelo resident who spent years in New York theater, is her stage manager.
Sheffield’s cast is made up of stage veterans and first-timers, and she’s confident in the production.
“We have a fantastic cast,” she said. “This is such an important work, and that’s the appeal. There’s some pressure, but it’s also a lot of fun.”
“Cinderella” will feature Tupelo Ballet’s best dancers, but will get a little help from dancers from Ballet Arkansas and Ballet West, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Two of Ballet West’s dancers are the stars of the show: Michael Bearden, a principal artist, will star as the Prince, and corps artist Lindsay Duerfeldt will star as Cinderella.
Before Saturday’s performance, fans can meet the cast at a “Cinderella” tea at the Tupelo Middle School cafeteria.

Art Rocks brings busy weekend
The Tupelo Concert Association’s final concert of the season features Jason Coleman, grandson of Nashville musician Floyd Cramer. He’ll present his granddad’s hits, plus a few of his favorite selections, tonight at the Link Centre.
The GumTree Museum of Art has two big events, beginning with the Champagne and Sushi reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday. Kimonos, Bonsai trees and Japanese woodblock prints will be on display, and it’s $10.
The next evening is Mustache Bash at the museum, which includes a public shaving, cologne contest, mustache awards, live music and hors d’oeuvres. The party starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, and tickets are $20. For more info on both events, call the museum at (662) 844-2787.
For film lovers, check out the Tupelo Film Alliance’s meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at Nautical Whimsey.
The program will spotlight Art Pinkerton, who’ll present “The Use of YouTube as a Means of Collaboration in Musical Performances to Communicate and Educate About Our World.” There’s a $5 donation for non-Alliance members.
For more information, call Pat Rasberry at (662) 841-6521 or visit
The weekend includes a Downtown Tupelo Art Walk from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, and rounds out with downtown Tupelo merchants open house from noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
For a complete list of events, visit

There are several ticket packages available for patrons to pick-and-choose what events they’d like to attend. There are ticket packages for three to six events. Prices range from $30-75/three events, $50-100/four events, $75-125/five events and $100-150/six events.
To purchase ticket packages, visit

Dim the lights
• What: Tupelo Community Theatre presents “To Kill a Mockingbird”
• When: 7:30 p.m. tonight-Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
• Where: The Lyric
• Cost: $18/adults, $6/students
• Info:, (662) 844-1935

On stage
• What: Tupelo Ballet presents “Cinderella”
• When: 2 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Tupelo Civic Auditorium
• Cost: $30/adults, $20/seniors, $15/students and children
• Info: (662) 844-1928,
• Extra: There will be a “Cinderella” tea at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Civic for children up to second grade. “Cinderella”-inspired costumes are welcome, and they can meet the cast. Cost is $10.

Check it out
• What: Tupelo Symphony Orchestra presents “The Mikado”
• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Performing Arts Center, Tupelo High School
• Cost: $25/adults, $10/students
• Info: (662) 842-8433,

Pre-concert dinner
There will be a pre-concert dinner at the Link Centre Reception Hall from 5-7 p.m. Saturday. The menu includes Thai cucumber salad; pho bo, miso and ginger broth with crab dumplings; seared tuna with edamame hummus, dynamite rolls, gyoza/pot stickers; soba with duck and long onions; curry bar; kung pao chicken; spinach with sesame dressing; fried rice; sticky rice with mango and green tea ice cream. The dinner is $35 with wine available for purchase. To make reservations, call (662) 690-4011.

Music and more
• What: Tupelo Concert Association presents The Legacy of Floyd Cramer, featuring Jason Coleman
• When: 7:30 p.m. tonight
• Where: Link Centre Concert Hall
• Cost: $25
• Info: (662) 842-3173, (662) 842-4569 or (662) 840-2658

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