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Warm up with winter Shakespeare

Escape the freezing winds of winter by losing yourself in the romance of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, “Twelfth Night.”

The Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s winter production follows the story of twins Viola and Sebastian who have been separated by a violent shipwreck. After washing up on the shores of an unknown land— and believing her brother to be lost forever— Viola disguises herself as a man and finds work as a page in the house of Duke Orsino.

Set in the mystical, imaginary land of Illyria, “Twelfth Night” focuses on love’s power to conquer the negativity that comes with life and on the misplaced love and mistaken identities that surround Viola and Sebastian.

“The play begins with everyone experiencing loss, grief or despair, but time, music and love heal all and the ending of the story is very happy,” said Denice Hicks, artistic director for NSF.

Hicks’s design for the setting and interpretation of this performance was inspired by illustrators and artists of the early 20th century: namely Maxfield Parrish and N. C. Wyeth.

“We wanted it to be a beautiful fairytale-esque production that was inspired by 20th century fantasy painters,” said Belmont student Samantha Calatozzo, who will be portraying Olivia’s handmaid in “Twelfth Night.”

Calatozzo, who also performed in “As You Like It” in NSF’s Shakespeare in the Park in August, described the show as being about love, relationships and music.

“The show also has an incredible original score incorporated in it as well. Music is a wonderful way to convey that deep passionate emotion that these characters are feeling,” Calatozzo said.

Overall, the use of original music and fairytale setting have combined to create a whimsical story that is a feast for the senses and a treat for all ages.

If the romantic story and fantastical setting are not enough to persuade students to attend, the amount of Belmont influence on the production should be worthy of support. Both students and faculty have worked very closely with the Nashville Shakespeare Festival in producing “Twelfth Night.”

“We could not have done this show without the Belmont students and faculty. Every part of the production has Belmont involvement from our wonderful actress, Samantha Calatozzo, and resourceful props designer, Katherine Hill, to the glorious music by Rollie Mains and brilliant set design by Paul Gatrell,” said Hicks.

NSF’s current production will be held in Belmont’s Troutt Theater from Jan. 8 to Jan. 25 with nightly performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2:30 p.m. matinees on Sundays. The production wraps up its run at Lipscomb University Jan. 28 to Jan. 31.

There will also be special matinees for students every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 10 a.m.

Pricing varies depending on the performance time. Tickets are only $8 for students during the school matinees, but are $13 in advance and $16 at the door for night performances. Adult tickets are $25 in advance and $28 at the door.

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