Ballet Memphis sparkles - Andrea Zucker

Experience The Performing Arts In Memphis

Though live music gets the lion’s share of attention, it’s probably more accurate to say that Memphis is a place where all art forms thrive. Theater is no exception. Memphis theaters are highly diverse, extremely talented and focused on providing great performances to the public. Often times that’s as simple as hosting national Broadway musicals. Other times, it’s fostering and developing emerging talent before sending it out into the world. Whether you prefer classical music or experimental dance, the Memphis theater scene is alive and kicking.

DOWNTOWN

Orpheum Theatre

A stunning jewel among the theaters of Memphis, the Orpheum Theatre was originally built in 1890 as the Grand Opera House on the corner of Main and Beale. More than a century later, a rebuilt and newly renovated Orpheum still stands as one of the South’s finest theaters, having hosted world-class entertainment such as Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Dylan, and Arcade Fire. The Orpheum’s Broadway Series brings popular musicals and dramas to the gilded stage each season. 

The 2017-2018 Broadway Series includes The Phantom of the Opera (November - December 2017), The Color Purple (February 2018), and Wicked (March 2018), to name a few. In 2019, the Orpheum will host the iconoclastic smash-hit musical Hamilton in Memphis for the first time.

In 2015, the Halloran Centre opened next door to the Orpheum Theatre as an additional performance and conference space in a luxurious modern venue. In 2018, the Halloran Centre will host the stage production of Elvis - Back to Live!, Mandy Gonzalez (current star of Broadway hit Hamilton), and more. 

For a quintessential Orpheum experience, make reservations for the pre-theatre meal at the historic Majestic Grille or enjoy modern gastropub fare and cocktails at South of Beale. If the night is still young when the final curtain closes, take your group and head to one of Memphis’ late-night dives for post-show drinks 

Cannon Center For Performing Arts

As one of the nation’s best acoustic facilities, the Cannon Center in downtown Memphis is a magical experience for witnessing both classical and popular musical performances. Most notably home to the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, the Cannon Center hosts the MSO from October to May each year. 

Before your evening at the Symphony, enjoy fine dining with a decidedly Southern flair at Felicia Suzanne’s, or, if you’re feeling indecisive, try all the things at Flight Restaurant.

 

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OVERTON SQUARE

Playhouse on the Square

Playhouse on the Square is the city’s professional resident theater, anchoring the Overton Square theatre district with performances of popular and well-known dramas and musicals like Peter PanOnce, and Dreamgirls in modern, upscale setting. Upgrade your evening at the theater with a pre-show dinner at the nearby Restaurant Iris.

For more art house fare and intimate dramas, head across the street to Playhouse’s affiliate theater, The Circuit Playhouse. Laugh with the locals at shows like David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries and James and the Giant Peach. After the show, enjoy a local beer at Boscos Squared or wind down with a cocktail from one of Bari Ristorante’s talented mixologists. 

The intimate atmosphere and elegant fine dining French cuisine by Chef Kelly English at Restaurant Iris will complete your perfect night on the town.

Ballet Memphis

Memphis’ professional ballet company beckons performing arts lovers to its new midtown home in Overton Square. The modern architecture of this new community and performance space was unveiled in mid-2017. Ballet Memphis’ Overton Square location hosts dance classes and a restaurant as well as modern performances such as Take Shape and Small Spaces, while the company’s classical repertory like Peter Pan and The Nutcracker are still performed at downtown’s Orpheum Theatre. Head just up the street for dinner at Cooper Young’s Sweet Grass restaurant for lowcountry cuisine before the performance.

Hattiloo Theatre

Hattiloo Theatre is the only freestanding Black repertory theatre in five surrounding states, offering an incredibly unique performing arts experience in the heart of Memphis’ Overton Square theatre district. Each season brings powerful dramas such as Selma and Raisin to the stage, in addition to . Beyond the 2017-2018 season, Hattiloo will welcome new artistic director Katori Hall, the award-winning playwright behind The Mountaintop, which opened on Broadway starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Basset.

Enthusiasts of every age will enjoy Memphis' performing arts scene from opera, theatre, ballet and the symphony

EAST/SUBURBS

Germantown Performing Arts Center

Venture outside of the city core to Germantown for even more unique theater options. The Germantown Performing Arts Center, or GPAC, is one of the finest spaces in the region to find performances of musicians, dancers, singers and actors. With nearly perfect acoustics, GPAC’s season is often an eclectic collection of performers, including classical, jazz, singer-songwriter, swing-revival, and kid-friendly artists. If you haven’t checked off The Commissary off your list of Memphis barbecue to try, this is the perfect time to do so.

Theatre Memphis

Don’t underestimate the talent and charm of Memphis' longstanding community theatre when it comes to heartfelt drama and fun, beloved musicals. Theatre Memphis offers a varied season of shows each year on three different stages. The 2017-2018 seasons bring East Memphis the classic A Christmas Carol for the holidays and August Osage County and 42nd Street in the spring, to name a few. Take your theatre date to dinner at Memphis favorite Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen for inventive, award-winning Italian cuisine, or take the group to have drinks at one of Memphis' cocktail bars after the show.