TPAC to Honor John Seigenthaler and First Amendment Center with ONCE Sponsorship
NASHVILLE -- The Tennessee Performing Arts Center announced it will provide the sponsorship of the Nashville performance of ONCE to the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center in honor of John Seigenthaler, who died in July.
“This summer, Nashville and the nation lost a ‘once in a lifetime’ individual in John,” said Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC president and chief executive officer. “The run of ONCE next week and the beginning of our new Broadway season provides us with the earliest opportunity to pay tribute to a man who not only impacted our nation’s history in the spheres of media, politics, and civil rights, but who advocated for TPAC’s creation and spoke often about the power of the performing arts.”
Seigenthaler and the First Amendment Center, which he founded in 1991, have collaborated for more than a decade with TPAC Education programmers, and the continuing work of the center closely aligns with TPAC’s mission statement. O’Brien said she hopes the sponsorship, which can be worth up to tens of thousands of dollars in promotional value, will raise awareness for the center and its efforts to defend freedom of expression.
“John’s life was marked by achievements equally passionate and steadfast. Specifically, he was one of the great champions of the First Amendment and civil liberties,” O’Brien said. “Those of us who had the privilege of working with him saw firsthand his dedication in defending freedom of expression; a defense without which we wouldn’t have the live theatre we have today.”
ONCE is the winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Based on the Academy Award-winning film, the musical is the story of an Irish musician and a Czech immigrant drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, their unexpected friendship and collaboration evolves into a powerful but complicated romance, heightened by the raw emotion of the songs they create together.
The musical, with its Irish setting and its prominent and passionate support for the creative process, offers a fitting tribute – especially in Nashville’s expansive creative community – to Seigenthaler, an Irishman who aggressively defended the freedom of expression.
“John Seigenthaler’s lifelong celebration of free expression extended beyond words, to symbolic speech and certainly to the powerful medium of music,” said Gene Policinski, chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the First Amendment Center. “The vibrant songs and spirit of ONCE are in keeping with that celebration of one of our core freedoms.”
In addition to providing promotional exposure for the center, TPAC will honor Seigenthaler on Tuesday, September 16, with a pre-show toast. ONCE plays at TPAC September 16-21 and is the first touring Broadway production featured in the 2014-15 HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC season.