Shakespeare in the Park
The Nashville Shakespeare Festival (NSF) continues its beloved tradition of Shakespeare in the Park from Thursday, August 10 – Sunday, September 17 at Centennial Park’s
What happens when two college cohorts come together inside a black box theater with a live band, a bar, and special guests? The Ben & Morey Show, Nashville’s own late-night talk show. The weekly performance, which the duo puts on Thursday nights at the Centennial Performing Arts Studios, has featured local celebs like former Tennessee Titan Eddie George, a professional puppeteer, and “Santa” of Santa’s Pub fame. With producer Davis Hunt, Oddo and Hill (whose day jobs include public relations and launching a startup) are putting on a grassroots show—and nailing it. See it live—their last show of 2015 is December 10, and tickets are $10 at the door. More information at facebook.com/benandmoreyshow.
Ages: 26 (Oddo) and 25 (Hill)
Our town: Hill believes Nashville is the perfect location for this particular show and format. “There’s a built-in foothold for creativity in a city like Nashville, and it spans a lot wider than music,” he says. “The support we’ve received for this project has been amazing—whether it’s people coming to watch the show, the guests, or the volunteers that approach us wanting to help out.”
Magic moment: The duo describes their talk show as “lightning in a bottle.” Things kick off with Dr. Soul’s Wholly Funk Band, whom Oddo says “hit their walk-on music just right—and they’re available for parties.” Guests seem to warm up easily during each show, he adds, and the cohosts can tell when they’ve reached a point in the conversation where their guests “lean back in their chair and start to enjoy themselves.”
Guest services: “We started this because we really like to talk to people and everyone’s got a story to tell,” says Hill. “What we found is that people really like to talk about themselves. People like to feel appreciated and valued. And you don’t have to be a big-name actor to have people want to listen to you. Some of the best bits on Letterman or Conan are when they go out and talk to regular people. For us, it’s great to have someone who does something proficiently and to try to mine comedy out of it.”
Dream date: Oddo, who occasionally refers to himself in the third person, says his ideal guest would be from, of all places, the Nashville Zoo. “I want them to bring on a bonobo [primate]. Ben Oddo wants to meet a bonobo. I want us to connect on an emotional level. I have this vision of him coming to me, me coming to him, hugging…I just want to rock him.”