War Horse gallops into TPAC

Albert and Joey. Andrew Veenstra (Albert) with Christopher Mai, Derek Stratton, Rob Laqui (Joey) from “War Horse” (Photo © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg)

Albert and Joey. Andrew Veenstra (Albert) with Christopher Mai, Derek Stratton, Rob Laqui (Joey) from “War Horse” (Photo © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg)

The National Theatre of Great Britain’s epic War Horse, winner of five 2011 Tony Awards including Best Play, makes its Nashville premiere in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall June 3-8. Michael Morpurgo’s beloved novel, War Horse, is also the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s feature film of the same name, which earned six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

War Horse is the powerful story of young Albert’s beloved horse Joey, who has been enlisted to fight for the English in World War I. Joey is caught in enemy crossfire and ends up serving both sides of the war before landing in no man’s land. Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home. What follows is a remarkable tale of courage, loyalty and friendship, filled with stirring music and songs and told with some of the most innovative stagecraft of our time.

“We are so fortunate and honored to present this exceptional piece of theatre with our Broadway season. Staged by a brilliant creative team, this epic and moving story takes your breath away with some of the finest artistry I have seen on the stage,” said Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC president/CEO. “The imaginative interplay with the audience brings the horses to life right before their eyes in ways that communicate action and powerful emotion. It is both magical and meaningful as a loving tribute to the role animals play in war and a powerful message for peace.”

The tour of War Horse, which was adapted from Morpurgo’s book by Nick Stafford, is directed by Bijan Sheibani based on the original Tony Award-winning direction by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris. It is presented in association with Handspring Puppet Company. At the heart of the show are life-sized puppets, which bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.

In addition to Best Play, War Horse received Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Play (Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris), Best Scenic Design of a Play (Rae Smith), Best Lighting Design of a Play (Paule Constable), and Best Sound Design of a Play (Christopher Shutt). A Special Tony Award was given to Handspring Puppet Company for their integral work on the production.

War Horse received its world premiere in a limited engagement at the National’s Olivier Theatre in 2007. The play returned to the National Theatre for a second run playing in 2008-09 before transferring to the West End’s New London Theatre in Spring 2009 where it continues to play an open-ended run. The American premiere was in Spring 2011 at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in New York’s Lincoln Center. War Horse has been seen by over four million people worldwide. For more information, visit .

War Horse is the sixth production featured in the HCA/TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series. TPAC reminds ticket buyers that the only official place to buy tickets online is www.tpac.org.