Shanktown: World Premiere at Theatreworks

World Premiere Opens Professional Theatre’s 54th Season

There’s a patriarch whose power is waning fast, a questionable friend, an estranged son, and a clinging daughter. Like an ancient Greek tragedy with modern-day laughs, Shanktown is an emotional processing arena that holds the potential to everything from hate to hope.

In her Playhouse on the Square directorial debut, Lorraine Cotten (Tuck Everlasting, Memphis) directs a cast of Memphis theatre veterans as well as performers new to the city.  Memphis theatre veteran Sam Weakley (For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday, Hand to God) leads the cast as patriarch Elwood. Joining Weakley are Playhouse on the Square Resident Company Members Kim Sanders (A Doll’s House, Ivanka vs. Reality) as Lula, Brooke Papritz (Smokey Joe’s Café, When We Get Good Again) as Katrina, and Nathan McHenry (Smokey Joe’s Café, Memphis) as Elwood’s son, Andrew. 

Making her Playhouse on the Square debut is Associate Company Member Courtney Noisette, playing the role of Kamaya. Noisette recently graduated from Oklahoma State University.  Noisette joins Playhouse on the Square after auditioning for the company during the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions hosted by Playhouse on the Square annually in February.

Playhouse on the Square, in partnership with super sponsor Dr. Thomas Ratliff, present the winner of the 2021NewWorks@TheWorks national playwriting competition:


By Mary Donnet Johnson

Running July 8 – July 24


Overton Square Performing Arts District

2085 Monroe Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

Tickets are available now at or by calling the box office, (901) 726-4656.  Shanktown will also be streamed nationwide on the streaming platform Showtix4U.  Tickets to stream the production are available now at


The NewWorks@TheWorks Playwriting Competition provides an outlet for new playwrights to showcase their work and have a chance to see their play produced on a professional level. A panel of local directors, actors, and designers will review all submitted scripts and select six to receive staged readings. After the six readings have been presented, Playhouse on the Square will select two that will receive full productions.  The playwright(s) of each play will be flown to Memphis to take part in the rehearsals and the development of the new work. Along with these fully mounted productions, the two winning works will each be awarded a prize of $750. They will receive world premieres in the upcoming season at Playhouse on the Square’s third performance space, TheatreWorks@TheSquare. 

Past NewWorks@TheWorks winner, Byhalia, Mississippi by Evan Linder has reached critical acclaim.  The play was last performed at The Kennedy Center starring ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder actor Jack Falahee.

The full cast and crew for Shanktown is as follows:


Elwood – Sam Weakley

Jessie – Mackenzie White

Jinx – Michael Kinslow

Kamaya – Courtney Noisette

Lula Jeanee – Kim Sanders

Katrina – Brooke Papritz

Andrew – Nathan Mchenry

Zephaniah – Cameron Massengale


Directed by: Lorraine Cotten

Assistant Director: Amy Nabors

Stage Manager: Kaylyn N. Nichols

Assistant Stage Manager: Rachel Adkins

Scenic Design by: Amy Forester

Lighting Design by: Justin Gibson

Costume Design by: Ephraim “Eph” Page

Sound Design by: Chris Cotten

Technical Director: Timothy Henderson Jr.

Production Manager: Phillip Hughen

Streaming: Pedro Da Silva 

Performances will run, streamed and in-person, Thursday – Saturday 8:00 pm curtain and with 2:00 pm curtain on Sunday.  For tickets, call the Box Office at (901) 726-4656 or visit the website Group rates are also available. Follow on social media using #Shanktown901. 

Special ticket pricing for opening weekend is $30. Pay What You Can performance is July 14th.

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