Current Strauss Season Performances.

Hello, Dolly!

Jerry Herman's musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's hit play The Matchmaker bursts with humor, romance, energetic dance and some of the greatest songs in musical theatre history. The romantic and comic exploits of Dolly Gallagher-Levi, turn-of-the-century matchmaker and "woman who arranges things," are certain to thrill and entertain audiences again and again.

Patron night: April 25th & May 2nd, 7:00 pm.

Other Show Dates: April 26, 27, 28. May 3, 4, 5.

Thursday - Saturday 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 2:00 p.m.

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Marcella Simien

June 1, 2024

Marcella Simien was born into one of the first Creole families to settle St. Landry Parish. Daughter of two-time GRAMMY™️ award winning Zydeco luminary Terrance Simien, Marcella was practically born onstage and grew up immersed in sound and performance. A ninth generation Louisiana Creole, Marcella comes from a lineage of healers and artists in the Simien family. Marcella Simien says “I’m a proudly mixed raced woman, here to help you open your heart, expand your mind and stand in your power. After some self-discovery and a lot of years not standing confidently in my own skin. I now stand in the power of my mixed raced identity, my artistic identity and share the medicine that I’m able to provide to listeners.”

It was a charmed musical life. Visits to the family home from legends such as David Hidalgo of Los Lobos or Taj Mahal, who once sang her “Happy Birthday,” were not uncommon. She looks at men like Art Neville and Mac Rebennack as her musical uncles. Her father was close with them both.

Simien holds a degree from Memphis College of Art (BA 2013), which is what originally brought her to Memphis, Tennessee. She also earned her 200 RYT as a certified yoga instructor (2022).

Feeling a deep kindred connection to Memphis’s rich history and bustling community of working musicians, she began planting the seeds of her South Louisiana heritage in the Bluff City. She has since forged her own pathways in the local, national, and international music scenes, following her heart as an artist while wielding the torch of a Creole dynasty.
Simien founded and serves as bandleader in Marcella & Her Lovers—a hybrid of classic Memphis soul with the freewheeling swagger of New Orleans funk- a style of music she calls Psychedelic Swamp Soul Music. Featuring an illustrious ensemble cast of Memphis musicians, Simien emerges as an undeniably powerful frontwoman. Her lyrics explore themes of love, loss, and healing, and her vocal work embodies feminine strength and empowerment. With each angelic holler and pump of the Creole accordion, she reinvents the mold of Memphis music while giving a wink and a nod to her Creole ancestors.
Confident, composed, and courageous, Simien is a bona fide artist in her own right with musical wisdom beyond her years. As legendary record producer and owner of Royal Studios Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell puts it, “Marcella is one of the most soulful artists I've heard since the glory days of Memphis soul music. Her sound and stage presence are constant reminders that soul music is still alive and well.”

Simien’s selected career highlights and accolades to date include: “Meet Me In Memphis”—a one-on-one interview feature produced by Southern Living & IKEA USA that has reached over 1.5 million views on Facebook; the honor of being one of only 500 artists in America nominated for a $50,000 USA Artists Fellowship; featured on Jam in the Van(2019); a feature on the nationally-syndicated radio program Beale Street Caravan; a feature in the Memphis Flyer’s “20 Under 30” cover issue; performing numerous times on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise alongside such greats as Marcia Ball, Allen Toussaint, and Irma Thomas; and lending guest vocals to her father Terrance Simien’s album Dockside Sessions, which won a 2014 GRAMMY™️ for Best Regional Roots Album of the Year.

Simien was recently invited as a guest artist for a cultural exchange program in South America, where she toured in Colombia, five live performances and two educational workshops. This woke up a spark Marcella has always had for community outreach and helping to guide and nurture young creatives. She offers a professional development/artistic development and branding and marketing workshop; a songwriting clinic and yoga and breathwork techniques for musicians. She is deeply passionate about this type of work and was able to really touch many students, despite the language barrier. Marcella was moved to tears at how magical the experience was and found it so important to do this work.
In addition to Marcella & Her Lovers, Simien performs with Magnolias, Marcella & Les Vagues, and Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience. Recently, Simien made her New York City debut at Joe's Pub and her London debut as a duo with Mark Black of the band Sweet on drums. She signed with the management team Yonas Media, in June of 2020.
Stay tuned for announcements about her forthcoming EP and international performance dates

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Nikki Hill

June 8, 2024

Nikki Hill is an original force in American music. She is tender and tough, flamboyant, witty and dangerous. To put it plainly, Hill brings daggers back to the stage and studio. Overlapping soulful, sensual and bold vocal tones with powerful chrome-plated riffs and swagger, her voice finds a home in it – a soul singing, bar rocking, roots revivalist, that writes with frank self-reflection at a dancing tempo.
Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, Nikki Hill enjoyed R&B, soul, pop and hip hop at home. In addition, she sang gospel in the church choir from childhood through her early teenage years. Gradually, she developed her ears for garage rock, rock n’ roll, blues and roots, while also picking up influence from living along the legendary Mississippi River – in St. Louis, Missouri, New Orleans, Louisiana, and currently Memphis, Tennessee.
After self-releasing and producing her debut album, Here’s Nikki Hill, her musical contributions continued, with her song “Struttin’” released on Deke Dickerson and The Bo-Keys Soul Meets Country EP, produced by Scott Bomar in Memphis, TN. The momentum continued through the release of her second album, Heavy Hearts Hard Fists, recorded at Fort Horton Studios in Wyldwood, TX. On Hill’s third self-produced and self-released album, Feline Roots, she lets her soul rip. Nikki and her band take a muscular groove — celebrating and wailing over love, transgressions, the hard times, and wild freedom — and inject it with timeless effect, giving Nikki a foundation on which to build.
It’s her version of rock n’ roll that can only come from her stories. Nikki Hill has never been afraid to take the road less traveled, and it’s clear with “Feline Roots” that she’s living every word.

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Timothy Wayne / Stephen Paul

 June 15, 2024

Timothy Wayne, a rising country artist from Franklin, Tennessee, has a journey deeply rooted in a home that nurtured his profound love for country music. Influenced by a spectrum of country legends, from the traditional sounds of Waylon Jennings, George Strait, and Randy Travis, to the contemporary flair of Dierks Bentley and his greatest inspiration, Tim McGraw, he has honed a unique style that bridges the classic and the modern.
Timothy’s journey is more than a path to musical success; it’s a heartfelt mission to share the stories that have shaped him. Collaborating with Nashville’s esteemed talents like The Warren Brothers, Lance Miller, Jerrod Neiman, Marv Green, and Brice Long, he has not only worked hard to polish his skills as a songwriter but also embraced the nuances of storytelling through music. His songs, woven with authenticity and emotion, mirror his personal journey and the universal truths of life.
Currently a sophomore in college, he is working on his first studio album

Straight from the bayou country - West Monroe, LA, Stephen Paul’s music is inspired by his cajun roots and classic country. Combining a traditional 90’s country style with a modern country sound, Stephen offers a refreshing voice to country music and its fans.
At age three, Stephen began his musical journey when his father gave him his first drum kit. Following years of involvement in music ministry at his church, Stephen began playing guitar and eventually pursued songwriting. Stephen graduated from the University of Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) in 2013 and performed with a variety of local bands during his college career. In the fall of 2014, Stephen traded the local scene of Louisiana for Music City in order to pursue his career as an artist.
In 2023, Stephen played over 175+ shows and will continue to tour in early 2024, including his debut performance at Country Fest this summer. Stephen has already hit a few career milestones, making his arena debut with Justin Moore and has shared the stage with Tim McGraw, when McGraw invited him to join the stage in singing “I Like It, I Love It” in front of 15,000+ fans at Winstock Country Music Festival. Stephen has also shared the stage with Dierks Bentley, Easton Corbin, Dylan Scott, David Lee Murphy, Chris Lane, Neal McCoy, Pat Green, and Mark Chesnutt.
Stephen has since surpassed 7 Million+ global streams across all streaming platforms with a 100k social impact. His 2023 releases, "Good For Nothin'", "Love To Learn", and "Who Needs A Bar" have caught the attention of thousands of fans and new listeners. Throughout Stephen’s career, his music has been supported by Apple Music’s "New in Country” and "The Ward Guenther Show", and Spotify’s “New Music Nashville”, "New Music Friday Country", and "Fresh Finds Country" playlists.
Stephen's upcoming release, "I'll Take The Blame" reveals a more sultry side of Stephen, encouraging listeners to slow down and take in every moment with that special someone

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LeTrainiump

June 22, 2024

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Esther Rose

June 29, 2024

Everything clicks on Safe to Run, the fourth album from singer, songwriter and
perpetual searcher Esther Rose. It’s the quiet culmination of years spent fully immersed
in a developing artistry, and presents Rose’s always vividly detailed emotional scenes
with new levels of clarity and control. As with previous work, her songwriting
transfigures the chaos and uncertainty of a life in progress, but here she introduces a
newfound pop element that attaches unshakably catchy hooks to even the darkest
stretches of the journey.
After spending her formative years in Michigan, Rose relocated to New Orleans and got
her start in music there while awash in the unparalleled energy of the city’s scene. Over
the course of her first three records, an infatuation with traditional country gradually
evolved into a more distinctive style and increasingly personal material. Rose’s music
traced her changes as she moved through stages, studios, and home addresses, and she
eventually left NOLA for New Mexico where the two year writing process for Safe to Run
unfolded. Making the transition to this new environment after spending the better part
of a decade building a life somewhere else demanded looking around and taking stock.
All the heaviness, sweetness, levity, and self-discovery that had led up to that point
began funneling into new songs that moved slower in order to dig deeper, taking on the
intricate hues of a desert horizon as they came together.
Making the leap from the comfortable to the unknown defines every aspect of Safe to
Run. Since she started writing songs, Rose has self-imposed some strategic challenges in
order to keep things interesting. A longstanding rule to never recycle chord progressions
remained in place, as did a newer intention of avoiding the temptation to write another
heartbreak song. Applying limitations like these allowed the album’s expressive range to
become more nuanced. Rose takes an unblinking look at her own vulnerabilities as well
as more universal concerns, somehow never taking herself too seriously in the process.
This manifests as a critique of the insidious sexism of the music industry on “Dream
Girl,” but quickly melts into a hazy memoryscape of the dive bar drama and suspended
hovering of her early 20s on “Chet Baker.” The song “Safe to Run” (a gorgeous duet with
Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra) directly merges the personal with the global,
superimposing feelings of spiritual displacement onto the larger, looming dread of
climate grief. Rose breathes in the ecstasy of the natural world in one line and makes fun

of herself a few bars later. There are ghosts in the room for most of her songs, but she’s
invited them in and is cracking jokes with them over a drink or two.
The album’s production takes another giant step forward, again motivated by a drive to
go somewhere new. Lyle Werner, a constant presence on Esther’s albums, again adds his
rust-colored fiddle to “St. Francis Waltz” and the gentle country sway of “Spider” also
offers faint echoes of the twangy glow of earlier material, but there's new
experimentation with arrangements and instrumentation. Long-time collaborator Ross
Farbe went from acting as a co-producer on 2021’s How Many Times to a full on
producer role here, adding understated synthesizers to accentuate melodic presence and
atmospheric textures to cast a deeper vibe. The bridging from past to present was
further embodied by the cast of players, with Rose bringing in New Orleans group Silver
Synthetic as a backing band on some tunes, and working with her new Santa Fe
bandmates; drummer Lonnie Leary and bassist Meredith Stoner on others. Across all of
the tracks, the open-air, live-in-the-room sound she tended towards in the past was
exchanged for an exploration of multitracking and overdubs. The album is a network of
meticulously balanced layers that whisper secrets instead of shouting declarations.
Listening closely you’ll hear nods to Elliott Smith in the close-miced vocal doubling of
“Stay,” dreamy drum machine guiding the steady hop of “Levee Song,” and a Mellotron
tossing even more glitter into the already sparkling pop of “Insecure.”
Ultimately all of these new advancements become twinkles of light in the background as
they fold into the big picture impact of the songs themselves. With grace, subtlety, and a
knowing grin, Esther Rose translates her world into eleven curious and captivating
scenes. While the songs are stunning one by one, absorbing Safe to Run as a whole feels
like witnessing something taking shape, experiencing the headspins of the elevation and
the slow return to equilibrium as the clouds start clearing. It’s the sound of a singular
voice reaching its purest form, finally emerging.

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