Nashville Ballet Puts Witchy Twist on Macbeth with ‘Something Wicked’


Just in time for Halloween, the Nashville Ballet will delve into the sinister side of human nature with ‘Something Wicked,’ an experimental adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth.’

The show will take place at the Tennessee Performing Art Center’s Polk Theatre from Oct. 20 to 22, with the ballet exploring the story’s classic themes of power and fate. The Nashville Ballet’s version of the tale, however, delves deeper into the role of the three witches.

“In Shakespeare’s tale, the witches predict Macbeth’s fate as King of Scotland, which spurs Macbeth and his wife to murderous actions to fulfill the prophecy,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling said. “In our version, the witches don’t merely plant this seed in Macbeth’s head. Instead, they actively manipulate him as a pawn in their own greedy quest for power.”

With the witches in the driver’s seat, the ballet explores a primitive question of human nature: Are we a victim of fate, or do we have the free will to play our own cards? As Macbeth embarks on a murderous quest for the throne, what was once his motivation – power – is ultimately what becomes his sources of guilt, paranoia and eventual descent into madness.

‘Something Wicked’ is the full-length debut of a workshop-style piece presented during the Ballet’s 2013 ‘Emergence,’ which allowed audiences a first glimpse into the creative process. Vasterling’s original choreography, concept and interpretation features the Grammy-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble performing a collection of works by contemporary American composer Kenji Bunch.

“This ballet feels especially communal,” Vasterling said. “During the creation process in 2013, the dancers played a large part in guiding the direction of the piece by infusing their interpretations and movements into the choreography. Not only that, but we encouraged audience feedback and incorporated it into what you’ll see on stage this time around.”

Tickets for the show start at $28 and can be purchased in person at the TPAC box office in downtown Nashville, by phone at 615-782-4040 or at

Samantha Hearn reports for Home Page Media Group. She can be reached via email at [email protected]