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MICHAEL W. SMITH HEADLINES FRANKLIN THEATRE BENEFIT

The legendary Franklin Theatre today announced Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith is volunteering his talent for a Green Nights concert on August 6 to benefit the historic landmark.

Smith will play the 300-seat venue as part of the new Green Nights concert series that will help sustain the nonprofit Franklin Theatre for future generations. Tickets to “Green Nights Presents Michael W. Smith” start at $50 and are on sale July 6 at www.franklintheatre.com.

“Green Nights is a special way for world-class artists to join us in preserving the heart of downtown Franklin’s Main Street,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which restored the theater. “We are incredibly grateful to Michael W. Smith for his talent and his commitment to our community.”

With 44 GMA Dove Awards, three Grammys and more than 15 million in sales to his credit, Smith pioneered the Christian music genre and is one of the most respected ambassadors for faith-infused music worldwide. His latest album, “Wonder,” is a 12-song project that grapples with the disparities of life in the modern age.

In honor of Smith’s contribution to the Franklin Theatre, the Heritage Foundation will plant a legacy tree in a public space in Williamson County — a nod to the Green Nights philosophy of giving back to the community and the environment that we all care about. Previous Green Nights artists include Vince Gill and Amy Grant.

Built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre is re-opened to the public on June 3 following a multi-year, multi-million-dollar restoration. The Main Street landmark is owned and operated by the nonprofit Heritage Foundation.

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FRANKLIN THEATRE, STUDIO TENN ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP, UNVEIL 2011-12 SEASON

The legendary Franklin Theatre, which re-opens June 3, announced that critically acclaimed Studio Tenn will be the resident live theatre company, presenting classic plays and musicals as part of the new mission to offer the highest quality live entertainment in Middle Tennessee.

Additionally, the Franklin Theatre and Studio Tenn unveiled the 2011-2012 season:

August 18-28 — “Guys and Dolls”
Featuring a score by Frank Loesser, the classic musical tells the story of a group of small-time gamblers and the ladies in their lives.

December 8-18 — “A Christmas Carol”
The retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic novel takes a miser on a journey of self-redemption, and coincides with Franklin’s annual Dickens of a Christmas festival.

February 23-March 4 — “The Miracle Worker”
William Gibson’s three-act play tells the inspirational story of Anne Sullivan’s struggle to teach the blind and deaf Helen Keller how to communicate.

The historic Franklin Theatre, built in 1937, re-opens to the public on Friday, June 3, after undergoing a multi-million-dollar restoration. As part of the restoration, the theater installed a world-class sound and lighting system to accommodate live entertainment, including concerts and plays.

“The Franklin Theatre is one of the last surviving movie houses in the South,” said Mary Pearce, Executive Director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, which owns the theater and led its restoration. “Now, we’re proud to offer movies, music and more — including world-class live theatre.”

Pearce added: “Studio Tenn has earned a great reputation in a very short period of time. We’re proud to call them partners.”

Studio Tenn was founded in 2009 by nationally known director and artist Matt Logan, Emmy Award-winning producer Philip Hall, and Broadway and film actress Marguerite Lowell Hall. The company’s mission is simple: “Use a rich combination of talent from Nashville and Broadway to bring classic works of drama and musical theatre to life in Middle Tennessee, and provide innovative educational programs designed to entertain, educate and inspire rising artists.”

Jake Speck, who played one of the lead roles in the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys,” serves as Studio Tenn’s managing director. “Studio Tenn’s goal is to bring New York-caliber theatre to Middle Tennessee in a way that is ‘uniquely Tennessean,’” Speck said. “The history and vision of the Franklin Theatre brings an exciting new dimension to our work.”

He added: “We are delighted to partner with an organization that shares our passion for high-quality and exceptional entertainment.”

Tickets for the 2011-12 season are now available online, at 20% off the regular ticket price through July 1. To purchase tickets, check out www.franklintheatre.com. Or for more information, go to www.studiotenn.com.

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NISSAN SPONSORS RE-OPENING OF HISTORIC FRANKLIN THEATRE: WEEKEND CELEBRATION BEGINS FRIDAY

The Franklin Theatre today announced that Nissan Americas will sponsor the historic theater’s grand re-opening on Friday, June 3, including a 1930s-themed celebration in downtown Franklin.

Nissan, which opened its Franklin-based Americas regional headquarters in 2008, will help underwrite the Franklin Theatre’s family-friendly events planned for that weekend. As a symbol of the company’s support, the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first affordable, mass-market, all-electric vehicle, will be the official vehicle of the theater’s re-opening festivities. Two zero-emission Nissan LEAFs will be displayed on Main Street on the evening of June 3.

“Middle Tennessee is Nissan’s home in the Americas and Franklin is the heart of that home,” said Jon Brancheau, vice president, Nissan Marketing. “The historic Franklin Theatre perfectly represents our community’s strengths – including a commitment to environmentally conscious preservation and a vision for a vibrant future. Nissan is proud to take part in celebrating its rebirth with our neighbors.”

Built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre is re-opening to the public following a four- year multi-million-dollar restoration. The 300-seat movie house will resume its tradition of showing current-run and classic movies and, thanks to a new state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, will expand its repertoire to include concerts and plays.
A complete rundown of the theater’s grand re-opening details can be found below in this release.

The newly restored Franklin Theatre includes new energy-savings features, including efficient lighting and water systems, making it one of the most environmentally friendly historic preservation projects in Tennessee.

“Like Nissan, the Franklin Theatre is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which owns the venue. “We couldn’t think of a better partner than Nissan to help us reintroduce the theater to the public.”

Outdoor festivities for the Franklin Theatre’s grand re-opening — scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 3 — will include free live entertainment as well as extended hours for Franklin’s downtown merchants and restaurants. A swing band will perform on a stage constructed adjacent to the downtown Square.

Giant outdoor movie screens will create Franklin’s version of a Hollywood back lot. Side streets where Fourth Avenue crosses Main Street will feature free showings of two classic ’30s films — the original “King Kong” (1933), starring Depression-era diva Fay Wray, and everyone’s favorite musical fantasy “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) in Technicolor.

A third screen, at Five Points, will feature “Swing Time” (1936), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. All three movies are listed on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) top 100 movies of all time.

Inside the Franklin Theatre, moviegoers will enjoy a late-night 9:30 p.m. screening of “Gone with the Wind,” the 1939 classic starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The four-hour epic won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading ’30s film listed on the AFI’s top 100. The late-night screening, as well as an encore presentation the next day, sold out within one hour of tickets going on sale last month.

Also on that Friday evening, the Heritage Foundation will host a red-carpet reception for major donors who helped underwrite the Franklin Theatre’s multi-million- dollar restoration.

About Nissan Americas
In the Americas, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and was recognized as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 and 2011. More information on Nissan in North America, the Nissan LEAF and zero emissions can be found at www.nissanusa.com.

About Nissan
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan’s second largest Japanese automotive company by volume, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan and is an integral pillar of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 150,000 employees globally, Nissan provided customers with more than 4 million vehicles in 2010. With a strong commitment to developing exciting and innovative products for all, Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands. A pioneer in zero emission mobility, Nissan made history with the introduction of the Nissan LEAF, the first affordable, mass-market, pure-electric vehicle and winner of numerous international accolades including the prestigious 2011 European Car of the Year award.

About the Franklin Theatre
Built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre is part of the Franklin Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater is owned and operated by the nonprofit Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. For more information, go to www.franklintheatre.com.


FRANKLIN THEATRE GRAND RE-OPENING Weekend Schedule

Friday, June 3
• 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT: Downtown Franklin street party featuring live swing music, extended merchant hours, and outdoor screenings of “King Kong,” “Swing Time,” and “The Wizard of Oz”
• 9:30 p.m.: Indoor late-night screening of “Gone with the Wind”
Saturday, June 4
• 10 a.m.: Morning kids’ movie “Charlotte’s Web”
• 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Town & Country Tour of Homes (w/Franklin Theatre as added
feature)
• 6 p.m.: Encore screening of “Gone with the Wind”
Sunday, June 5
• 7 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.: Two evening screenings of “Casablanca” ###

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SCREENINGS OF ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’ SELL OUT IN LESS THAN ONE HOUR

LIMITED SEATS STILL AVAILABLE FOR OTHER MOVIES ON JUNE 3-5

Less than one hour after launching its new web site, the newly restored Franklin Theatre sold out two screenings of “Gone With The Wind” — the four-hour Hollywood epic anchoring the historic theater’s grand re-opening festivities in June.

Seats are going fast for two more classic films scheduled for the June 3-5 re-opening weekend — “Casablanca” and “Charlotte’s Web,” the last film that was shown at the 290-seat theater before its doors closed four years ago. Tickets to Franklin Theatre movies, music and merchandise can be purchased online at www.franklintheatre.com.

The Franklin Theatre, a 1937 landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, closed in 2007 but is set to premier again following a multi-million-dollar restoration. With just 36 days remaining, anticipation is building for the theater’s re-opening in the heart of Franklin’s Main Street, winner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s coveted Great American Main Street Award.

“Today’s overwhelming ticket sales online signal that our fans are more than ready for the return of movies, music and romance on Main Street,” said Mary Peace, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. “We appreciate our patrons’ support and look forward to seeing them this summer at the movies.”

The Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit preservation group, owns the Franklin Theatre and spearheaded its restoration. On April 14, the foundation announced that it had selected “Gone With The Wind” to re-open the legendary theater. The 1939 film classic, starring film legends Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading ‘30s film listed on the American Film Institute’s top 100 greatest films of all time.

On the Web: www.franklintheatre.com

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GRAND OPENING PLANS ANNOUNCED

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — The Franklin Theatre unveiled plans for its grand re-opening on the weekend of June 3-5, including a 1930s-themed street party in downtown Franklin and a late-night screening of the Oscar-winning film classic “Gone With the Wind.”

The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which owns the newly restored Franklin Theatre, announced plans to close Main Street on the evening of Friday, June 3, pending approval from the city of Franklin, to celebrate the historic movie house’s re-opening with a swinging ’30s-themed party. The Franklin Theatre originally opened in 1937.

“Beginning June 3, the Franklin Theatre will be back bigger and better than ever, and Hollywood will meet Main Street all over again,” said Heritage Foundation President David Garrett. “We’re going to throw the party of the decade to celebrate the theater’s rebirth and the return of movies on Main.”

Outdoor festivities — planned from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT that Friday — include extended hours for Franklin’s downtown merchants and restaurants as well as free live entertainment. A swing band will perform on a stage constructed adjacent to the downtown Square. Sidewalk beer vendors will cater to adults with proper I.D. And an old-fashioned speakeasy will operate in Gray’s Drug Store nearby.

Giant movie screens will create Franklin’s version of a Hollywood back lot. Side streets where Fourth Avenue crosses Main will feature free simultaneous showings of two classic ’30s films — the original “King Kong” (1933), starring Depression-era diva Fay Wray, and everyone’s favorite musical fantasy “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) in Technicolor. Both are listed on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) top 100 movies of all time.

Inside the Franklin Theatre, moviegoers will enjoy a late-night screening of “Gone With the Wind,” the 1939 classic starring Hollywood legends Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The nearly four-hour epic, set in the South during the Civil War and Reconstruction, won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading ‘30s film listed on the AFI’s top 100.

Friday night’s screening of “Gone With the Wind” is open to the public and begins at 9:30 p.m. CDT, immediately following a red-carpet reception for major donors who helped underwrite the Franklin Theatre’s multi-million-dollar restoration. An additional showing will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets in the 290-seat venue will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be purchased online when the theater launches its web site on April 28.

“Indoor and outdoors, we couldn’t think of more iconic films to set the stage as we raise the curtain on the new Franklin Theatre,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation. “We’re grateful to the city’s leadership for their support and efforts to make this very special night a reality for the entire community.”

Rounding out events for the theater’s grand re-opening weekend will be a Saturday morning kids’ movie on June 4, “Charlotte’s Web” (2006), followed by the additional showing of “Gone With the Wind” in the evening. On Sunday, June 5, the theater will offer two evening screenings of the film classic “Casablanca” (1942), starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

Tickets for all of the grand re-opening movie screenings, as well as future movies and events, can be purchased online April 28 when the theater’s new web site goes live at www.franklintheatre.com.

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