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Studio Tenn Re-Imagines Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” for 2012. Another Sellout Anticipated for the Dec 6-16 Run at the Franklin Theatre!

Studio Tenn’s annual live production of “A Christmas Carol” is quickly becoming a holiday tradition in Middle Tennessee–however, the theatre company isn’t content with simply re-staging last year’s smash hit.

Charles Dickens’ timeless holiday classic–which sold out all twelve performances in 2011–will return to the historic Franklin Theatre stage December 6-16. Tickets are now available online at or by calling the Franklin Theatre Box Office at (615) 538-2076.

But leave the holiday reruns to TBS! Company Managing Director Jake Speck says Studio Tenn will be presenting a “re-imagined” rendition for 2012.”We were beyond thrilled with the wild success of last year’s ‘Christmas Carol’,” says Speck, “but we have embraced the challenge and consider it our artistic duty and privilege to give our growing audience something new this year–a fresh interpretation.”

Others might opt for the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, but Studio Tenn refuses to rest on their laurels.Artistic Director Matt Logan says, “there’s good reason that Dickens’ classic Christmas tale has transcended generations across centuries. The central message is universal. We aim to celebrate the timelessness of Scrooge’s story by bringing it to life against a different historic backdrop.”

“Every act of storytelling involves full acknowledgment of the world you are in, and the world you want to escape to,” Logan explains. In designing Studio Tenn’s productions, Logan “look[s] for design elements held popular in our day and in the time period of the story–elements which serve as a portal for the audience, from one world to another.”

“This is easy for ‘A Christmas Carol’ because the design elements of the Victorian/Industrial era are currently in high fashion,” Logan says. “The modern pages of ‘Vogue’ and the silver screen are full of the silhouettes and textures from the time of Charles Dickens. In this year’s re-imagining of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ we plan to walk that line between past and present.” This is achieved most basically by using modern clothing to create period shapes, Logan explains. “We hope to ignite the imagination by telling this beloved story with bits and pieces from our existing lives,” he says. “I think audiences are bored by historical realism, but they are enriched by theatrical imagination. At Studio Tenn, we strive to hold true to innovative creation rather than mere replication.”

A complete sellout is again expected. In fact, advance sales have already prompted the expansion of the two-week run to include four additional performances. Opening weekend is especially in high demand, as it coincides with the Heritage Foundation’s annual “Dickens of a Christmas” festival. Now in its 27th year, the Victorian-era-themed street festival is expected to draw more than 50,000 people to Downtown Franklin over the course of the weekend. The festival takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 8 and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 9.

Great seats remain for “A Christmas Carol,” but tickets are going fast. Group discounts are available to parties of 10 or more–an increasingly popular option for office holiday parties or family get-togethers. For more information about group tickets, call the Box Office at (615) 538-2076.

“We love that people are making our ‘Christmas Carol’ an annual holiday tradition with their families, friends and co-workers,” says Speck. “We are going to give you plenty of reason to keep coming back, year after year”!

Studio Tenn’s “A Christmas Carol” runs live on stage at the Franklin Theatre December 6-16. Tickets start at $47.50 and can be purchased online at or by calling the Franklin Theatre Box Office at (615) 538-2076.

Studio Tenn is a professional theatre company and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information about the company and their productions, or to learn how to get involved as a sponsor or donor, please visit




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Chelsey Reardon



Kenny Loggins is “a Rider” & Blue Sky Riders are Finally Home (Playing in Franklin, Tennessee).

“We wrote our first song and were singing with a three-part blend that comes once in a lifetime.” said Loggins about the new trio Blue Sky Riders.

For Loggins, Blue Sky Riders is a new creative step forward in a career filled with magic moments. His hits, early on as half of Loggins and Messina and then as a solo artist, include “Danny’s Song,” “House at Pooh Corner,” “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “Angry Eyes,” “Whenever I Call You Friend” (with Stevie Nicks) and “This Is It,” a series of movie theme songs, including “I’m Alright” (Caddyshack), “Footloose” (Footloose), “Danger Zone” (Top Gun), and “Nobody’s Fool” (Caddyshack II), and later AC smashes including “Conviction of the Heart,” “The Real Thing,” “If You Believe” and “For the First Time.” His songs have been covered by artists including Barbra Streisand, Lynn Anderson, Anne Murray and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Loggins and Michael McDonald co-wrote “What A Fool Believes,” which received a Grammy for Song of the Year, and “This Is It,” which earned Loggins a Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal.

“The best part,” says Kenny Loggins of that meeting with Gary Burr as he wrote for “How About Now,” his well-received 2008 release, “was that when we sang together, we sounded like brothers. The last time I experienced that kind of blend was with Jimmy Messina in 1971.”

Loggins, one of the premiere voices in modern popular music, called Burr, one of Nashville’s most accomplished writers, afterward and asked if he’d like to form a band. Then he suggested they look for a third, female voice. “I’ve got the perfect person,” said Burr. “Georgia Middleman. She’s the best I’ve ever worked with.” Loggins flew to Nashville and the three sat down to write.

“What a meeting!” says Loggins. “We wrote our first song and were singing with a three-part blend that comes once in lifetime.” With that, Blue Sky Riders was a reality.

Middleman, a renowned singer/songwriter, says the experience has reminded her of the Joseph Campbell line, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”. “I’m definitely looking bliss in the eye right now,” she says. All three sing lead amid the three-part harmonies that told each of them from the beginning that they had something special.

Burr is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and has been named Songwriter of the Year by ASCAP, Billboard and NSAI with 13 #1 hits under his belt. His hits include Juice Newton’s “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me,” Conway Twitty’s “That’s My Job” and Wynonna’s “To Be Loved By You,” and his songs have been covered by LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, George Jones, Garth Brooks, RIcky Skaggs and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among many others. He has written and performed with Ringo Starr, had a worldwide hit with the Ricky Martin/Christina Aguilera smash “Nobody Wants to be Lonely,” and topped the charts with Kelly Clarkson’s “Before Your Love” and Clay Aiken’s “This is the Night.” He has toured with Carole King and produced Olivia Newton John, and early in his career spent three years as lead singer of Pure Prairie League.

Middleman was still a teenager when she began opening for artists like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Drawn to Nashville’s creative energy, she quickly landed a publishing deal with Polygram and released the well-received Endless Possibiities on Giant Records. She wrote Keith Urban’s 2010 chart-topper “I’m In,” and singles including Tracy Lawrence’s “It’s All How You Look At It” and Sarah Buxton’s “Innocence.” Her songs have been recorded by Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, Mark Chesnutt and Joe Nichols, among many others. She has toured with Radney Foster and sung backup for Jack Ingram, Marty Raybon, the Warren Brothers and many other Nashville artists.

Tickets still available for their November 16 & 17 performances!

Inspiration Sparked by Franklin’s Effort to Restore The Franklin Theatre

The following is a note from a woman named Heather Lea Gerdes, who was introduced to the Franklin Theatre during a visit to Franklin four years ago. At that time Heather found herself inspired by Franklin’s valiant efforts to restore the Franklin Theatre – so much so that she chose a picture of the theatre as the foundation for a design she submitted for a Keith Urban t-shirt contest.

Heather writes:

I’m a Keith Urban fan. Let’s just say that his music opened my musical tastes to Country and inspired me to launch my special dance exercise program, Country Cardio. But this is not about that.

Four years ago over the July 4th holiday, I took my first trip to Nashville. Urban was also playing in a concert that weekend. Urban fans know he lives in Franklin, so of course, it was on my “To-Do” list. As I walked along lovely Main Street taking pictures, I came upon The Franklin Theatre. It was shut tight, covered with poster pleas for help. Even the marquee was reaching out: Save the Franklin, and I was really drawn to the place. I had studied film in college and made a documentary about a group of people trying to save the last drive-in in a small town in Florida, near where I grew up. Naturally, the Franklin effort filled my heart with a feeling of solidarity.

Earlier this week, I learned of a fun contest to design a t-shirt for Keith. As I was looking at photos from my Nashville trip, I came across the one I’d snapped of the theatre. It was the inspiration I was hoping for! Using a combination of pencil tracing, freehand, and one software effect, I came up with a simple design that I hope pays homage to the history of that crucial turning point for the Franklin Theatre and gives a nod to the town Urban also calls home.
I wanted to share my story with the folks at the now thriving Franklin Theatre and they have been kind enough to share it with you!

You can view and vote for Heather’s design along with many other wonderful designs in Keith Urban’s t-shirt contest by visiting:

BELLA BASH – A NIGHT OF LIVE MUSIC FOR THE “ANGELS” (proceeds go to supporting children with Angelman Syndrom)

The Franklin Theatre will be hosting the fifth annual Bella Bash this Thursday night (October 11). The Bella Bash is an evening of awareness and fundraising, but mostly music, laughter and love. It is quickly becoming a Nashville tradition. This year’s guests include the spectacular multi-award winning Jason Crabb, multi-Dove winner, Clay Crosse, American Idol alum, Melinda Doolittle, and critically acclaimed vocal group, The Martins. The Smoking Section will be the house band and heartbeat of the evening.

The Bella Bash is a yearly event put together by singer/songwriter, and Nashville native, Regie Hamm and his wife Yolanda. The event is named after their daughter Isabella (or Bella) who suffers from the rare genetic disorder known as Angelman Syndrome – a partial deletion of the 15th chromosome. This rare disorder causes severe gross motor skill delays and renders individuals unable to speak. Proceeds from the evening will go to the Angel Wings Foundation, a 501c3 formed by the Hamms to raise awareness for Angelman Syndrome as well as providing services and therapies to low functioning special needs children.

On the night of the event, the Hamms will premiere a new awareness video that they intend to distribute to pediatricians through their Angel Wings Foundation (

There will be red carpet and press photos at 6:30 pm, with doors opening at 7. Tickets are $50.00 online or $55.00 at the door. Tickets available at and at the Franklin Theatre Box Office, (615) 538-2076.

Melinda Doolittle, JOHNNYSWIM and More Star in Studio Tenn’s “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”

Grammy Award-Winning Musical Revue Runs Sept 20-Oct 7

American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle will lead a standout cast of powerhouse vocalists in Studio Tenn Theatre Company’s first musical production of its 2012-2013 season, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”, opening September 20 at the historic Franklin Theatre. Individual and Season Tickets are now on sale at and at the Franklin Theatre Box Office, (615) 538-2076.

“I could not be more excited to be a part of Studio Tenn’s ‘Smokey Joe’s Cafe’ with such an amazing cast from all over the country,” said Doolittle, who was launched to international fame as a season six contestant of American Idol. “Studio Tenn is best known in this region for putting on flawless and exciting professional theater, and this show in particular has the musical and historical significance to further that trend.”

A Grammy Award-winning rock-and-roll revue, “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” celebrates songwriters Leiber and Stoller’s beloved catalog of classics from the 1950s and ’60s, including hits made famous by Elvis Presley, Peggy Lee, Tom Jones, Bobby Darin and more.

Starring with Doolittle in Studio Tenn’s production are husband and wife pop duo Abner and Amanda Ramirez, known together as JOHNNYSWIM. Amanda is the daughter of the late great first lady of disco, Donna Summer. While the duo is based in Los Angeles, they have roots in Nashville.

The cast also includes top-notch local performers Libby Hodges, Ryan Greenawalt and Laura Matula (whom Studio Tenn fans will recognize for her unforgettable performance as the flamboyant Miss Adelaide in last year’s debut musical “Guys and Dolls”). Joining Nashville’s finest are Kansas City’s Harvey Hubert and Birmingham’s John-Mark McGaha.

“This cast of singers is, in a word, ‘unreal’,” said Jake Speck, Managing Director of Studio Tenn and a veteran Broadway performer. “I know this may sound blasphemous, but vocally, this cast blows the original Broadway cast out of the water. These are eight of the best singers I’ve ever heard–period. We are just beside ourselves to have landed such an extraordinary concentration of vocal talent for this show,” which Speck describes as “a nonstop avalanche” of 39 rock and roll and R&B standards, including “Jailhouse Rock”, “Hound Dog”, “Stand By Me”, “Kansas City”, “I’m a Woman”, and many more.

“Our concept and take on the show is to strip away a lot of the Broadway and Vegas feel of it and focus more on the unbelievable Leiber & Stoller music catalog,” said Speck. “For inspiration, we went back to the original recordings of all these great songs. We are taking the show back to its roots.”

Speck will serve as Executive Producer for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” and Studio Tenn’s other principle Matt Logan is Director and Designer. Joining them are Choreographer Emily Tello and Musical Director and Conductor Steve Kummer.

Tickets for “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” are available now at or at the Box Office, (615) 538-2076. Season tickets are also still available for a limited time. Season Ticket holders receive a 20% discount on admission to each of the five shows in Studio Tenn’s expanded 2012-2013 season: “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”, “Twelve Angry Men” (staged at the historic Williamson County Courthouse), Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, “Big River”, and “My Fair Lady”. For more information, visit