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Franklin Theatre Celebrates Year of Accomplishments

From Charity Case to Social, Economic & Creative Catalyst in One Year

FRANKLIN, TENN, June 1, 2012–This summer, the “new” 1937 Franklin Theatre will celebrate its first birthday–the anniversary of its Grand Reopening, held on June 3, 2011. The historic movie house closed in 2007 when rising rents rendered the Main Street movie business less-than-lucrative. The nonprofit preservationist Heritage Foundation spearheaded a fundraising effort to “Save the Franklin Theatre.” Over $8.5 million was raised–entirely through private donations–for the purchase and complete renovation of the building.

A year later, the Franklin Theatre has expanded offerings to preserve the Main Street movie tradition with several screenings per week while successfully adding to its mix and mission world-class live music and theatre.

In the first year since the culmination of its donor-funded $8.5 million restoration, the nonprofit 300-seat Franklin Theater has helped raised over half a million dollars for other causes in the local community.

Some gifts just keep on giving.

“Certainly, we expected the return of movies to Main Street and the addition of live theater and extraordinary music concerts,” said the Heritage Foundation’s Executive Director Mary Pearce. “And some also saw the theater as a venue for collaboration among the arts, education and community enrichment and an opportunity to attract resources for great charitable efforts.”
Many of the Franklin Theatre’s live events have been fundraisers for other nonprofits or charitable causes in the community. Sheryl Crow performed three nights at the Franklin Theatre in December of 2011 as a fundraiser for New Hope Academy, a local school. Delbert McClinton raised money for his ailing friend and road manager. Jerry Douglas gave a Christmas concert to benefit the Children’s Organ Transplant Organization. Wynonna Judd performed at a benefit for Williamson County CASA, a group that provides court-appointed advocates for child victims of abuse and neglect.

“We were able to generate a lot of awareness and support for Williamson County CASA through our benefit concert ‘Voices for the Children’ held at the Franklin Theatre,” said CASA board member Elizabeth Jewell. The May 1 benefit concert featuring Wynonna Judd raised $42,000 for the organization. “We’re so glad to have this venue back in our community and to be able to work together with the Franklin Theatre to support our mission of advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children in our community.”

The Green Nights Series–the theatre’s own fundraising series in which superstar artists donate their time and talent–has so far included Vince Gill & Amy Grant, Michael McDonald, The Judds, Ronnie Dunn, and Michael W. Smith. “Green Nights” also nods to the environmental sustainability of the theatre’s new construction. Legacy Trees will be planted next fall in the name of each participating artist in “Green Nights Grove”–the location of which is soon to be confirmed.

Over the course of its first year ever as a music venue, The Franklin Theatre has become a beacon for musical diversity in the region, having hosted world-class acts from a variety of musical genres, including Americana, jazz, bluegrass, gospel, country, blues, pop, Big Band and rock and roll. Its year one roster has included 23 Grammy Award Winners.

Another new tradition, the Franklin Theatre hosts quarterly professional live theatre produced by Studio Tenn Theatre Company, a local nonprofit comprising Broadway veterans from Nashville. Studio Tenn’s first season at the Franklin Theatre featured the sold-out debut fall musical “Guys and Dolls”, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and the moving story of Helen Keller and her teacher Annie Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker.” The phenomenal success of “Guys and Dolls” prompted the addition of an encore production to the season, “The Sound of Music,” which runs May 31-June 17–including two production on the Franklin Theatre’s first anniversary of its reopening, June 3.

Beyond bringing back movies, the Franklin Theatre’s live entertainment offerings have been a boon to business and tourism in Downtown Franklin. In its first year, the Franklin Theatre is estimated to have had a direct economic impact in excess of $2 million.

“The Franklin Theatre is a powerful economic driver that generates revenue inside and outside its own doors,” said Williamson County Convention & Visitor Bureau Executive Director Mark Shore. “It has become a catalyst for extending the hours of an already vibrant downtown. As a tourism product, the theatre does as much to sustain nearby businesses, retail and restaurants as it does to sustain its own operations and is a signature attraction on its own.”

The Franklin Theatre has had visitors from all fifty United States, as well as several from Europe and Canada.

Bob Roethemeyer is current president and longtime member of the Downtown Franklin Association. His vintage, gift and home accessories boutique Avec Moi sits directly across the street from the Franklin Theatre. “It is just so exciting to see people coming and going in a well-lit building that is dedicated to entertainment of the community,” Roethemeyer said. The increased activity surrounding the theatre–especially on weekends–“has had a positive impact on the experiences of folks who come to Downtown Franklin to visit shops, eat and see a movie or show,” he said.

Valued traditions are being carried forward and new ones forged. As for the Franklin Theatre’s future, Director Dan Hays said great music, movies and theatrical productions will remain among the venue’s top priorities, joined by the development of further educational and outreach initiatives.

“We understand the responsibility to create and leave new legacies relevant to our lives today and for those that follow,” said Hays. “We can be the greatest 300-seat music venue in the world by multiplying what happens inside the theater well beyond our own community. Your dreams about what the Franklin Theatre can be are just beginning.”

Studio Tenn’s “The Sound of Music” Opens This Weekend! Anniversary Special Gift: Free Movie Ticket for Sunday, June 3 Patrons

Studio Tenn Theatre Company’s production of “The Sound of Music” is set to open at the historic 300-seat Franklin Theatre on Thursday, May 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at

Opening weekend of “The Sound of Music” coincides with the first anniversary of the Franklin Theatre’s grand re-opening, which took place on June 3, 2011. To commemorate the venue’s one-year anniversary this Sunday, Studio Tenn is treating all patrons of the June 3 afternoon and evening performances to a free movie ticket. Vouchers will be distributed after each performance and can be redeemed at the box office through August 2012 for a movie ticket to any regularly scheduled public screening.

The nonprofit Franklin Theatre re-opened to the public on June 3, 2011 following a multi-year, multi-million-dollar restoration–including the addition of state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, outfitting the venue for live entertainment for the first time in its 75-year history. Studio Tenn’s Managing Director Jake Speck and Artistic Director Matt Logan produced the star-studded stage show for the Franklin Theatre’s Grand Opening gala last summer, which included the popular “Do, Re, Mi” performed by cast member Shealean Newman and local school children.

Resident theatre company of the Franklin Theatre, Studio Tenn is the first professional company to bring Broadway stars along with homegrown talent to Franklin’s Main Street in original and inventive adaptations of classic American musicals and plays. Led by Broadway’s Jessica Grové (Les Miserables, A Little Night Music) as Maria and Ben Davis (La Boheme, A Little Night Music,) as Captain Von Trapp, “The Sound of Music” is an encore production to Studio Tenn’s 2011-2012 season, added after the sweeping success of its debut musical, “Guys and Dolls”, resulted in eight sold-out shows. Studio Tenn continued to sell out the house with runs of “A Christmas Carol” in December and “The Miracle Worker” in March.

“The Sound of Music” runs May 31 through June 17, with evening performances at 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday of each week and matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are available online at and at the Franklin Theatre Box Office, which can be reached directly at (615) 538-2076. Group discounts are available for parties of ten or more. For more information visit or

Student and Actors’ Equity Rush Tickets

Studio Tenn Theatre Company will offer $15 Rush Tickets to college students and Actors’ Equity Association Members beginning with their production of “The Sound of Music”, running May 31-June 17. Rush tickets may be purchased at the Franklin Theatre box office one hour prior to showtime, pending availability. A valid student ID or Actors’ Equity Association Membership is required.

Franklin Theatre offers FREE Movie Screenings for K-12 Students

“Summer Movie Kickoff” Series Announced for May 23-25

The Franklin Theatre recently announced that it will offer a series of free movie screenings from May 23-25 for local elementary, middle and high school students. Scheduled for the Williamson County School District’s first three days of summer vacation, the Franklin Theatre’s “Summer Movie Kickoff” special is open to Kindergarten through twelfth-grade students of public and private schools in the area, as well as homeschooled children. Film offerings include matinees of “Shrek” (PG) at 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and evening screenings of “Mean Girls” (PG-13) at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Advance Tickets Available through Special Promotion Code

Tickets for the free student screenings may be reserved in advance at using the promotion code, “SMK2012.” Those reserving complimentary tickets using this promotion code will be prompted to enter the name of their school (or their child’s school). Reserving tickets in advance guarantees a seat at the movie screening of your choice; remaining tickets will be available at the box office on a first-come, first-served basis. A valid Student ID should be presented at the box office for each complimentary ticket. Young children must be accompanied by an adult.

Click here to visit the movies page of our website and reserve your free tickets in advance.

Public movie tickets will be sold to non-students for the everyday price of $5 while supplies last.

The mission of the nonprofit Franklin Theatre is to build community through shared experiences. As a historic Main Street movie house, the Franklin Theatre is dedicated to providing and preserving affordable options for family-friendly entertainment in Downtown Franklin.

Originally built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre re-opened to the public on June 3, 2011 following a multi-year, multi-million-dollar restoration. The Main Street landmark is owned and operated by the nonprofit Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County. More information is available online at


Marc Cohn Performance Postponed at Franklin Theatre; Reschedule Date TBD

All original tickets will be honored or refunded through June 15


We just recently learned that Marc Cohn will not be performing this weekend (Friday, May 11) at the Franklin Theatre due to an emergency medical procedure earlier this week. Fortunately, Mr. Cohn has been given a clean bill of health, but his doctor has also advised him not to travel or perform until Saturday.

The concert will be rescheduled, but the new date is yet to be determined. All original ticket(s)—including original seat(s)—will be honored for the new date. We will contact ticket holders when a new date is confirmed. You may also check back with us by calling the box office at (615) 538-2076 or visiting our website at We will post new information as it becomes available to us.

If you are not able to join us for the rescheduled concert, we will be more than happy to refund your ticket purchase in full through June 15. (This date is set to allow time to re-sell tickets to other patrons.) To receive a refund, please reply to this email or call the Franklin Theatre Box Office at (615) 538-2076.

After June 15, we will assume you plan to attend the rescheduled performance and ticket purchases will no longer be refundable.

We regret any inconvenience this may have created and appreciate your understanding while we send best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mr. Cohn.

Please feel free to let us know if you have any questions or related needs we can assist with.



The Staff of the Franklin Theatre

Broadway Stars Jessica Grové and Ben Davis to Lead Studio Tenn’s “The Sound of Music” Cast

Tickets on sale now at for May 31-June 17 performances

Studio Tenn Theatre Company today announced complete casting for their upcoming musical production, “The Sound of Music,” running May 31-June 17 at the historic 300-seat Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee. In leading roles are Broadway stars Jessica Grové as “Maria” and Ben Davis as “Captain Von Trapp”.

Grové has starred on Broadway in “Les Miserables” (Eponine), “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (Miss Dorothy), “A Little Night Music” (Mrs. Anderson) and “Sunday in the Park with George” (Celeste). She also starred as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” at Madison Square Garden with Mickey Rooney and Ertha Kitt. Last month, Jessica played Cinderella in the third annual ShowHope benefit production of “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella”, directed and designed by Matt Logan and featuring Jake Speck of Studio Tenn at the Schermerhorn with the Nashville Symphony.

Ben Davis has starred on Broadway in some of the same shows, including “Les Miserables” (Javert), Thoroughly Modern Millie” (Trevor Graydon), “A Little Night Music” (Mr. Lindquist), “Knickerbocker Holiday” (Brom Broeck) and Baz Luhrmann’s “La Boheme” (Marcello).

Other principal cast members include Nan Gurley as the Mother Abbess, Marguerite Lowell Hall as the Baroness, Matthew Carlton as Uncle Max, and recent Belmont University graduates Kelsey Self and Douglas Waterbury-Tieman as Liesl and Rolf. Portraying the rest of the Von Trapp children are seven of Tennessee’s most talented young actors, including Jack Alcott as Friedrich, Annabelle Fox as Louisa, Mary Marguerite Hall as Brigitta, Matthew Dyra as Kurt, Virginia Richardson as Marta and Bella Higginbotham as Gretel.

The cast will be rounded out with some of the region’s best actors and singers, including such Nashville main-stays as Shelean Newman, David Compton, Emily Webb, Melodie Madden Adams and Linda Sue Simmons Runyeon.

 Studio Tenn Managing Director Jake Speck will serve as Executive Producer and the company’s Artistic Director Matt Logan will design and direct. The production will be choreographed by Emily Tello, Chris Rayis will serve as Music Director/Conductor and Laura Matula will vocal direct.

Studio Tenn’s production of “The Sound of Music” runs Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 17 at the Franklin Theatre. Matinee and evening performances are available. Tickets are on sale now at the Franklin Theatre Box Office, (615) 538-2076 or online at Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. To inquire about group rates, please email