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Non-profit Raises $63,000 for its Mission to Protect Children in County’s Court System

FRANKLIN, Tenn.—A Kix Brooks concert benefiting Williamson County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) raised $63,000 last month, money that will serve the non-profit organization’s mission to find safe and permanent homes for abused and neglected children in the court system. The funds were raised through ticket sales, corporate sponsorships and auction proceeds.

Kix 2“Each contribution we receive goes directly to CASA’s vision of providing every child a secure and stable environment,” said Danielle McMorran, co-director of Williamson County CASA. “It also helps raise awareness of our work in the community. The CASA program doesn’t just benefit these children and their families—it affects each one of us, because those that we help are better equipped to become successful adults who no longer repeat the mistakes of their abusive caregivers.”

The non-profit organization’s annual “Voices for Children” fundraiser at the Franklin Theatre in downtown Franklin included a cocktail hour, live auction and a surprise appearance from country music star and Dancing With the Stars Season 16 contestant Wynonna Judd. An online auction, open for general participation, was held prior to the main event and contributed to raised monies.

Brooks and his full band rounded out the night, and entertained the audience with Brooks & Dunn songs and tunes from his own solo work, in a listening-room environment.

“Many of us have had a great opportunity to succeed, and a lot of these young people haven’t,” Brooks said. “If you spend a little time around them, you’ll realize these are the areas where we can really help society.”

“Voices for Children” is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Phil Plant, Ruth Gunning and Elizabeth Jewell were this year’s event chairmen, and the April 30 event raised $20,000 more than the non-profit’s 2012 benefit. Gold and silver sponsors for this year’s event were Jackson, CLARCOR, First Farmers, Barlow Builders, PwC, and Ernst & Young.

Williamson County CASA is an organization that advocates for the best interests of children in the judicial system, and works with volunteers to provide a permanent home for each one. The non-profit independently trains its volunteer members to investigate each situation, and report findings to the court.

For more information about its mission, or to learn how to volunteer, go to




Contact Information:
Danielle McMorran, Williamson County CASA co-director


Studio Tenn Takes on “My Fair Lady” with an All-Nashville Cast


The higher the expectations imposed, the greater the results achieved—according to the Pygmalion Effect. To conclude its astoundingly well-received third season, Studio Tenn Theatre Company is rising to the occasion by next tackling The Perfect Musical: Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady.”

The show runs May 16 through June 2 at the Franklin Theatre. Tickets are on sale now at and the Franklin Theatre Box Office, (615) 538-2076.

To cast their production of arguably the grandest musical of all time, Studio Tenn’s Artistic Director Matt Logan and Managing Director Jake Speck—both Broadway vets—looked no further than Nashville. “There is such a tremendous pool of talent right here in Music City,” said Speck, “and Studio Tenn embraces the opportunity to showcase that.”

A principle of Studio Tenn’s “Smokey Joe’s Café” and “Guys and Dolls”, Laura Matula returns as the stubborn and feisty Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle.

“Laura is the perfect Eliza,” said Speck. “Not only does she have the singing and acting chops for this challenging and dynamic role, but she has Eliza’s spitfire exuberance, energy, and charisma. She’s sure to wow in this role.”

Alongside her, Matt Logan will make his Studio Tenn acting debut as the haughty Henry Higgins, the phonetics professor who undertakes to rectify Eliza’s speech and pass her off as an upper-class lady.

“Matt’s fingerprints are of course all over every production we do; as the Artistic Director, he is the visionary behind our sets, costumes, and staging,” said Speck. “He is also a very talented actor, which is a side of him lesser seen. I think Studio Tenn regulars will especially enjoy this rare opportunity to see Matt in his elementon stage.”

Other players in the all-Nashville cast include Matthew Carlton as Eliza’s jolly drunkard father, Jeremy Childs (Studio Tenn’s “Guys and Dolls,” “The Miracle Worker”) as Colonel Pickering, and Ross Bridgeman as Freddy.

Based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play “Pygmalion,” “My Fair Lady” debuted in 1956 with a record-setting Broadway run starring Rex Harrison and the newly discovered Julie Andrews. It has since seen numerous successful revivals and a famous film adaptation starring Harrison and Audrey Hepburn.

However, much like Eliza Doolittle’s transformation from rags to perceived riches, “My Fair Lady”‘s road to success was not without its impediments.

Filmmaker Gabriel Pascal first obtained the rights to make a musical of “Pygmalion” in the 1930s. But author George Bernard Shaw forbade it, postponing Pascal’s efforts until his death in 1950. After Shaw’s passing, Pascal resurrected the project, enlisting lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and his composer partner Frederick Loewe.

But it seemed Shaw’s play refused to conform to the archetypal musical mold. Most troublesome, the main plot was not a love story.

Even Rodgers and Hammerstein had abandoned efforts to adapt “Pygmalion.” Lerner and Loewe took a two-year hiatus from the project before reuniting to create what came to be widely regarded as a masterpiece.

Like its heroine, “My Fair Lady” was a piece of work at first. “It certainly had a rough start,” said Logan, “but all those things that initially made it an unlikely musical instead ended up making it a brilliant and beautiful one.”

“The relationship between Eliza and Higgins is so memorable precisely because it’s not your run-of-the-mill love story,” Logan said.

Decades since its Tony Award-winning debut, the witty and charming “My Fair Lady” still translates, with little-to-no tampering.

While Studio Tenn lends fresh interpretative elements to all its productions, audiences can expect a relatively straightforward “My Fair Lady.” After all, “you don’t mess with perfection,” Logan said. “As generations of successful revivals have attested, this show leaves little to be desired, and much to be upheld and celebrated. The brilliance is already there—all that’s left to do is articulate it the best we can.”

Studio Tenn’s “My Fair Lady” runs May 16—June 2 at the Franklin Theatre, located at 419 Main Street in Franklin, Tennessee. Tickets are available online at and by calling the Box Office at(615) 538-2076.

Studio Tenn Theatre Company is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, independent from its host venues. While its productions have enjoyed great popularity, including numerous sellouts, they would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors and donors. For more information about Studio Tenn Theatre Company or to get involved as a donor or sponsor, please visit or email



FRANKLIN, Tenn. — “Ukulele Hero” (Rolling Stone), Jake Shimabukuro, will perform at the historic Franklin Theatre on Thursday, June 6. Shimabukuro is using this current tour to promote his most recent album Grand Ukulele.

In his young career, Shimabukuro has already redefined a heretofore under-the-radar instrument, won accolades from the disparate likes of Eddie Vedder, Perez Hilton and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, wowed audiences on TV (Jimmy Kimmel, Conan), earned comparisons to Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, and even played in front of the Queen of England.

The Franklin Theatre is honored to host Jake Shimabukuro at such an exciting and relevant point in his career. Prior to his performance at the Franklin Theatre Nashville Public Television will premiere his new documentary, JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS, Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Tadashi Nakamura on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets for Jake Shimabukuro are on public sale now and start as low as $33.00 for classic seating.  They can be purchased at the Franklin Theatre box office (419 Main Street, Franklin, TN), online at or by calling 615-538-2076.

About the Franklin Theatre:

Built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre 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.

For additional information contact:

Chelsey Reardon



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Evan Freeze Promoted to Operations Manager

FRANKLIN, TN. – The Franklin Theatre is proud to name Evan Freeze as its new Operations Manager.  Freeze will be responsible for relations with visitors and attendees of theatre events by supervising and further developing the theatre’s concessions and box office staff as well as coordinating volunteers.  He will also coordinate with organizations and companies renting the theater for special events and meetings. Freeze is a Franklin native and has been with the theater since it’s re-opening in July of 2011.

“I was beyond excited to join the Franklin Theatre team before the grand re-opening,” says Freeze.  “I remember coming to the theatre with my parents to see movies as a child and I was thrilled to see the community come together to save it.  It’s such a vital and integral part of the character of Downtown Franklin. I’m excited to be given the opportunity to continue work for the theatre and this community on an even deeper level.”

“Evan’s passion and commitment fits perfectly into our leadership team and we’re delighted to see talents grow and get promoted within our own family,” explains Franklin Theatre Director Dan Hays.

Freeze will be graduating from Belmont University’s business program in May 2014.

About the Franklin Theatre:

Originally built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre re-opened to the public in June 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

For further information please contact:

Chelsey Reardon






FRANKLIN, Tenn.—The Franklin Theatre will help spread Easter cheer a day early this year. The historic event venue will host its first “Eggs-travaganza” on Saturday, March 30 beginning at 9:30 a.m. The children’s event will include a screening of the animated movie Hop and a chance to win a brand-new bicycle from Mac’s Harpeth Bikes in Franklin.hot_movie_poster1

The Theatre, whose marquee first illuminated Main Street in 1937, said it focuses on children-oriented events each year in order to give back to its community supporters.

“We enjoy these opportunities to engage with both the children and their families, because it means we’re making memories with them,” said Chelsey Reardon, marketing and communications manager. “The Theatre is nostalgic for many people, and we hope that events like these will help maintain the sentimental value of this place.”

The Easter-themed film will begin at 10 a.m., and doors will open at 9:30 a.m. Each child will be given an Easter egg upon entrance, one that contains a number that may lead to a potential door prize. The big giveaway will be a children’s bicycle, valued at $260 and donated by Mac’s Harpeth Bikes, the family-owned bicycle boutique just north of downtown Franklin.

Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County, said that cash giveaways and other incentives have long been a tradition at the Franklin Theatre.

“These fun events entice ticket sales and keep folks coming back, and the Theatre’s been doing it dating back to the early years and continuing for decades,” she said. “We are so grateful to small businesses that really look for ways to contribute to the community. Merchants like Mac help make Franklin special.”

The young attendees will have opportunities to win a bundle of remaining gifts throughout the morning, including $10 bills and baskets full of holiday goods. In addition to the children’s comedy movie, there will be a life-size bunny and “helpers” in attendance to take photos.

As always, movie tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the Theatre box office or online at

Black & White Bike


For further information please contact:

Macey Baird
Sheridan Public Relations LLC, 615.472.8879

Chelsey Reardon
Franklin Theatre Marketing & Public Relations, 615.538.2079