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Studio Tenn Announces New Hank Williams Season Opener

hank25 June 2013 – Franklin, Tenn – Studio Tenn Theatre Company is replacing the first show of their upcoming season with a world premiere Hank Williams musical revue. Currently in the making, “The Hank Legacy: The Songs of Hank Williams” will run August 29 through September 15 at the Franklin Theatre. Season tickets are currently on sale at Individual tickets will go on sale Thursday, July 4 at 10:00 a.m. All tickets previously purchased for “Hank Williams: Lost Highway” will be honored for this production.

For company principles Jake Speck and Matt Logan, the chance to produce an original tribute to the late great Hank Williams could not be passed up. Nashville natives themselves, Logan and Speck are “very interested in music and stories from this part of the country,” said Speck. “Our hometown played a significant role in Hank’s life and career; we’re extremely gratified by the opportunity to tip our hats to him our own way.”

While Speck and Logan have each been involved with the development of many new plays and musicals over their careers, this will be the first original production for Studio Tenn.

“It’s a great privilege to be able to create a new show with Studio Tenn’s own local and regional audience in mind,” said Logan, who, together with Speck, is creating the piece. Pair that with the unparalleled acoustics and “world class, up close” intimacy of the historic Franklin Theatre—nestled mere miles from Williams’ former residence in Leipers Fork—and you have “a recipe for an unforgettable entertainment experience that cannot, by definition, happen anywhere else.”

Unlike “Lost Highway,” “The Hank Legacy” is not biographical. The production will follow a “musical revue” format—much like last season’s highly lauded “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”—drawing on the vocal and instrumental talents of a troupe of eight actors. With no one player cast as Hank, the songs themselves will be the stars of this show.

“We think this approach showcases the extent to which Hank’s iconic music has truly permeated our culture,” Logan said. “His work still resonates—not just in the country music world, but throughout many genres of American popular music. To demonstrate his music’s versatility is to make a case for its enduring relevance.”

Speck and Logan hope that “The Hank Legacy: The Songs of Hank Williams” will be the first of multiple Studio Tenn originals.

“Our mission is to keep professional theatre alive and thriving in Middle Tennessee,” said Speck. “One means to that end is to stage well loved classic pieces with fresh, contemporary interpretations; another is to embrace opportunities to periodically contribute something new to the repertoire.”

“The Hank Legacy: The Songs of Hank Williams” opens August 29 at the Franklin Theatre, located at 419 Main Street in historic downtown Franklin. To purchase tickets or find out more about Studio Tenn and its productions, visit To get involved as a sponsor or donor, email

Kindie Rock Duo, The Pop Ups, To Play The Historical Franklin Theatre

Franklin, Tenn. — Brooklyn-based musical duo, The Pop Ups, will play the historic Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tenn. on Saturday, June 29. The Pop Ups, members Jason Rabinowitz and Jacob Stein, received a GRAMMY nomination and a 2012 Parent’s Choice Award for their second album, Radio Jungle. This wildly imaginative album debuted in April and has since received praise from the Fids and Kamily Awards, held the #1 Single on SiriusXM’s “Kids Place Live” radio show, and others alike. The first of two shows will be at 9:30 a.m., followed by an 11:00 a.m. performance. Admission is $10 and free for children under the age of 2.Pop Ups

The Pop Up’s first release Outside Voices debuted in 2010 and laid the groundwork for Radio Jungle, which is an even more polished and approachable collection that displays the duos’ youthful spirit. Songs such as “Elephant” and “Math Rock” display the teachability of their music as well as the artistic potential of “Box of Crayons.” Time Out New York named them one of 2012’s Best 15 Bands for kids.

Just one of many upcoming plans for the kindie rock group, The Pop Ups will be joining Yo Gabba Gabba Live for their second tour together. Following Jason Rabinowitz’s six-month run in the Tony award winning Broadway production of One Man Two Guvnors, The Pop Ups will be doing a spring and summer concert tour as well as debuting their new puppet musical titled RADIO JUNGLE, a comedic, ecological scavenger hunt, which features songs from the GRAMMY nominated album.

Tickets for The Pop Ups are on public sale now. 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





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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