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October 27

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party with Billy Stritch at the Piano Returns to Greater Nashville

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Jim Caruso’s Cast Party (with Billy Stritch at the piano) — an “extreme open mic” — will make a triumphant return to The Franklin Theatre on Tuesday, November 16 at 8pm.

In September of 2019, Caruso and Stritch packed the Franklin Theatre with a variety show that included Larry Gatlin, Linda Davis, Ty Herndon, Emily West, Cooper Alan, Victoria Shaw, Erin Kinsey, Beegie Adair, and many more.

Jim Caruso’s Cast Party is a wildly popular weekly open mic night that has been bringing a sprinkling of Broadway glitz and urbane wit to the legendary Birdland in New York City every Monday night for the past eighteen years.  It’s a cool cabaret night-out enlivened by a hilariously impromptu variety show.  Showbiz superstars hit the stage alongside up-and-comers, serving up jaw-dropping music and general razzle-dazzle.  In the past, Party-ers have been thrilled by impromptu performances by Liza Minnelli, Ariana Grande, Tony Bennett, Michael Feinstein, Natalie Cole, Donny Osmond, Carol Channing, Charlie Puth, Jeffrey Osborne, Larry Gatlin, and thousands more.  Cast Party is the ultimate spot to mix and mingle with talented show folk and their fans.  The buoyant, sharp and charming Caruso guides the entire affair like a bubbly cruise director, musical genius Billy Stritch (Liza Minnelli and Tony Bennett) holds court at the ivories, and the audience is invited to participate in the festivities!  Caruso and Stritch have taken the Party on the road, celebrating talent in London, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Austin, and on the high seas.  Cast Party was also part of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Songbook Series, celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood with an all-star cast.

JIM CARUSO made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in the Tony Award-winning Liza’s At The Palace!, singing, dancing and celebrating the music and arrangements of Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers.  He has won six MAC Awards for his nightclub appearances, nine BroadwayWorld Awards, has performed with the New York Pops in a tribute to Kander & Ebb, with Rosemary Clooney celebrating Bing Crosby, and singing the songs of Hope & Crosby with Michael Feinstein, all at Carnegie Hall.   Jim was honored to sing with Barbara Cook, Lauren Bacall and a bevy of Broadway stars at President Clinton’s First State Dinner at the White House. For eighteen years, he has hosted the weekly showbiz bash “Jim Caruso’s Cast Party” at Birdland, Town Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center and across the country. Jim and pianist/singer Billy Stritch have enjoyed crooning during their weekly residency at The Carlyle Hotel for eight years.  During the pandemic, Jim hosted the virtual “Pajama Cast Party” for 72 consecutive weeks, celebrating some of the most dazzling musical stars from the Broadway, pop, and country scenes…all from the comfort of their homes!  Caruso’s two cds, “The Swing Set” and “Caruso Live and In Person” are available online.  Follow Jim on Instagram at @JimCaruso1.

BILLY STRITCH is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York and national jazz and cabaret scenes. He began his career in Houston, Texas, where he formed the vocal trio Montgomery, Plant and Stritch. The trio performed all over New York and Europe from 1983 until they disbanded in 1990. A chance meeting with Liza Minnelli in March of 1991 resulted in her asking him to create vocal arrangements for the record-breaking extravaganza Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall. In addition to his 25-year collaboration with as accompanist and opening act for Liza, Billy recently toured with the legendary Tony Bennett as Tony’s pianist and musical director. A solo entertainer in his own right, he has performed his own shows (including tributes to Mel Tormé and Cy Coleman) in concert halls and nightclubs across the country. Billy also serves as music director for such leading vocalists as Marilyn Maye, Linda Lavin, Linda Eder, Christine Ebersole and Paulo Szot. He is the co-writer of the number one Grammy-winning song “Does He Love You” recorded by Reba McEntire and Linda Davis. Lightning struck twice for this song as a new version was released in 2021 by Reba and the legendary Dolly Parton. When he’s not on the road, he is the pianist for Jim Caruso’s Cast Party open mic night every Monday at New York’s legendary Birdland Jazz Club and he and Jim hold forth on Sunday nights at Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan’s fabled Carlyle Hotel. During Covid-19, he created his own weekly Facebook live-stream show “Billy’s Place”, celebrating the Great American Songbook with songs and stories from his varied career. He has recorded five solo CDs and his latest CD release “Billy’s Place” (Club44 Records) is a collection of his favorite songs from these online concerts. Follow Billy on Instagram @billystritch.

*Interested performers should email caruso212@aol.com for more information.

July 23

Franklin Theatre to Celebrate 10th Anniversary of 2011 Reopening with Showstopping Night of Entertainment

Crown jewel of Main Street in downtown Franklin reopened to much fanfare after massive renovation completed in 2011

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, the parent company of The Franklin Theatre, is excited to invite fans and supporters of the beloved Franklin Theatre to a night of celebration being held Saturday, August 7.  

Sponsored by Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson), the event will celebrate 10 years since the rehabilitation and reopening of the historic theater that has been a presence on Franklin’s Main Street since 1937. Through the power of dynamic sound and visuals produced by Matt Logan Productions and the premiere of the theater’s mini-documentary film produced by Stonecastle Pictures, attendees will be able to relive the last 84 years of the theater’s storied history combined with a glimpse of what’s to come for the future of the theater.

“If the pandemic gave us anything positive to take away, it gave us the time to focus on and plan for a truly dynamic event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Franklin Theatre’s reopening,” said Heritage Foundation CEO Bari Beasley. “Thanks to our sponsor, Jackson, we’ve been able to create an amazing mini-documentary and have lined up an impressive night of entertainment to really celebrate what this theater means to all of us and to the city of Franklin.”

The Franklin Theatre opened its doors for the first time during the summer of 1937 when the marquee first illuminated Main Street. Moviegoers enjoyed fresh popcorn, afternoon matinees and walked away with a lifetime of memories.                                         

Over the next 70 years, the world changed a lot – but The Franklin Theatre stood as a testament to a simpler way of life. Time eventually took its toll on the venerable movie house, and the doors closed in 2007 under the pressing of rising rents and the trend toward mega-theaters.

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County couldn’t allow Main Street’s crown jewel to cease to shine, so the nonprofit preservation organization stepped in to buy and rehabilitate the historic landmark. After three years of work – and an investment of more than $8 million – the historic Franklin Theatre re-emerged better than ever.

To herald this milestone, The Franklin Theatre is presenting a 10th Anniversary Celebration on August 7, 2021 which will serve as a key fundraiser for the theater in this year of post-pandemic recovery. The evening will begin with an outdoor reception on Main Street at 6 p.m. Theater doors open at 7 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a performance created by Matt Logan Productions, featuring iconic song selections that reflect the theatre’s past, present and future.

Proceeds from the cocktail attire 10th Anniversary Celebration go to support the ongoing mission of The Franklin Theatre, which is a nonprofit, community-focused theater destined to create lasting memories through the power of the arts.

Tickets for the celebration range from $150 – $500. For additional information about the event, click here or call the box office at 615-538-2076.

 

 

ABOUT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY 

Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. Notable projects include The Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail. The Foundation brings county history to about 3,000 school children each year through the Heritage Classroom program as well as walking tours of downtown Franklin. Events and festivals produced by the Heritage Foundation such as Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to downtown Franklin each year. The Heritage Foundation owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, the Downtown Franklin Association, and the organization’s newest division and current restoration project, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens. For more information about the Heritage Foundation, visit www.williamsonheritage.org. 

 

ABOUT THE FRANKLIN THEATRE

Following a complete restoration by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County in 2011, the historic Franklin Theatre (Est. 1937), re-opened its doors as a state-of-the-art live music venue featuring performances by world-renowned artists.  The theatre also honors its heritage by continuing to show movies. The Theatre’s mission is to provide world-class, diverse performing arts experiences to residents and visitors alike and to be a platform for local philanthropic engagement and education, all delivered with unparalleled guest service.

For more information about The Franklin Theatre, visit  www.franklintheatre.com.

 

ABOUT JACKSON

Jackson® is committed to helping clarify the complexity of retirement planning—for you and your clients. Our range of annuity products, financial know-how, history of award-winning service and streamlined experiences strive to reduce the confusion that complicates your clients’ plans. We believe by providing clarity for all today, we can help drive better outcomes for tomorrow. For more information on Jackson, visit www.jackson.com.

 

June 7

Heritage Foundation of Williamson County and Jackson® to Partner for 10th Year 

Jackson supports The Franklin Theatre as presenting sponsor as theater fully reopens

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, and Jackson National Life Insurance Company (Jackson®) are excited to announce their partnership for 2021, which continues the 10-year tradition of support for the historic Franklin Theatre, a division of the Heritage Foundation.

Jackson initially partnered with The Franklin Theatre in 2011 when the theater reopened after the Heritage Foundation’s acquisition and renovation and has been its biggest corporate community supporter ever since.

“The Franklin Theatre exemplifies what so many of us love about historic downtown Franklin,” said Niya Moon, Corporate Philanthropy Manager at Jackson. “It’s a terrific community space to enjoy great performances and time together. We are thrilled to see the theater reopening and to help reinvigorate this historic venue with dynamic new programming, the FT Live concerts and some fun events which will be announced soon.”

The Franklin Theatre has been hosting limited capacity live shows, movies, and private rentals this year as part of a phased reopening plan. The theater has announced full capacity showings beginning in July with full programming in swing this summer.

“We are so excited to fill this beautiful theater with people again and that is something we simply could not do without the amazing support of our partners at Jackson,” said Heritage Foundation President and CEO Bari Beasley. “They have been an extraordinary partner for a decade, and we couldn’t be more excited to have them back with us in 2021 as we work to fully reopen and launch exciting new programming and events as we celebrate our beloved ‘crown jewel of Main Street’.”

The Franklin Theatre recently announced a week of “pay-what-you-can” movies through June 6 and many other live shows have been rescheduled. Check the website at www.franklintheatre.com for dates and additional information. For more information on Jackson®, visit their website at www.jackson.com.

 

ABOUT THE FRANKLIN THEATRE

Following a complete restoration by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County in 2011, the historic Franklin Theatre (Est. 1937), re-opened its doors as a state-of-the-art live music venue featuring performances by world-renowned artists.  The theatre also honors its heritage by continuing to show movies. The Theatre’s mission is to provide world-class, diverse performing arts experiences to residents and visitors alike and to be a platform for local philanthropic engagement and education, all delivered with unparalleled guest service. For more information about The Franklin Theatre, visit  www.franklintheatre.com.

 

ABOUT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY

Since 1967, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County has been dedicated to preserving Williamson County’s architectural, geographic and cultural heritage as well as promoting the ongoing revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation. Notable projects include The Franklin Theatre, Roper’s Knob, parts of the Franklin battlefield and the Old, Old Jail. The Foundation brings county history to about 3,000 school children each year through the Heritage Classroom program as well as walking tours of downtown Franklin. Events and festivals produced by the Heritage Foundation such as Main Street Festival, the Heritage Ball, Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas bring hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors to downtown Franklin each year. The Heritage Foundation owns and operates The Franklin Theatre, the Downtown Franklin Association, and the organization’s newest division and current restoration project, Franklin Grove Estate & Gardens. For more information about the Heritage Foundation, visit www.williamsonheritage.org.

 

ABOUT JACKSON®

Jackson is a leading provider of retirement products for industry professionals and their clients. The company and its affiliates offer variable, fixed and fixed index annuities designed for tax-efficient growth and distribution of retirement income for retail customers, as well as products for institutional investors. Jackson is a proud founding member and co-chair of the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization formed and supported by 24 of the nation’s financial services organizations to create awareness and educate Americans about the importance of protected lifetime income. The company prides itself on sound corporate risk management practices and strategic technology initiatives. Focused on thought leadership and education, Jackson provides industry insights and financial representative training on retirement planning and alternative investment strategies. The company is also dedicated to corporate philanthropy and supports nonprofits focused on strengthening families and creating economic opportunities in the communities where its employees live and work. For more information, visit www.jackson.com.

March 10

The Franklin Theatre Launches Phased Reopening for 2021

Beginning with small, private rental events, theater now looking to bring back live entertainment, movies and hybrid live-streamed shows that conform to current COVID restrictions

FRANKLIN, TN (March 10, 2020) – After going dark to public performances last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, parent organization of The Franklin Theatre, is excited to announce the theater’s phased reopening plan for 2021.

Currently the theater is open for private rentals, including Monday nights through April where another local non-profit, Studio Tenn, is hosting its popular virtual talk show: Studio Tenn Talks: Conversations with Patrick Cassidy. In addition, as part of its mission to be a platform for local philanthropy, The Franklin Theatre is currently working in partnership with local video production companies and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) to provide an opportunity for non-profits to film affordable promotional videos to support their participation in The Big Payback, CFMT’s annual 24-hour giving event that kicks off on Wednesday, May 5 at 6 p.m.

The current reopening plan, which will be modified as needed based on any future COVID-related restrictions, will bring back limited-capacity weekend movies, limited-capacity plus livestream performances through June. Until the state guidelines indicate otherwise, the theater’s capacity is approximately 75 guests, which accounts for adequate social distancing.

Beginning in July, the theater will begin presenting movies and live performances with increasing regularity and possible increased capacity. The Franklin Theatre will continue to follow the governor’s Tennessee Pledge and CDC guidelines and update reopening plans as needed.

The theater’s box office will reopen with limited hours beginning on Friday, March 12, in time for Sandi Patty’s ticket on-sale date. The box office’s limited hours will run through April and will be 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday, Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to new shows going on sale over the next several weeks, many 2021-2022 shows are currently on sale.

  • Sandi Patty (Limited Capacity & Livestream) – Saturday, May 8 | 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.
  • Deborah Allen (Limited Capacity & Livestream) – Saturday, June 5 | 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. – ON SALE FRIDAY, APRIL 2
  • The Isaacs – Friday, July 9 | 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE
  • James Gregory – Saturday, July 10 | 8 p.m. – ON SALE FRIDAY, APRIL 2
  • Jeff Allen – Thursday, July 15 | 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE
  • Larry Carlton – Saturday, July 17 | 8 p.m. – ON SALE FRIDAY, APRIL 9
  • Farewell Angelina – Thursday, July 29 | 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE
  • John Ford Coley, Billy Dean & Tom Wurth – Backgrounds and Bridges Acoustic Tour – Thursday, August 5 | 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE
  • Allie Colleen – Friday, August 6 | 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE
  • Henry Cho – Saturday, August 14 | 4 p.m. & 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE
  • Gary Puckett & The Union Gap – Thursday, August 19 & Friday, August 20 | 8 p.m. – ON SALE FRIDAY, APRIL 16
  • David Wilcox – Saturday, August 21 | 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE
  • BJ Thomas – Friday, August 27 & Saturday, August 28 | 8 p.m. – CURRENTLY ON SALE

“We are emerging from an incredibly challenging season for The Franklin Theatre,” said Heritage Foundation COO Meg Hershey. “While we had to temporarily close the doors to public events, we are diligently working behind the scenes to reschedule some of the amazing programming that was planned for last year. We couldn’t be more excited about getting this cherished venue back open to continue its mission, bringing inspiring arts and entertainment experiences to our community.”

Hershey went on to say that surviving an unprecedented season which left the theater with very few options for programming has been nothing short of challenging.

“This theater has been sustained by the community’s embrace of underwritten marquee messages, limited small group private rental events and through the commitment of corporate sponsors and donors of the nonprofit Heritage Foundation and its division The Franklin Theatre,” she said.

The Heritage Foundation is also making plans for a 10th anniversary celebration later this year to commemorate 10 years since the theater’s restoration and grand re-opening.

September 3

Help Support The Franklin Theatre

The Franklin Theatre is more than a marquee in photographs. It’s a community, it’s tradition and it is history

You inspire us to bring the performing arts to Downtown Franklin.  As our patrons and supporters, you bring life to the “Crown Jewel of Main Street” and make our programming possible.  We are excited to come back in 2021 with an incredible lineup of live performances, concerts and movies.

Please consider making a donation that will ensure we can continue our mission and bring you the programs, traditions and memories that make The Franklin Theatre so special to you and our community.

DONATE HERE

 

August 24

The Heritage Foundation Announces New Advisory Board for The Franklin Theatre

Thought leaders in entertainment, marketing and non-profit industries unite to support Franklin’s beloved historic theatre.

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN has appointed a new Advisory Board for The Franklin Theatre with 16 board members representing a rich portfolio of experience in entertainment, marketing and non-profit industries, announced Bari Beasley, Heritage Foundation CEO.  The Advisory Board will work with The Franklin Theatre and the Heritage Foundation teams over the next several years to support long-term vision and planning.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this group of talented people who have stepped up to serve and support our beloved historic downtown theatre and the Heritage Foundation. The combined experience, talent and passion of these 16 people will be a key factor in our strategic planning, fundraising and programming for long-term vision of The Franklin Theatre. With this talented team rallying for us, the sky’s the limit for the possibilities,” says Beasley.

THE FRANKLIN THEATRE ADVISORY BOARD, August 2020

 

 

CHAIR Jennifer Parker.  A resident of Franklin for more than 20 years and owner of Parker Haven Interiors, Jennifer Parker brings more than a decade working in the Nashville music industry with artist labels, management companies, recording studios, and branded artist events and marketing. A Leadership Music graduate, she serves on the Heritage Foundation Board as the VP of The Franklin Theater, as well as the Board of Studio Tenn.

Trey Bruce.  An Emmy Award-winning American songwriter, Trey Bruce has written eight Billboard Number One singles with songs performed by Randy Travis, Diamond Rio, Lee Roy Parnell, among others. He has also co-written numerous Top 10 singles for artists including Faith Hill, Leann Rimes, Trisha Yearwood, Trace Adkins, Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood.

Ramon Cisneros. A specialist in marketing and engagement for Latinos in the U.S. and Latin America, Ramon Cisneros is also a consultant for corporations nationwide. He has served on the boards of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Nashville Arts & Business Council, Nashville Symphony, Nashville Opera, Cheekwood, W.O. SMITH School of Music, Sister Cities of Franklin & Williamson County, Williamson Medical Center Foundation and many others. He is a graduate of Leadership Music.

Carla Denham. Carla Denham is a passionate brand campaign producer and marketing strategist with decades of achievement with major product, service and non-profit organizations globally. A veteran in the brand business, she has led and/or grown brand marketing agencies in the South, California and Hawaii and represented brands ranging from Philips Electronics, Chick-fil-A and Gymboree to World Vision, Soles4Souls and Feed the Children.

Fletcher Foster. One of the most connected music industry leaders serving on Nashville’s Music Row, Fletcher Foster has worked with almost every record label and publishing company across the nation, as well as artists that span genre and generation including Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Kelsea Ballerini, Whitney Houston and Annie Lennox. Currently president/CEO of F2 Entertainment Group, he serves on numerous boards including the Academy of Country Music, Leadership Music, Make-a-Wish of Middle Tennessee and the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau Council.

David Garrett. A Franklin native and prominent family law attorney who manages the Franklin office of Cheatham, Palermo & Garrett, David Garrett serves as the current president of the Heritage Foundation Board. He also served as president of the Foundation’s board from 2007-2011 during the acquisition, restoration and reopening of The Franklin Theatre. Garrett also served on the Board of Trustees for Battle Ground Academy and is a recipient of the Heritage Foundation’s Patron’s Award and Franklin Tomorrow’s Anne T. Rutherford Exemplary Community Volunteer Award.

Dan Haseltine. Dan Haseltine is primary singer/songwriter for 4x GRAMMY AWARD winning band, Jars of Clay, and alt-synth pop trio, The Hawk in Paris.  Dan has written 17 #1 radio singles and is the Composer for the highest grossing crowdfunded television show in history, The Chosen. He is the Founder and Sr. Development officer of the non-profit organization, Blood:Water and co-founder of local non-profit, The PUBLIC. Dan is also author of two acclaimed children’s picture books, “The One, The Only, Magnificent Me,” and “Lulu & the Long Walk.”  He is a music producer, commercial jingle creator, speaker, songwriting coach and marketing consultant. and has lived in Franklin for 25 years with his family.

David Haskell. With more than 40 years of experience in the production business, David Haskell has served as a tour manager, production manager, front of house engineer and producer for several of the biggest names in the music industry. He began his storied career with the band Nantucket in 1978 and then went on to work with artists like Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Hall & Oates, Jim Nabors, Keb Mo and more. Haskell currently serves as president of Morris Light & Sound, a production partner of the Heritage Foundation and The Franklin Theatre.

Paul Jankowski. Paul Jankowski is a recognized expert in entertainment branding, and a thought leader, speaker and Forbes contributor on marketing and creating culturally relevant messaging in the New Heartland. His expertise in all aspects of global brand development is reflected as the founder of Nashville-based New Heartland Group and entertainment agency One Bullet Entertainment. He has served in leadership positions at Elvis Presley Enterprises, SFX Entertainment (Live Nation), Gibson Guitar Corp., MCA Records and SBK Records, and was a co-founder of the T.J. Martell Foundation.

Sherri Leathers.  Sherri Leathers has more than 20 years of experience in arts programming, with an emphasis on performances for school and family audiences. She joined Shaw Entertainment Group in 2017 and is now working as the agent for the Southeast region and supporting other aspects of its operations including artist acquisition, development and retention and a variety of special projects.

Debbie Schwartz Linn. Debbie Schwartz Linn currently serves as Executive Director of Leadership Music and spent her early career with Sony Music in both New York and Nashville. Linn has developed brand partnerships for more than 20 artists including Kenny Chesney with JC Penney; Sara Evans with Libby’s, Maytag and Johnson & Johnson; Jake Owen with Lucky Jeans; Miranda Lambert with Vanity Clothing; and the Country Strong movie and soundtrack with Pepsi and Arby’s.

Matt Logan. A Tennessee native, Matt Logan worked on Broadway for years in costuming and casting for productions like The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Spamalot. In 2009, he returned to the South and founded Studio Tenn in Franklin with Emmy Award-winning producer Philip Hall and Broadway actress Marguerite Hall. Since then, he has worked in the creative space with Reba McEntire and on many other special projects.

Dionne Lucas. Currently serving as the Director of Retail Marketing and Sales for the National Museum of African American Music, Dionne Lucas started her professional career in marketing with The Coca Cola Company. She has successfully launched and managed numerous brands and received multiple accolades for her work with RJ Reynolds’ subsidiary Lane Limited and Tantus Manufacturing

Emily Magid. Emily Magid is a Middle Tennessee native and longtime Franklin resident and community advocate. For the Heritage Foundation, she’s best known as one of our most tenured volunteers, past board member, donor and one of the Foundation’s biggest cheerleaders. She also serves and supports many other local nonprofits and organizations including the Harpeth River Watershed Association, Franklin Housing Authority, Habitat for Humanity, BrightStone, Alcohol & Drug Council of Middle Tennessee, Williamson County Animal Center, Land Trust of Tennessee and others.

T.J. Portis. T.J. Portis has lived in the Williamson County community for decades and serves other nonprofit organizations like the Williamson County Library as a board member. She was highly recommended to the Foundation to serve on the Franklin Theatre advisory board by African American Heritage Society of Williamson County leader Alma McLemore.

Dan Rogers. A 20-year veteran of the beloved Grand Ole Opry, Dan Rogers currently serves as vice president and executive producer managing more than 200 performances annually. Rogers got his start at the Opry as a graduate intern and in his words, “…just never left. I came in at minimum wage, and with a lot to learn. But fortunately for me I was given the opportunity to learn on the job.”

The Franklin Theatre, an operating division of the Heritage Foundation, has temporarily suspended all programming until 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions on live entertainment venues. The theatre continues to provide a platform for local philanthropic engagement and to offer diverse programming for all people in 2021 and beyond.

 

Visit FranklinTheatre.com for 2021 programming.

June 18

A Message From Our CEO

A Difficult Decision That Impacts Our Community

Dear friends and supporters,

Due to ongoing health concerns and continued unknowns created by the COVID-19 global pandemic, I am here to share a very difficult announcement which impacts our community and marks an unprecedented time in the history of the Heritage Foundation.

The Heritage Foundation has a mission to save places and stories that matter in Williamson County, which includes hosting long-standing signature events that create cultural community engagement. These events also serve to generate much-needed operational revenue to keep our preservation, education and community programs going.

With a clear focus on the health and safety of our community, and after much deliberation and review of economic impact, virtual options and health and government updates, the Heritage Foundation and our Board of Directors have agreed to cancel all live festivals and events for the remainder of 2020.

In addition, we will postpone all further programming at the Franklin Theatre effective June 18, 2020 with the exception of two concert events previously scheduled in July.

The Foundation events which will be cancelled for 2020 include:

  • 37th Annual Main Street Festival scheduled for July 18-19
  • 37th Annual Pumpkinfest on October 24
  • 36th Annual Dickens of a Christmas on December 12-13.

We have also made the decision to cancel the 47th Annual Heritage Ball scheduled for October 3, which is the longest-running black-tie event in Williamson County and the Foundation’s largest fundraiser.

All remaining programming, movies and events at The Franklin Theatre as of June 18, 2020 will be postponed, with the exception of two concert events previously scheduled in July (details to come).

The new live performance series slated to launch this fall will also be postponed. We are currently making our best effort to reschedule these events into our 2021/22 season and pledge to keep you informed of our progress along the way. Current ticket holders will be contacted with options, and new dates for the Performing Arts Series and other 2021/22 programming will be forthcoming.

I know this announcement is terribly disappointing to our community, vendors, local businesses and all of our supporters, but firmly believe this is the best decision to ensure that the Heritage Foundation can continue to serve our community for generations to come.

I want to thank each and every one of you who have attended any of our festivals, supported our annual fundraiser ball, or visited our beloved Franklin Theatre. Creating community and connecting people with our local heritage is critical to the mission of the Foundation. Without these major community fundraising events and theatre programming for operational revenue, we need your support now more than ever.

Only with your support can our team continue to bolster advocacy and education for historical preservation, continue our current preservation projects, and support downtown Main Street merchants through this unprecedented season. But we can’t do it without you — our community and our supporters.

We need you to be part of the story this year, so it will be possible to make 2021 a year of community celebration, reviving our downtown Franklin signature festivals and events, and filling the Franklin Theatre with the new live performing arts season.

If you would like more information about today’s decision, email info@williamsonheritage.org or CLICK HERE for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Our team is here to answer any questions and support our community that we love to serve.

The role you play this year will be part of our story for generations to come. Please donate, join our Leadership Society, become a member or a volunteer. Just be part of the story and help us keep it going!

Bari Beasley
Chief Executive Officer

June 1

Heritage Foundation Announces Franklin Theatre Reopening Plans

The Franklin Theatre, which has been closed to the public since mid-March in response to state guidelines regarding COVID-19, will reopen to the public on June 12 at 7 p.m. with a showing of Monty Python and The Holy Grail (PG). The theater is also bringing back the popular Silver Matinee series on June 17, with a showing of Some Like It Hot(1959).
Theater Executive Director Paul T. Couch and his team have been hard at work
during the closure rescheduling shows that were slated during the latter part of
March through June and working on how and when the theater could safely reopen
to patrons. He said many of the live performances have been rescheduled in lieu of
being cancelled and it was determined showing of movies would be the best way to
ease safely back into operations.
When the theater reopens on June 12, patrons, along with the theater staff, will be
required to wear cloth face coverings while in the theater and seating capacity will
be limited to achieve social distancing safety measures.
“We have been preparing behind the scenes while waiting on clear guidelines from
the state on how and when we are able to reopen the theater,” Couch said. “Our
first priority is to consider the safety of our staff and guests. We didn’t want to open
until we were certain we could provide that. We are excited to open with a timeless
comedy classic and look forward to seeing patrons back in the theater seats in a few
weeks.”
In an effort to provide a contact-free experience, tickets for each show will need to
be purchased in advance at www.franklintheatre.com. All seating will be done with
respect to social distancing guidelines. Contact-free purchases can be made from
the theater’s concession stand.
JUNE MOVIES INCLUDE:

“Monty Python & the Holy Grail” (PG)

“The Goonies” (PG)

“Labyrinth” (PG)

“Some Like It Hot” (1959)

“How to Train Your Dragon” (PG)

“Field of Dreams” (PG)

“Roman Holiday” (1953)

“Shoplifters” (R)

FOR FULL MOVIE SCHEDULE VISIT:  https://www.franklintheatre.com/tickets/movies/

For COVID-19 Guidelines & Requirements: https://www.franklintheatre.com/coronavirus/

 

We look forward to announcing details on live performances at a later date.

February 26

Historic Franklin Theatre announces new Performing Arts Series and names Paul T. Couch new executive director

Theater announces new mission and vision for 2020 and beyond with artistic expansion.

Since its original opening in 1937, the historic Franklin Theatre has seen many exciting changes, and 2020 is proving to be no different.

The Franklin Theatre kicked off the year with two major announcements including the naming of Paul T. Couch as the theatre’s permanent executive director as well as introducing an entirely new lineup of performing arts programming which will build upon the excellent track record the Franklin Theatre already has for its live music and movie showings by adding  programming that features diverse musical, dance and family performances.

Bari Beasley is the CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, which owns the Franklin Theatre. She said bringing Paul Couch to the executive director role was an important step towards the expansion of the entertainment happening in the theatre that focuses on the theatre’s new mission and vision.

“This theater is such a gem to this entire county, and we want to focus on making it accessible to even more people with even more exciting programming,” Beasley said. “Naming Paul Couch as the executive director is a crucial part of that goal and he brings with him a wealth of knowledge in programming, managing and promoting world-class venues and the shows they offer. One of his first ideas in this role was to introduce this new season of diversified programming and we are so excited to bring this added entertainment to Williamson County and to this beautiful theater.”

The new season of programming season will begin September 19 with Black Violin and run through April of 2021.  The new season consists of three series, each made up of five shows doing three performances each. Tickets for each series go on sale today, with individual performance tickets going on sale in April.

“Under the thoughtful guidance of the Heritage Foundation, the Franklin Theatre will welcome a new era of entertainment to its stage with this new season,” executive director Paul T. Couch said. “Our new programming will enrich the cultural offerings available to Williamson County

residents and visitors. Audiences will have new opportunities to create memories in the heart of downtown Franklin.”

Another important aspect of the Performing Arts Series is the implementation of educational outreach with these performers. Couch and his team will be seeking opportunities to bring these international acts into schools and working with area non-profits and organizations to offer young people the chance to benefit from the talents, skills and knowledge of these accomplished artists.

With this new season, the theater has also created new mission and vision statements to better reflect the overarching goals moving into 2020 and beyond. The theater’s vision is to be a catalyst for social change, where diverse peoples are unified, lives are touched, and memories are made. The mission is to provide world-class performing arts experiences to diverse Williamson County residents and visitors and to be a platform for local philanthropic engagement and education, while providing unparalleled guest service.

The 2020-21 Performing Arts Series schedule is:

Great Performances Series

World-class musicians and ensembles will fill the auditorium of The Franklin Theatre with virtuoso musical performances.

Black Violin

September 19-20, 2020

Lead by two classically trained string players, the band uses their unique blend of classical and hip-hop music to overcome stereotypes while encouraging people of all ages, races, and economic backgrounds to join together to break down cultural barriers.

The Academy of St. Martin In The Fields Chamber Ensemble

October 9-10, 2020

This London-based chamber ensemble is one of the finest in the world, renowned for their fresh, brilliant interpretations of the world’s greatest chamber music.

Julie Fowlis

October 23-24, 2020

Renowned for her vocal performance for the Disney/Pixar movie Brave as well as her

collaborations with James Taylor and Mary Chapin Carpenter, her ‘crystalline’ and ‘intoxicating’ vocals have enchanted audiences around the world.

 

Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea

January 22-23, 2021

A unique, multi-cultural ensemble, this all-female group with its foundation and roots based in Mariachi creates music that is traditional and so much more. Their Grammy-winning music can be heard in venues ranging from Disney parks to the Universal Amphitheatre.

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

February 19-20, 2021

For more than three decades, the members of this Grammy-winning ensemble have continually set the standard for expression and virtuosity, bringing a new energy to the concert stage with programs ranging from bluegrass to Bach.

Celebration of Dance Series

Combining the creativity of artists with the discipline of athletes, these amazing displays of music and movement will bring a whole new energy to Main Street.

Rhythmic Circus – Holiday Shuffle

Dec 4-5, 2020

An internationally renowned, 12-member live music and tap dance ensemble whose magnetic, high-energy shows are all about juggling a combination of dancing, humor and music – all wrapped within a bundle of positive messages. 

Giordano Dance Chicago

Feb 12-14, 2021

Presenting new and innovative jazz dance choreography, often redefining and expanding the very definition of jazz dance, bringing the invaluable American art form to audiences and students of all ages and from all ethnic backgrounds.

Los Vivancos

February 26 -27, 2021

Combining flamenco, ballet, martial arts, street dance, theatre and acrobatics with charisma, showmanship, and an exceptional sense of rhythm, these seven brothers are setting audiences ablaze around the world.

 

Eireann, A Taste of Ireland

March 12-13, 2021

These award-winning Irish Dancers and musicians explore magical tales spanning generations of Irish storytelling and culture.

 

Pss Pss

April 23-24, 2021

Two modern-day clowns play out their hilarious and unique pas de deux through the universal language of gesture and look, as they sweep us up in a timeless and award-winning performance with all the seriousness, innocence, and unkindness of the human condition.

Family Spotlight Series

Topflight performances by jugglers, magicians, acrobats and some very big dinosaurs will not only entertain but create experiences that will engage and expand young minds while creating experiences families can enjoy together.

Mark Nizer 4D Theatre

September 25-26, 2020

A new dimension in entertainment combining original comedy, juggling, movement, music and technology that promises a spellbinding performance.

JunNk

October 16-17, 2020

Using items commonly found in a junkyard, JunNk combines singing, percussion and comedy to create a world of music and laughter that has never been seen before.

Cirque-tacular’s, Spooktacular

October 30-31, 2020

Spooks, specters, and scaredy-cats contort and cavort through a high-flying circus of scare. Vampires soar, skeletons stagger, and acrobatic cats romp through a humorously haunted bazaar of the bizarre. Indulge your inner eerie in this family-friendly, bone-chilling delight!

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live!

Nov. 21-22, 2020

Observe, meet and interact with an eye-popping collection of amazingly life-like dinosaurs and other creatures presented in a theatrical performance that will thrill and entertain kids while stimulating their imaginations in ways that will forever connect them to their world

SNAP – Contemporary.Mystery.Performance

Jan 15-16, 2021

Playing with space, time and the otherworldly, this eclectic ensemble of South Korean illusionists will boggle your mind with their impressive powers of prestidigitation. Their mixture of dexterous sleight of hand, vaudevillian comedy and ingenious visual effects conjures a marvelous, magical cabaret perfect for the whole family.

Tickets for the entire series go on sale today, with individual performance tickets going on sale in April. For more information or to buy series tickets, go to www.franklintheatre.com.

 

June 7

Heritage Foundation Hires New Interim Executive Director of The Franklin Theatre

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN has hired an interim executive director for its division The Franklin Theatre. Longtime veteran of the theatre industry and executive producer of the Foundation’s 2017 50th anniversary celebration, Paul T. Couch will join the organization this week.

 

CEO of the Heritage Foundation Bari Beasley said, “Paul brings a tremendous amount of experience, energy and a thoughtful, collaborative nature to The Franklin Theatre. From national touring productions to local theater, he understands what it takes to be in the sometimes-difficult show business but also how to maximize partnerships, sponsorships and the local community to better the entertainment experience for everyone.”

Couch has extensive experience in venue management as well as producing and presenting entertainment, including his time as general manager of the Ryman Auditorium. At Nashville’s most historic live music venue, he booked and promoted a variety of shows, including country, pop, rock, bluegrass and classical music concerts. He also produced the musicals Always…Patsy Cline, Lost Highway—The Music and Legend of Hank Williams, and Bye Bye Love—The Everly Brothers Musical and the Ryman’s first season of repertory musicals.

From there Couch ventured to Savannah, Georgia, where he directed the renovation and opening of the Lucas Theatre for the Arts in the city’s historic district. While there, he presented successful seasons of Broadway shows and classical performances as well pop, rock, country, bluegrass and comedy shows.

Not long after, Dollywood theme park hired Couch as its director of entertainment and executive producer where he became one of the theme park industry’s most award-winning entertainment producers. Dollywood won over 20 Brass Ring Awards and six Golden Ticket Awards during his tenure, from 2003 to 2014. He was also responsible for managing the operations of the park’s eight performance venues. It was there that Couch and Dolly Parton began a creative partnership that includes several major musical productions and a Hallmark Channel television special.

For the past five years Paul has been a Franklin resident where he continues to create and produce musicals. Most notably, he is collaborating with Dolly on the new musical Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, an original adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. The work recently sold out three showcase performances at the Ordway Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota. Couch graduated from Muskingum University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and a minor in Theater and received his MBA from Belmont University.

Couch will replace current Executive Director Dan Hays, following Hays’ last day on Friday, June 7.

To learn more about the Theatre’s upcoming shows and movies, visit FranklinTheatre.com.