The Franklin Theatre to Host Regional Premiere of ‘Mysterious Circumstance: The Death of Meriwether Lewis’ Starring John Schneider and Evan Williams
The film, set on the Natchez Trace, follows the events surrounding the death of the famed American explorer & will feature Q & A with Director & Actor
A story of the allegedly unresolved 1809 demise of a national hero, Mysterious Circumstance, directed by Clark Richey, sheds light on Meriwether Lewis’s death by gunshot on the Natchez Trace, an isolated frontier road connecting Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. The film explores if the famed explorer committed suicide as history reports or was his end far more sinister?
In the film, entangled versions of Lewis’s tragic ending at a remote Tennessee inn are imagined by his friend Alexander Wilson (Billy Slaughter, Mindhunter) during a tense encounter with Priscilla Grinder (Gousset, The Card Counter) – the only witness to Lewis’s final night alive. The historical thriller brings together an award-winning cast and crew that includes Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard), Sonny Marinelli (Entourage) and Evan Williams (Versailles) as Lewis.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to premiere Mysterious Circumstance, at the historic Franklin Theatre,” said Eric Dilts, Managing Director of The Franklin Theatre. “Set just southwest of Franklin, this film is an opportunity for us to shine a light on the rich, and sometimes complicated, history of Middle Tennessee.”
In addition to the screening of Mysterious Circumstance, the evening will include brief remarks before the film and a Q & A with writer & director Clark Richey and Amye Gousset, lead actress & producer immediately following.
Tickets and more information can be found at www.franklintheatre.com/mysterious-circumstance/. Tickets are also available by calling 615-538-2076, or visiting the box office at 419 Main Street, Franklin, TN.
The Franklin Theatre to Host Broadway Bound Bluegrass Musical JOHNNY & the DEVIL’S BOX in Concert
The concert, written by Franklin, TN residents Douglas Waterbury-Tieman and Annabelle Fox, will feature veterans of the stage and screen.
The Franklin Theatre will play host to a concert version of JOHNNY & THE DEVIL’S BOX, a Broadway-bound bluegrass musical, on September 16th, 2022.
Written by Franklin, TN local and Belmont University graduate Douglas Waterbury-Tieman, and boasting a creative team of Broadway veterans, including Scott Wasserman (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, The Great Comet) and Jennifer Jancuska (Hamilton), JOHNNY & THE DEVIL’S BOX tells the story of a boastful fiddle player who attracts the attention of the Devil in his aim to prove his skills.
“Johnny & The Devil’s Box is an exciting and unique opportunity for The Franklin Theatre to present world-class performing arts experiences to our community,” said Eric Dilts, Managing Director of The Franklin Theatre. “Audiences will love its lively, bluegrass score, conceived right here in the heart of Middle Tennessee. We are honored to be part of the development history of this highly praised new musical theatre work and look forward to watching this musical become a hit in Tennessee and beyond.”
“We have such a history with the Franklin Theatre, having performed there many times over the years with Studio Tenn,” said Waterbury-Tieman. “Now to be able to bring our original music to the stage with such an incredible cast of guest artists is an incredible honor. We can’t wait to watch the audience tap their feet to the fiddle in our very favorite theatre.”
The musical’s journey began locally at Belmont University where Waterbury-Tieman conceived of the work, along the way presenting a 29-Hour reading with Studio Tenn. Momentum quickly gained for the show until plans for a production at the Tony Award Winning Goodspeed Opera House were put on hold due to the pandemic’s shut down of Broadway. The Franklin Theatre’s engagement is an opportunity to present a distinct concert interpretation of the show for audiences prior to its full production Regional Premiere this November at the Cumberland County Playhouse in Crossville, TN.
The Franklin Theatre concert will feature Waterbury-Tieman alongside his wife Annabelle Fox (No Strings Off Broadway Revival), Matthew Carlton (The Doyle and Debbie Show, Nash Rep’s Ragtime), Rachel Potter (X-Factor; Broadway’s Addams Family, Evita), A.J. Smith (The Kelly Clarkson Show), Jake Speck (Broadway’s Jersey Boys; Nashville), with more to be announced. The supporting band will feature Zach and Maggie White, Laura Ray and Ben Jones, with Matt Logan serving as Consulting Producer.
Tickets can be found at www.franklintheatre.com/johnny-devils-box. Tickets are also available by calling 615-538-2076, or visiting the box office at 419 Main Street, Franklin, TN.
The Franklin Theatre Puts 10 Holiday Shows On Sale With “Christmas In July” Promotion
Ecclectic holiday-themed live performances include The Gatlin Brothers, The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, Melinda Doolittle, and Studio Tenn’s “A Christmas Carol,”among others
The Franklin Theatre invites the community to make their holiday plans early by securing tickets to a variety of holiday-themed performances. During the month of July, The Franklin Theatre will put tickets on sale to the majority of its holiday programming, beginning with 10 live shows, Friday, July 15 at 11:00 AM.
“We’ve been working very hard and are delighted to share our holiday programming with everyone,” said The Franklin Theatre’s Managing Director, Eric Dilts. “Our calendar has something for everyone this holiday season, with fan favorites along with some new and diverse acts as well. It’s thanks to the support and feedback from our incredible community that we can offer such an exciting lineup.”
As an added benefit, patrons that purchase any “Christmas in July” show will be entered to win a Franklin Theatre prize package that includes Franklin Theatre Merchandise, concessions and (non-holiday) movie vouchers, and a $100 Franklin Theatre gift card.
The Franklin Theatre Partners with Atmos Energy for “Summer Pay What You Can” Movie Screenings
Atmos Energy will serve as the Presenting Sponsor for this series, running July 13-17
FRANKLIN, TN (July 6, 2022) – The Franklin Theatre is pleased to announce Atmos Energy as the presenting sponsor for its “Summer Pay What You Can” movie screenings to be held July 13th to July 17th.
These screenings are a way for Williamson County residents and visitors to engage with the historic theatre at a low cost while supporting the theatre’s mission and vision.
“We’re excited to invite the public into our beautiful theatre for a week of Pay What You Can movies,” said Eric Dilts, Managing Director of The Franklin Theatre. “Partnering with organizations like Atmos Energy gives us the ability to offer more low- and no-cost programming to our community. We can’t thank Atmos enough for their support.”
“Through our Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program, we believe in making a difference in the communities we serve by partnering with vital organizations like The Franklin Theatre,” said Christina Christiansen, Atmos Energy manager of public affairs. “The Franklin Theatre is committed to providing everyone with the opportunity to experience the arts. When we work together, we multiply the impact for our neighbors.”
The Summer Pay What You Can lineup will include “The Bad Guys,” “Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledor,” “Sonic The Hedgehog 2,” “The Lost City,” and “The Northman.” A total of 8 matinee and evening screenings will be held during the July 13-17 Pay What You Can series.
Complete dates and showtimes can be found at www.franklintheatre.com/tickets/movies/. The recommended donation is the normal movie ticket price of $10, but any level of donation will be welcomed during this week.
Learn more about Atmos Energy at www.atmosenergy.com.
The Franklin Theatre Premieres ‘Elvis’ to Packed House
On June 22nd, 2022, The Franklin Theatre hosted the Middle Tennessee premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” to a full house of local celebrities, actors, musicians, and theatre donors. The Warner Bros. Pictures film, which premiered on June 24th, explores the relationship between Elvis (played by Austin Butler) and his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks).
Among those in attendance were Nashville-based music producer and composer Shannon Sanders, The McCrary Sisters, and two of Elvis’ former bandmates, Tony Brown and Larry Strickland. Sanders moderated a short panel with Brown and Strickland who shared memories and insights from their time working with Elvis.
Sanders, who plays a pentecostal pastor in the film, surprised the crowd with a video call from director “Baz Luhrmann.” Luhrmann thanked everyone for their attendance and support and signed off by leading a chant of “it’s time to take care of business!”
This event served as both a film premiere and a fundraiser for the non-profit The Franklin Theatre. Events like this help us further our mission of providing world-class performing arts experiences to diverse Williamson County residents and visitors. We’d like to thank our staff for their hard work in producing this high-quality event, our advisory board for their continued leadership and oversight, our 1937 Society members, our Franklin Theatre donors, and all who attended on Wednesday. Special thanks to our in-kind event partners Cromwell Media, 102.1 The Ville, Menu Maker Catering, Leiper’s Fork Distillery, Curio Brewing Company, and Bite Club Baked Goods.
The Franklin Theatre ‘Elvis’ Premiere Press Coverage:
World-Renowned Illusion Artists, SNAP, Bring Their Family-Friendly Show to The Franklin Theatre, May 6 & 7
Concluding its 2021-22 Family Spotlight Series, The Franklin Theatre is pleased to present world-renowned SNAP: Illusion Artists, May 6th and 7th. Curated in order to expose young audiences to the power of the performing arts and create shared multi-generational theatrical memories, the Family Spotlight Series represents the latest in a diverse performance schedule at The Franklin Theatre.
Playing with space, time and the otherworldly, this eclectic ensemble of South Korean illusionists will boggle your mind with their impressive powers of prestidigitation. Mixing dexterous sleight of hand, Chaplin-esque vaudevillian comedy and ingenious visual effects, SNAP conjures a marvelous, magical and hilarious cabaret perfect for the whole family.
SNAP recently played the New Victory Theater in New York City and Mary Rose Lloyd proclaimed, “[SNAP is a] wonderful example of a well-executed, thoughtful and highly-entertaining theatrical magic production for young audiences and their families, performed with great care and artistry.”
The seven cast members bring to life characters such as The Alchemist, The Dreamer, The Florist, The Oddball, The Tricksters and a host of others to stage a fabulous fantasy experience for all audiences. Named The Best Magic Show in 2016 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival by BroadwayWorld, SNAP has impressed audiences all over the world with their unique, family-friendly brand of magic and comedy.
“As we continue to grow our offering of diverse programming, we are thrilled to present SNAP at The Franklin Theatre,” said Eric Dilts, Managing Director of the nonprofit Franklin Theatre. “This show gives us a great opportunity to introduce children to the performing arts through a unique theatrical experience. People of all ages will be blown away by SNAP’s entertaining and mind-bending performance.”
SNAP performs at The Franklin Theatre, Friday, May 6 at 8:00 PM, and Saturday, May 7 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Tickets start at $28.75. For ticket information, visit www.franklintheatre.com or call 615-538-2076.
Eric Dilts Joins The Franklin Theatre As Managing Director
Experienced Leader to Oversee Nonprofit’s Operations
The Franklin Theatre, a division of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, is pleased to announce the hiring of Eric Dilts as its new Managing Director. In the role, Dilts will be responsible for leading the nonprofit’s programmatic and operational business including spearheading community engagement and guest relations initiatives.
Most recently, Dilts was the Executive Director of the Nashville Jazz Workshop, a venerable nonprofit music education institution with its own live jazz performance venue in North Nashville. During his tenure, he led the organization in all phases of its business, building on its reputation as a jazz presenter, music education institution, and community partner.
Dilts has a long history in music business, finance, fundraising, and economic development. Having earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Business from the School of Music at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, he was the President/CEO of a Los Angeles-based, home entertainment company; the President of a Los Angeles-based, optical media tech company; a Co-Founder of a boutique production company; the Director of an Illinois-based business incubator; and an Advisor at Morgan Stanley. In addition, he has held executive board positions at various nonprofit organizations.
“This is a very exciting day for the entire community, as Eric assumes leadership for the cherished and historic “Jewel of Main Street’,” commented Bari Beasley, President and CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County. “His adept management skills displayed at the Nashville Jazz Workshop – another stellar cultural arts nonprofit in middle Tennessee – will undoubtedly help further The Franklin Theatre’s mission of providing world-class performing arts experiences to diverse Williamson County residents and visitors.”
“I am thrilled to be joining the team of The Franklin Theatre and the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County,” stated Dilts. “This opportunity to uphold the legacy of The Franklin Theatre and help usher it into the future is remarkable. It truly is a gem for the entire region, and I look forward to preserving this historic building, growing community relationships, and welcoming new and returning guests into our doors for powerful performing arts experiences.”
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.
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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.
Rent The Franklin Theatre for Private Movies & Valentine’s Date Night
PRIVATE MOVIE PARTIES
The Franklin Theatre is working to honor our tradition as a beloved, local movie house by offering small, private movie parties for families and close friends.
AVAILABLE FOR JANUARY 29 – FEBRUARY 14
If you don’t see your preferred date listed as an option, please reach out to Meg Hershey (mhershey@williamsonheritage.
NOTE: These events will follow masking and social distancing guidelines. See our COVID-19 Policies for more information.
- $500 for up to 10 people (2.5 hours)
- $1,500 for up to 20 people (includes Security and COVID-19 Compliance Officer) (2.5 hours)
- Access to the Theatre lobby, auditorium and clean restrooms
- Screening of a movie (no new releases – see provided Franklin Theatre Movie List)
- Pre- and post-event COVID-19-rated cleaning
Included at an additional cost:
- Limited concession and bar offerings, paid for by the party host or guests (popcorn, candy, soda, water, beer and wine)
Enjoy a romantic evening at The Franklin Theatre in celebration of Valentine’s Day 2021. Come with only your significant other or make it a double date! Enjoy a movie screening, an elegant table-scape in the cabaret section of the Theatre, a four-course dinner, and more.
If you have any questions prior to booking, please contact Meg Hershey (mhershey@williamsonheritage.
NOTE: These events will follow masking and social distancing guidelines. See our COVID-19 Policies for more information.
- $750 for two (2) people (up to 3 hours)
- $1,250 for four (4) people (up to 3 hours)
- Access to the Theatre lobby, auditorium and clean restrooms
- Screening of your choice of movie (no new releases – See movie list)
- Four-Course Dinner (Appetizer, Soup/Salad, Entrée, Dessert)
- Wine, beer and/or assorted non-alcoholic beverages
- Pre- and post-event COVID-19-rated cleaning