Jim Caruso’s Cast Party with Billy Stritch at the Piano Returns to Greater Nashville
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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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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
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.
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.
- $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
When you support the Heritage Foundation, you support The Franklin Theatre.
The historic Franklin Theatre has seen a lot in its 80-plus year history. It has had glory days and days spent in disrepair. There have been world-class performances, red-carpet premieres, non-profit galas, family movies and private events. It has been called the “home of first kisses” by locals, and it has also faced uncertain days when its screen almost went dark permanently.
But thanks to the theater’s parent organization, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, and the generosity of the community, the theater was given another chance to serve as the gem of downtown Main Street – with millions raised so the rich history could be preserved and the theater renewed to its most glorious state in history. After reopening to the public in 2011, our beloved theater has once again become a central hub for the local community with live events, music, movies and a key factor in the economic vitality of our beloved Main Street.
This year was set to mark yet another milestone with a new live Performing Arts Series and a lineup of live music that would rival some of Nashville’s greatest venues. But our theater, along with our downtown festivals and local Main Street retailers, felt the impact of the pandemic and had to temporarily close our doors to the public.
Everyone at the Heritage Foundation is focused on 2021 and reopening The Franklin Theatre, hosting our downtown community street festivals, supporting visitors and vibrancy along our Main Street, and preserving the rich history of our community. Would you help us? When you support the Heritage Foundation and our end-of-year annual fund, you support the theater and our beloved downtown Franklin – and so much more. Your contribution is completely tax deductible and so much appreciated.
From the hearts of our teams at the Heritage Foundation, The Franklin Theatre, Downtown Franklin Association and Franklin Grove Estate and Gardens, we thank you for your support and wish you a happy and healthy holiday.
Heritage Foundation CEO