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June 2

The Franklin Theatre to Screen Middle Tennessee Premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” Biopic

 

Regional Premiere for the widely anticipated film to serve as fundraiser for nonprofit Theatre.

 

 

 

The Franklin Theatre, in partnership with Shannon Sanders and Cromwell Media, will be hosting a one-night-only premiere screening of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Baz Luhrmann’s biopic “Elvis” on June 22nd. This event will include introductory remarks and a panel discussion before the screening.

The film explores the life and music of Elvis Presley (played by Austin Butler), seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks). The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (played by Olivia DeJonge).

The film also features Nashville residents and artists with Nashville ties including Shannon Sanders (3-time GRAMMY award winner & Executive Director, Creative BMI), Yola, Gary Clark Jr., a gospel choir comprised of numerous local singers, and more.

“We’re incredibly proud to be chosen by Warner Bros. Pictures to present this historic film at our historic theatre two nights before the national release. Having hosted record releases and Hollywood premieres, like 2004’s Friday Night Lights and 2005’s Elizabethtown, The Franklin Theatre provides the perfect backdrop to this film exploring the life of Elvis Presley,” said Eric Dilts, Managing Director of The Franklin Theatre. “We’ll be using this event as a fundraiser to support our nonprofit Theatre’s operations so that it continues to shine and be the jewel of not just Franklin but for all of Middle Tennessee. The premiere will be a special event for our current supporters, many of which are artists living in the local area.”

Shannon Sanders noted, “I am honored to have played a role in the film, and grateful to Baz and all who worked on the film for their vision. Elvis made so much of his career in Nashville, and there’s no better way to celebrate his legacy and this film than bringing Hollywood to Middle Tennessee.”

The “Elvis” regional premiere Franklin Theatre fundraiser will be Wednesday, June 22 beginning at 6:30 PM. The event will include a reception immediately following the screening.  A limited number of passes will be available to first time and legacy donors to The Franklin Theatre.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the event or become a donor.

April 27

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.

April 6

Great Performances and Franklin Theatre Live Series Sponsored by Jackson® for 2022

Jackson’s commitment to diverse performing arts at The Franklin Theatre extends for 11th year

The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, TN, and Jackson National Life Insurance Company® (Jackson®) are excited to announce the continuation of a longstanding partnership to support The Franklin Theatre’s efforts to present diverse performing arts experiences for the enrichment of Williamson County.

2022 marks the eleventh straight year that Jackson has been a corporate sponsor of The Franklin Theatre. Their support entails presenting sponsor rights to the Great Performance Series and Franklin Theatre Live Series (FT Live). The Great Performances Series endeavors to curate the finest virtuoso artists from all over the world and bring them here to Williamson County, while FT Live showcases a distinguished lineup of concert and comedy performances in the intimate 300-seat historic theatre.

“Jackson is proud to have supported The Franklin Theatre for eleven years,” said Niya Moon, Corporate Philanthropy Manager at Jackson. “As a civic-minded corporation with an office in the Franklin community, we value the cultural enrichment that The Franklin Theatre brings to our neighbors, employees, colleagues and friends.”

“The Franklin Theatre is known as ‘The Jewel of Main Street’ for its contributions to downtown Franklin and beyond,” mentioned Eric Dilts, Managing Director of The Franklin Theatre. “Through the support of valued sponsors like Jackson, we can continue to present an eclectic array of live performances that meet the diverse cultural entertainment interests of Williamson County residents and visitors.”

Upcoming Great Performances and Franklin Theatre Live presented by Jackson shows include:

LOS ANGELES GUITAR QUARTET; April 8-9, 2022

As one of America’s premier instrumental ensembles, the members of the Grammy® Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) have continually set the standard for expression and virtuosity among guitar ensembles. LAGQ is garnering critical acclaim for transcriptions of concert masterworks with their fresh look at the music of the past, while breaking new ground with their interpretations from contemporary and world music realms.

JESSE COOK; April 11, 2022

An accomplished guitarist, producer and equally prolific film maker, Jesse Cook has evolved his talents to create experiences that delight audiences both in concert, and online. He composed his first album, Tempest, over 25 years ago. Jesse could not imagine that such a humble recording, in which he played all the instruments, would spark into a music legacy with thousands of concerts performed around the world, over 2 million albums sold, 5 PBS TV specials, and tens of millions of content views and streams across the internet.

JAKE SHIMABUKURO; April 19, 2022

Over the past two decades, ‘ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro has proved that there isn’t a style of music that he can’t play. What’s remarkable about Jake’s transcendent skills is how he explores his seemingly limitless vocabulary – whether it’s jazz, rock, blues, bluegrass, folk or even classical – on perhaps the unlikeliest of instruments. Jake has reinvented the applications for this tiny, underappreciated four-string instrument, causing many to call him “the Jimi Hendrix of the ‘ukulele.”

Currently announced FT Live presented by Jackson® performances include:

  • The Quebe Sisters; April 24
  • Rickie Lee Jones; May 3
  • Five for Fighting with String Quartet; May 18
  • Darrell Scott; June 3
  • The Seldom Scene; June 10, 2022
  • The Paul Thorn Band; June 24-25, 2022

Currently announced Great Performances presented by Jackson® shows include:

  • Academy of St. Martin in The Fields Chamber Ensemble; October 21
  • Julie Fowlis; October 23

Additional FT Live and Great Performances Series shows will be announced this year. For ticket information, visit www.franklintheatre.com or call 615-538-2076. For more information on Jackson, visit their website at www.jackson.com.

February 9

Renowned Jazz Dance Company Giordano Dance Chicago Performs at The Franklin Theatre, Feb. 11-13, 2022

The Franklin Theatre is thrilled to present the world-renowned Giordano Dance Chicago, February 11-13, 2022 as part of its 2022 Celebration of Dance Series. This series of performances features the artistry of the human form as dance performances of all types fill the stage of the Franklin Theatre.

In 59 years as an artistic leader and innovator, Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC), America’s original jazz dance company, has contributed greatly to the health of Chicago’s performing arts community. From GDC’s origins in Gus Giordano’s family-run studio to their current incarnation as a professional organization with over a half-century of worldwide performances (27 countries, 46 states, and more than 1,200 cities), their imprint on the art form of jazz dance is far-reaching and significant. GDC contributions include: a vast repertoire of more than 170 original works; the mentoring of new and emerging choreographers; the commissioning of innumerable musical scores and production designers; the education of tens of thousands of under-resourced public school and community students; the creation of generations of professional dancers, and performances to millions of audience members worldwide.

Several major factors combine to be the engine behind all programs, and which reflect the organization’s mission and vision. First, the legacy of founder Gus Giordano suffuses the organization, its mission and its daily activities and cannot be over-emphasized. Second, the leadership of Artistic Director Nan Giordano and Executive Director Michael McStraw has challenged and transformed the organization to continuously raise its standards, take artistic risks, and expand its influence worldwide. Third, GDC recruits, hires, and fosters dance artists who possess more than just superlative technique and experience, but who also convey passion, humanity, and elegance. Lastly, GDC makes passionate and visceral offerings which connect deeply with audiences.

GDC’s mission provides for strong educational programs and services, including teaching the Giordano Technique in residencies in college and university dance programs, as well as the Nan Giordano Certification Program® which offers multi-level instruction and certification in the proprietary Giordano Technique. GDC’s Jazz Dance/Science & Health program, established in 2006, teaches elementary-school anatomy and nutrition curriculum through a dance-centric program in the science classroom over the course of eight weeks. In 2018 the program brought 300 classes to 450 students in four under-resourced schools.

Giordano Dance Chicago performs at The Franklin Theatre, Friday, February 11 at 8:00 PM, Saturday, Februay 12 at 8:00 PM, and Sunday, February 13 at 3:00 PM.  For ticket information, visit www.franklintheatre.com or call 615-538-2076.

 

Currently announced 2022 Celebration of Dance Series shows include: 

LOS VIVANCOS: THE FLAMENCO KINGS; March 4 & 5, 2022 

Los Vivancos have been seen by over a million spectators from over 40 countries. They have had a critically acclaimed performance on “Dancing With The Stars,” had an extended engagement at Dollywood, and have received personal recognition by royalty, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, at the performances at the renowned Monte Carlo Circus Festival in Italy. Such worldwide appreciation is why Los Vivancos is said to be the musical-scenic phenomenon of the decade. Los Vivancos have only just started writing their history now; don’t miss being a part of it with them.

RHYTHMIC CIRCUS – HOLIDAY SHUFFLE; November 26 & 27, 2022 

Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Rhythmic Circus is an internationally renowned, 12-member live music and tap dance ensemble. Experiencing one of their adrenaline-soaked dance performances feels like witnessing the rebirth of an art form, one that forged all kinds of stylistic hybrids, but is something else entirely.

February 2

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.” 

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.