Bob Gunton's WALKING ON WATER Premieres Tonight at Cumberland County Playhouse

May 18
11:34 AM 2012


Bob Gunton, the musical theater star who was Tony Award-nominated for his turn as Broadway's original Juan Peron in Evita, returns to his Tennessee theatrical roots tonight in an original production that is sure to be one of the highlights of the 2012 season at Cumberland County Playhouse.

Gunton's Walking On Water, "an evening of musical theater and song," opens tonight, May 18, at the Crossville theater where he debuted in 1965 in Tennessee, USA!, Paul Crabtree's musical homage to his home state. The premiere of Gunton's show will run through June 16 at "Tennessee's Family Theatre."

 In more than four decades on Broadway and in Hollywood, Gunton has appeared in over a hundred films and TV shows, including memorable turns as the Warden in The Shawshank Redemption and Secretary of Defense Kanin in 24. Broadway triumphs include Tony-nominated portrayals of Juan Peron in Evita and the title role in Sweeney Todd, as well as roles in Happy End, Passion, Working and Roza. Now Gunton "comes home" to The Playhouse, where he began as Johnny Timberlake in Paul Crabtree's original Tennessee, USA!

Tickets, memberships and gift certificates for 2012 Playhouse productions, plus selected concerts at Crossville's Palace Theater, and Southern Stars Symphonic Brass, are available online at or by calling (931) 484-5000.

The Cumberland County Playhouse is now the only major non-profit professional performing arts resource in rural Tennessee, and one of the 10 largest professional theaters in rural America. It serves more than 145,000 visitors annually with two indoor and two outdoor states, young audience productions, a comprehensive dance program, a concert series and touring shows. The Playhouse is the only non-profit professional performing arts organization in Tennessee that wholly owns and operates its own major performance facility.

Combining a resident professional company and a staff of 16 with more than 100 visiting professionals and a large volunteer corps, The Playhouse draws professionals from across the country and volunteers from a dozen Tennessee counties. Over 50% of all revenues are expended for professional artist compensation. The Playhouse has been managed and directed by two generations of the Crabtree family since 1965.  

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors - the history of which can be traced to 1989 and the first presentation of The First Night Awards - which honor outstanding theater artisans from Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and also includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors recognition. Midwinter's First Night honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. An accomplished director, Ellis helmed productions of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, all in their Nashville premieres, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show. Ellis was recognized by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror. In 2015, he directed William Inge's Picnic for Circle Players and Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years for VWA Theatricals, with The Larry Keeton Theatre's production of Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest set for spring 2016.


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