FRIDAY 5 (+1) On Wednesday: SEEING STARS IN DIXIE
The 2017 season continues at Nashville's historic and iconic Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre with Ron Osborne's Seeing Stars in Dixie, an affectionate comedy set in a small Southern town in 1956, where the film Raintree County - starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift, no less - is being shot!
Described as "hilarious" and "heartwarming," the play follows the antics of the local citizenry as they vie for the opportunity to win a role in the film. Clemmie, owner of the town's tea room, has always dreamed of being in "pictures" so her friends Tootie, JoBeth and Glease rally around her to help prepare for the audition. Her only competition is the town snob, Marjorie who will go to any length to keep Clemmie from living her dream.
Everett Tarlton directs a cast that includes Lynda Cameron-Bayer, Joy Todd, Scott Stewart, Joy Tilley Perryman and Jenny Norris-Light. After a special Valentine's performance on Tuesday, February 14, the show's official opening night is Thursday, February 16.
Today, members of the show's starry cast give some insight into what keeps them theatrical and tell you why you should make reservations to see their show in today's edition of Friday 5 (+) On Wednesday:
What was your first "live onstage" taste of theatre? I think I may have played a pancake in Kindergarten, but I don't really remember that - my first real onstage memory is playing the second youngest Snow child in Carousel at nine years old. I remember when the show closed I was absolutely bereft, because I thought I would never feel that magic again. Thankfully I was wrong.
What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I tend to be quieter (than usual) while getting ready, putting on my makeup, doing my hair and then finally getting into costume - I feel almost like it's opening the door for the character. The process is always different, dependent on the character's face, hair, etc. - it centers me.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? There have been many, but one I love and reference quite often happened with my husband. We were doing Beau Jest at The JCC: I was playing Sarah (while five months pregnant, but that's another story) a d David was playing Bob my pseudo love interest. We're about halfway thru opening night and I was standing right by the "front door" - Sarah & Bob were arguing about something and he says, "Well, what's that?" And at that EXACT moment the mechanical doorbell box fell off the top of the wall flat and landed in my hands. Without missing a bit I looked at David (Bob) and said, "It's a doorbell." We both paused for audience laughter (thank goodness) and I set the doorbell on a bookshelf and we moved on. I love live theater!
What's your dream role? That is an ever-changing list. And age has a way of changing that list... Right now I would love to play Mama Rose again. The Witch in Into the Woods. Parallel Lives (either role). I would also really love to sink my teeth into some Shakespeare. There are so many...
Who is your theatrical crush? Lin Manuel-Miranda. Robert DeNiro. Stephen Sondheim. Bernadette Peters. There are many, actually - but right now, Lin Manuel-Miranda shines like a beacon to me.
Why should people come see your show? This is such a hopeful little show. Set in small town 1956 - the characters have so much heart. If you're looking for sweet escapism and maybe want to root a little for the underdog - and laugh - this is definitely the show for you. It's a show about friendship & love and how those things can shape and change us.
What was your first "live onstage" taste of theatre? My mama put me in a pageant when I was little in an effort to draw me out of my awkward shyness so I don't really remember a time when I wasn't on the stage in some way. Although I'm not certain the pageanting ever helped much with my shyness and social awkwardness offstage, I did find the stage to be where I felt most comfortable and "in my own skin". One of the pageant systems I competed in a lot was called the Cinderella Scholarship Pageant. The entire event was rooted in theatricality and I was hooked immediately. My first time actually performing a role in an actual show would be in seventh grade when I was Nancy in Oliver. Although my love for theatre only grew from that experience, my dislike of the show Oliver has remained steadfast since then as well.
What is your favorite pre-show ritual? I like to listen to Lionel Richie in the dressing room. I have learned the hard way though that others are not as excited about this so Most times I have to refrain so that I won't be That girl in the dressing room.
What's your dream role? This changes daily. I'm really loving the part of Natasha in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. I would also love to play anything in Pippin as I relate to that show so much, or Lola in Damn Yankees.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? There have been quite a few. I won't talk about snakes in a play though because I'm pretty sure everyone in town knows that story at this point, so instead I'll tell you about the most recent one. I was playing Velma in a production of Hairspray. There was a part where the boys were supposed to lift me as if I was laying on my side and flip me 360 degrees during the lyric "triple somersault." However, the boys didn't catch me at the end of the flip so down I went, except for one committed person who had one of my legs who held onto it for dear life. So, I lay on the ground trying desperately to shake my leg out of the grips of my friendly intended leg catcher all while continually singing. It was not my best moment but it did get a nice loud gasp from the audience. I did my best So You Think You Can Dance "roll around for a while on the floor" combination to get up and continue singing and being the villain I so love to be.
Who is your theatrical crush? This is hard because I am in love with so many people in our theatre community for so many different reasons. I love what a triple threat, beast of a performer, Curtis Lemoine is, I love the attention to detail and talent that just oozes from Mallory Mundy, I love the powerhouse that is Martha Wilkinson and how she can hold the audience ( and cast) in the palm of her hand, I love how Brian Best can sing anything and how much passion he puts into everything, I love the heart that Scott Stewart displays so openly onstage, I love how Everett Tarlton is such an honest actor and have recently discovered he is just as good a director as he is actor, but I would say my biggest crush would be Ryan Greenawalt because, I mean, my Lord and Taylor, his voice and his commitment to character and the way he moves you with just the simplest phrase, he is phenomenal.
Why should people come see your show? I think this show is a reminder of the good in people and the power of how love can transform and trump hate, fear, and ignorance. I know many of us need that reminder right now. There are some really beautiful, honest moments in this show.
What was your first "live onstage" taste of theatre? In 1996 I played one of a handful of school children in Christie the Musical at the Roy Acuff theater at Opryland. Looking back, I was too young to retain how overwhelming it was as well as how fortunate I was to have the experience. My memories from the actual show are vague at best, however I will never forget playing around with the other kids, studying for exams backstage, the long commutes with my big brother, and the biggest perk of all...getting to skip math class almost every day due to the matinee shows. But let's just say I probably passed 6th grade by the skin of my teeth.
What is your favorite pre-show ritual? This is a tough one because I have only recently started performing again. In high school, I believe, there was always a pep talk as well as a group prayer. In the few shows I've done this year, however, there hasn't been anything that sticks out. For me personally though, it depends on the day, the character, and the overall vibe of the dressing room. Sometimes I need to internalize and focus, and sometimes I just need to listen to dance music and get my energy up.
What's your dream role? I'm ashamed to say, when I stopped doing theatre I also stopped watching theatre. But I will say I would lunge at the chance to play Adelaide from Guys and Dolls again as an adult. White Christmas is a childhood favorite and I have definitely dreamed about playing Betty, and I'm not gonna lie, after seeing La La Land, it felt pretty impossible not to fantasize about playing Mia someday.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? When I played Adelaide my senior year, the director wanted me to have a different way of interacting with the audience every night before singing "Bushel and a Peck". One night I chose not to wear lipstick so that I could panic and ask someone in the audience to let me borrow there's. Naturally, before the show, I told a friend of mine to volunteer and bring me hers. She agreed but when the time came.....crickets. I just stood there trying to fill the awkwardness saying "Anybody...anybody?" I was about to just let the bit fall flat when I saw that same friend's mom bolting down the aisle to save the day. My friend and I never spoke after that...just kidding.
Who is your theatrical crush? When I was in high school, my boyfriend's little sister came to see every show. To this day, she will talk about what an influence it was on her and that she knew that's what she wanted to do when she grew up. In 2015, she finally got to play her dream role as Glinda on Broadway. Although I haven't had the privilege of getting to see her in her element, I couldn't be more proud. Ginna Claire Moffet, you will forever be my theatrical crush!
Why should people come see your show Seeing Stars in Dixie is a feel-good story about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying to become the person you really want to be, which I think is a storyline everyone can relate to. It's a comedy but it is well-rounded with moments of tenderness and intensity, not to mention the incredibly talented people I get to work with that so effortlessly bring these characters to life. If those aren't good enough reasons, then I would say come simply to support the next 50 years at the Barn as well as Everett Tarlton, who is making his directing debut at Chaffin's with this show.
What was your first "live onstage" taste of theatre? I played "Big Tree" in Miss Beasley's fourth grade class play, Wiggle Worm's Surprise. I was mean to the little worm, cause he would tickle my roots, until he saved the trees from lumberjacks coming to chop us down. Lessons in friendship and ecology.
What is your favorite pre-show ritual? If I don't get to take a "nervous pee" right before the performance, I spend the whole show worrying about it.
Who is your theatrical crush? After seeing Waitress last year, it is now Jessie Mueller. Such an amazing performance of a character you just wanna scoop up and hold. I could sit in the audience every night and laugh and cry and fall in love. Oh, and eat some of her amazing pies.
What's your most memorable "the show must go on" moment? I was playing "Reuben" in a production of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. One night, during "Those Canaan Days," the power in the theatre went off and the emergency lights kicked on. The band was all electric so they went off too. The brothers and I continued acapella and when we got to the last chorus, the power returned, the band came back in and we never missed a beat! Still on pitch too!
Why should people come see your show? Four lovely, talented ladies and a beast - what's not to love? It has it all...humor, pathos, UFOs, and a gorgeous villain. It really is a sweet story of friendship and overcoming adversity together. Plus...the new buffet is delicious!
About the venue: Chaffin's Barn is excited to begin their Next 50 Years with this audience favorite! The 2017 season will be filled with old favorites and new surprises. Come experience the delicious additions to our sumptuous buffet including Prime Rib! 2017 Season Memberships and Samplers are on sale now. Check in with our friendly box office staff for info about this money-saving ticket to year- round entertainment!
Chaffin's Barn is the nation's second oldest operating dinner theatre and one of the top 15 tourist attractions in Nashville with a five-star rating for customer service. Come join us for the next 50 years!
Performances: Thursday show at 12 noon (brown bag matinee) house opens at 11 a.m.; Thursday, Friday, and Saturday show at 8 p.m., buffet opens at 6 p.m.; Sunday matinee show at 2 p.m., buffet opens at 12 noon.
Ticket Prices: Thursday Brown Bag Matinee: $19 bring your own lunch (tea coffee and soft drinks included) or $27.50 with Chaffin's Box Lunch; Evening shows and Sunday matinees: Dinner and show tickets: $50.00 per person includes dinner, show, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and tax; 13- 18 $30 per person dinner and show/ 12 and under $18 per person dinner and show. Show only $30.