Ginger Rogers' Story Brought to Life in BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS Opening 7/27 at Cumberland County Playhouse

July 5
1:48 PM 2012

Ginger Rogers' Story Brought to Life in BACKWARDS IN HIGH HEELS Opening 7/27 at Cumberland County Playhouse

Ginger Rogers danced her way into the hearts of millions-and into the arms of Fred Astaire-in some of filmdom's best-loved musicals. Beginning July 27, Cumberland County Playhouse gives you the chance to see Ginger's awe-inspiring story brought to life in Backwards in High Heels, a new musical set to some of the 20th century's best-known music.

Featuring the spectacular dance moves that made Ginger Rogers one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Backwards in High Heels is directed and choreographed by Broadway veteran Jeremy Benton, and stars Jessica Wockenfuss as Ginger Rogers and recent Belmont University Musical Theatre graduate Douglas Waterbury-Tieman as Fred Astaire.

Backwards in High Heels is the story of a small-town girl who dazzled the world, and it features show-stopping dance numbers, unforgettable songs, and some surprising revelations about a Hollywood film legend. Rogers' career began when she won a Charleston contest at the age of 15, and she made her Broadway debut at 18. Soon thereafter, she was discovered by Paramount Pictures and she began her meteoric rise to movie stardom that culminated in her winning an Academy Award.

Along the way, she had tempestuous relationships with producers, co-stars, her many husbands-and a complicated, defining relationship with her mother, Lela, played at CCP by Playhouse favorite Weslie Webster.  

In addition to Wockenfuss, Waterbury-Tieman and Webster, the lavish new musical also features Carly Amburn, Daniel W. Black, Colin Cahill, John Dobbratz, Britt Hancock, Lindy Pendzick, Austin Price and Jason Ross.

Ginger was a trail blazer: She was among the first of Hollywood's leading ladies to demand fair pay and to exert control over her work to a previously unprecedented level," says Christopher McGovern, co-creator of Backwards in High Heels.

McGovern contends that the core of Ginger's story was her complex relationship with her mother, and the universality of her story makes Backwards in High Heels "relevant to all generations of children, parents and lovers of theatre and the movies."

Backwards in High Heels was conceived and developed by Lynnette Barkley and Christopher McGovern. Book/Musical Arrangements/Original Songs are by Christopher McGovern with music by George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Jerome Kern.

Backwards in High Heels will play on the Mainstage from July 27 through November 2.  Tickets and further information are available at or by calling (931) 484-5000. 

Pictured: Jessica Wockenfuss

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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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