Chaffin's Barn Readies 'Christmas Belles' for 11/19-12/31 Holiday Season Run

With the holiday season just around the corner, Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre has a special gift all wrapped up for the Nashville theatre-going public with their production of Christmas Belles, opening November 19 and running through December 31.

The hilarious Futrelle sisters and all the other denizens of fictional Fayro, Texas return in this holiday-themed sequel to the smash hit comedy, Dearly Beloved by the playwriting trio of Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten. Directed by Nate Eppler, the cast features some of Nashville's best-loved actors and promises to be one of the hottest tickets in town this season.

In Christmas Belles, it's Christmastime in Fayro, where overdue twins, accidental fires and a church Christmas program spiraling into chaos are making Frankie, Twink and Honey Raye Futrelle have a not so jolly holiday season. Santa has a kidney stone, food poisoning has overcome the cast, an Elvis impersonator is at the manger and a family secret is about to come to light. Yet somehow, in true Futrelle family fashion, the feuding sisters find a way to come together to present a Christmas program the citizens of Fayro will never forget.

Eppler, a familiar face to Barn audiences, was last seen in his self-penned comedy Filthy Rich and in the recent See How They Run. A playwright and teaching artist, Eppler received his training at the University of Memphis, New York University and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As an actor, he has been awarded the Larry Riley Rising Star Award, the Memphis Theatre Award and was named best new artist by both the Commercial Appeal and Memphis Magazine. He has been awarded for his work as a playwright with the Memphis Theatre Award for Best Play, the Chattanooga Theatre Centre New Play Award, and was named runner-up for the American College Theater Festival National Student Playwriting Award. He was commissioned by the Kennedy Center and the White House Historical Association to develop a play for young audiences. 

As a teacher, Eppler has worked with playwrights and actors of all ages at colleges and theaters across the US. His plays produced at Chaffin's include Modern Love, AFishaFrogaPotaTurnip (with J. Dietz Osborne) and Snowderella as well as this past summer's Sarah and the Secret of the Cellar (also with Osborne) and this fall's Filthy Rich. Further, Eppler and Osborne have been commissioned to write this year's Christmas show for young audiences, Sarah and the Secret of Santa Land and Rear Widow a film noir send-up for our 2010 Mainstage season. Eppler is currently a Playwright-in-Residence at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre.

The cast for Christmas Belles includes David Compton (last seen in Alone Together); Liz Kalota (reprising her Dearly Beloved role of the snooty Patsy Price); Debbie Kraski, a familiar face to Nashville audiences who is making her Chaffin's debut, Katherine McKenna ( last seen in Glad Tidings II); longtime Chaffin's Barn audience favorite Michael Montgomery; Alex Murray (reprising his Dearly Beloved role of Fayro's Sheriff John Curtis); Jenny Norris-Light making her Chaffin's debut; J. Dietz Osborne (last seen in See How They Run and reprising his Dearly Beloved role of anxious preacher Justin); Layne Sasser (last seen in Filthy Rich); Tammie Whited (last seen in See How They Run); and Martha Wilkinson (last seen in Tennessee Rep's Steel Magnolias and in Barefoot in the Park at Chaffin's Barn).

Reservations are required for Christmas Belles; call (615) 646-9977 to book your spot for an evening of food and entertainment. Season tickets for 2010, along with sampler memberships, are currently on sale as well.

Christmas Belles is presented on the mainstage Tuesday through Saturday evenings. The buffet is open from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with curtain at 8 p.m. Two Thursday senior matinees are set for December 3 and 10; the house opens at 11 a.m., with the show at noon. Two Sunday matinees are scheduled for November 22 and December 13, with the buffet served from noon to 1:30 p.m, and curtain at 2 p.m.

For further details, visit the Chaffin's Barn website at www.dinnertheatre.com.

photo of Martha Wilkinson, Tammie Whited and Katherine McKenna by John Chaffin

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From This Author Jeffrey Ellis

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