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Review: Presented in the Perfect Setting, Studio Tenn's SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN Will Revive Your Spirit

It was in Fall 1995 that I first was introduced to the gospel singing Sanders Family of “up near Siler City, North Carolina,” in a production of Smoke on the Mountain at Nashville's venerable Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre. In 2023, the family returns again, as if by magic or perhaps accompanied by flights of angels, in a warmly nostalgic, sweetly sentimental and altogether lovely production from Studio Tenn -- playing through April 2 -- at the historic sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in downtown Franklin, which stands in quite nicely for the First Baptist Church of Mount Pleasant, North Carolina, on a Saturday night in 1938.

BWW Review: SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN's Sentimental Journey at Chaffin's Barn

Theater's power to transform and transport is astonishing and the capability of artists to create a sense of time and place, with words and music and theatrical wizardry to lend a tangible feeling to the experience can leave you breathless. Who'd have ever thought that such thrilling artistry, the very magic of make believe, could be so vividly expressed, so awesomely felt in two hours spent in a backwoods Southern church on a Saturday night in 1938? But that's exactly what happens in Smoke on the Mountain, Connie Ray and Alan Bailey's evocative, down-home musical that lovingly takes its audiences back home again in ways not even Thomas Wolfe may ever have imagined.


GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! It's Wednesday, June 7, 2017! Kathie Lee and Hoda are in town today to show their Today show audience what's happening in Nashville, which prompts the musical question: What's sights are on your list of places to go when newbies turn to you for advice? Let us know and we'll feature you in an upcoming story!


GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! It's Thursday, June 1, 2017 - or, as we like to call it #TheaterThursday, 'June is busting out all over…' as a song from Carousel reminds us, and there's no better way to kick off a new month than by planning our theater outings for the weekend! Tomorrow night at Cumberland County Playhouse, the company, cast and crew unveil the 2017 model of Smoke on the Mountain, which marks the 24th year of the musical playing in Crossville. Weslie Webster directs and her cast includes Daniel W. Black and Lauren Marshall as Sanders family father and mother Burl and Vera.


GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! According to the non-clock thing hanging on the wall - what's it called? Oh, yeah, a calendar (yeah, like we'd ever allow a calendar to hang on any wall under our control - today is May 31, 2017! It's another day to allow yourself to live life dramatically and to gain ownership of your own schedule for the rest of the week so you can be certain to get to the theater. Yesterday, in our never-ending quest to enlist all of you to write our daily column for us, we posted TODAY'S QUERY on Facebook, asking our gentle readers to weigh in or whether or not 'dressing for the theater' is de rigueur or is it more of a 'come as you are' nature. Little did we know that such a question could engender such passionate responses and we daresay rather passionate defenses of the wear-whatever-the-hell-you-want school of thought.


GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI! It's May 17, 2017, and summer - or a reasonable facsimile thereof - has arrived in Nashville, with temperatures already climbing toward the 90s! When prompts the musical question: What's on your agenda for the summer of 2017? Anything we should know about and, more importantly, write about?

The Friday 5: OKLAHOMA's Baugher, Bupp, Riggs and Lamb

2015 First Night Honoree Martha Wilkinson directs - with musical direction by Tim Fudge, and choreography by Curtis Reid and Lauri Gregoire - the first collaboration from Music City Theatre Collective and Metro Parks Theatre Department of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, running at the Centennial Park Bandshell June 17-July 2.

SUMMER STAGES: What's Hot In Nashville Theater in 2016

Although the calendar tells us we're still in the spring season, things are quickly heating up in Nashville - theatrically speaking - and theater-goers have a plethora of shows coming up from which to choose, including some summer musicals that are sure to set feet a-tapping and a classic drama that's sure to provoke more thought and discussion than perhaps ever before.

Nashville's Theater Calendar 6/6/16

Summertime is here, what with Memorial Day and all that it encompasses, and we can think of no better seasonal activity than taking in some local theater. No matter where you are in the Volunteer State, Tennessee theater companies are ready and willing to help transport you to a different world, another time and place where your life can be is transformed magically on a stage very near you!

Photo Flash: Nancy Sinatra, Tona Danza and More Attend Peter Max's Frank Sinatra Portrait Exhibition

On Monday, March 2nd, pop art icon Peter Max showcased a series of 27 portraits of Frank Sinatra throughout his esteemed 50-year career. The exhibition was attended by Nancy Sinatra, and her daughter Amanda Erlinger and kicked-off the yearlong celebrations being held around the world for Frank Sinatra's Centennial. Scroll down for photos from the event!

What's Nashville's Favorite Love Song from a Musical?

In a town where everyone from your next-door neighbor to your favorite barista - from your dental hygienist to your manicurist, your seatmate on the bus, your friendly neighborhood bartender and maybe even the guy who does your taxes - is a songwriter, you'll find that there's never a shortage of opinions on the topic of favorite songs. Ask a cross-section of Nashville theater-types what their favorite love song is from the annals of musical theater and you're going to get a barrage of answers.

Much To Be Thankful For: Nashville Theater Reflects on 2014

Although it seems hard to believe, Thanksgiving is this Thursday and as we reflect on the people, places and things that have made us truly happy this year and makes us most thankful, in general, we're also considering what things theatrical for which we are especially grateful in 2014.

Photo Flash: Opening Night of CIRQUE DU SOLEIL's QUIDAM at Royal Albert Hall

Last night, 7 January 2014, was the opening night for Cirque du Soleil 's award-winning production ofQuidam at the Royal Albert Hall. Having already extended the run of performances, Quidam's limited engagement in London is now booking to 16 Feburary 2014. This visit marks the final time that Quidam will be performed in the UK. Tickets are available at or by calling 0845 401 5045. Check out the pics below!

Overseas Property Buyers Are Welcomed to London by Millennium & Copthorne Hotels for 'A Place in the Sun Live 2013'

'A Place in the Sun Live 2013' offers everything you need to find the perfect home overseas, from property agents to finance experts. Hosted by C4 presenters of the successful TV show, Amanda Lamb, Jasmine Harman, Jonnie Irwin and new addition to the team, Laura Hamilton, the event will be packed with practical advice on how to set up your home abroad. Located in West London, Olympia is within close proximity to Millennium & Copthorne's three hotels in Kensington.

Photo Coverage: Midwinter's First Night 1/6/13

The world premiere of a brand-spanking new musical with Broadway in its sights, a relatively young but awe-inspiring theater company and a sparkling, witty new play about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald led the list of Tennessee's outstanding theatrical achievements in 2012 that was revealed Sunday night at Midwinter's First Night. Photographer Rick Malkin was on hand to capture the evening's highlights with his camera.

McGowan, Tilghman Claim Top BWW Nashville Theatre Awards at Sunday Night Event

The Nutty Professor's Marissa McGowan, Caroline or Change's Dalton Tilghman and Kirk-Burgess Productions' debut production of Mysterious Skin claimed top honors Sunday night as winners of the BWW Nashville Theatre Awards were announced.

Out Front on Main, Cumberland County Playhouse Top Winners' List in BWW Tennessee Theatre Awards

Out Front on Main, Inc., Murfreesboro's cutting-edge theater company, and Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville's venerable theater that has been delighting audiences since the 1960s, were among the top winners in the Tennessee Theatre Awards, announced Sunday night.

NUTTY PROFESSOR, Blackbird Theatre, Feehely Claim Top Honors at Midwinter's First Night

The world premiere of a brand-spanking new musical with Broadway in its sights, a relatively young but awe-inspiring theater company and a sparkling, witty new play about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald led the list of Tennessee's outstanding theatrical achievements in 2012 that was revealed Sunday night at Midwinter's First Night.

Photo Coverage: Tennessee's Theaterati Celebrate Halloween 2012

Ah, Halloween...the theaterati's favorite holiday (right after Tony Awards Day and, in Tennessee of course, First Night Day!) everyone the opportunity to show off their inner characters and unknown doppelgangers. So how did Tennessee's theater types celebrate the day? Dress up with some place to go...

Photo Coverage: The First Night Robe Continues Its Journey Through Nashville Theater

On September 2, 2012-during the presentation of The First Night Honors-a new Nashville and Tennessee theater tradition was unveiled with the presentation of the First Night Robe. Fashioned after and inspired by the legendary Broadway Gypsy Robe, the First Night counterpart is presented to someone who is making their first appearance on a Nashville-area stage.

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