Franklin’s Studio Tenn Theatre Company travels to Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center this weekend and transforms Laura Turner Concert Hall into an opulent Emerald City for its new take on the classic L. Frank Baum “The Wizard of Oz” that stars Broadway actor Diana DeGarmo as Dorothy.
This lavishly staged and costumed production for all ages backed by a full orchestra will take place at 7:00 p.m. Saturday and 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Sunday. For tickets click here or call the Schermerhorn Box Office at (615) 687-6400.
Patrons are advised to arrive early because of closed streets and full parking lots caused by CMA Music Festival events this weekend. A map showing road closures and other festival info can be accessed by clicking here. Pinnacle parking passes can be purchased in advance at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Box Office; they are $8 for SSC Subscribers and $10 for single-ticket buyers. The Pinnacle parking garage has been known to run out of space. In that case, the Music City Center is another close option just down Demonbreun Street. Valet parking in front of Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Symphony Place for most events is $20; valet begins 90 minutes prior to show start times. There are also the ParkMe.com and ParkIt!Downtown.com websites to check on available parking.
DeGarmo rose to fame as runner-up on American Idol in 2004. Since that debut, she has starred in “Hairspray” and “Hair” on Broadway. Recently, she co-starred in a national touring production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” alongside her husband and fellow American Idol veteran Ace Young.
“I’m so excited to be working with Studio Tenn in what is shaping up to be a truly magnificent theatre experience,” says DeGarmo. “It is a thrill to take on the iconic role of Dorothy in such an imaginative, innovative production in my own hometown.”
“The Wizard of Oz” has been adapted numerous times for stage and screen since Baum’s first Oz book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was published in 1900; a musical version followed just a few years later. The 1939 Technicolor film version is the best-known and best-loved adaptation; since its 1956 television debut the film starring Judy Garland has became a permanent fixture in pop culture.
While the iconic film’s influence will certainly be felt, Studio Tenn Artistic Director Matt Logan says the professional troupe’s production is not a mere rerun. “We want to pay homage to where this classic story has been and what it has looked like in the past, but at the same time, we feel the best, most genuine way to honor its spirit of imagination is to unleash our own,” he explains.
As a rule, the company’s innovative interpretations of classic theatre titles are anything but cookie-cutter. “At Studio Tenn, we don’t make copies, and we don’t serve up leftovers,” Logan adds. “We believe that our audience deserves more, and that the pieces we take on deserve a fresh perspective. We start with the source material, and we invite other adaptations and derivations to inspire our work, but never to dictate it.”
Managing Director Jake Speck explains this approach is central to Studio Tenn’s mission to use a rich combination of talent from Nashville and Broadway to bring classic works of drama and musical theater to life in Middle Tennessee. “It is a dream come true for us to create live theatre of this caliber and this scale right here in our own backyard,” he says. “There truly is no place like home.”
Here are some behind-the-scenes looks at Studio Tenn’s production:
*Artwork including photo of Diana DeGarmo as Dorothy, photo of Megan Murphy Chambers as Glinda the Good Witch, photo of Laura Matula as Wicked Witch of the West and videos by Anthony Matula courtesy Studio Tenn.