Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Things To Do

September 13, 2012

Playhouse to present Big River this fall

CROSSVILLE — It is based on one of the most popular books of all time, written by a quintessential American author. Its original Broadway production won seven Tony Awards and nine Drama Desk Awards, including Best Original Score for country music legend Roger Miller. Now, the Cumberland County Playhouse is proud to announce it will once again journey down the Mississippi with Big River (sponsored by Tap Publishing Company), Miller’s musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. An all-new musical version of Little House on the Prairie had been tentatively announced for the fall production slot, but contract negotiations proved unsuccessful.

“We’re excited to feature our resident company in another musical adaptation of a literary classic,“ said Producing Director Jim Crabtree, “and we’re especially gratified by the opportunity to introduce a new generation of young people to this classic musical.” Big River, one of the most successful — and often-requested — titles in Playhouse history, will run from Sept. 27 through Nov. 2. Britt Hancock and Leila Nelson will co-direct the production, with music direction by Ron Murphy.

Producer Crabtree went on to say, “We had hoped the revised Little House would be ready for us to premiere this fall, but we’re very excited about our other brand new works.”

Big River will run in rotating repertory with two new shows at Tennessee’s largest professional theater: Backwards in High Heels and Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge.

The biographical Ginger Rogers musical Backwards in High Heels (sponsored by Uplands Village) runs through Nov. 2. Directed and choreographed by Broadway vet and CCP alum Jeremy Benton, Backwards features the music of Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and other composers from the golden era of Hollywood musicals. And the bluegrass musical comedy Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge will have its regional premiere on Aug. 23 in the Adventure Theater. Director John Fionte and Music Director Lauren Marshall will helm Golden Boy, which transplants the Irish classic The Playboy of the Western World from the Emerald Isle to the Scots/Irish heart of the Blue Ridge. 

Currently running at the Crossville theater on the Cumberland Plateau is Leila Nelson’s Mainstage production of The Music Man (sponsored by Crossville, Inc.), starring Britt Hancock and Lindy Pendzick, through Sept. 1; the 19th CCP season of Smoke on the Mountain (sponsored by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store), featuring Jason Ross, Patty Payne and Daniel Black; and See Rock City (sponsored by VolFirst), a new play about “America’s greatest generation” set in 1940s wartime Kentucky. Tickets and information are also available for selected concerts at Crossville’s Palace Theatre, Southern Symphonic Brass, and other events online at or by calling 484-5000. All CCP productions are made possible through sponsor support, with additional support provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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