By DONNA VISSMAN
Studio Tenn Theatre Company will premiere a uniquely local and original work this fall, using theatrical storytelling and period music to dramatically interpret key events, conflicts, and characters of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
“The Battle of Franklin: A Tale of a House Divided” debuts in November, the same month the historic battle was fought in 1864.
Performances will be held at Jamison Theater in The Factory at Franklin from Nov. 3-13. Tickets are on sale now at studiotenn.com. Studio Tenn Artistic Director Matt Logan says this project is of special significance for the company as well as the community. While Studio Tenn creates custom-designed sets and costumes for all its productions, “The Battle of Franklin” is the theater company’s first original script.
“It’s so exciting to bring a new theatrical work to life entirely from scratch, starting with the story’s conception all the way through to performance,” Logan said. “The fact that this show has such strong ties to our own community and our local history makes it even more custom and special.”
Logan has enlisted the expertise of writer A. S. (Pete) Peterson to script the tale with the guidance of historian Rick Warwick from the Battle of Franklin Trust. Cast members include Matthew Carlton, Matthew Rich, Matthew Rosenbaum, James Rudolph, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas, Patrick Thomas, Carrie Tillis, Arik Vega and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva.
Much of the story takes place at Franklin’s landmark Carter House and centers around young Theodrick “Tod” Carter, his family and the slaves who live and work on their farm. A blend of historical fact and fiction is used to convey both internal and external conflicts facing the family and the region during the war. The production will incorporate original songs as well as authentic period music, including Southern spirituals.
“This production is designed to be educational and thought-provoking for both youth and adult audiences,” Studio Tenn Managing Director Jack Speck said.
In addition to two weeks of public performances, the company will host special weekday morning performances for area school groups, including 5th-grade field trips for Williamson County schools.
“We have created this show with state standards for Civil War curricula in mind,” Speck said. “We are thrilled to once again be partnering with local educators to take learning beyond the classroom and bring history to life for our area youth.”
“The Battle of Franklin: A Tale of a House Divided” opens Nov. 3 and will run through Nov. 13 at Jamison Theater in The Factory at Franklin. Tickets are available at studiotenn.com or by calling (615) 541-8200.