This year has been unlike any other in our 92-year history. While this treasured landmark has been closed due to hard times before, it was not a pandemic that abruptly closed the doors and darkened the stage of a vibrant venue that had been very busy presenting a wide variety of arts, culture, and entertainment for hundreds of thousands of people year after year. We are not through this crisis yet, but we do see signs of hope on the horizon. The milestones and memories of 2020, were undoubtedly unusual; some encouraging and others difficult. Let’s look back on a year we will never forget.
Kicked off the year with Broadway hits Miss Saigon and Waitress, and memorable performance by Frankie Valli, Black Jacket Symphony, Indigo Girls, and Amy Grant
Took advantage of the down time for some projects including stripping and re-waxing the Grand Lobby terrazzo floor, replacing all bulbs in the chandeliers and other decorative fixtures with LED, re-configuring stage lighting equipment so it can be more efficiently moved and adjusted, and organizing storage spaces and file drawers.
Introduced virtual content by streaming our monthly Mighty Musical Monday series on Facebook Live, presenting the Ghostlight Series, four concerts featuring some of Knoxville’s own amazing performers, and taking our annual Stars on Stage fundraising concert virtual. This year’s Stars on Stage with Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors raised over $50,000 for the Theatre.
Held a virtual summer camp using Disney’s The Lion King Experience to foster artistic expression, an educational conversation with “Dr. Broadway” about the smash Broadway hit HAMILTON, and even arranged some screen time with Old Saint Nick for an adapted “Cookies with Santa” event.
Got creative by offering professional photo sessions for families, personal marquee messages, elopement packages, small group tours, and a few gift shop pop-ups in the Grand Lobby.
Experienced a devastating loss October 29 in the passing of Facilities Director David Ringley after a year-long illness. Dave worked at the Tennessee since 2006, caring for this magnificent venue in big and small ways. He will be forever missed and we mourn with his family.
While the rest of the staff has stayed healthy and covid-free to date, furloughs, layoffs, and salary reductions have made for a challenging year. Beyond illness, the pandemic has had a real impact on the Tennessee Theatre family.
We look forward to the new year ahead, with hope that we will once again gather together for incredible performances on our stage. Until then, stay safe and be well.