On Thursday, March 8, it will be a special treat for the TVCWRT. An Award-winning actor/playwright/director Tom Dolan and author/musician/educator Debbie Mathis Watts portray Music City’s Legend Captain Tom Ryman and Bettie Baugh Ryman in the multi-media musical stage play “The Ryman Diaries”. The play is being staged at various venues, including the downtown Nashville Public Library. Playwright Debbie Watts and veteran actor Tom Dolan are in their fourth year of production with The Ryman Diaries, a stage play depicting the life and adventures of Captain Tom Ryman, the Cumberland River pilot whose fortune helped him to build Nashville’s Gospel Tabernacle, which was later re-named the Ryman Auditorium. The couple tell of their adventures during the Civil War; Bettie the hero whose family narrowly escaped the Battle of Franklin, and Tom, who relates of his time in captivity with the Union Army.
Debbie will also be promoting the book version which includes the monologues from the play, as well as Bettie Ryman’s recipes.
To read more about their company, Tennessee Stage and Film, and their other plays and productions, go to: http://wattsd2.wix.com/rymandiaries. The Ryman Diaries will be performed at the Palace Theatre, Crossville, Tennessee, April 20th and 21st and at the STAAR Theatre in historic Antoinette Hall in Pulaski on August 25th and 26th.
In the fall, The Ryman Diaries will be performed at the Arts Center, Murfreesboro. Tom and Debbie will debut “From Tennessee, To The White House With Love: Tennessee’s First Ladies,” on April 7th at a free performance at the Metro Library Auditorium, 615 Church St., Nashville, TN.
The play is based on Watts’ book, with additional dialog from Dolan. The actors penned seven original songs for the production. Film clips feature flashbacks of young Bettie and historical stills provided by the Metro Archives. “Both Bettie and Tom had the hearts of musicians, so it was totally fitting that they would play and sing,” said Watts, who worked as a writer-producer at TNN: The Nashville Network. “They were true romantics who laid the musical foundation for Middle Tennessee.”
A veteran educator, professional pianist-vocalist, and author, Watts’ theatrical roles include Mollie in “Mousetrap” and Agnes in “I Do, I Do”. Dolan has received national acclaim starring as Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey”, Dr. Albert Schweitzer in “Memoirs from Africa”, and Sam Clemens in “Mark Twain Live”.