Franklin Theatre emerges as hit of Main Street in 2013
By Carole Robinson, Senior Staff Writer
Arts and music continue to take a front seat in Williamson County, but the Franklin Theatre with its unique offerings in 2013 has brought new vitality to the entertainment landscape.
Once a vision, the restoration and renovation of this 1930s-era silver screen and stage added to Williamson County’s tourism success and quality of life for local residents.
Throughout 2013, patronage continued to grow as word spread about this new venue to Main Street and Middle Tennessee.
In a presentation this fall to the tourism and convention bureau professionals from across the state, Dan Hayes, the theatre’s director, told guests that a recent internal and external survey indicated ninety percent of the shows have been sold out, and 98.6 percent of the patrons go home happy and “are our champions.”
Even to the last day of the calendar year, Hayes and his staff worked to meet expectations as two sold-out shows were staged on Dec. 31 with the famed-Glen Miller Orchestra.
This is the second year that the Theatre has hosted the orchestra for an early and late show.
With a dance floor included in the offering, patrons who enjoy a classic evening with Big Band music found out that downtown Franklin is more than a great spot for dining.
Rather than going the way of many small theaters in competition with the mega-theater, the Franklin Theatre has become a favorite for family-friendly movies, recent releases and spectacular live productions.
“Since reopening, the theater has sold almost 129,000 tickets to 1,474 events including 1130 movies, 155 live musical performances, 116 live theater performances and 73 community events,” Hayes said.
He described the Franklin Theatre “the living room where events happen.”
Studio Tenn, a performing theater company, found a home at the Franklin Theatre and provides the theatrical productions.
“They have become the gold standard for Broadway theater productions and this is their home,” Hayes said. “People walking out of here are saying ‘You just saved me a trip to New York City.’”
While 61 percent of the patrons are local, 27 percent come from surrounding counties and 12 percent from outside the region, Hayes said of the survey results.
A lot of small theaters aren’t willing to take a risk on small shows, Hayes said.
“We are willing to take those risks and we think people are really hungry for a high caliber of talent,” Hayes said. “We want (our patrons) to walk out just a little bit different than when they come in – that their lives are changed.”
Posted on: 1/3/2014