PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Princess Makes The News Again!

HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WVLT - Hilary Magacs) -- The Princess Theatre used to be Harriman's crown jewel: "Everyone around the county went to the Princess Theater at one time. It was a lot of fun," said Jesse Rittenhouse, who lives in Harriman. But it fell on hard times and closed in the 90s. In 2012, the Princess Theatre Foundation reopened the theater as a show and concert venue. 

Now, after a lot of fundraising, movies are coming back. The foundation bought a $14,000 movie screen and got a donated projector. "We're really excited about our first movie that we're going to show - an old classic movie. "It's a Wonderful Life". We're going to show that December the 12th at 7 o'clock," said Chris Mason, Mayor of Harriman. 

"I think there's a lot of grandparents that remember coming here as kids and so I think it will be very special for them to be able to bring their grandkids or their children with them," said Megan Anderson, manager of the Princess Theatre. 

A few doors down, Simply Sweet Bakery expects business to increase. They're extending store hours on movie days - and they're even offering special deals: "We'll give them 10 percent off their meal as long as they bring in their ticket with them," said Mike Borman, co-owner of Simply Sweet Bakery. 

Mason said that's the goal - bring people downtown to enjoy themselves at the movies, while supporting other businesses as well. 

Again, the first movie will be "It's a Wonderful Life" on December 12 at 7 p.m. Admission is free, but you're asked to bring canned goods to donate to the hungry. 

For more information on the Princess Theatre and to see a schedule of events, click this LINK.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, and Johnny Cash At The Princess Thursday!

Don't forget tomorrow night at the Princess!

Tina, Dolly and Johnny will all be at the Princess tomorrow night!  Free admission-donations accepted!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Princess Holiday Season Schedule


James Rogers is having his Christmas show on December 11th!  I just found this poster on the Princess Theatre website:

This means we have even more Christmas Season fun lined up!

The first movie at the Princess, since the renovation, will be shown on the evening of December 12th!  "It's A Wonderful Life" will be shown for the admission cost of a single can (or bring a truckload if you like) of food.  You have been waiting to again see a movie at the Princess, and this will be your first opportunity; plus you can help the area hungry.  Please come out and start your Christmas Season off right.
The Babahatchie Band will perform, free of charge, on the evening of December 13th at 7PM.  This is a wonderful way to get into the Holiday Spirit!  These local musicians have been performing in this band for over 20 years, and they sound great in the wonderful acoustics of the Princess!

Coming soon, information about Dr. Eric Littleton's concert on the 19th
Then on December 20th, the Princess will show it's second movie on its new "silver screen".  "A Christmas Snow" staring our own Muse Watson!  Muse will also be here to celebrate with us that evening.  The admission is just $5.

Hope to see you there every night!

Monday, November 10, 2014


Actually, they no longer contain silver in the texture of the screen, but the name from the 1920s stuck.  That type of screen was known as a "silver lenticular screen".

So, our "silver screen", actually a "matte white screen", has arrived and the installers from M & L Sound began work on hoisting it into position today.  Sadly, the lift they rented had a bad pulley and they were unable to get it from this position to above the curtain.  They will return tomorrow and hopefully the work can resume.
The screen is from DA-LITE and is called the "Tensioned Professional Electrol®", and comes with a 220V motor that raises and lowers the screen.  I'm not sure what surface was ordered; it comes in 7 surfaces.
The screen will be capable of being deployed when needed and rolled up and stored when not in use.  This leaves the stage free for concerts, plays, dances, etc.

Having a screen does not mean the Princess will become a "movie house" once again.  The Princess could never compete with big movie houses, or afford the cost of renting movies full time.  That's why it closed, and why it will never again be such.

The Princess has evolved into a theater (the building) where theatre (the art or company) will be performed; more often in our local case, where various "live performances" (music, talent shows, and some theatre from RSCC) will be performed.  Movies will only be shown on special occasion, i.e., holidays, special events, premieres of movies created by local talent, etc.

"Movie houses" are in even more danger these days with the announcement in 2011 by studios that they will stop producing product (films) in 35mm.  The word is "convert or die" and a large venue digital movie projector can cost $65,000 or more.  So, many will choose to die (close).   The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) estimates that 20% of America's theaters will close.

I'll try to post photos of the actual screen hanging tomorrow.

There Is Something New Every Time I Visit

Friday night was a great time, and I always enjoy walking around the Princess before a show to see what Megan has added.  
This was not Friday night...but it is the Princess!
As she will tell you, the Princess is an ongoing project and a lot to maintain.  The floor in the "new lobby" was recently painted and it looked so clean.  It made the area around the concessions look great, and there was a new refrigerator behind the counter.
Around the walls are new photos of vintage Harriman.  Megan loves photos on the wall and there are many to peruse as you relax before a show.  These two additions, in the main lobby, tie the theatre to the history of Harriman.  

Upstairs, on the mezzanine level, was this hand-drawing of Harriman's Wilma Wyatt, or as she was known in Hollywood, Dixie Lee!  Blake Kirkland recently presented the portrait, by artist Amber Patty, to the Princess.
Lee was born Wilma Winifred Wyatt in 1911 in Harriman.  According to Kirkland, Lee’s family moved when she was young.  Lee went on to Hollywood and is perhaps best known for her role in “Love in Bloom” with George Burns and Gracie Allen.

Lee was married to Bing Crosby, and they had four children. She died in 1952 at age 40.

Maybe one day when you go away and become famous, your portrait will also hang here!

Incidentally, if you haven't heard, a new movie screen has been purchased by the Foundation.  Thanks for your support in coming to the performances and/or your donations.

More donations are needed to upgrade the digital projector.  However, there are plans to show at least one movie, maybe two, during the Holiday season.  It's what you have been asking for, and, thanks to the monies received, your wish will soon be granted.

Watch this blog, or our "Friends of the Princess Theatre" Facebook page for times and dates.

Movies will be special occasion events; the Princess is now primarily a live performance venue!

Other things you might discover on the walls at the Princess:

Hillbilly Jedi Coming To The Princess November 22nd!

Michelle Spaziano Coming To The Princess November 20th!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Roane State Playmakers Presents "A Christmas Story"!

I wish venue would haven been at the Princess, but the powers that be decided it was best presented at the O'Brien Theatre on Roane State's campus.  Regardless, Michael Golebiewski always produces great shows.  It's also a great story with which to kick off off your Holiday Season.

It's only $7 at the door, so pick one of the 6 performances and go see it!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

"This Is What It's All About!"

Muse Watson said it best when he welcomed the audience to the Princess, "This is what it's all about folks; youth bringing their talents to the Princess stage."

Both young artist did "bring it" to the stage last night!  Both are unique loads of charisma and talent, with great promise for the future.  The audience encouraged the performers as if they were their own children.  The Princess stage is a stepping stone our local youth should and can use to launch rewarding careers.
Opening for EmiSunshine was Oakdale talent Emery Francis.  The 17-year-old sits at the piano with the conviction and confidence of a "pro" and delivers her favorite songs with a great vocal range.  She likes the bluesy songs and brought them alive with her own arrangements.  I especially liked the Etta James classic "At Last", and her signature song by the Eric Burton and the Animals "House of the Rising Sun".  Her voice improves every time I hear her sing; from her low notes to her high notes; she is a "rising star"!
Chris Mason's six-year-old daughter, Addie, introduced the star performer, Emi Hamilton, or as she is known nationally "EmiSunshine"!  

It was a fitting introduction since the "kids" had been playing with each other backstage before the performance.  Emi's dressing room was filled with local children long before the doors were opened.  They seemed to have a great time.
At first the children were giggling out in the hall, but soon Emi stuck her head out to see what was going on.  From that moment on they were all great friends, and were soon playing games in the Green Room.  Right before Emi's introduction, and concerned that the kids might be keeping Emi from getting mentally and emotionally ready to take the stage, someone asked the children to give her some space.  Immediately Emi said, "No, they're fine," and the giggling continued.
We forget that EmiSunshine is just a kid herself; a 10-year-old growing up fast in the entertainment business.  Having friends around, with the freedom to giggle, is just what she needs. 
On stage Emi puts aside her shy offstage demeanor and becomes a "performer", and perform she did!  She obviously enjoys the stage where she laughs with her family and pokes jokes at her dad.  But most of all, she loves playing and singing her heart out!  It's a change that is amazing to watch, and even envy!
Both young ladies displayed a love of performing; of the stage, and music.  I noticed Emery shivering just before taking the stage, not realizing it was just a chill, and told her to just go out there and have fun.  She said such sincerity, "Oh, I'm just cold.  I love it out there.  I really do!"  
I was impressed by her love for and dedication to what she is determined to make of her future.  We should all take that lesson to heart, and if you can find that something early in life the more blessed you will be by it.

Best of luck girls, and come back soon!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday Night, November 7th, At The Princess In Harriman

Get your tickets now for the EmiSunshine show at, or at Rocky Top General Store, or at The Harriman Jewelry Exchange. For more information call 865-882-8867. 

Bring the whole family!

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