Saturday, June 29, 2019


Center Field Productions LLC and its newly-created theatre division, Three Rivers Theatre Company, have announced the nostalgic Princess Theatre in Harriman, Tennessee will serve as their new “home-field” for productions of live theatre, a radio variety show, and more.

Center Field Productions is owned by Roane County native Donnie Hall and his wife, Martha Wilkinson Hall stated moving the film production company to East Tennessee and expanding its range of interests was a literal a no-brainer. 

After having managed the nation’s second-oldest dinner theatre for nearly two decades, Martha suggested not too long ago, ‘I think it’s time to go home and share our blessings with others.

So, here we are,” Hall said. “East Tennessee is a perfect fit for us. We both dreamed of getting out of the hustle and bustle – and gridlocked traffic – of city life and re-discovering our small town roots.

The couple says they have been welcomed with open arms by members of the community. One person in particular who helped get the ball rolling for them was film and television actor Muse Watson.

Had it not been for Donnie and Muse working on a film project together several months ago, I don’t think this would have happened for us,” Wilkinson commented.

As they were considering making changes, Watson suggested the couple consider using the Princess as a venue in which to produce musical theatre and comedies. Wilkinson added, “It took just a couple of visits for us to know coming here was the right choice.”

Martha Wilkinson is a native of Rome, Georgia. She studied drama at Berry College, Alliance Theatre, and North Carolina School of the Arts before moving to Nashville to become a country singer. (“Isn’t that the most unique idea you’ve ever heard?” she asks with a charming sarcasm.)

Eventually, Martha returned to theatre and has made her way as a professional actor and director in Nashville and throughout the region for the past 30 years. (Her professional debut was in 1985 at Crossville’s Cumberland County Playhouse.)

Proclaimed by as “Nashville’s queen of musical theatre and comedy,” she has appeared in some 200 productions and has directed nearly as many more.

Wilkinson was named a recipient of the prestigious First Night Theatre Honors as “one of the individuals who have taken leading roles in making live theatre in Tennessee better and more magical.” She is also the recipient of nine First Night Awards (Nashville’s local “Tony” awards) for her work in musical theatre and she was selected Best Actress by the Tennesseanand Nashville Scene for her portrayal as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the Nashville Repertory Theatre.

Through Three Rivers Theatre Company (a division of Center Field Productions), Wilkson says, “I am absolutely beside myself to be involved in bringing community theatre to Roane County and East Tennessee. I am equally excited for the opportunities we can offer in arts education.”

In addition to live, Broadway-style, family-friendly musicals and comedies, Center Field Productions and Three Rivers Theatre Company hope to be able to offer a regular schedule of feature films at the Princess Theatre, live musical acts, and a live radio variety show called The Three Rivers Jamboree. The radio program, hosted by Hall and Wilkinson, will be recorded in front of a live audience and feature a variety of local and regional talent representing varied musical genres.

Hall’s career in entertainment spans more than three decades. At 14-years old, he was among the youngest sports reporters to have written for Harriman’s daily newspaper, Today’s News. By 15, he was a radio announcer and newscaster at Harriman’s WKJS and, later, WDHB radio.

After stints at several other radio stations in East Tennessee (“All of which started with a ‘W’,” Hall notes), he moved on to the U.S. Army where he became a local sensation in Germany hosting a morning radio program at American Forces Network (AFN) Europe.

Eventually, after a few more radio jobs and a stint in the U. S. Coast Guard, Hall moved on to acting and film production “but radio’s always been in my blood,” he says.

I can’t tell you how thrilled it makes me to produce The Three Rivers Jamboree from my hometown theatre where I used to watch dollar movies on Tuesday nights.” 

Hall says the program will feature good news stories from around the region, spotlight veterans and other hometown heroes, and bring some of the area’s best talent to the stage of the Princess Theatre. The show will also feature short radio dramas and lots of surprises.

The couple says they are dedicated to being “contributing members and an energizing spark to the community.” Wilkinson concluded, “We moved here to follow our dreams. We look forward to pulling up a chair with old friends and new ones and hearing about your dreams, too.”

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Three Rivers Theatre Company or would like more information about any of their upcoming projects, feel free to contact Donnie Hall or Martha Wilkinson at or or by mail at P. O Box 742, Harriman, TN 37748.

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