Tennessee Theatre hosts costume party

Families will enjoy Looney Tunes classic cartoons on the Tennessee’s screen, Mighty Wurlitzer organ music, self-guided dressing room tours, face painting and old-fashioned candy provided by Mast General Store. The Tennessee Theatre open house series is sponsored by McCarty Holsaple McCarty.

“At last year’s event, many of the children who came through our doors were experiencing the grandeur of the Tennessee Theatre for the first time,” Tennessee Theatre Executive Director Becky Hancock said. “This daytime event is a great way to introduce the next generation to our beautiful venue, as well as honor our theater’s long tradition of daytime children’s clubs. I am excited to be able to open our doors for Halloween family fun this fall.”


During the open house, a short reel of Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons will be shown at intervals between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Each screening will be introduced with organ music played by house organist Bill Snyder on the Mighty Wurlitzer.

In between screenings, the dressing room areas will be open to the public for self-guided tours, and face painting and Mast General Store will be handing out old-fashioned candy at stations throughout the lobby and foyers. Popcorn, soda, candy and other basic concessions will be available for purchase, as well as gift shop items, with all proceeds going to the Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation.

Children ages 12 and under are invited to come dressed in festive Halloween costumes. The Theatre requests that costumes be family-friendly and not scary. Toy weapons will not be permitted.

During the Tennessee Theatre’s history, Saturday mornings often were dedicated to children’s programming with several memorable clubs over the decades that welcomed children to the theater.

In the late 1930s and 1940s, the Popeye Club offered Saturday activities with cartoons, a movie serial, and amateur stage show with house organist Billy Barnes, all for 10 cents. The Chipmunk Club of the 1960s and 1970s offered cartoons and movies for the admission price of empty bags of Tom’s potato chips and featured a performance from Bobo the Clown.

Iconic sign gets an upgrade

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Tennessee Theatre will celebrate the return of its iconic vertical sign to Gay Street and the newly refurbished marquee with a free open house and relighting ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

“The vertical sign is an important part of downtown Knoxville’s visual identity and our theater’s history,” Tennessee Theatre Executive Director Becky Hancock said. “After more than two months of work, we will welcome back our vertical sign and refurbished marquee, both of which will shine on Gay Street even brighter and better. We look forward to the public joining us for the celebration.”


During the open house sponsored by McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects and Interior Designers, the Tennessee Theatre will be open to the public for self-guided tours of the stage and backstage areas from 6-8 p.m. House organist Dr. Bill Snyder will play the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, and a caricature artist will be at the event to draw guests with the iconic Tennessee Theatre marquee.

At 8 p.m., guests will move outside onto Gay Street, which will be closed in front of the theater for the event, for a ceremony featuring Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Tennessee Theatre board members and officials from Pattison Sign Group, which handled the project. Elected officials and donors will join Hancock in leading a countdown to the official relighting of the vertical sign and marquee with brighter, more energy-efficient LED light bulbs.

When the marquee project was announced in April, the Tennessee Theatre launched a fundraising campaign to raise $150,000 to cover the cost of the refurbishment. Through cash and in-kind donations, the theater has raised more than $136,000 and is asking for the community’s continued support to completely fund the project.

At the event, guests also will have the opportunity to sponsor a bulb for $25 or purchase several commemorative items, including a hand-crafted vertical sign glass ornament or fine art print of the marquee, to help fund the project. More information on the campaign can be found at www.tennesseetheatre.com/marquee.

The marquee project also was supported by a $65,000 grant from the City of Knoxville, corporate gifts from Pattison Sign Group and Scripps Networks Interactive, and individual donations from the community.

Locally headquartered Pattison Sign Group, one of the largest sign and visual communication companies in the world, donated its services at cost to remove the vertical sign, replace all light bulbs, repair wiring and damage and reaffix the sign to the Burwell Building.

At its facility in South Carolina, Pattison Sign Group divided the four-ton vertical sign into three pieces for accessibility to replace 3,300 light bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting; install electrical upgrades; repaint the sign; and repair cosmetic damage from daily wear-and-tear and recent hailstorms.

Additionally, the company oversaw repairs on the Tennessee Theatre marquee, which remained in place. Approximately 2,400 light bulbs were replaced, cosmetic damage was repaired, the marquee was repainted and message boards on the marquee were replaced and upgraded.

“The Tennessee Theatre sign is one of the most beloved icons of our region,” said Jeff Allison, sales manager at Pattison Sign Group. “At Pattison, we do work around the world, but this project has been especially meaningful for our employees who live and work in this community. We are pleased to be able to give Knoxville a brighter and more beautiful sign and marquee.”

Pattison Sign Group anticipates that the vertical sign will return to Gay Street about a week before the official relighting and will remain dark until the ceremony. Gay Street will be closed overnight for the sign to be placed back on the Burwell Building, a process expected to take approximately eight hours.

About the Tennessee Theatre

Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928 as a movie palace. The Tennessee Theatre is the Official State Theatre of Tennessee and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Tennessee Theatre is the region’s leading performing arts center with advanced technology, staging and lighting that draws top entertainment to the Knoxville area.

For more information, visit www.tennesseetheatre.com.

Summer Movie Magic begins

KNOXVILLE, TN – The Tennessee Theatre is pleased to announce the 18th annual Summer Movie Magic line-up presented by Denark Construction. Movie-goers will travel back in time and see these American classics as they should be: in a historic theater, with a bag of popcorn in their lap, and a cold drink in their hand. Come experience some of your favorite classics beginning in June 2016.

Both digital and 35mm films will be screened this year, and organists Bill Snyder and Freddie Brabson will play the Mighty Wurlitzer organ before each film.

Tickets can be purchased at the Tennessee Theatre box office, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at 865-684-1200 and are $9.00 adult, $7.00 children under 12 and seniors 65 and over; Subscriptions are $45.00 adult and $35.00 children and seniors.

“Summer Movie Magic is a long-standing tradition at the Tennessee Theatre, paying homage to the theater’s history and legacy as a movie palace,” said Becky Hancock, the Theatre’s Executive Director. “From opening day in 1928 and every year since, the Tennessee’s movie screen has featured Hollywood’s most beloved films and created special memories for movie-goers of all ages.”

Denark Construction returns as the presenting sponsor of the beloved Knoxville tradition! “Denark Construction is proud to be the presenting sponsor of Summer Movie Magic at the historic Tennessee Theatre,” said president Frank Rothermel. “Denark was construction manager for the comprehensive renovation completed in 2005, and the Tennessee is very special to our team, just as it is to the entire community.”

The movie line-up this year includes Some Like It Hot (Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe); Casablanca (Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman); Steven Speilberg’s The Goonies; Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Audrey Hepburn); and Psycho, Alfred Hitchcock’s landmark masterpiece of the macabre stars Anthony Perkins as the troubled Norman Bates.


Showing August 12 and 14, 2016 at the Tennessee Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock’s landmark masterpiece of the macabre stars Anthony Perkins as the troubled Norman Bates, whose old dark house and adjoining motel are not the place to spend a quiet evening. No one knows that better than Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), the ill-fated traveler whose journey ends in the notorious “shower scene.” First a private detective, then Marion’s sister (Vera Miles) searches for her, and the horror and suspense mount to a terrifying climax where the mysterious killer is finally revealed. 

Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928 as a movie palace. The Tennessee Theatre is the Official State Theatre of Tennessee and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Tennessee Theatre is the region’s leading performing arts facility with advanced technology, staging and lighting that draws top entertainment to the Knoxville area. The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation is a nonprofit organization tasked with maintaining and preserving the historic theater and ensuring diverse arts and cultural entertainment remains in downtown Knoxville.

About Denark Construction

Denark Construction is a full-service general contractor, design-builder, and construction manager, based in Knoxville, Tennessee – with over 1 billion dollars in public, institutional, commercial, and industrial contracts since its launch in 1985.

TN Theatre to upgrade iconic sign

More than a decade after the creation of the new blade sign and marquee, the Tennessee Theatre is launching a fundraising campaign to refurbish the iconic sign and replace the lighting technology with brighter, energy-efficient bulbs.

“The Tennessee Theatre is one of the most photographed landmarks in the state and holds an emotional attachment for East Tennesseans as a symbol of our region,” Tennessee Theatre Executive Director Becky Hancock said. “As part of our commitment to ensuring the theater remains vibrant and protecting the community’s investment of the grand restoration more than 11 years ago, it is time for us to update the technology for the sign and complete necessary maintenance. We are asking the community for support as we undertake this important project.”

Tennessee Theatre will host a free open house Saturday, April 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with backstage tours and Mighty Wurlitzer organ music. Attendees can purchase merchandise, bulbs and letters to support the campaign and learn more about the history of the iconic blade sign and marquee on Gay Street.

To support the marquee campaign, visit www.tennesseetheatre.com/marquee.


Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928 as a movie palace. The Tennessee Theatre is the Official State Theatre of Tennessee and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Tennessee Theatre is the region’s leading performing arts center with advanced technology, staging and lighting that draws top entertainment to the Knoxville area.

Knoxville Then and Now

The Art Market Gallery will have a special showing of works by gallery members entitled “Knoxville, Then and Now”, from August 3 – 31, 2015.

There will also be a memorial showing of glass works by artist, Vivian Shoemaker. Her stained glass works reflect the landscape of the east Tennessee area. This show will be in conjunction with the East Tennessee History Center’s History Fair which takes place on August 15 in downtown Knoxville.

Owned and operated by 62 professional regional artists, the Art Market Gallery, at 422 South Gay St., is a few doors from Mast General Store and next to Downtown Grill & Brewery.

Tennessee Theater by Inna Knox

Tennessee Theatre, by Inna Knox. Oils on canvas. Photo courtesy the artist.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday. The gallery is wheelchair accessible, and parking in the abutting garage and on the street is free on weekends and after 6 p.m. weekdays.

A Prairie Home Companion at TN Theatre

The Tennessee Theatre presents Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion with Rick Dworsky, Fred Newman, and Sarah Jarosz on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm.

At the Janet Wallace Auditorium at Macalester College in Saint Paul in 1974, if you plunked down your $1 admission (50 cents for kids) to attend the very first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, you were in select company. There were about 12 people in the audience. But those in attendance thought there were worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon, so Garrison Keillor and the APHC team went on to produce close to 500 live shows in the first 10 years alone. There were broadcasts from this venue and that, until March 4, 1978, when the show moved to The World Theater, a lovely, crumbling building that was one plaster crack away from the wrecking ball. (Now fully renovated and renamed The Fitzgerald, it is the show’s home base.)

In June of 1987, APHC ended for a while. Garrison thought it was a good idea at the time, but only two years later, the show was back, based in New York and called American Radio Company of the Air. But there’s no place like home. So in 1992, it was back to Minnesota and, soon after, back to the old name: A Prairie Home Companion.
Today, A Prairie Home Companion is heard by 4 million listeners each week on more than 600 public radio stations, and abroad on America One and the American Forces Networks in Europe and the Far East. Garrison recalls, “When the show started, it was something funny to do with my friends, and then it became an achievement that I hoped would be successful, and now it’s a good way of life.”

Tickets are $86.50 and $64.50 plus applicable service fees.

TN Theatre celebrates milestone

In 2015, the Tennessee Theatre will celebrate a decade since it received new life through a $28 million restoration. The community is invited to a free grand reopening celebration Wednesday, Jan. 14, from 7-9 p.m., to mark the 10th anniversary milestone.

The anniversary celebration at the downtown Tennessee Theatre will include refreshments, a free performance on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ and backstage tours guided by theater historians.

Tours are limited to 75 people per tour and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to reserve a spot for 7:15, 7:45 or 8:15 p.m.

The Historic Tennessee Theatre Foundation also will unveil a 228-page coffee table book by Jack Neely entitled “The Tennessee Theatre: A Grand Entertainment Palace.”

Neely researched for the better part of a year to write the book and interviewed theater historians and living contributors to the restoration campaign. The book also contains more than 350 images spanning more than a century, including historic photographs, newspaper advertisements, architectural drawings, performers on stage at the Tennessee, movie and show posters, and more.

The Tennessee Theatre is the Official State Theatre of Tennessee and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Celebrate Christmas in the City

It’s Christmas in the City; there’s so much to see and enjoy in downtown Knoxville this holiday season, from making a holiday wreath at Ramsey House or visiting the Holidays on Ice skating rink in Market Square.


The Holidays on Ice skating rink is open daily through January 4, 2015 in downtown Knoxville’s Market Square. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children (season passes are also available). Admission includes skate rental and unlimited time on the ice. Photo by CelebrateKnoxville.com.

On December 13 and 20, the Market Square Farmers Market hosts the Holiday Market throughout Market Square and Market Street. Vendors will have booths set up with handmade gifts, holiday decor, food and more. This is a great place to find unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list.

Parking is free in Knoxville’s Market Square (406 Walnut Street) State Street and Locust Street garages all day on weekends.

Dec. 13
Wreath Making Workshop at the Historic Ramsey House, 2614 Thorngrove Pike.
Join your friends for this great tradition of fun and creativity and go home with a beautiful natural green wreath. We supply the Holiday treats, materials and the expert instruction of Julia Shiflett and her Christmas helpers. Make your reservation in advance and bring handheld garden pruners and gloves. The social is 12:30 p.m. with the class starting promptly at 1 p.m. Sign up with a buddy or start a family tradition. Reserve your spot by calling 865-546-0745.

Dec. 14
“It’s a Wonderful Life”
Celebrate the Christmas season in the grandeur of the Tennessee Theatre, Gay Street, as Home Federal Bank presents classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Admission is free; no ticket is required. Seating is limited to the theater’s capacity. Doors open one hour prior to each screening.

Dec. 13 – 15
The Nativity Pageant of Knoxville
The pageant combines a cast of 90 members, live animals, realistic sets and authentic costumes to create a powerful presentation of the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ and the meaning of Christmas. The story is told in beautiful music and narration. The pageant is free and is interpreted for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Saturday, December 13 at 3 pm, Sunday, December 14 at 3 pm, Monday, December 15 at 7 pm, at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. Free Admission.

Classic movie celebrates Christmas

In celebration of the Christmas season, East Tennessee neighbors are invited to enjoy two free screenings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the historic Tennessee Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014.

The film will be shown at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and no ticket is required. Seating is limited to the theater’s capacity.

As a bonus, moviegoers will have the opportunity to pick up $2 discount coupons for the City of Knoxville’s Holidays on Ice open-air skating rink on Market Square.

Released in 1947 and starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is was nominated for five Academy Awards and ranks No. 20 on the American Film Institute’s “100 Greatest Movies of All Time” list.

The Tennessee Theatre is located at 604 S. Gay Street in downtown Knoxville. Free parking is available in the State Street garage. Patrons with special needs should contact the Tennessee Theatre in advance at 865-684-1200.

The movie screening is sponsored by Home Federal Bank.


Historic TN Theatre offers tours

The Tennessee Theatre invites guests to a Fall Festival Open House during First Friday from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 7, 2014 with fall-themed activities, snacks and free history tours of the iconic venue.


Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928 as a movie palace. The Tennessee Theatre is the Official State Theatre of Tennessee and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Photo by CelebrateKnoxville.com.

The fall festival will include a caricature artist who will draw free portraits of attendees and the iconic theater marquee; apple cider and fall treats; music on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ; and free backstage tours led by theater historians.

The tours will leave the lobby at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m., with groups limited to 50 people per tour, so guests are encouraged to arrive early.