Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cumberland River Compact to Host 'Ryman Diairies' Presentation in Nashville on March 12

            NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 2015) – Award-winning actor/playwright/director Tom Dolan and author/musician/educator Debbie Mathis Watts will present excerpts from their play, "The Ryman Diaries", during a special "River Talks" presentation from noon-1 p.m. March 12 (Thursday) at The Bridge Building (Cumberland River Center), 2 Victory Ave. in downtown Nashville. 

            Dolan and Watts portray Music City legends Captain Tom Ryman and Bettie Baugh Ryman in the multi-media musical stage play. "River Talks: Travelers on the Cumberland" is an educational series sponsored by the Cumberland River Compact. Admission to the "River Talks" presentation of "The Ryman Diaries" is free with an optional lunch available for $8 per person. To RSVP to the event, call (615) 837-1151, send an e-mail inquiry to, or visit . 

          Described as a 19th Century love story, "The Ryman Diaries" is a historical drama that depicts the life and times of Cumberland riverboat Captain Tom Ryman as told through the eyes of his wife, Bettie Baugh Ryman. The story covers 70 years of the couple's lives through film media, stage acting, and original musical numbers. It tells of their unlikely romance, marriage, entrepreneurship, raising seven children on a riverboat, ultimate success, Christian conversion at a tent meeting, and the building of the Union Gospel Tabernacle. 

          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. "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". 

          For booking inquiries, call (615) 824-1096 or send an e-mail message to (Photo by Chuck Whiting)

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