Tuesday, July 7, 2015

'The Ryman Diaries' to Return to Downtown Nashville Public Library on July 30 and 31

            NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 2015)  Award-winning actor/playwright/director Tom Dolan and author/musician/educator Debbie Mathis Watts will portray Music City legends Captain Tom Ryman and Bettie Baugh Ryman in the multi-media musical stage play "The Ryman Diaries" on July 30 and 31 (Thursday and Friday) at the downtown Nashville Public Library, 615 Church St.  

            The matinee shows, which are being staged during the busy summer tourism season, will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the library's first-floor theater. Admission is $15 for adults, and $12 for senior citizens, students and children.  

Tom Dolan and Debbie Mathis Watts as Captain Tom Ryman and Bettie Baugh Ryman

            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, a former producer for various shows on TNN: The Nashville Network. "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". This fall, the actors will star in a new play in San Diego based on the lives of John and Lillie Spreckels.  

            To buy tickets for "The Ryman Diaries", call (615) 740-5600 or send an e-mail inquiry to Wattsd2@att.net. To learn more about the play, visit http://wattsd2.wix.com/rymandiaries.

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