|Debbie Watts and Tom Dolan portray Captain Tom Ryman and his wife Bettie. (Photo from Debbie Watts)|
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
'The Ryman Diaires' Play Coming to Bibb Center Near Dickson from April 28-May 8
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 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" from April 28-May 8 (Thursdays-Sundays) at the Bibb-White Bluff Civic Center.
The shows will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. No shows will be offered Monday-Wednesday. Admission is $12. The Bibb Center is located at 10545 Old Charlotte Road in White Bluff, Tenn., near Dickson.
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". The actors also star in a new play in San Diego based on the lives of John and Lillie Spreckels.