Friday, September 16, 2016

'The Ryman Diaries' to Return for Captain Tom Ryman's 175th Birthday

            NASHVILLE, Tenn. (September 2016) – Actor/playwrights Tom Dolan and Debbie Mathis Watts will help celebrate the 175th birthday of Music City legend Captain Tom Ryman by staging their multi-media musical stage play "The Ryman Diaries" at Miss Jeanne's Mystery Dinner Theatre. 

            Theatre-goers can enjoy the show with dinner on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 12 and 16. Showtimes are 7 p.m. (dinner) and 8 p.m. (show only) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. (brunch) and 2:30 p.m. (show only) on Sunday. There will be a special school matinee at 2 p.m. Oct. 7 (Friday). Admission is $38 (show with dinner) and $18 (show only). 

            Captain Ryman was born on Oct. 12, 1841. 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 children on a riverboat, ultimate success, Christian conversion at a tent meeting, and the building of the Union Gospel Tabernacle (later named the Ryman Auditorium).

            The play, which is based on Watts' book, was formatted to the stage and directed by 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. 

          "We are thrilled to offer a show with dinner on Captain Ryman's 175th birthday," said Watts, a former producer for various shows on TNN: The Nashville Network. "He and his wife Bettie 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". He first portrayed Ryman for Gaylord Entertainment and considers it "a deep honor to revive this portrayal of the Nashville icon." 

            Miss Jeanne's Mystery Dinner Theatre is located at 2416 Music Valley Drive. To buy tickets for "The Ryman Diaries", call (615) 902-9566 or visit For more information about the play, send an e-mail inquiry to or visit

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