By Seymour Herald Staff Writer
The Lee Greenwood Theater has been purchased by Celebrity Productions and is set to open a new show on August 20th. The theater’s first production is titled “Always Patsy Cline”. Director Kaine Riggan has directed the show at other venues and will be part of the Sevierville production as well. Dave Jones, head of media relations for Celebrity Productions, said that the theater has been purchased and the show is scheduled to open on August 20, 2002. “We did not buy the restaurant,” Jones said in a recent interview. “I know a lot of rumors have surfaced about what was happening on the property but we only bought the theater.”
Currently, the theater is getting itself ready for the new production. According to Davis, key people in this project have been Jerry Bentley, Lee Greenwood’s manager and former theater manager, as well as Pete Maples. “Jerry helped us get a lot of the LG theater crew and staff back and Pete helped us negotiate the deal itself,” said Davis.
The Pasty Cline Show is scheduled to remain in the theater until December 30th. “We want to see how it goes before we make any long term show decisions,” added Maples. “We wanted to come to Sevier County because we felt that there was a real media magnet in this area.”
Aside from the Patsy Cline show, the theater will be hosting what Davis referred to as the Smoky Mountain Opry. Beginning September 5th, and taking place every Thursday night, the event will be hosted by Deborah Allen and feature some of today’s popular country music stars. It will also feature a spotlight act from Nashville. Some of the scheduled performers confirmed for the Opry shows are: Tanya Tucker, Pam Tillis, Billy Dean, John Berry, Sherriè Austin, and Crystal Gayle. Davis said that meet and greets will be held after each show and guests will get to meet all of the stars. “You just don’t see stuff like that in Nashville,” Davis said. “It is a wonderful thing to have in the Smokies.”
Audience members will get a taste of Pasty Cline during the Opry shows as well. “We want to promote our regular show during this time. We want people to come see both shows,” added Davis.