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Historic Franklin Theatre to Reopen

franklin theatreFRANKLIN, Tenn. -- The historic Franklin Theatre, located in downtown Nashville TN, will be having its grand re-opening on Friday, June 3, 2011.

Various events have been planned for the weekend, including a 1930s-themed celebration in downtown Franklin. These family-friendly events are being sponsored by Nissan which opened its Americas regional headquarters in Franklin in 2008. As a symbol of the company's support, the Nissan LEAF, the world's first affordable, mass-market, all-electric vehicle, will be the official vehicle of the theater's re-opening festivities. Two zero-emission Nissan LEAFs will be displayed on Main Street on the evening of June 3.

"Middle Tennessee is Nissan's home in the Americas and Franklin is the heart of that home," said Jon Brancheau, vice president, Nissan Marketing. "The historic Franklin Theatre perfectly represents our community's strengths – including a commitment to environmentally conscious preservation and a vision for a vibrant future. Nissan is proud to take part in celebrating its rebirth with our neighbors."

Built in 1937, the Franklin Theatre is re-opening to the public following a four-year multi-million-dollar restoration. The 300-seat movie house will resume its tradition of showing current-run and classic movies and, thanks to a new state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, will expand its repertoire to include concerts and plays. The newly restored Franklin Theatre includes new energy-savings features, including efficient lighting and water systems, making it one of the most environmentally friendly historic preservation projects in Tennessee.

"Like Nissan, the Franklin Theatre is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability," said Mary Pearce, executive director of the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which owns the venue. "We couldn't think of a better partner than Nissan to help us reintroduce the theater to the public."

Outdoor festivities for the Franklin Theatre's grand re-opening— scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT on Friday, June 3 — will include free live entertainment as well as extended hours for Franklin's downtown merchants and restaurants. A swing band will perform on a stage constructed adjacent to the downtown Square.

Giant outdoor movie screens will create Franklin's version of a Hollywood back lot. Side streets where Fourth Avenue crosses Main Street will feature free showings of two classic '30s films — the original "King Kong" (1933), starring Depression-era diva Fay Wray, and everyone's favorite musical fantasy "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) in Technicolor. A third screen, at Five Points, will feature "Swing Time" (1936), starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. All three movies are listed on the American Film Institute's (AFI) top 100 movies of all time.

Inside the Franklin Theatre, moviegoers will enjoy a late-night 9:30 p.m. screening of "Gone with the Wind," the 1939 classic starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The four-hour epic won 10 Academy Awards and is the leading '30s film listed on the AFI's top 100. The late-night screening, as well as an encore presentation the next day, sold out within one hour of tickets going on sale last month.

Also on that Friday evening, the Heritage Foundation will host a red-carpet reception for major donors who helped underwrite the Franklin Theatre's multi-million-dollar restoration. The Franklin Theatre is part of the Franklin Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, go to

Franklin Theatre Grand Re-opening Weekend Schedule:

Friday, June 3
• 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. CDT: Downtown Franklin street party featuring live swing music, extended merchant hours, and outdoor screenings of "King Kong," "Swing Time," and "The Wizard of Oz"
• 9:30 p.m.: Indoor late-night screening of "Gone with the Wind"

Saturday, June 4
• 10 a.m.: Morning kids' movie "Charlotte's Web"
• 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Town & Country Tour of Homes (w/Franklin Theatre as added feature)
• 6 p.m.: Encore screening of "Gone with the Wind"

Sunday, June 5
• 7 p.m. and 9:20 p.m.: Two evening screenings of "Casablanca"

Source: The Franklin Theatre

Published June 2, 2011

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