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Tennessee Theatre Opens Doors to First Friday Celebration

tennessee theatre lobby
Lobby of the historic Tennessee Theatre. Image courtesy of the Tennessee Theatre

KNOXVILLE -- The Tennessee Theatre is opening its doors from 5-9 p.m. on Jan. 6 during Knoxville's First Friday celebration to celebrate the atmosphere and culture of downtown and the role the Tennessee Theatre plays in its revitalization.

The celebration in the lobby of the theatre will include live music, artwork by Mike Berry, wine tasting, food, a caricature artist and backstage tours of the theatre. To reflect the downtown theme, all activities at the event will highlight aspects of the downtown area.

"The Tennessee Theatre holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Knoxvillians," said Mark Mamantov, chairman of the Tennessee Theatre board. "Downtown scenery would not be complete without the unique marquee, box office and blade lit up on Gay Street. For more than 80 years, the theatre has been an icon of downtown, but never has the area been as alive and thriving as it is today."

Food and wine will be available in the lobby. Tours of the backstage facilities including the expanded stage, dressing rooms, the Mighty Wurlitzer and the performance hall, will be provided for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of entertainment at the Tennessee Theatre.

The swing band, Old City Buskers, will perform during the event. The band got their start playing in Market Square and other places downtown. Their name is an homage to their roots on the streets of the historic downtown Knoxville and the era of swing. Their upbeat dance music from when the Tennessee Theatre was built provides the perfect backdrop to celebrate the history and the future of downtown Knoxville.

Artist Mike Berry will exhibit his artwork at the event. Berry has painting many pieces inspired by scenes of downtown Knoxville and the Tennessee Theatre. Some of these paintings of downtown will be on display during the event, as well as other miscellaneous pieces selected by the artist. A caricature artist will give guests some personalized artwork as a memento of their evening at the Tennessee. Guests are pictured headlining the Tennessee Theatre with their name up in lights on the marquee.

"As downtown Knoxville continues to thrive and grow, the Tennessee Theatre wants to be a part of the continuing positive change," Mamantov said. "With this event, we want the people of Knoxville to recognize the Tennessee Theatre as their theatre, to own this gorgeous, state-of-the-art venue and truly experience the entertainment and magic of the Tennessee Theatre."

Published December 28, 2011

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