Sunday, March 06, 2011

Behind the Curtain of Knoxville's giant Faberge Egg (aka The Tennessee Theatre)

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking past the Tennessee Theatre with my co-worker Becky Hancock and said, "I should go to the symphony more often."

Deep down, I had hoped she would respond exactly how she did. She told me she'd make some phone calls and could probably get us tickets. Score.

How does my co-worker work her magic? She was the General Manager of the Tennessee Theatre from 2001-2007.

The next Thursday, we got dressed up and went to the symphony. That was wonderful in itself, but the icing on the cake was that she took me backstage afterward and introduced me to Tim who is the Technical Director there. He has been working there since 1979! Becky asked if he'd show us around and he concurred.

Here are some photos of our little adventure with captions courtesy of Becky Hancock.

Looking up into the fly loft backstage, about 80 feet high!

The counterweight system on stage right. This allows one person to maneuver all the scene changes and backdrops.

If you were the Maestro, this is the view you'd have as you enter the stage.

In the 2005 renovation, the decorative artists added a few whimsical faces in the north stairwell.

See if you can spot moon man on your next visit...

Old school: one of the very few reel-to-reel projector systems left in Knoxville.

A view above the decorative ceiling, which is suspended by hundreds of metal strips from the actual roof. (From B: This is what holds up the faberge egg!)

Looking through the lighting cut into the blue cove

The catwalk enabled stagehands to change the hundreds of light bulbs around the cove.

In the orchestra pit, the front half raised up to stage level. (From B: This is underneath the stage  During the symphony, they lowered the pit, rolled out the grand piano, and raised the pit to get it on the stage level. The Mighty Wurlitzer is in a room to the right.)

Stagehands' stash (From B: That's a lotta lights)

One of the "star" dressing rooms, new construction in 2005

This wraps up our little tour. If you are interested in hitting up the next concert, go here to learn how to do so.


The Pol said...

LOVE IT! Great pictures, makes me want to get back into musicals. I mean... acting.

The Modern Gal said...

Awesome :) Are the reel-to-reel projectors what they use for movies at the theater? I absolutely love watching movies there.

bupperoni said...

Yep MG, many movie theaters use digital files or use a "platter" system, where the film is fed horizontally. The TT and perhaps the Clarence Brown are the only ones in Knoxville that use the "tower" (vertical feed) system. A dying art...

christina horn said...

Thank you so much for this in depth tour of the theater. I LOVE this kind of thing...and most people never get to see it!

Mickey said...

Great post! The Tennessee is such a gem. Any city would be lucky to have a space like that.

Unknown said...

thank you so much, beth and becky, for this fascinating treat!

Temple House said...

What a terrific post. Makes me crave a black and white movie on a Sunday afternoon. Nicely played...both of you.

Boriqua said...

Awesome post. Thanks for pulling back the curtain on the Tennessee.

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