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Cumberland Co. Playhouse Selling Out Limited Audiences

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cumberland Co. Playhouse Selling Out Limited Audiences

The Cumberland County Playhouse has been selling at capacity since returning to its indoor stages.

CEO Bryce McDonald said while turnout has been encouraging, revenue continues to be affected from the limited capacities.

“Our entire income is based on tickets sales,” McDonald said. “And when you are used to selling 500 seats, and you are only selling 115. That can be quite a dramatic change to your income and bottom line, but we are holding steady and fighting strong.”

McDonald said the playhouse has started rehearsals this week for its holiday performances. Saunder’s Family Christmas will begin Friday with Every Christmas Story Ever Told And Then Some starting the following weekend. McDonald said he wants the two comedies to serve as an escape for families.

“One of the biggest scenarios, which is what I hope for, is that people are wanting to do something with their families. People are needing an escape,” McDonald said. “I need an escape from social media, the news, the election and all of that business going on and that is what theater does. It provides and escape. So, we selected two shows for the holiday season that their sole intent is to take people away.”

McDonald said there are some concerns that the winter weather and COVID numbers will stop patrons from coming to the shows. McDonald said when COVID spikes, the playhouse see more people cancelling their tickets.

“I am nervous as the weather gets worse, and if numbers continue to rise, we will have people that will be nervous to get out and want to do something but will be hesitant to be out publicly.”

Five performances of each holiday show will be live streamed on the playhouse’s website. Saunder’s Family Christmas is gospel bluegrass Christmas show in 1945. The show is the sequel of the Smoke on the Mountain musical. Every Christmas Story Ever Told And Then Some is a sketch comedy turned into a play.


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