Gatlinburg theatre features classic comedy

6:24 PM, Feb 27, 2013   |    comments
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For the first time in its 37 year history Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre is open in the off season, right now.

It's a theater where time stands still but the performers do not.

At Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre in Gatlinburg, you'll find Don and Pat MacPherson's faces center stage. They founded the theatre in 1977. It is now in its, as they say, three dozenth plus one season in Gatlinburg.

"My parents started it, they brought my grandparents over, both my uncles, so we've had the whole family here," Jennifer MacPherson-Evans explained.

"We're keeping it in the family and keeping it in the same genre that Sweet Fanny Adams is," Chris MacPherson said. "We do an older style comedy. We do classic vaudeville comedy. So it's good clean comedy it's fun for the whole family. We don't have any cloggers, we don't have any country music, so for this area we're something different."

The now-grown children, Chris and Jennifer along with her husband, run the day-to-day operations since Don passed away a few years ago.

Chris and Jennifer grew up at Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre.

"Once I got older and started perfoming with them I would have to help zip my dad into a tutu every night. So it was just an interesting childhood but to me it was totally normal," Chris said.

Jennifer said, "I ran off and went to college and never thought I would be back. Of course, I moved right back into Gatlinburg, right back in to the family business, and have four kids here who are part of it too."

Chris said, "I've done other things. I ran away and joined a circus for awhile. I went to Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Clown College and then traveled with Ringling Brothers for two and a half years. But then I keep coming back to the theatre... Kept the shoes. They're the most comfortable pair of shoes I own," he said, lifting his foot to show off his giant shoes.

The audience never knows quite what to expect while watching a live original musical comedy.

"With live theatre anything can happen. So you have to be ready to roll with whatever happens," Chris said.

That's the appeal for the audience and for the performers.

"The whole gang goes on stage every night and everyone leaves with a smile on their face. They're fantastic. It's been great coming here," Jessica Jane Peterson said.

She may be the newest member of the cast but she's already familiar with being part of a family business.

"My mother was a musician's assistant, my father builds illusions, and I have an uncle who is a magician and a ring master. And in turn I became a magician. It was the family business," she said.

This family business is now in operation all year. That's something new this season.

Chris said, "We're still here and we're open in the winter."

Jessica Jane said, "Sweet Fanny Adams for me is a place I can come to and learn about vaudeville, comedy, slap stick, clowning. There's singing, dancing, variety, you can learn so much here."

For the MacPherson family the show must go on.

Jennifer said, "This is the funnest place in the entire world to work."

Jessica Jane said, "It's like getting in a time machine and going back to 1920 and seeing one of those shows."

Comedy improvisation groups will show off their skills at the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre the weekend after this one, March 8th and 9th.


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