“The Aretha Legacy” Comes to Franklin Theatre

Studio Tenn
photo from Studio Tenn

Studio Tenn Artistic Director Patrick Cassidy will make his directorial debut in the company’s production of “The Aretha Legacy,” a theatrical concert celebrating the life and work of Aretha Franklin, at the Franklin Theatre from March 26-29.

Cassidy chose a cast of six performers from diverse backgrounds to star in the original show honoring Aretha, which will tell the story of her musical career, as well as her life and social legacy.

“I believe Aretha is the greatest soul and gospel singer of all time,” Cassidy said. “She became the voice for multiple generations, not only as a musician but because of what she stood for as an artist, an activist and a person. We are excited to tell her full story through this Legacy Series.”

“The Aretha Legacy” will comprise six shows in the Franklin Theatre, which Cassidy said is ideal for musical artists.

“The Franklin Theatre is such an intimate venue, and it’s the perfect setting for telling a rich story. We’ll have a band on the stage as well as performers so that we can create a club effect, a speakeasy effect, and even a church effect. We’re going to explore all the sides of Aretha, and to do so, we’ll use the space for storytelling as well.”

Current cast members include Piper Jones, Jaimee Paul, Whitney Coleman, Malachi Burrow, and Jack Cassidy, Patrick’s son.

“While I cast most of the show, I wanted to completely remove myself from Jack’s audition,” Cassidy said with a laugh. “Jack performed in front of our musical director, managing director, and associate artistic director. I insisted that they be completely honest, but they uniformly said he was in.”

Cassidy’s wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy, is an acclaimed dancer with a vast career of performing, teaching and choreographing. Melissa recently accepted a teaching position at Nashville Ballet, and she will take part in “The Aretha Legacy” by working with the performers on choreograph staging.

“This show includes people of immense talent, from production to performance and beyond, which is only fitting for a tribute to the Queen of Soul,” Cassidy said. “People can expect a show like they have never seen that celebrates Aretha’s life, music, and legacy, in all the wonderful ways she deserves.”

STUDIO TENN is a professional regional theater company and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Franklin, Tenn. Its programming centers around innovative, custom-designed presentations of classic plays and musicals as well as an original “Legacy” series of theatrical concerts celebrating the work of time-honored musicians. Learn more at studiotenn.com.