Tammy Wynette Musical Opens at Ryman in September

Having staged successful musical
productions about the lives of Patsy Cline,
Hank Williams and the Everly Brothers,
Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium announced
today (Feb. 14) that its next tribute will be
Stand By Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story. Still to be written and cast, the
show is scheduled to run from Sept. 13 –
Oct. 28.

Wynette’s former husband, George
Richey, and Wynonna Judd were among
the guests attending the announcement of
the new production. Richey told
country.com that he plans to be closely
involved in the development of the play and will “no doubt” be on hand for its three
weeks of warm-up performances at the Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina
before it comes to Nashville.

Stage and TV writer Mark St. Germain will write the play, drawing on Wynette’s
1980 autobiography, Stand By Your Man, and other sources. He speculates that
there will be roles for 10 characters and that the beginning and final scenes of the
drama will be set in the Ryman, the historic home of the Grand Ole Opry.
Wynette’s public memorial service took place at the Ryman and was broadcast
live from the hall by cable channel CNN.

“We hope the play will entertain her fans and make new ones,” St. Germain said.
It will be produced jointly by Gaylord Productions and Carolyn Rossi Copeland.

Auditions for the play will be held April 9 and 10 in Nashville at the Ryman and
April 18 and 19 in New York at a location yet to be determined. While starring in
one of the Ryman’s musical productions is no sure route to fame, it did much to
raise the visibility of Mandy Barnett, who played Cline.

Dubbed “The First Lady of Country Music,” Wynette came to America’s attention
in 1966 with her single “Apartment #9.” By the time of her death in 1998 at the
age of 55, Wynette had scored 20 No. 1 hits and earned two Grammys. Her
album sales now stand at 40 million. Among her classics are “Stand By Your
Man,” “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “I Don’t Wanna Play House” and “’Til I Get It Right.” In
1992, she had an international novelty pop hit, “Justified & Ancient,” with the
British group KLF.

Wynette was married five times and counted actor Burt Reynolds among her
romantic partners. Just months after her death, she was elected to the Country
Music Hall of Fame.

Tickets, which are already on sale through Ticketmaster and the Ryman box
office, are $32 and $24 for adults and $16 and $12 for children under 16.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.