SWEET FANNY ADAMS THEATRE
Music, comedy and variety shows have been a staple of the Smoky Mountains entertainment scene for years now. But there’s a place in Gatlinburg that’s always had a knack for—well, standing out from the crowd.
Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, is the area’s oldest music theater with nearly 35 years of merriment and mayhem under its belt. They bill themselves as the area’s only alternative to country music shows, and what you see after settling into your seat is, indeed, 100 percent unique, which may also explain why the theater was designated by the city of Gatlinburg as a Historical Treasure in 1996.
Once you’ve experienced an evening at Sweet Fanny Adams, it’s easy to understand the key to the theater’s success and longevity. The production is a two-hour extravaganza that defies the traditional music theater format with its Monty Pythonesque silliness and bawdy slapstick (with an occasional irreverent wink thrown in for good measure). That aside, you can also be assured that a night at Sweet Fanny Adams is done quite tastefully and is appropriate for all ages.
The first half of each show consists of an original musical comedy, and the theater presents two new shows each season, each playing on alternating nights. After intermission, guests get to take part in an old-fashioned sing-along (lyrics provided) and a vaudeville-style revue of music and comedy sketches. The general atmosphere is very much in the tradition of an old music hall from turn-of-the-century England or the American Old West. From the music to the costumes to the architecture of the theater itself, Sweet Fanny Adams definitely transports its audiences to a different place and time.
Part of the magic of Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre lies in the bond created between actor and audience. The theater barely seats 200 people, but that intimacy is what makes the show such an experience. At times, the performers address the audience directly during the musical comedy presentation, and during the sing-along, the crowd’s participation is outright expected. But you can be assured that it’s never threatening and is always a hoot.
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