In Tennessee? You Must Visit Sweet Fanny Adams
Tucked in a cozy little theater amid air gun vendors, purveyors of outrageous handbags, and souvenir shops is a troupe of extraordinarily talented performers giving a show at eight o’clock every evening. The place the Parkway, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the venue is the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre which presents two new productions each year, offering them on alternating evenings.
Those unfamiliar with Gatlinburg should know that there are those who refer (in a good way) to the Parkway section as Funkytown. It’s a people-watcher’s paradise lined with restaurants and a variety of stores catering to tourists, ranging from kind-of-upscale to downright tacky. My family favors the downright tacky. In addition to shops stocked with stuff that absolutely no one needs yet everyone buys are what seem to be dozens of fudge sellers, old-timey picture takers, and temporary tattoo artists (they’re not artists temporarily—we guess. The tattoos are temporary).
Unlike its neighbor, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg does not host a pantheon of dinner theaters offering comedy and musical reviews, many centered on hillbillies. Along the parkway, the only live theater is Sweet Fanny Adams, billed as “Gatlinburg´s ONLY Musical Comedy Entertainment Attraction and the OLDEST Purveyor of Professional, Live-On-Stage, Original Musical Comedies, outrageous humor and hilarious fun in the Smokies.” As introduced on the theater’s website, “The unique format used at [the] theater hearkens back to the old Music Halls of the 1890s…multi-talented performers take turns adding their uniqueness to the inevitable comic mayhem for which Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre is renowned.”
Having visited Gatlinburg as frequently as possible over the last five years, we’ve always talked about attending a performance at the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, but never seemed to have the time. Admittedly, I was somewhat reluctant because I’ve seen too many substandard productions in various tourist meccas, and I feared this would be another disappointment. Finally we decided to stop talking about going and actually go Saturday night. We knew the show would be corny, but that’s okay—corn is good (at least, we think so).Continued on the next page