Nettles Brings Holidays to the Symphony

Christmas time in Nashville is never complete without a Jennifer Nettles show. It’s been a long-held rule in this city that if we don’t attend the taping of the CMA Country Christmas show live, we have to watch it on TV. And we typically do both. In recent years she's also played Dolly Parton’s mother in two Christmas movies, the Dolly-produced Coat of Many Colors and Christmas of Many Colors.

Last year she started a new tradition, a festive performance with the Nashville Symphony downtown at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. It was an amazing show featuring accompaniment from our Grammy award winning orchestra. A CMA award winner herself, she is a preeminent entertainer, a soulful singer and incredible talent. On top of that, she has always been a friend and ally to the LGBT community. We wanted to take some time and talk about what her Christmas is going to look like this year.

We started off with the symphony show, coming up with two performances on December 5th and 6th at the Schermerhorn. She is taking the show on the road, with dates in places like Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta.

It was a show that I did for the first time last year. I did just a smattering of shows last year just to sort of get my feet wet, and I had such a fantastic experience that afterwards I looked at my manager and my agent and said, "Let's plan more of these for next year."

So I have a whole tour now, a whole holiday tour coming up. I'll be back in Nashville for two nights with the symphony, which is a wonderful experience. The symphony hall there is gorgeous and, like I said the last time that I was there, it's just a beautiful night because it's holiday music. That's always this specific kind of treat that we get to look forward to once a year. So the temperature of the show is one that feels like a special occasion, it feels like an event. And it gives people a chance to dress up and go out for the holidays


Then she talked about her appearance at the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center in New York City.

We just announced I'm gonna be doing the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York. What I love about that show too is ... Number one, as we grow up that's one of the holiday traditions that we all watch. There's the lighting of the Christmas tree, there's the parade, there's all these specific entertainments ... The ball drops. There's all these specific entertainment events that become these traditions that we get to watch during the holiday season and the lighting of the tree is one that is specifically a memory of mine. It's just so spectacular, so romantic.  It's such an iconic holiday moment and they celebrate it with all different kinds of artists from all different genres. So that's also exciting for me to get to be a part of a diverse group.


She then talked about this being her first year away from hosting the CMA Country Christmas TV special, as well as the things we see her at during the Christmas season.

I had the pleasure for the last seven years to do the CMA Country Christmas. That became such a signature event for me and getting to do that for so long was fantastic. This year they're doing it with Reba, which I think is a perfect next step for them. Obviously, she's such a wonderful hostess, I think she will take the show into a beautiful direction. I had a couple of holiday TV movies when I did the Dolly Parton stuff. It's been one after the other in the holiday world, which is fantastic with me. I love Christmas and I love getting to celebrate.


We then discussed her past Broadway appearance in Chicago: The Musical where she played the iconic roll of Roxie Hart. She told us about how she is working to become a lead in a new work.

Its been interesting, since I've done Broadway I have had the great fortune of continuing to feed and water those relationships. They are longstanding relationships and it is a beautiful community. But what I'm ready to do now is a new production, an originating role. I've had some beautiful opportunities and beautiful offers even to go in as a replacement on some shows that I truly love, but I do think the next step for me will be to hopefully take on an originating role.

That's the goal that I've been working toward in the relationships that I've been lucky enough to be able to build and some projects that I've gotten started on at an early part of their growth cycle. But these growth cycles are years in the making. So hopefully within the next year and a half to two years you'll get to see my name there on The Great White Way again if the projects that I'm looking at right now turn out in the timeframe that I'm thinking they're going to.

And then in the music world which is, of course, my first love that brought me to the stage. In general, I'm doing more writing. Hopefully, gonna be doing some touring in the summer. Coming up this summer extensively. We'll see... we'll see what else happens.



The Dolly Parton movies are a new tradition. She told us about the possibility of future projects there.

The latest one that we did, Christmas of Many Colors was nominated for an Emmy. So, when we were there ... of course, we were all there to celebrate, and to cross our fingers that night, and to be a part of that beautiful, beautiful evening to celebrate such fantastic work throughout the industry. Of course Dolly was there, and the producers, and the director. Everyone was there, and there are of course conversations.

Even that evening they were like, "Oh, we've got something coming. We've got some things in the works. We want to make something else work." So who knows what the timing of that will be, too. and who knows how that will work out. In this industry it's a lot of hard work and it's a lot of talent. And then, there are also a ton of logistics that go into making something happen. So from an artistic perspective I love those projects and would love to get to be a part of any of them, for sure.


Nettles then shared a bit about what her family Christmas will include.

Well, the fun part is this year really ... my son, Magnus, he turns five in early December.

He's such a big, beautiful boy. He is just the sweetest, sweetest child. But, at five he is really now ... Just for him starting to understand some of that magic. Like, he knows who Santa Claus is, he understands the idea. So, I think it's gonna be the most magical one yet for our family just because he is so into the magic now and he understands it enough. He understands it definitely at a different level than he did even last year.


As far as her gay friends go, she’s ready for some great Christmas brunches while she’s in town.

They at this point are ... family and I know that they will be around because we're gonna be in Nashville. So I know that they will be around the table for the holidays with us, just like we love to do. In my Broadway world and in the city where I spend a good bit of my time now. Yes, it is fun and brunches abound with my gays for sure.






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