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10/29/2015

NASHVILLE, TN (October 27, 2015) -- Ranked as the #1 “Thing To Do” in Nashville by Trip Advisor, Ryman Auditorium is the ultimate destination for music lovers both by day and night. Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), owner of the Ryman, Nashville’s iconic National Historic Landmark and world-renowned performance venue, unveiled its $14 million Ryman Auditorium expansion and renovation last summer. The significant improvements enhance the experience for both daytime museum visitors and nighttime concert attendees while also continuing to celebrate and preserve the rich history of the beloved building.

RYMAN BY DAY

At the heart of the expansion is the new daytime tour attraction, which begins with a state-of-the-art theater experience titled “Soul of Nashville” as well as five new exhibits. 

“To say there is no other place like the Ryman is an understatement,” says Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium general manager. “The story of this building is so powerful and emotional— we needed an extraordinary way to take visitors on our nearly 125-year journey. The ‘Soul of Nashville’ and our new exhibits do that job beautifully.”

Soul of Nashville Tour Experience

“Soul of Nashville” kicks off the reimagined Ryman daytime tour experience in an innovative, one-of-a-kind 100-seat theater custom built for the show. Created by BRC Imagination Arts of California, “Soul of Nashville” utilizes cutting edge technology to surround the audience with moving images on multiple projector planes and sound that engulfs the senses and puts them in the center of the show. Through special effects, archival images and footage, performers from the Ryman’s past become multidimensional right before the viewer’s eyes. The show dives into the Ryman’s fascinating history as more than a century of legendary performances come to life on all sides of the room.  The dramatic story of the building’s near demolition and rebirth climaxes with a new collaboration featuring Darius Rucker, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. By design, this experience makes an emotional connection with the audience who will then exit the theater and begin the rest of their tour experience.

 “Soul of Nashville” is hosted by a virtual Lula C. Naff, the Ryman’s longtime promoter and manager (1904-1955). A remarkable woman not widely known today, Naff’s business and booking savvy garnered prestige for both Ryman Auditorium and the city of Nashville as a performance arts center for the region. Hailed as the “first lady” of theater management, she brought the greatest performers and Broadway plays of the day to the Ryman including: Bob Hope, Charlie Chaplin, Enrico Caruso, Harry Houdini, Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Ziegfeld Follies, “Guys and Dolls,” “Oklahoma!” and many more. Naff also ushered the Grand Ole Opry into the Ryman in 1943, where the show resided until 1974. Under her leadership, the Ryman became a showplace for great diversity, a tradition that continues today. She was also a trailblazer for working women, branching out on her own before women even had the right to vote.

Watch a “Soul of Nashville” teaser here.

Visitors can enjoy five all-new exhibits inside the famed auditorium: “Workin’ on a Building,” “Showplace of the South,” “Mother Church of Country Music,” “Ryman Stage to Screen” and “Ryman Renaissance.”  Guests will see genuine artifacts and enjoy videos with hosts Charles Esten, Marty Stuart, Nicole Kidman, Ricky Skaggs, Robin Roberts and Trisha Yearwood taking them through each chapter of the Ryman’s illustrious history.

 

New Exhibits

“Workin’ on a Building”

Video host Trisha Yearwood tells of the famed meeting between Thomas Green Ryman and Samuel Porter Jones, and the inspiration that led to the construction of one of the nation’s grandest tabernacles. On display are artifacts documenting Ryman’s life, construction of the building and events that took place during the early years of the Union Gospel Tabernacle.

“Showplace of the South”

Most know of the Grand Ole Opry’s time in the Ryman, but some may not be aware of the performances that graced the stage long before the radio show arrived. Video host Nicole Kidman shares the fascinating story of the Ryman’s transition from a revival hall into a premier performing arts venue. At the forefront was longtime manager Lula C. Naff.

“Mother Church of Country Music”

The Ryman acquired a new identity when a soon-to-be world-famous radio program found itself in search of a new home. The Ryman’s new tenant brought a whole new fan base into the pews when they began broadcasting their clear-channel signal coast to coast from the stage of the old “Mother Church.” Hear firsthand accounts from Opry members Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs as they host the exhibit video, enjoy rare performance footage and see stage costumes and instruments on display.

“Ryman Stage to Screen”

Many remember hearing the sounds of the Opry resonating over the airwaves but do not realize how many times the Ryman has appeared on the big screen. Visitors will see clips from the concert tapings, television episodes and major motion pictures that have used the Ryman as their setting during a video hosted by Charles Esten. From “Coal Miner’s Daughter” to television’s “Nashville,” “Honkytonk Man” to “American Idol,” the Ryman has served as an important backdrop for many filmmaking projects over the years.

“Ryman Renaissance”

The last stop on the tour is an exhibit dedicated to the ongoing legacy of the Ryman. Video host Robin Roberts shares recent Ryman history and relates the importance of its continued tradition. Today, the Ryman hosts 200-250 events annually, and, just like the generations of the past, people sit in the same wooden pews to see the greats of their day perform and breathe new life into the room.

Retail

As part of the renovation, the Ryman has doubled the size of its gift shop. The new store offers exclusive Ryman-branded items as well as an activity station where visitors can make their own custom t-shirts and posters and listen to music before they purchase. Users also have the opportunity to shop the Ryman e-commerce site at the activity station. The gift shop is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Daytime Tour Hours & Pricing

The Ryman is open for tours seven days a week (closing only for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Self-guided tours (including “Soul of Nashville”) are $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 4-11. Backstage tours (including “Soul of Nashville”) are $27.50 for adults and $22.50 for children ages 4-11. Tickets can be purchased online at http://ryman.com/tours, at the Ryman box office or by calling 615-889-3060. Group rates are available for parties of 15 or more; please contact group sales 615-871-5043.

Cafe Lula

In another nod to Lula Naff, a restaurant has been added bearing her name, Cafe Lula. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three sides and a covered patio, the cafe, located just outside the Ryman’s main entrance, caters to daytime tour visitors, nighttime concert-goers, downtown office workers and residents alike.

Cafe Lula is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with extended hours during Ryman evening events. Serving Springer Mountain Farms chicken, the menu features fresh, healthy fare with an emphasis on rotisserie cooking and locally-sourced ingredients available for both dine-in and grab-and-go service.

RYMAN BY NIGHT

In addition to the enhanced daytime tour experience, the $14 million renovation also features several improvements that significally benefit nighttime concert-goers. These upgrades include enhanced food and beverage services throughout the building, an expanded box office, additional restroom facilities and larger lobbies.

Hosting over 200 events and concerts a year, the Ryman was named the Pollstar’s 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Theatre of the Year, an award voted on by peers and widely regarded as the most prestigious in the concert industry. The venue is currently ranked twelfth in the world and sixth domestically based on year-to-date tickets sales in the Pollstar Theatre category. Other awards include Venue of the Year nods from both the Academy of Country Music, the International Entertainment Buyers Association and SRO Venue of the Year presented by CMA. Concert highlights for 2015 include The Beach Boys, Dave  Chappelle, Damien Rice, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Hozier, Kacey Musgraves, Kraftwerk, Ryan Adams, Twenty One Pilots and Willie Nelson.

What brings performers to the Ryman Auditorium today is what attracted so many great entertainers throughout its history. The beauty of a well-seasoned performance hall, like that of a fine vintage instrument, cannot be reproduced. The Ryman’s acoustics, built to project the voice of Sam Jones so long ago, are among the finest in the world. Today, the Ryman remains true to its diverse entertainment legacy, hosting concerts of all genres by a new generation of entertainers for a new generation of audiences.

“Sweetest sounding room of all time”—Beck

 “The greatest theatre in the world!”—Coldplay

 “There’s no place I’d rather play.”—Keith Urban

 “My favorite place!”—Kris Kristofferson

 “If country music had a Vatican, it would be the Ryman.”—Marty Stuart

“The best bloody place for a musician to play in the whole world!”—Roger Daltrey

“I feel at home on this stage.”—Sheryl Crow

“You changed my life when I stepped on your stage for the first time!”—Taylor Swift

 “The most amazing place I’ve ever sung in…”—Vince Gill

 

Ryman Concert Calendar & Ticket Information

Upcoming concerts: Chris Cornell October 27, Steve Miller Band October 28, Sturgill Simpson October 30 – November 1, Sufjan Stevens November 11, Straight No Chaser November 12, Jonathan Cain from Journey, Tim Nichols, The Warren Brothers (Benefit for Hats off to High Hopes) November 15, Joe Bonamassa November 16 & 18, Lee Camp & Friends (Tokens Show) November 22, The Marshall Tucker Band (Christmas for Kids Benefit) November 23, Brian Setzer Orchestra December 6, Andrew Peterson December 13 & 14, The Arcs December 20, A JOHNNYSWIM Christmas December 21, Dancing With the Stars December 28, Dave Rawlings Machine December 29, Old Crow Medicine Show December 30 & 31, Peppa Pig February 5, Jenny Lewis February 6, Beth Hart February 12, Gary Clark , Jr. February 26, Tommy Emmanuel February 27, 2Cellos February 28, Il Volo March 1, Leon Bridges March 2, George Thorogood February 7, John Prine March 11 & 12, The Piano Guys March 15, Vance Joy March 18, The Moody Blues March 20 and Chick Corea & Bela Fleck April 17.

 

Additional programming includes Opry Country Classics each Thursday in October, Opry at the Ryman Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays November 2 through the end of the year and on Fridays and Saturdays January 2 through January 30, 2016. “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” November 8, January 10, February 14, March 6, April 10 and May 1.  Amy Grant & Vince Gill: Christmas at the Ryman December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22 and 23.

 

Tickets for Ryman shows are available via ryman.com, Ticketmaster outets, ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

10/29/2015

NASHVILLE, TN (October 23, 2015) -- Ryman Auditorium, Jason Isbell and TourGigs are bringing Isbell fans the chance to experience his upcoming sold-out shows no matter where they live. The live stream, chances to win upcoming Isbell concert tickets and opportunities to participate in a Q&A will give fans an inside look into this weekend’s four sold-out shows at the Mother Church.

WATCH

Fans that were unable to obtain tickets will be able to enjoy the concert on their phone, tablet or TV thanks to live streaming on tourgigs.com. The HD multi-cam live stream, directed by acclaimed rock ‘n’ roll photographer Danny Clinch, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT on Sunday with Hurray for the Riff Raff, followed by Isbell at 9:15 p.m. Monday’s stream begins at 9:15 p.m. with Isbell.   Purchase includes a looping twenty-four hour replay. Access to the live stream and replays can be purchased for $12.99 per night or $19.99 for both nights on tourgigs.com

WIN

In addition to watching the exclusive live stream, fans can enter to win a trip to see Isbell live on his upcoming Fall/Winter Tour, two grand prize winners will each win a pair of tickets to see Isbell at a date of their choice as well as one hotel room for two people in the city of the chosen concert. Ten 2nd prize winners will win one official concert poster signed by Isbell.

ASK

Whether watching this weekend’s shows from the pews or through streaming, fans can participate in a special Q&A with Isbell. Using the hashtag #askjason questions can be submitted via Twitter.  Isbell will respond to fans directly via videos over the course of the weekend through the Ryman’s Twitter @theryman

“Rockin’ in Nashville” Episode to Air Tonight
8/28/2015

NASHVILLE, TN (August 24, 2015) – Tune in tonight for the Travel Channel’s newest show “36 Hours” featuring Ryman Auditorium and Holly Williams’s White’s Mercantile.   Inspired by the popular New York Times travel column, the new show lets the viewer experience a city like a local.  Featuring hosts Kristen Kish, an acclaimed chef, and Kyle Martino, a former pro athlete, the duo hit Music City with singer-songwriter Holly Williams to explore the iconic Ryman Auditorium and Williams’s own White’s Mercantile.

The “Rockin’ in Nashville” episode will air tonight, Monday, August 24 at 7:00 p.m. central on the Travel Channel.  (Direct TV ch. 277, Comcast ch. 188, AT&T ch. 254, Dish ch. 196.) Repeats will air Tuesday, August 25 at 2:00 p.m. central and Wednesday, September 16 at 1:00 p.m. central.

Williams takes “36 Hours” on a tour of the Mother Church of Country Music where her grandfather Hank made his Opry debut in 1949.  Walking around the Ryman’s upper balcony, the trio discusses her family connection to the historic building, the reverence Williams has for it and the variety of shows she’s seen as a fan at the venue. To the delight of daytime tour guests, Holly takes center stage and performs a song she wrote for her maternal grandparents, “Waiting on June,” along with her husband, Chris Coleman.

Williams’ shop White’s Mercantile, a general store for the modern day tastemaker, is also featured in the episode.  The hosts browse the eclectic inventory, while Holly tells them how she get the idea for the store and where she finds her unique merchandise.

The New York Times originally covered Nashville in their 36 Hours column last September in a video that can be seen on their website: http://www.nytimes.com/video/travel/100000003018870/36-hours-in-nashville.html

Steven Curtis Chapman to host popular revival series at the Mother Church.
8/28/2015

NASHVILLE, TN (August 25, 2015) – This fall, multi-platinum selling recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman will host the return of “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium.  Chapman hosted the series last year to sell-out crowds and rave reviews.  The six-month run will start November 8 and continue for one Sunday each month January – May 2015 (dates below.)  “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” invites artists from all genres of music to share songs with an uplifting spiritual message and pay homage to the Ryman’s tabernacle roots. Artists featured in the 2014-2015 season of “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” included Amy Grant, Bear and Bo Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE, Charles Esten of ABC-TV’s “Nashville,” Colony House, Danny Gokey, Deana Carter, Fairfield Four, Francesca Battistelli, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum, Jason Crabb, Josh Turner, Kristian Bush of Sugarland, McCrary Sisters, MercyMe, Michael W. Smith, Point of Grace, Tenth Avenue North, The Isaacs, Third Day and more.

Tickets for individual shows will be $39.50, $34.50 and $27.50. Season passes are also available for $198.00 and $173.00.  Tickets go on sale August 28 at the Ryman box office, ryman.com or by calling (615) 889-3060. Group rates are also available for groups of 15 or more by calling (615) 871-5043. A portion of each ticket sale will be donated to Chapman’s charity Show Hope. 

Portions of “Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” will be compiled for a one-hour broadcast on the national K-LOVE radio network each month.  K-LOVE is the largest radio network in the Christian radio format with more than 446 stations in forty-seven states reaching eighteen million listeners.  K-LOVE can be heard locally in Nashville on 97.1 FM.

“Sam’s Place – Music for the Spirit” takes its name from charismatic evangelist Samuel Porter Jones (1847-1906), who gained fame in the region for his energetic sermons filled of fire and brimstone during the mid-1800s.  On May 10, 1885, he led a tent revival in downtown Nashville for more than 5,000 which was attended by riverboat captain Thomas Green Ryman (1841-1904.) Ryman experienced a conversion that night and, inspired by the multitude unable to find room under the tent, made it his mission to construct a great tabernacle “for all denominations” to join in worship. Seven years later, the Union Gospel Tabernacle opened its doors in 1892.  It was Jones, while delivering Ryman’s eulogy at the Tabernacle on Christmas Day in 1904, who proposed the building’s name be changed to Ryman Auditorium to thunderous agreement.

Host Chapman is the most awarded artist in Christmas music with fifty-eight Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, five Grammy® Awards, forty-eight #1 singles and eleven million albums sold. As part of the Christian music scene since the 1980s, he has eight RIAA-certified gold or platinum albums to his credit.  A vocal supporter of adoption, Chapman, along with his wife Mary Beth, founded Show Hope in 2003, a nonprofit organization is a movement to help care for the millions of orphans around the world, helping to provide waiting orphans with forever homes by giving financial grants to adoptive families.  Show Hope is now an internationally recognized voice for orphan advocacy and has given more than 5,000 orphans in 50+ countries, including the U.S.   In addition, more than 1,500 orphans with special needs have received critically needed medical care through Show Hope’s Special Care Centers, giving them a hope for a family and a future.  Through numerous other programs, Show Hope empowers families, churches and communities with adoption and orphan care resources and advocacy efforts to change the world for orphans. For more information, please visit showhope.org

Show dates:  November 8, January 10, February 14, March 6, April 10 and May 1.

Free Tour Admission for Visitors with a Tennessee State ID.
6/19/2015

June 19, 2015 (NASHVILLE, TN) – On Sunday, June 28 Tennessee residents are invited to experience the all new Ryman Auditorium daytime tour experience free of charge as part of a Community Appreciation Day sponsored by Ryman partners Nissan and SunTrust Bank. Complimentary self-guided tours will be available from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on June 28 with presentation of a valid Tennessee state ID at the Ryman box office. No reservations are necessary.  

The Ryman’s self-guided tour includes admission to new state-of-the-art theater experience,   “Soul of Nashville.” The show puts the audience at the center of the Ryman’s fascinating history as more than a century of legendary performances come to life on all sides of the room.  The dramatic story of the building’s near demolition and rebirth climaxes with a new collaboration featuring Darius Rucker, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. Once “Soul of Nashville” has provided an introduction to the Ryman story, visitors will enjoy five new exhibits: “Workin’ on a Building,” “Showplace of the South,” “Mother Church of Country Music,” “Ryman Stage to Screen” and “Ryman Renaissance.”  Guests will see genuine artifacts and enjoy videos with hosts Charles Esten, Marty Stuart, Nicole Kidman, Ricky Skaggs, Robin Roberts and Trisha Yearwood taking them through each chapter of the Ryman’s illustrious history.

In addition to sponsoring the complimentary tours for Tennessee residents, Nissan and Suntrust Bank have partnered to provide free live music on the expanded Ryman plaza outside new restaurant, Cafe Lula. Nissan cars including a GT-R similar to the one featured in the smash hit movie franchise “Fast and the Furious” will be on display as well as a Suntrust mobile bank on wheels.  Additionally, Nissan drivers who show a key or SunTrust clients who show a SunTrust-branded ATM or credit card at the Ryman gift shop will receive 10% off on their purchase. (Discount offer excludes media items.) The Ryman gift shop is open daily until 7:00 p.m. Everyone who attends will also receive a special giveaway item and the chance to win other prizes.

“The community takes great pride in the Ryman,” said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium General Manager.  “We’re grateful to Nissan and SunTrust for providing Tennesseans the opportunity to experience the Soul Nashville and our other new exhibits.”

Tours start at 9:00 a.m. but visitors are encouraged to come early and enjoy the breakfast menu at Cafe Lula.  Offerings include Yogurt Parfaits ($5) and The Donut “Whole” (slice $2.50, whole $25.) Cafe Lula, located on the Ryman plaza, is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.


About Ryman Auditorium  A National Historic Landmark, Ryman Auditorium was built as a tabernacle by Captain Thomas G. Ryman in 1892, served as the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943-74, and was completely renovated in 1994. The Ryman is open for tours during the day and at night offers a wide variety of entertainment performances, just has it has for over 120 years. The venue was voted the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 Pollstar Theatre of the Year. Ryman Auditorium is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), a Nashville-based REIT that also owns and operates the Grand Ole Opry, and 650 AM WSM. For more information, visit ryman.com

About Nissan Motor Co. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Japan's second-largest automotive company, is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, and is part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Operating with more than 247,500 employees globally, Nissan sold 5.32 million vehicles and generated revenue of 11.38 trillion yen (USD 103.6 billion) in fiscal year 2014. Nissan delivers a comprehensive range of more than 60 models under the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. Nissan leads the world in zero-emission mobility, dominated by sales of the LEAF, the first mass-market, pure-electric vehicle. It is the best-selling EV in history with almost 50% share of the zero-emission vehicle segment.

About SunTrust Banks, Inc.,  Headquartered in Atlanta, is one of the nation’s largest banking organizations, serving a broad range of consumer, commercial, corporate and institutional clients.   As of June 30, 2013, SunTrust had total assets of $171.5 billion and total deposits of $127.6 billion.  Through its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, the Company operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states and a full array of technology-based, 24-hour delivery channels.  The Company also serves clients in selected markets nationally.  Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services.  Through its various subsidiaries, the Company provides mortgage banking, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services. SunTrust's Internet address is suntrust.com.


About “Soul of Nashville”

“Soul of Nashville” utilizes cutting edge technology to surround the audience with moving images on multiple projector planes and sound that engulfs the senses and puts them in the center of the show. Through special effects, archival images and footage, performers from the Ryman's past become multidimensional right before the viewer’s eyes.

The show culminates in a finale that delivers a montage of photos, posters and video footage from the Ryman's contemporary history since reopening 20 years ago. Seamlessly, the energy captured in those performances transitions into a new arrangement of the traditional song, "Workin' on a Building," featuring a magnificent performance by the acclaimed Fisk Jubilee singers, who have a history with the Ryman dating back to 1892, and soloists Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. The choir and stars appear larger-than-life on the screens as if performing a concert right in the room. By design, this experience makes an emotional connection with the audience who will then exit the theater and begin the rest of their tour experience.

About New Exhibits

“Workin’ on a Building”
Video host Trisha Yearwood tells of the famed meeting between Thomas Green Ryman and Samuel Porter Jones, and the inspiration that led to the construction of one of the nation’s grandest tabernacles. On display are artifacts documenting Ryman’s life, construction of the building and events that took place during the early years of the Union Gospel Tabernacle.

“Showplace of the South”
Most know of the Grand Ole Opry’s time in the Ryman, but some may not be aware of the performances that graced the stage long before the radio show arrived. Video host Nicole Kidman shares the fascinating story of the Ryman’s transition from a revival hall into a premier performing arts venue. At the forefront was longtime manager Lula C. Naff.

“Mother Church of Country Music”
The Ryman acquired a new identity when a soon-to-be world-famous radio program found itself in search of a new home. The Ryman’s new tenant brought a whole new fan base into the pews when they began broadcasting their clear-channel signal coast to coast from the stage of the old “Mother Church.” Hear firsthand accounts from Opry members Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs as they host the exhibit video, enjoy rare performance footage and see stage costumes and instruments on display.

“Ryman Stage to Screen”
Many remember hearing the sounds of the Opry resonating over the airwaves but do not realize how many times the Ryman has appeared on the big screen. Visitors will see clips from the concert tapings, television episodes and major motion pictures that have used the Ryman as their setting during a video hosted by Charles Esten. From “Coal Miner’s Daughter” to television’s “Nashville,” “Honkytonk Man” to “American Idol,” the Ryman has served as an important backdrop for many filmmaking projects over the years.

“Ryman Renaissance”
The last stop on the tour is an exhibit dedicated to the ongoing legacy of the Ryman. Video host Robin Roberts shares recent Ryman history and relates the importance of its continued tradition. Today, the Ryman hosts 200-250 events annually, and, just like the generations of the past, people sit in the same wooden pews to see the greats of their day perform and breathe new life into the room.

State-Of-The-Art Tour Experience at the Heart of $14 Million Auditorium Expansion
6/08/2015

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), owner of Ryman Auditorium, Nashville’s iconic National Historic Landmark and world-renowned performance venue, today will unveil its $14 million Ryman Auditorium expansion and daytime tour attraction, which begins with a state-of-the-art theater experience titled “Soul of Nashville.” Visitors will be immersed in the Ryman’s fascinating history as the room brings to life more than a century of legendary performances and a new collaboration featuring Darius Rucker, The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. Once “Soul of Nashville” has provided an introduction to the Ryman story, visitors will enjoy five new exhibits: “Workin’ on a Building,” “Showplace of the South,” “Mother Church of Country Music,” “Ryman Stage to Screen” and “Ryman Renaissance.”  Guests will see genuine artifacts and enjoy videos with hosts Charles Esten, Marty Stuart, Nicole Kidman, Ricky Skaggs, Robin Roberts and Trisha Yearwood taking them through each chapter of the Ryman’s illustrious history.

“When you see the Ryman's past come to life in such an innovative way, it's hard to imagine that this building was nearly lost to history just 20 years ago,” said Colin Reed chairman and chief executive officer of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.  “As more and more people from all corners of the world discover what Nashville has to offer, we now have a fully-immersive way to share with them just how important the Ryman is to Nashville, our artist community and to the people who visit this great city. The continued investments our company has made in the Ryman Auditorium are a testament to the fact that this building should and will live on forever as the most important Nashville icon.”

“To say there is no other place like the Ryman is an understatement,” said Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium general manager. “The story of this building is so powerful and emotional— we needed an extraordinary way to take visitors on our nearly 125-year journey. The “Soul of Nashville” and our new exhibits do that job beautifully.”

“The Ryman Auditorium is one of the great music venues in the world and is synonymous with Nashville's brand as Music City,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “This expansion is a testament to the strength of our music industry and our cultural significance. Thank you to Colin and Ryman Hospitality Properties for your leadership and confidence in our city."

The original 1892 auditorium remained untouched during the renovation. Nashville- based firms Hastings Architecture Associates and R.C. Mathews Contractor headed up the $14 million project.

Soul of Nashville Tour Experience

 “Soul of Nashville” will kick off the reimagined Ryman daytime tour experience in a new 100-seat theater custom built for the show. Created by BRC Imagination Arts of California, “Soul of Nashville” utilizes cutting edge technology to surround the audience with moving images on multiple projector planes and sound that engulfs the senses and puts them in the center of the show. Through special effects, archival images and footage, performers from the Ryman's past become multidimensional right before the viewer’s eyes.

“The opportunity to put guests inside the history of the Ryman has been one of the most satisfying experiences in our 33 year history,” said Brad Shelton, creative director of BRC Imagination Arts. “We’re immensely proud to be a part of it.”

The show culminates in a finale that delivers a montage of photos, posters and video footage from the Ryman's contemporary history since reopening 20 years ago. Seamlessly, the energy captured in those performances transitions into a new arrangement of the traditional song, "Workin' on a Building," featuring a magnificent performance by the acclaimed Fisk Jubilee singers, who have a history with the Ryman dating back to 1892, and soloists Darius Rucker, Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. The choir and stars appear larger-than-life on the screens as if performing a concert right in the room. By design, this experience makes an emotional connection with the audience who will then exit the theater and begin the rest of their tour experience.

“Soul of Nashville” Host Lula C. Naff
“Soul of Nashville” is hosted by a virtual Lula C. Naff, the Ryman’s longtime promoter and manager (1904-1955.) A remarkable woman not widely known today, Naff’s business and booking savvy garnered prestige for both Ryman Auditorium and the city of Nashville as a performance arts center for the region. Known as the “first lady” of theater management, she brought the greatest performers and Broadway plays of the day to the Ryman including: Bob Hope, Charlie Chaplin, Enrico Caruso, Harry Houdini, Katharine Hepburn, Mae West, Ziegfeld Follies, “Guys and Dolls,” “Oklahoma!” and many more. Naff also ushered the Grand Ole Opry into the Ryman in 1943, where the show resided until 1974. Under her leadership, the Ryman became a showplace for great diversity, a tradition that continues today. She was also a trailblazer for working women, branching out on her own before women even had the right to vote.

New Exhibits

“Workin’ on a Building”

Video host Trisha Yearwood tells of the famed meeting between Thomas Green Ryman and Samuel Porter Jones, and the inspiration that led to the construction of one of the nation’s grandest tabernacles. On display are artifacts documenting Ryman’s life, construction of the building and events that took place during the early years of the Union Gospel Tabernacle.

“Showplace of the South”

Most know of the Grand Ole Opry’s time in the Ryman, but some may not be aware of the performances that graced the stage long before the radio show arrived. Video host Nicole Kidman shares the fascinating story of the Ryman’s transition from a revival hall into a premier performing arts venue. At the forefront was longtime manager Lula C. Naff.

“Mother Church of Country Music”

The Ryman acquired a new identity when a soon-to-be world-famous radio program found itself in search of a new home. The Ryman’s new tenant brought a whole new fan base into the pews when they began broadcasting their clear-channel signal coast to coast from the stage of the old “Mother Church.” Hear firsthand accounts from Opry members Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs as they host the exhibit video, enjoy rare performance footage and see stage costumes and instruments on display.

“Ryman Stage to Screen”
Many remember hearing the sounds of the Opry resonating over the airwaves but do not realize how many times the Ryman has appeared on the big screen. Visitors will see clips from the concert tapings, television episodes and major motion pictures that have used the Ryman as their setting during a video hosted by Charles Esten. From “Coal Miner’s Daughter” to television’s “Nashville,” “Honkytonk Man” to “American Idol,” the Ryman has served as an important backdrop for many filmmaking projects over the years.

“Ryman Renaissance”

The last stop on the tour is an exhibit dedicated to the ongoing legacy of the Ryman. Video host Robin Roberts shares recent Ryman history and relates the importance of its continued tradition. Today, the Ryman hosts 200-250 events annually, and, just like the generations of the past, people sit in the same wooden pews to see the greats of their day perform and breathe new life into the room.

Cafe Lula
In another nod to Lula Naff, a new restaurant has been added bearing her name, Cafe Lula. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows on three sides and a covered patio, the cafe, located just outside the Ryman’s main entrance, will cater to tour visitors, concert-goers, downtown office workers and residents alike.

Cafe Lula is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with extended hours during Ryman events. Serving Springer Mountain Farms chicken, the menu features fresh, healthy fare with an emphasis on rotisserie cooking and locally-sourced ingredients available for both dine-in and grab-and-go service. The cafe also includes an espresso bar featuring locally roasted and specially blended coffees, which transforms into a full service bar each afternoon.  

Retail 

As part of the renovation, the Ryman has doubled the size of its gift shop. The new store offers exclusive Ryman-branded items as well as an activity station where visitors can make their own custom t-shirts and posters and listen to music before they purchase. Users also have the opportunity to shop the Ryman e-commerce site at the activity station.

Daytime Tour Hours & Pricing

The Ryman is open for tours seven days a week (closing only for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Self-guided tours (including “Soul of Nashville”) are $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 4-11. Backstage tours (including “Soul of Nashville”) are $27.50 for adults and $22.50 for children ages 4-11. Tickets can be purchased online at http://ryman.com/tours, at the Ryman box office or by calling 615-889-3060. Group rates are available for parties of 15 or more; please contact group sales 615-871-5043.