Coachlight Musical Theatre

by Marty Burton

The Coachlight Musical Theatre has blossomed from boredom. Well, maybe not boredom, but a dream. No matter how it came about, it is one of the hippest, hottest places to find year-round live entertainment in Nashville.

In 2005 Doug May and his wife Vicki moved to Nashville hoping to retire. Little did they know they were about to become a little bored with retirement. They ended up buying two shops but still had an itch to do something else.

Doug came from years of working with Disney, putting on stage shows, writing, and directing for a cast of hundreds. He found he missed showbiz and saw a need for entertainment in his new home of Brown County.

Susan Christenberry and her husband Thomas likewise decided to retire in Nashville and run the family-owned shop. Coming from a musical background, the Christenberrys and the Mays accidentally ran into each other and before long a play was written, produced and put on stage for the Abe Martin 100 Year Celebration. After that experience turned out to be a success, they decided to put live entertainment on the menu of Nashville.

“It has been an amazing year for us,” Doug said. “My expectations are high but this has been a really good ride.”

From writing his first show for Brown County Live Entertainment, “The Higher The Hair-The Closer To Heaven”, to the newest productions planned for the year of 2006, May and Christenberry have taken their talent across the country. They have worked with many to provide bus tours, dinner theater specials, matinees, and even a “Gospel Brunch” on Sunday afternoons, which includes a lunch and an hour of some of the best hand-clapping, toe-tapping old-time religion music around.

“We have groups who want to come and see our old show, the one they have seen before,” Doug stated. “If they can get about 40 people, we will put it on for them. That’s why we are here. To give entertainment to the people, both local and from far away.”

According to Doug and Susan, they have just scratched the surface with what they are planning to do. They want more tourism in Brown County, more openings of the restaurants and shops and they are willing to work with anyone who is willing to add to the groups programs.

Weekend specials may include a night at one of the local motels, dinner, and a live theater show.

Whatever the need, the Coachlight Musical Theatre, home of Brown County Live Entertainment, is the place to check out.

The newest show, “Frankie, Annette, Elvis and Me”, will begin in April and run through November. A live musical filled with the great music and bad acting of the 1960s.

“This is an environmental musical—the Baby Boomers Class Reunion—and the audience will be involved,” May laughed.

“We will pick two couples to be the Kings and Queens of the Senior Dance, after we take them through the beach parties and the Blue Hawaii.”

Doug watched six Frankie and Annette movies and ten Elvis movies to get the feeling of the 1950s and 60s. It’s a night of memories, fun, songs, music, entertainment, and laughs. With 24 songs, 10 dance numbers, audience participation, and sing-a-longs, you couldn’t ask for anything better.

To find out more about Brown County Live Entertainment at the Coachlight Musical Theatre, located at 227 South Van Buren Street in the Coachlight Square, you can call (812) 988-2101 or (800) 304-8588. You can also check out the great web site at

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There is more to do in Nashville when the shops close. Enjoy live entertainment, schedule an evening of songs and memories, and sit back and relax. It will be something you will talk about for a very long time.