CBT Stories

Every one of us has a story.

The Clarence Brown Theatre has had the pleasure of telling countless stories on our stages for 50 years, and now we want to hear from you! In honor of our 50th Anniversary, we are starting a program called CBT Stories, a collection of memories, experiences, and celebrations submitted by you our patrons, students, artists, and staff members all about the special place that the Clarence Brown Theatre holds in our lives.

Perhaps you have a story of a memorable first visit, a comedic tall tale that is stranger than fiction, or a reflection recounting a specific production that truly opened your awareness of the world. We will collect these stories and in the coming months present them as monologues performed by our student and faculty actors.

Here are the guidelines for story submissions:

  • It can be as long as it needs to be, but remember Polonius’s sage advice:
    “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
  • It should be a true story.
  • The story should be personal, involving an experience at the theatre that has profoundly
    moved you.
  • We will not censor any portion of the story for content, but you must keep in mind that it
    will be performed. Our team may also edit the material in order to fit within the chosen performance medium.

Each of these monologues will be shared on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as on this page. Scroll down to view each episode, and please check back over the next year to celebrate 50 years of creating meaningful stories, both on stage and off.

Send story submission emails to:  cbt_stories@utk.edu.


Episode 1  |  On the Edge of My Seat
Performed by Steve Sherman

A surprise first visit to the theatre with his father leaves a lasting impression on a future staff member.


Episode 2  |  Raise Your…Celery?
Performed by Brenda Orellana

Poor Silvia has to tell grown-ups everything in this patron’s charming story about her granddaughter’s first viewing of
A Christmas Carol.


Episode 3  |  Dancing with Zoe
Performed by Alan Toney

A former undergraduate reflects on his memorable experience working with the legendary Zoe Caldwell on Medea in 1982.


Episode 4  |  My Father, Head Cabinet Maker
Performed by Brittany Marie Pirozzoli

A patron recounts her father’s favorite stories from his time on stage with Anthony Quayle and working in the scene shop with Bob Cothran.


Episode 5  |  Welcome to the Sound Booth
Performed by Callie Bacon

Gotta love live theatre! Take a step into the sound booth in this story submitted by a patron and former student who took a scene-stealing turn as the sound board operator for our production of Oliver!


Episode 6  |  Discovering the Magic of Live Theatre
Performed by Collin Andrews

A long-time patron reflects on his experiences seeing Hamlet, first on screen starring Richard Burton and John Cullum in 1964 all the way to our most recent 2020 production.


Episode 7  |  Marley’s Entrance
Performed by Brady Craddock

An undergraduate recalls his first tour of the theatre and the ghostly Christmas Carol scenic element that he will never forget.


Episode 8  |  From The Headhunters to Equus
Performed by Danielle Carter

When Anthony Quayle became an artist-in-residence in 1974, it set this patron on a life-long journey of treasuring professional theatre from Knoxville to Broadway.


Episode 9  |  Levi’s Lessons
Performed by Crystal-Marie Alberson

A volunteer remembers the Million Dollar Quartet post-show actor talkback and Tony Award-winner Levi Kreis’ touching message of gratitude.


Episode 10  |  Shakespeare in the Flesh
Performed by Peter Mayer

Find out who really stole the show in The Merchant of Venice as this patron teaches us how theatre is a cross between church and a circus.


Episode 11  |  An Alarming Welcome
Performed by Ethan Graham Roeder

This staff member’s first day of work was slightly more eventful than expected. The theatre truly is a family, and one that only occasionally sets appliances on fire…


Episode 12  |  On My Bucket List
Performed by Shahd Abbas

A patron shares her family’s three-generation-long connection with the Clarence Brown Theatre, from her aunt’s classes with John Cullum to her son’s memorable roles in A Christmas Carol.


Episode 13  |  The Waiting List
Performed by Scott Serro

A patron services staff member tells us how putting their name on the waiting list at the box office years ago lead to the best job they’ve ever had.


Episode 14  |  It’s Never Too Late
Performed by Davion T. Brown

This patron’s story reminds us that the Clarence Brown is a great introduction to experiencing live
theatre and that it’s never too late to become a theatre enthusiast.


Episode 15  |  The Ghost of Christmas Future
Performed by Laura Beth Wells

Brush up on your bad Cockney accent and reminisce about our giant Ghost of Christmas Future puppet that struck yuletide fear in the hearts of our patrons, young and old.


Episode 16  |  Through the Eyes of Children
Performed by Emily Stiles

This patron’s story about seeing A Christmas Carol through the eyes of middle school students reminds us that theatre is a valuable educational resource for our community.


Episode 17  |  A Tale of Two Mitzis
Performed by Brady Moldrup

Ever wonder what exactly goes on backstage during a show? Just follow these rules: never eat or drink in costume, never miss an entrance cue, and never let your feathered co-star out of its cage!


Episode 18 | Doors, Sardines, & Noises Off!
Performed by Rachel Darden

Now do I take the sardines…or leave the sardines? Look back at the hijinks and hilarity of one of our favorite comedies: Noises Off!


Episode 19 | Another Op’nin’, Another Door
Performed by Jared Sanchez

This patron was lucky enough to receive a crash course in building theatrical scenery from former scene shop supervisor Marty Cooke during our production of Kiss Me, Kate.