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Dolly Parton’s ‘Christmas Carol’ adaptation to premiere in Boston

Dolly Parton performs in concert in Nashville in 2015. She wrote the score for a Depression-era adaptation of Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” that get its world premiere at the Emerson Colonial Theatre in December.Wade Payne/Invision/AP/Invision/AP

In December, Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre will host the world premiere of “Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol,’’ a musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens tale that is set in Depression-era Tennessee.

Parton composed the score for the musical, though she will not perform in it. In a statement, the ebullient country singer-songwriter-legend and eight-time Grammy winner said: “I’ve been busy writing new songs that I hope will bring some of the warmth, love and good memories that I have of Christmastime in the Smoky Mountains of my youth.’’

Following the classic contours of the Dickens story, Scrooge learns the error of his misanthropic and miserly ways on Christmas Eve, thanks to a succession of overnight visits from his deceased business partner and three didactic ghosts. Producer Paul T. Couch told the Globe that such non-spectral characters as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim will also be on hand in “Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol,’’ which Couch said will feature a cast of 13 and a six-member band.

Couch, who is producing “Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol’’ along with Red Tail Entertainment, collaborated on the adaptation with David H. Bell, who wrote the book, and Curt Wollan, who will direct.


The former director and executive producer of entertainment at Dollywood, Parton’s theme park in Tennessee, Couch has partnered with her on other musical productions as well as a TV special for the Hallmark Channel.

“Much of what makes Dolly’s story significant, and what she has embraced in this show, is her powerful connection to the Smoky Mountains,’’ Couch said in an interview. “It’s where she was raised. She’ll tell you it’s part of her DNA.’’

Couch praised the Colonial, where “Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol’’ will run from Dec. 3-29, for its combination of spaciousness and intimacy, saying: “To have the opportunity to present the show in that magnificent venue: It’s everything you’d want a theater to be.’’


Asked whether the ultimate goal is to bring “Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol’’ to Broadway, Couch did not indicate there are specific plans, but said: “You could see New York on the horizon.’’ And other cities, as part of a tour? Through a spokesman, producers deflected that question, saying: “Our focus is Boston.’’

Don Aucoin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter@GlobeAucoin