Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Annie Potts and Richard Thomas star in ‘The Music Teacher’ A Hallmark Channel Original Movie World Premiere on August 11

Emmy(R) and Golden Globe(R) Award nominee Annie Potts(“GCB,” “Designing Women”) and Emmy(R) Award winner Richard Thomas(“The Waltons”) star in Hallmark Channel’s first movie musical, “The Music Teacher,” a Hallmark Channel Original Movie World Premiere, Saturday, August 11 (9pm ET/PT, 8C) featuring original songs and lyrics composed by Alan Ett. Potts plays a high school music teacher on the brink of losing her beloved afterschool program who learns the lasting bonds she’s made with her students has not only touched their lives, but forever changed hers. The film also stars Kerry James (“Heartland”), Emilie Ullerup (“Arctic Air”), Moneca Delain (“The Break-Up Artist”), Shawn Roberts (“Resident Evil: Retribution”), Peter-John Prinsloo (“Edgemont”) and Rukiya Bernard (“Christmas in Canaan”).

Richard Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang

Richard Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang


In Kansas City, Alyson Daley (Potts) is a high school music teacher whose afterschool program has taught dozens of students not only how to sing, but to gain confidence and build bright futures. Alyson has dedicated herself to changing her students lives for the better, a mission she began sixteen years ago when a tragic accident caused the deaths of her husband and son. Mourning the loss alone, Alyson used the program to distract herself, but is now devastated again when district budget cuts threaten to cancel the program for good. Hearing the news, her first class of students decides to reunite to put on a show-stopping musical to raise money and keep the program alive. Now adults, the cast and former friends look back on the lessons they learned as troubled high school students from Ms. Daley. As they rehearse, they begin to form new bonds – and repair old ones – just in time for opening night, and give their beloved teacher renewed strength to heal her heart.

Annie Potts recently returned to series television in the ABC drama “GCB,” based on the bestselling book Good Christian Bitches. Potts has created many famous female roles in her career, perhaps none better known that “Mary Jo Shively” from “Designing Women.” Potts was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work in “Love & War” and she received two Screen Actors Guild nominations for her work on “Any Day Now.” Potts is also known for film roles “Pretty in Pink,” “King of the Gypsies,” “Ghostbusters I & II,” and many others. Annie Potts has a long list of Broadway credits, most recently taking over for Tony nominee Hope Davis in God of Carnage.

Richard Thomas has appeared in over 50 films for television include “The Red Badge of Courage,” “Roots: The Next Generations,” “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story,” “Common Ground” and “Andre’s Mother.” His TV series include “It’s a Miracle,” “Just Cause” and “The Waltons,” for which he received the Emmy Award. Thomas’ films include Winning, Last Summer, Red Sky at Morning, You’ll Like My Mother, 9/30/55, Battle Beyond the Stars, Wonder Boys, Taking Woodstock and The Beaver. Thomas has appeared on Broadway in David Mamet’s Race, Sunrise at Campobello, Strange Interlude, The Playroom, Everything in the Garden, Fifth of July, The Front Page, Democracy, and A Naked Girl On The Appian Way. His additional New York and US credits include As You Like It, The Seagull, Richard II, Richard III, Hamlet, Peer Gynt, Tiny Alice, Love Letters, Measure For Measure, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Saint Joan, Merton of the Movies, Square One, The Count of Monte Cristo, Citizen Tom Paine, Streamers, Danton’s Death, Arms and the Man, The Barbarians, La Ronde, Vieux Carre, The Devil’s Disciple, The Lisbon Traviata, The Stendhal Syndrome, and Art (London). His most recent performances include Timons of Athens at the Public,Twelve Angry Men (National Tour), and Terrence McNally’s Unusual Acts of Devotion. He regularly performs around the country A Distant Country Called Youth and Blanche and Beyond, from the letters of Tennessee Williams. This fall, he will star in the Broadway run of An Enemy of the People at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre during Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2012-2013 Season.

“The Music Teacher” is a Front Street Pictures Production in association with Alan Ett Creative Group. Ronald Parker, Jonathan Axelrod and Alan Ett are executive producers. Harvey Kahn is the producer. Ron Oliver directed from a script by Ronald Parker. Alan Ett composed original lyrics and songs for the film.

Hallmark Channel, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc., is a 24-hour basic cable network that provides a diverse slate of high-quality entertainment programming available in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) to a national audience of 87 million subscribers. The top-tier program service is distributed through approximately 5,500 cable systems and communities as well as direct-to-home satellite services across the country. Hallmark Channel is the nation’s leading destination for quality family programming with an ambitious slate of original TV movies and specials, as well as some of television’s most beloved sitcoms and series, including “The Golden Girls,” “Frasier,” “Little House on the Prairie,” and “The Waltons.” Since 2010, Hallmark Channel has also been home to original daytime lifestyle programming and is debuting two new daily series, Home & Family and Marie!, on October 1, 2012. Hallmark Channel’s sibling network is Hallmark Movie Channel, also available in HD and SD, which focuses on family-friendly movies with a mix of classic theatrical films, presentations from the acclaimed HallMark Hall of Fame library, original Hallmark Channel movies and special events.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Tony Award – winning Playwright Terrence McNally to be Honored at Westport Country Playhouse Annual Gala, September 24, 2012
Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines to star in An Enemy of the People at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre during Manhattan Theatre Club’s 2012-2013 Season
Emmy Award Winner Richard Thomas Hosts Give Kids a Shot! National Meningitis Association Gala 2012 at the New York Athletic Club
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (3pm) with Andre Bishop, Mary Beth Hurt, Jennifer Lim, Angela Lin, Philip Kan Gotanda, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Richard Thomas, Jay O. Sanders, and more
Photos: Highlights of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan (8pm) with Oskar Eustis, Patti LuPone, Lisa Emery, Ann Harada, Paolo Montalban, Thom Sesma, Sab Shimono, Henry Stram, Richard Thomas, John Weidman and more
Photos: In Rehearsal with Director Bartlett Sher and the cast of Shinsai: Theaters for Japan
David Henry Hwang Set as Signature Theatre’s Residency One Playwright for the 2012-2013 Season
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang. Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2012 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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