Awards & Milestones

“Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” Wins Two Emmy Awards

Published September 14, 2021 / Last Updated September 16, 2021
Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton’s Netflix special “Christmas on the Square” wins two Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie and Best Choreography

Congratulations are in order for Dolly Parton, who won her first Emmy Award during the 2021 Creative Arts Emmy Awards ceremony on Sunday, September 12.

Dolly won as an executive producer of her Netflix holiday musical, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” while the film’s choreographer Debbie Allen also took home an Emmy for Best Choreography. In a conversation with Deadline, Dolly said:

“Who knew that when we were creating this movie, that it would be aired in the middle of the pandemic, and it would bring so much joy and so much hope to millions of people around the world? I think that was one of greatest gifts that we gave and didn’t even know quite when we were doing it that we were going to help uplift the world.”

Dolly’s tremendous success places her in a rare group of fewer than 100 people who have received nominations for an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award. With this Emmy win under her belt, now she is one step closer to joining the ranks of only 16 people who have won all four awards.

Emmy Winner, Oustanding Television Movie

 

“Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” is only the second holiday movie ever to win the Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie. Featuring 14 original Dolly songs, the musical’s stellar cast includes Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Treat Williams and Jenifer Lewis.

When a cold-hearted, wealthy woman returns to her hometown following her father’s passing, she is on a mission to force all of her father’s tenants out of their homes in order to close a real estate deal with a mall developer. Instead, she finds herself reconnecting with people from her past and having an unexpected encounter with an angel, played by none other than Dolly herself, leading to a story of redemption.

Emmy Winner, Best Choreography

 

“Christmas on the Square” really came to life when Debbie Allen accepted the roles of director and choreographer. The multi-award-winning actress, dancer, choreographer, singer/songwriter, director and producer has enjoyed a show-stopping career, encompassing everything from Broadway to a hit television series to the silver screen. After 20 Emmy Nominations, the award for Best Choreography on “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” marks her fifth win.

Watch “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” Available on Netflix

Watch Dolly’s Emmy Award-winning holiday musical “Christmas on the Square,” available to stream on Netflix!

Team Dolly“Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” Wins Two Emmy Awards

Dolly Parton Celebrates Christmas in July With Two Emmy Nominations for “Christmas on the Square”

Published July 21, 2021 / Last Updated July 23, 2021
Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Join us for a Christmas in July celebration as we look back on the “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” cast interviews

Christmas has come early for Dolly Parton! The recent announcement of the 2021 Emmy Nominations brought news that Dolly’s Netflix Christmas musical, “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” has been nominated in two categories: Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming. Dolly said:

“Well Christmas sure came early this year! I’m thrilled about our two Emmy nominations for ‘Christmas on the Square.’ Thank you to Netflix and everyone who dreamed along with me to help make it possible.”

Come celebrate Christmas in July on Dolly’s Front Porch as we watch interviews with the cast and team behind her festive Emmy-Nominated Christmas special.

“Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” nominated for Outstanding Television Movie

 

With so much iconic talent involved in the film, it’s no wonder that “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square” received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Television Movie. Starring Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis, Treat Williams, and directed and choreographed by three-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner Debbie Allen, “Christmas on the Square” features 14 original Dolly songs in what has now become a hit holiday classic.

Exclusive interview with actress Christine Baranski

 

Award-winning actress, Christine Baranski, plays the leading role of Regina Fuller in “Christmas on the Square.” A Tony and Emmy award-winning actress, singer and producer, Baranski has an incredibly busy work schedule, but she jumped at the chance to collaborate with Dolly in a holiday musical.

Her character, Regina Fuller, is a cold-hearted, wealthy woman who returns to her hometown of Fullerville after her father passes away. She is on a mission to force all of her father’s tenants out of their homes, so she can close a real estate deal with a mall developer. Instead, she finds herself reconnecting with people from her past and having an unexpected encounter with an angel, played by none other than Dolly herself, giving Regina an opportunity to have a change of heart.

The story of redemption in “Christmas on the Square” serves as a beautiful reminder that the most valuable gifts we can give are treasures that money cannot buy. It’s a message of hope that renews our faith in the human spirit and affirms the fact that change for the better always begins in the heart.

Exclusive interview with actress Jenifer Lewis

 

Hollywood star Jenifer Lewis delivers a sensational performance in the role of Margeline, a lovable beauty shop owner from Fullerville. Lewis has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, appearing in many notable movies and television series. And, like Dolly, she comes from a small town and a big family. Her larger-than-life role makes an indelible impression in the film as she lights up the screen with luminous joy.

Exclusive interview with actor Treat Williams

 

The enormously talented actor, Treat Williams, has a rich and diverse resume. Having over 120 credits in film, stage and television, Williams was the perfect fit for the role of Carl Pellam, an antique store owner and caretaker of the town’s history.

Williams was a natural for this part, especially considering the fact that his mother owned and operated an antique store for many years. He understands on a deep level the connection between an object and someone you dearly love and brings this understanding to his portrayal of Carl Pellam in the film.

Debbie Allen’s talents earn Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming nomination

 

“Christmas on the Square” really came to life when Debbie Allen accepted the roles of director and choreographer. The multi award-winning actress, dancer, choreographer, singer/songwriter, director and producer has enjoyed a show-stopping career, encompassing everything from Broadway to a hit television series to the silver screen.

The energetic icon brought to the set her incredible ability to marry movement and music. Her innovative giftings, combined with Dolly’s innate way of crafting lyrics and melodies, created an endearing result of Christmas magic. Dolly composed all 14 songs that are featured in the Emmy-nominated musical. Together, these two talented women brought the heartwarming holiday story to life.

Watch “Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square,” Available on Netflix

Celebrate Christmas in July by watching Dolly’s Emmy-nominated holiday musical “Christmas on the Square,” available to stream on Netflix!

Team DollyDolly Parton Celebrates Christmas in July With Two Emmy Nominations for “Christmas on the Square”

Dolly’s Christmas Traditions And A Note To Jolene

Published December 22, 2020 / Last Updated December 22, 2020
Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly shares some special Christmas stories and sends a holiday message to Jolene.

It’s Christmas and Dolly is sharing a few of her favorite childhood memories. She recalls the excitement in their home when it came time to get and decorate a tree. This tender memory comes to life within the lyrics of “Comin’ Home For Christmas.” The handmade ornaments and tinfoil star were some of the most treasured in those days, mainly because of the special care and love her mother put into the preparations. Dolly said,

“In those early days, we didn’t even have electricity so we didn’t have electric lights for it. Mama was always great with making things out of colored paper or different rags that she would tie. We could make bows out of colored rags…Mama always made everything special.”

Dolly shares this memory and more in her Christmas message. She also adds a last-minute holiday message for Jolene.

Team DollyDolly’s Christmas Traditions And A Note To Jolene

The Passion Behind The Imagination Library

Published December 8, 2020 / Last Updated December 9, 2020
Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

People behind-the-scenes of the Imagination Library share their passion for the program and its mission.

Who paves the way for Imagination Library books to arrive at a child’s home, on time? Who makes sure that each book is addressed properly to each individual child? Who reads every book to evaluate quality, age level and content? Who spends days, weeks, months fundraising to ensure books are free for all registered children? In these Front Porch interviews you’ll meet a few of the people who have worked hand-in-hand to grow the program and introduce it to new cities, states and countries. Our Managing Editor, Jacob Timmons, connects via video call with David Dotson, Jeff Conyers and Ann Staup to talk about some of the key milestones of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. They share funny stories, talk about the challenges and rewards and even share their own ideas for writing a children’s book.

Growing The Program

David Dotson is the chief executive officer of the Dollywood Foundation, the nonprofit organization which houses the Imagination Library. David joined the Imagination Library team shortly after it launched. He led the initial replication efforts which grew the program. When it started, the Imagination Library mailed around 1600 books to children in Dolly’s home county in East Tennessee. When replication of the program was introduced more counties came on board followed by different states and eventually countries. In that effort, David worked closely with Jacob Timmons, who also happens to be president of S.D. Professionals, LLC, the company that created a fully-automated operation that streamlined the entire process for the Imagination Library program. In a recent Zoom call, David and Jacob talked about the early days of replicating the program in new areas.

In the interview, David is also quick to praise the unsung heroes of the Imagination Library. The people who “made our dream, their dream.” He said,

“There is always one, two, three, four people in an organization or in a community who are really the heroes, the unknown heroes…They are some of the most talented, most committed, most inspiring people in the world.”

The Joy Of Each Book

Jeff Conyers, brought on in 2011, is the President of the Dollywood Foundation and shares David and Jacob’s passion for growth and expansion. His devotion to the Imagination Library is unmistakable. The consummate champion for the program, Jeff is devoted to seeing each local affiliate succeed. He credits part of his enthusiasm to experiencing first-hand the benefits of monthly books arriving in the mail. Jeff said,

“I’ve had the opportunity to see it in my own family, right at home, and watch my kids grow up getting a book in the mail every month. Seeing them run up to me saying, ‘Hey, Daddy Daddy, will you read this book to me?’ And I know that’s happening in millions of homes all across the world right now because of the work that we get to come in and do every day.”

1.7 Million Books Each Month

The actual mailing of the books is a critical part of the Imagination Library’s story. Jacob called up Ann Staup the owner of Direct Mail Services, Knoxville, TN, to talk about how the books move from a warehouse in East Tennessee to the doorsteps of millions of children. Her business is sometimes referred to as “the little company who could” because they made such incredible strides to facilitate the needs of the program. For Ann and her team, this work is more than a labor of love, it’s challenged her to adapt and grow in many ways that she could never have imagined. A mailing list that started at 1600 books in 1995 now increases each month and the current monthly total sitting at 1.7 million books! In the interview, Ann talks about the automated mailing process, her devoted team and milestones she has witnessed over the years. Ann said,

“It’s a passion to make sure we are doing everything we can to make sure this program grows, the way that Dolly wants it to grow.”

Imagination Library Film Premiere

A new feature-length documentary spotlights Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the thousands of local affiliates around the world who help make Dolly’s dream come true. The Library That Dolly Built will premiere on Facebook worldwide on December 9, 2020, at 7 PM EST. Additionally, a European premiere is set for Thursday, December 10 at 7 PM GMT. The film will premiere in Australia on Friday, December 11 at 7 PM AEDT.

The film features the music of Dolly Parton and is narrated by actress and author, Danica McKellar. It is produced by Land Grant Films, directed by journalism professor Nick Geidner, edited by video instructor Clinton Elmore and crewed by 15 University of Tennessee students.

Team DollyThe Passion Behind The Imagination Library

Honoring Robert Lee Parton…One Book At A Time

Published December 7, 2020 / Last Updated December 9, 2020
Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Team Dolly

Dolly Parton brings honor to her father and his legacy through her Imagination Library.

Often in life, people face seemingly insurmountable challenges and for some their response to those challenges creates opportunities for greatness. In some cases, this transition can be immediate and in others, it can simmer for years.

In 1995, already an icon of American pop culture and an international success, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library. Today, it’s a global book gifting organization that has gifted nearly 150 million free books to children around the world. On many occasions, Dolly has shared her inspiration for the program. She said,

“When I started the Imagination Library, it was to honor my Daddy. My Daddy was so smart but he felt crippled with the fact that he couldn’t read and write.”

True, the concept was born in the mid-1990s, but in Dolly’s mind, the program actually sprang from a seed planted many, many years earlier. To fully understand the birth of the Imagination Library, we must first look at the life and childhood of Robert Lee Parton, Dolly’s father.

Many today know Robert Lee as played by Ricky Schroder in the popular NBC movies Coat of Many Colors and Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. The real Robert Lee was born in March of 1921. The son of Walter and Bessie Parton, Robert Lee grew up in what was then a typical way with farm work being a big part of his childhood. For Robert Lee, and many children raised by farmers and sharecroppers, circumstances required them to abandon school and labor to help feed their families. It wasn’t seen so much as a choice but a duty.

Unfortunately, for Dolly’s father, this way of life meant that he didn’t get the chance to learn to read and write. Of course, he supplemented these skills by becoming a knowledgeable farmer, shrewd deal maker and skilled tradesman. He may have raised his family with humble means but he instilled a wealth of love and knowledge in each of his children. Still, he would carry the weight of illiteracy for much of his life. That is until Dolly made it her mission to set the wrong, right. Dolly said,

“When I got this idea to do the Imagination Library I wanted to get Daddy involved in it. I wanted him to help me with that so he could take the pride in that and so he did. He got to live long enough to hear the kids call me the Book Lady.”

Dolly doesn’t just credit her father’s disadvantage with being the inspiration for her Imagination Library, she sees it as his divine calling. If life was determined to keep him from learning to read as a child, Dolly believes God was just as determined to create something amazing because of it. Dolly said,

“I kept telling him, everybody has a different purpose in life and if nothing else maybe this is why you couldn’t read and write. Maybe God knew a long time ago that I was going to do something that would help millions of kids and people that couldn’t read and write. So I tried to give him that pride.”

In 2000, Robert Lee Parton departed this world knowing his daughter had made a difference in the lives and hearts of many children through the books gifted by her Imagination Library. At that time, the program was in the infant stages of a national replication effort that would expand its reach beyond Sevier County, Tennessee. Today, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gifted nearly 150 million books to children in five countries. In 2018, Dolly Parton, the daughter of Robert Lee Parton – a humble farmer who never had the chance to learn to read and write – dedicated the 100th million book, which she authored herself, to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Indeed, an incredible way to honor her father.

The Imagination Library’s full story will play out in a new documentary called The Library That Dolly Built, premiering exclusively on Facebook on December 9, 2020, at 7 PM Eastern.

Team DollyHonoring Robert Lee Parton…One Book At A Time