Disney star Kelli Berglund is Willadeene Parton in the all-new holiday special “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.”

Known mostly for her starring role as "Bree Davenport" on Disney XD's "Lab Rats: Elite Force," Kelli Berglund will play Willadeene Parton in “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.” Willadeene is the oldest of the Parton children and like many from her generation tends to act as a second mother to her younger siblings. Kelli says Willadeene and her "Lab Rats" character Bree are similar in that they both tend to carry a certain amount of responsibility that's beyond their years.

Kelli kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her role in the new film, how she developed her East Tennessee accent, her favorite Dolly Parton song and much more.

See more cast interviews and tune in Wednesday, November 30 at 9/8c on NBC to watch Kelli Berglund as Willadeene Parton in “Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love.”

See more cast interviews

"Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors" becomes available on DVD, May 3, 2016, just in time for Mother's Day!

Since the world premiere of the film on NBC, fans have asked for a DVD version they can watch over and over again with their families. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will grant their wish on May 3, a few days before Mother's Day.

The premiere of the critically acclaimed television movie smashed records and with 15.9 million total viewers, it became the number one movie on broadcast television in six years. It earned the Epiphany Prize, Movieguide® Awards' highest honor, and Alyvia Alyn Lind received the Grace Award for her performance as young Dolly.

Set in Dolly's childhood home in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the film tells the story of how the tight-knit Parton family overcame tragedy and heartbreak as a simple hand-made coat brought them closer than ever.

For the first time, audiences got a glimpse into the lives of the people who helped make Dolly Parton, well, Dolly Parton. Fans fell in love with Dolly's parents Avie and Robert Lee Parton played by singer/songwriter Jennifer Nettles and actor Ricky Schroder of "NYPD Blue" and "Silver Spoons" fame. Gerald McRaney delivered a moving performance as Dolly's grandfather, Rev. Jake Owens. Viewers also enjoyed meeting some of Dolly’s 11 siblings. Not only did they get to see Farrah Mackenzie play a young Stella Parton but they also got the added treat of watching the real-life Stella as Corla Bass. First-born Willadeene Parton, played by Carson Meyer, became another fan favorite, due in part to her place as a second mother to her younger siblings, a duty in which many viewers related.

DVD Bonus Features include "Coat of Many Colors: Bringing the Song to the Screen (Featurette)" and deleted scenes.

See full interviews with some of the cast of “Dolly Parton’s Coat Of Many Colors” and look for the DVD on May 3.

Alyvia Alyn Lind, Jennifer Nettles, Ricky Schroder, Gerald McRaney

Executive Producers
Dolly Parton, Sam Haskell, Pamela K. Long

Written By
Pamela K. Long

Stephen Herek

Line Producer
Hudson Hickman

Casting Director
Patrick Rush

Produced By
Warner Bros. Television, Magnolia Hill Entertainment, DP Productions

NBC will present an encore showing of "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors" on Christmas Day at 9/8c

"Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors" received a standing ovation from more than 13 million viewers. It drew a record-breaking audience and became the most watched television movie on NBC in years.

After the premiere, critics raved and fans flocked to social media sites sharing personal stories of how the film moved them. Now, NBC is giving everyone the chance to relive Dolly's heartwarming story in a special encore performance on Christmas Day.

Tune in on Friday, December 25, at 9/8c to watch "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors" on NBC

Fans can also enter to win an amazing Smoky Mountain vacation in Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors" Sweepstakes.

Carson Meyer, a young actress with an old soul, portrays Robert and Avie Lee Parton's first-born child, Willadeene, in "Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors."

Carson, like her character, naturally found herself watching after the younger children on set and even shared her favorite hobby with a few, which became a big hit.

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Q. As you started to develop your character, what things about Willadeene stood out or perhaps surprised you?

A. I bought all of her books, her cookbook and "Smoky Mountain Memories." I did a lot of reading about her. I loved that she kept the letters from her sisters and kind of held all those memories so dear to her. And then Stella [Parton] being on set told me great stories about her sister. One of my favorite's is that Willadeene would put perfume on the girls before she would go out which would always make them happy.

Q. The Parton family is known for their tight-knit bonds. While filming, did the cast develop similar family-like relationships?

A. Oh yeah, absolutely. I think working with all the kids it's hard not to feel like a family. We were all staying at one hotel, so we would all go to the pool after. I taught the girls how to knit, which was really fun, and crochet because I'm a big crocheter myself. It reminded me of being at summer camp. I loved everybody on set. It was a really, really special group.

Q. Considering everything you have done in your career, where does this role rank in your list of achievements?

A. It's the greatest thing that's ever happened to me! I've always been a huge Dolly fan my whole life. I've read all of her books, her movies, her songs. I just think she's a really, really special person and somebody that's worthy of all the success and fame that she's achieved. So for me to be able to work with Dolly is a dream come true.

Q. The song "Coat of Many Colors" first debuted in 1971, yet it still has a powerful message for people today. Why do you think people relate so well to this story?

A. This idea that you can't buy love and that nothing else really matters. It's all just family...the importance of family and community and faith and all the things that have nothing to do with material objects.

Q. Other than "Coat of Many Colors" do you have a favorite Dolly song?

A. Yes, "Heartbreak Express" has always been my favorite. I used to listen to it on constant replay in the car on my way to school when I was in high school. It's gotten me through so many heartaches and heartbreaks.

Q. What was your favorite moment of making the film or your favorite takeaway?

A. I don't know if I can pin it down to one moment. I had a hard time sleeping, because I was so excited for the next day of work. I loved every moment of it.

See more cast interviews and tune in Thursday, December 10 at 9/8c on NBC to watch Carson Meyer as Willadeene Parton in "Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors."

Important Links:

Avie Lee Parton, Dolly's mother, is often credited as Dolly's first musical influence

Avie Lee Owens Parton was born on Oct. 5, 1923, in Lockhart, a small cotton farming community in South Carolina. As a preacher's daughter, she learned to make the best of what she had, a skill that would come in handy in her life as a wife and mother.

She married Lee Parton in 1939, and in the years that followed, the couple raised 12 children, six boys and six girls. In order of birth, they are: Willadeene, David Wilburn, Coy Denver, Dolly Rebecca, Bobby Lee, Stella Mae, Cassie Nan, Randel Huston “Randy,” Larry Gerald, Estel Floyd and Freida Estelle (twins) and Rachel Ann.

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As a wife and mother, she supported her family in everything she did, from canning food to caring for their medical needs. She had a way of knowing when one of her children needed a little extra attention, and she had creative ways of making them feel special. She would often announce they were having Stone Soup for supper and would send all the children out to find the perfect stone. When they returned with their treasured stones in hand, Avie Lee examined each one and commented on its merits. She would then choose one very special stone; the one brought back by the child who needed a little extra love on that day. She tended to her family's every need while bringing faith and happiness to her home.

Mrs. Avie Lee would have turned 92 today. Although she passed away in 2003 at the age of 80, her love was immortalized in the words of Dolly's song, "Coat of Many Colors." It tells the story of Avie Lee sewing her young daughter a winter coat out of small scraps of fabric when the family could afford little else. However, her gift was more than just the coat. She taught Dolly an important lesson in seeing the value of what you have no matter how little it may seem to be. This lesson would become Dolly’s life philosophy. "Coat of Many Colors" may be the most famous story of Avie Lee’s handmade gifts, however, it was not the first. In fact, the first song Dolly ever wrote was inspired by another of her mother's gifts.

"Little Tiny Tasseltop" was composed by a young Dolly even before she could read or write. The song was inspired by a corncob doll, with corn silk hair, that Avie Lee handcrafted for little Dolly. As she played with her precious doll on the front porch, she began singing. Avie Lee quickly wrote down the lyrics to what would become Dolly's very first song.

Audio of Dolly singing "Little Tiny Tasseltop."
Listen via SoundCloud.

Little tiny tasseltop,
I love you an awful lot
Corn silk hair and big brown eyes
How you make me smile

Little tiny tasseltop
You’re the only friend I’ve got
Hope you never go away
I want you to stay

You’re my tiny tasseltop
You’re my favorite-est doll
Even if you’re just a cobb
I want you to stay

Even after Dolly began to achieve career success, Avie Lee's outlook on life did not change much. In Dolly's book, "Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business," she recalls another story involving a coat.

“After the song had become a hit and had done so much for my career, I wanted to go back home and repay Mama for all the love she had sewn into my coat. I said, ‘Mama, let’s go to Knoxville. I’m going to buy you a mink coat.’ Mama is the type of person who is somewhat uncomfortable about somebody making her an offer like that. At first, she came back with a joke: ‘It’s bad enough we have to eat little varmints...I don’t want to have to start wearing them...’ Then she took on a more serious tone as she said, ‘Shoot! Where would I wear a mink coat...to a pie supper? Give me the money instead.' So I did.”

Avie Lee poured her heart and soul into raising her children. Her legacy is a profound testament of a mother's love...a legacy that will live on for generations, far beyond the hills and valleys of Locust Ridge, Tennessee.



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