Beloved manager of downtown theaters retires big!

Longtime Tennessee Theatre and Bijou General Manager Tom Bugg poses with the Tennessee’s executive director, Becky Hancock, at his retirement party earlier this month.

The hardest working man in show business retired earlier this month and, boy, what a party that generated!

Tom Bugg was general manager of both the Bijou and Tennessee Theatres for nearly two decades doing everything from dealing with artists — and their managers — to literally standing on a ladder and changing the letters on the marquee. (That’s what he was doing not too long ago when he fell and broke his arm!)

The sweet farewell event originally was planned to take place at the Bijou Theatre, but so many folks RSVPd to come, that the party was moved to the much larger Tennessee Theatre. More than 600 people came by to wish Bugg the best and share in a little walk down memory lane. Old friends came from as far away as Key West and California for the special night.

Vendors generously donated libations for the celebration: Cherokee Distributing and Eagle Distributing provided beer; TheoLeo gave wine; and bourbon came from Company Distilling. Needless to day, a fun time was had by all!

The News Sentinel’s Ryan Wilusz wrote a great story about Tom Bugg’s career. Here are some scenes from the party.

More than 600 people crowded into the lobby of the Tennessee Theatre to celebrate Tom Bugg’s retirement.

There were plenty of jokes at Bugg’s expense — including this message on the marquee!

The cake was a hoot, too!

The Tennessee Theatre’s longtime house organist, Bill Snyder, center, poses with Bugg, left, and Bugg’s father, Bill Bugg, right.

From left, Chip Barry of the city of Knoxville; Mary Bogert of ASM Global Knoxville, which operates the Knoxville Convention Center and the Civic Auditorium-Coliseum, among other venues; and Emily, Terry and Rachel Ford. Rachel is CEO of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.

Bugg and Angie Wilson of Visit Knoxville.

Tim Burns, senior technical director at the Tennessee Theatre. (Love those beautiful chandeliers!)

Ashley Capps and Becky Hancock.

T.G. and Laura Horn are popular ushers at the Tennessee.

Arts patron Sylvia Peters.

Bruce and Tami Hartmann.

Stephanie Hall and Eric Smith, the official photographer of the Tennessee and Bijou Theatres.

Bugg with usher Shirley McGaha.

Sam Young and Mary Sue Greiner, recently retired development director of the Knoxville Symphony.

Rick and Alta Emmett. He recently retired as the downtown coordinator for the city of Knoxville.

From left, Patrick Roddy, Evvan Tolly, Nicki and Brad Collett. Nicki is the Tennessee’s development director.

From left, Narda Cappuccilli, Kay Newton, Amy and John Gibson.

From left, Mark and Laura Heinz, Ned and Virginia Babb, and Mary Bogert.

From left, Leslie Hults Beemer, Laura Stewart, Ian Roach, and Nelda Hill.

Becky Hancock and Steve Merrell of Eagle Distributing.

Lee Hamby and D.L. Bergmeier.

Metal artist Karly Stribling and singer-songwriter R.B. Morris.

Jim and Rhonda Clayton.

Jennifer and Clark Harrell.

Caterer extraordinaire Holly Hambright holding a piece of her signature candied bacon!

Just a sample of her handiwork that night!

Heather Seiber, business manager of the Bijou Theatre, left, and Becky Hancock pose with the ladder from which Bugg fell while changing the letters on the Bijou marquee! Ha. (Glad he’s a good sport!)

Here’s a poster from Bugg’s favorite concert!

Here’s one from his least favorite!

A poster from the show that lost the most money in his career!

Glenn and Joan Swift.

Fiona McAnally and Carey Archer.

Dale and Jill Thompson.

From left, Becky Hancock, Jane George, and Ian Roach.

Alan Carmichael, left, and Peter Moore.

Haha. Folks posing with a big cut-out head of Tom Bugg!

There were even Tom Bugg koozies!

On stage for the short program, from left, Tom Bugg, Ashley Capps, Troy Sellers, and Ted Heinig, all veterans of Bugg’s A.C. Entertainment days.

Old friend and colleague Benny Smith making remarks.

Courtney Bergmeier, executive director of the Bijou Theatre.

Friend, lawyer, and finance guy Mark Mamantov.

Bugg’s childhood friend Roger McVeigh came all the way from Key West.

Love this pic of Bugg and Bill Snyder. Fun memories.








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5 Responses to Beloved manager of downtown theaters retires big!

  1. Georgiana Vines, on February 26th, 2024 at 3:15 pm said:

    So glad to see Bill Snyder out for such a special occasion.

  2. Alan Carmichael, on February 26th, 2024 at 3:22 pm said:

    What a celebration for universally liked person! It was great to see Bill Snyder also.

  3. Martha Weaver, on February 26th, 2024 at 4:39 pm said:

    Thank you for the great photos of much loved Tom, great friends, and spectacular Tennessee Theatre.

  4. Cynthia Moxley, on February 26th, 2024 at 9:49 pm said:

    Georgiana, Alan, and Martha: Agree it was great to celebrate Tom. And also so wonderful to see Bill Snyder! They both were in great spirits!

  5. Sylvia L. Peters, on February 28th, 2024 at 8:52 am said:

    Tom is the impresario of Knoxville who made so many breakthroughs in the theatrical history of this region. We saw Dave Brubeck and other jazz greats, wonderful plays and heard the great organ played by Dr. Snyder. Tom was and is a gentleman and extraordinary negotiator in the cultural world at a time when Knoxville needed his kind of leadership.

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