Great American Productions is returning to Savannah after moving to North Carolina over a decade ago.
Creators Dee and Danny Kramer will present the first production, “The Great American Jubilee,” on Aug. 4 at Calvary Baptist Church. After 13 years of traveling to North Carolina to film the show, the timing was right for a return to Savannah.
“We got tired of traveling and were looking to come home,” Dee Kramer said. “And with Savannah becoming a major film industry city, there are more resources available now than when we started.”
Now in Savannah full-time, the Kramers will be starting their new series of concerts, titled “An Evening in Old Savannah.” The name stems from a two-day festival hosted in Savannah in the 1970s that was sponsored by the Girl Scouts.
“The Great American Jubilee” is a two-hour concert that will feature both Southern gospel and gospel bluegrass music. Popular bluegrass band the Primitive Quartet from North Carolina will be performing along with the award-winning Mike LeFevre and LeFevre Quartet.
Dee Kramer, a former American Traditions Vocal Competition bronze medalist, will also be performing, and the concert will feature a special guest appearance by Savannah’s own Encouragers.
“I don't want anyone to think it is just a religious service. Although there will be secular music, it’s going to be a theater-type setting with lights and production,” said Danny Kramer.
In 2005, the Kramers created the show “Great American Gospel," which aired locally in 2007 on WJCL. That show led to the creation of “Great American Bluegrass” and “American Gospel Onstage.” The shows now air on over 500 networks across the United States, including Alabama PBS, DISH and DIRECTV. The Kramers are looking to continue that success.
“We filmed all those shows in North Carolina for the past 13 years due to the venue and the film crew,” said Danny Kramer. “Now that we’re back in Savannah, we have a larger venue and new film crew to produce these shows locally.”
Calvary Baptist Temple’s theater has a seating capacity of over 2,000 and will be the new home for Great American Productions.
“Calvary has always been our base, and we’re hoping to gain a bigger, diverse audience,” Danny Kramer said. “Our biggest goal is to gain sponsorship to be able to provide more family-friendly events.”
Moving forward, the Kramers are looking to have a barbecue and bluegrass festival as well as an "Irish Evening in Old Savannah" that will hopefully feature food trucks and other fun.
“We are going to start real simple with this first concert and hopefully build up to having bigger and more events,” Danny Kramer said.