Dolly Parton reminds us of the meaning of the season in "Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love"
NBC, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 9/8c
By Kellie Freeze
Dolly Parton shares a new chapter of her inspiring life story with Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, airing Wednesday on NBC. In this newest tale, the Parton patriarch and his brood scheme and save to surprise Mama with the Christmas present of a wedding ring.
Parton recalled the heartfelt tale to Johnny Carson during a 1990 appearance on The Tonight Show. “Mama cried, and we cried, and we were all so happy,” she reminisced, even though the cost of the ring meant that no one else in the humble family would receive Christmas gifts that year.
The Parton family’s tale of selfless love serves as a needed reminder as we head into the holiday season and its unrelenting pressure to buy and spend. Her family’s graceful message is that the greatest gift can’t be bought: Love is free. And though Parton and her family had few tangible possessions, their lives were incredibly rich.
Also in the film, young Dolly’s (Alyvia Alyn Lind) musical talents are first recognized as meant for life beyond her hardscrabble Appalachian hamlet. “Dolly starts to make plans to pursue her dream of becoming a country star,” explains 9-year-old Lind, who reprises her role from last year’s Coat of Many Colors. It’s thrilling to watch Lind capture the burgeoning talent of Dolly’s younger self, with the knowledge of the powerful and graceful superstar Parton has become.
Dolly tells Johnny Carson the story of the wedding ring Christmas
“Playing Dolly is such an honor, but also a challenge,” says Lind. “When you play an icon like Dolly, you really want to capture exactly who she is.” But the veteran singer had valuable advice for the talent playing her younger self, and Lind reveals, “Dolly always said, ‘I don’t want to give advice because I want everybody to be themselves. But she also told me to never give up on a dream. I’ve seen what Dolly has accomplished, and it’s so amazing, and inspiring.”
Country superstar Jennifer Nettles returns as Parton’s resourceful mama, with Rick Schroder reprising his role as Dolly’s beloved daddy. Parton appears in the film, not only to introduce the story and serve as the film's narrator, but also as “The Painted Lady” — whom Parton describes as “the town trollop” whose glamorous appearance fascinated her as a child.
Lind shares that the highlight of playing Parton for a second time was getting to share scenes with the iconic singer, and even getting to sing with her. “Oh, getting to hear that sentence, ‘singing with Dolly Parton’ and getting to say that sentence, that’s the best thing I could ever believe!” exclaims Lind. “When she sings, I love when she just stops singing and starts kind of talking,” says Lind. “Dolly’s songs tell such amazing stories that when she really starts to talk them, you can’t look at anything other than her. You can’t listen to anything other than her.”
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