Local Talent’s Star on the Rise

Blythewood’s Emma Imholz, 12, has landed her biggest role yet.

Blythewood’s own ‘triple threat,’ 12-year-old Emma Imholz, is moving up and out this year as a professional stage actress. She’s just landed her biggest part yet – two lead roles in the glossy Dollywood production of “A Christmas Carol,” which opens in November at the Tennessee theme park. She’ll portray the characters of Fan Scrooge (Ebenezer’s flashback little sister) and Linda Cratchit.

Emma will receive a salary, relocation package and housing stipend. She and her mother Julie are moving to Pigeon Forge in October, and will move back to Blythewood in January. Emma’s dad Mark and older sister Jessica plan to visit during the holidays.

Up against nearly 100 kids at the audition, Emma learned and performed a dance routine for the first round of cuts. For the next round, she sang the aptly chosen “Born to Entertain” from the Broadway musical “Ruthless.” And for the final round, she had to show some acting chops.

“She read from the script of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and rocked her best British accent,” Julie recalled with a laugh. “It was a great audition and I felt confident for her. The only thing that worried me a little was that many of the girls sang country and wore cowboy boots. I didn’t know if that’s what they would want.”

It wasn’t.

Julie said that after the audition, the producer, Justin Bradley, told her that Emma’s singing voice had just blown him away.

“He said the production folks offered her the biggest child role they had,” Julie said. “Our heads are spinning! We’re so proud of her.”

Daily rehearsals begin in mid-October, and the show runs from Nov. 7 to Jan. 4.

“Thank goodness we’d already decided to homeschool this year,” Julie said. “It’s working out great. There are no carpool lines, buses or early mornings. We start school in our jams. It’s such a blessing with her hectic schedule.”

“A Christmas Carol” is the park’s most popular holiday show and draws large crowds, so Dolly Parton herself often works closely with the actors. She’s also written some new songs for this year’s show.

“Emma is thrilled by the scale of everything,” Julie said. “But honestly, her favorite part is that she can visit the park any time and ride all the rides she wants – for free. That really excited her. And of course,” she added, “meeting Dolly is an awesome perk!”