After making her Broadway debut earlier this year in the musical Chicago, Jennifer Nettles is adding to her acting résumé. The singer has been cast as Dolly Parton's mother Avie Lee in the NBC TV-movie Coat of Many Colors, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film, the first in a series of planned specials based on Parton's life and songs, will star child actress Alyvia Alyn Lind as the young Dolly.
In addition to the Nettles news, it was also revealed that Ricky Schroder has signed on to play Parton's father Lee, while Gerald McRaney will star as her grandfather. Schroder is no stranger to the country community, having directed Brad Paisley's video for "Whiskey Lullaby."
Since Sugarland — the award-wining duo of Nettles and Kristian Bush — took a hiatus in 2012, Nettles has gone on to release the solo album That Girl, as well as expand her TV presence, appearing as a mentor in the NBC singing competition Duets and hosting the annual CMA Country Christmas concert on ABC. From February through March, she appeared as Roxie Hart in Chicago. Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors, however, marks the Georgia native's first major foray into TV or film.
While an airdate has yet to be set for the special, that could change on Thursday, when NBC presents its Coat of Many Colors panel to TV journalists assembled in Los Angeles for the annual Television Critics Association summer press tour. Parton, the film's executive producer, is expected to attend and field questions.
In other Sugarland news, it was announced today that Cumulus's movie production arm NASH TV Films has produced an hourlong documentary on Bush, to air in September. Titled Walk Tall: The Journey of Sugarland's Kristian Bush, the film will profile the singer-songwriter (and onetime member of alt-rock duo Billy Pilgrim), who released the solo LP Southern Gravity in April.