Lifetime launches its annual holiday programming slate “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” in sweet country style this Saturday night with A Country Christmas Story, featuring the legendary Dolly Parton.
The all-new original film stars newcomer Desiree Ross as Grace, a 14-year-old biracial girl from a small Appalachian town who dreams of country music stardom.
With the support of her good-natured grandmother Sarah (Mary Kay Place, The Big Chill), her community and her church choir director Mr. Hanley (Ross McCall, White Collar), Grace plans to enter a singing competition at Parton’s Dollywood theme park.
Though her girl is clearly talented, Grace’s no-nonsense mom Jenny (Megyn Price, Rules of Engagement) — still smarting from her failed marriage to Grace’s musician dad (Grammy-nominated R&B singer Brian McKnight) — is adamant that her daughter focus on her academic skills instead of pinning her hopes on a pipe dream.
And Grace has doubts, too, about being biracial in a mostly lily-white musical genre, telling Mr. Hanley that “Country music doesn’t come in my color.” So he gives her — and viewers — a fascinating mini-lesson in the genre’s multicultural roots.
“Before anybody labeled it ‘Country,’ it was just the music of the poor, and people would sing it together,” he explains, giving her a role model in Linda Martell, the first black woman to perform at the Grand Ol’ Opry. Grace gets to work refining her talent and penning an original song about her fractured family — discovering touching and insightful things about each parent, and what really matters at Christmastime, as she edges closer to the Dollywood stage.
A Country Christmas Story premieres Saturday, Nov. 9 at 8/7CT on Lifetime.
Photo credits: ©2013 A+E Networks, LLC.