Alumnus Spotlight: Douglas Waterbury-Tieman

Douglas playing fiddle
College of Music & Performing Arts

Alumnus Spotlight: Douglas Waterbury-Tieman

March 27, 2024 | by Haley Charlton

Douglas Waterbury-Tieman ('12) graduated from Belmont’s honors program with a degree in musical theatre. Following his graduation, Douglas spent six months at the Cumberland Co. Playhouse before making the leap to New York City, where he resided for seven years, creating a list of notable accomplishments in the world of performing arts.  

Some of his notable performance credits include Off-Broadway productions like "The Robber Bridegroom" and "Soot and Spit," and regional productions such as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "9 to 5," “Fiddler on the Roof” and "Once." His versatility extends to television, with appearances on shows like "Succession," and the music industry, with gigs performing as a fiddler in Clint Black's "Looking for Christmas" and as a member of The Hudson River Band aboard The Disney Magic cruise ship.  

Douglas is a founding member of The Lobbyists, a NYC-based theatrical band whose Off-Broadway production, "Seawife," earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for Best Music and appeared in the 2019 National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival.  

Douglas received the Frank Young Fund grant for his musical "Johnny & The Devil’s Box," which enjoyed an award-winning run at the Cumberland Co. Playhouse in 2022. Furthermore, he founded New Musical Theatre Nashville, an organization dedicated to supporting the creation of new musicals. 

His creative prowess extends beyond performance, as evidenced by his work as a book writer for productions like "Deep Water Ballad" and "Jenny and the Paper Pirates." 

Currently, Douglas wears multiple hats as a teacher and performer, serving as the fiddler for the General Jackson Showboat in Nashville. He resides in Franklin with his wife and collaborator, Annabelle, their almost two-year-old son Oliver and their golden doodle Dandy. 


At Belmont, there was a strong sense that if you believe it, you can do it. In a world where there are so many “no's,” it is paramount that you keep dreaming and moving forward. I am grateful to Belmont for encouraging me to always keep dreaming.

douglas-waterbury-tieman.jpegDuring his time at Belmont, Douglas was fully immersed in his studies and extracurricular pursuits. As a musical theatre major with a penchant for violin and honors courses, his days were filled with classes, rehearsals and performances. Likewise, as an honors student, he was often busy preparing for class or working on the full-length musical he wrote for his culminating project.

“Through all of this I made lasting relationships and friendships that have lasted to this day,” he recalled. “Most notably with my wife, Annabelle, who I met on the first day of school in 2010!”  

Below, Douglas reflects on the role his time at Belmont played in shaping his career path.  

What are the skills you learned at Belmont that set you up for success? 

My time at Belmont was so formative in preparing me for a life in the performing arts. Honing my skills and craft for four years gave me the confidence I needed to make the move to New York City and pursue theater at the highest level. Not only did I gather the tools and techniques I needed to become the strongest performer I could be, but also the proper practices of time management, organization and collaboration that set me up for a long and successful career in my chosen field. 

What is one value you’ve taken from Belmont into your career? 

Dream Big. When I was at Belmont the catch phrase was “From Here to Anywhere.” I think about that sometimes when I am performing on stage either in Nashville, New York City or Internationally. At Belmont, there was a strong sense that if you believe it, you can do it. In a world where there are so many “no's,” it is paramount that you keep dreaming and moving forward. I am grateful to Belmont for encouraging me to always keep dreaming. 

What advice would you give prospective and current students? 

Take a breath, look around and enjoy this moment where you are in your journey right now.  Your education is an incredible privilege as well as a responsibility, so make the most of your time.  

Now that you’ve graduated, what does Belmont mean to you? 

Belmont will always hold an incredibly special place in my heart. Honestly, our time at Belmont is the reason my wife and I decided to relocate to Nashville. In many ways, Belmont has always felt like a kind of home to us. The friends, teachers, mentors and everyone on campus made my experience at Belmont one of such welcome and encouragement that it’s no surprise we now live less than 20 miles down the road. I know they say, “you can’t go home again,” but stepping back on campus will always feel like a homecoming.