Smoky Mountain Opry
The Smoky Mountain Opry is a family-oriented musical variety program with songs and skits from the Big Band and swing era through today's country music that is performed on The Parkway (U.S. Route 441) in the resort community of Pigeon Forge in Sevier County in eastern Tennessee.
The Opry is housed in a building formerly known as The Miracle Theater, a Christian-themed attraction. Originally, the 1,400-seat theater was built in 1997 for the singer Louise Mandrell. In November 2005, David Fee and Jim Hedrick, co-owners of the Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, purchased the theater and spent $15 million to renovate the building and to create the musical production The Miracle Show, which was staged from 2006 to 2011.
Most of the Smoky Mountain Opry cast consists of young people performing song, dance, and comedy and playing many kinds of musical instruments. Occasionally, audience members may be called upon stage to participate. The Opry has laser lights, giant video screens, elegant costumes, and musicians, sometimes held up by high-flying wire. The program features Broadway and film musical favorites, the blues and jazz, and patriotic and Gospel numbers. Among the highlighted songs are those made known by The Beatles, Garth Brooks, Etta James, Janis Joplin, George Jones, Kenny Loggins, Frank Sinatra, Carrie Underwood, and Stevie Wonder.
Fee said that the The Miracle Show closed in 2011 so that it would end with audience demand still strong. According to Fee, The Miracle Show is "an original production, and we created it. Most importantly, though, the theater has become a faith-based ministry, and people have been saved because of the influence of The Miracle Show and the life-changing message."
According to The Knoxville Journal, the Smoky Mountain Opry is the "largest musical variety show" in East Tennessee. David Fee said that the Miracle Theater underwent a "whole metamorphosis" in 2011: "With a multi-million dollar upgrade the Opry features the best of everything – fantastic lights and lasers, lavish sets and costumes, incredible music, a live band, and lots of talent."
During Sevier County Days from May 29 to June 9, 2012, county residents with proper identification were admitted free to the Opry.
The Smoky Mountain Opry is ranked fifth of sixty-five attractions in Pigeon Forge by the website tripadvisor.com. Of 269 reviewers, 216 gave the performance an "excellent" rating.
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- Smoky Mountain Opry kicks off new season, March 23, 2012. theknoxvillejournal.com. Retrieved on August 13, 2012.
- Smoky Mountain Opry: Sevier County Days, May 29 - June 9, 2012. hometownsevier.com. Retrieved on August 15, 2012.
- Smoky Mountain Opry: Traveler Reviews. tripadvisor.com. Retrieved on August 15, 2012.