The Smoky Mountain Opry, renowned as the must-see variety show in Pigeon Forge, has opened for its grand finale farewell season with “Feel the Music,” an all-new original show with many new cast members and what Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group is promising to be their biggest and best production show in Pigeon Forge to date.
The acclaimed Smoky Mountain Opry show, in the 1400 seat Smoky Mountain Opry Theater, is known for its diverse musical variety acts and special effects such as lasers, pyrotechnics, flying musicians, water elements and giant video screens.
“Our new show is all about the wow,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group.
The show has earned the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence five years in a row for having a 5-star average rating on their site, making the Smoky Mountain Opry show one of the top-performing 10% of businesses worldwide on Trip Advisor.
Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group is planning to re-brand the Smoky Mountain Opry show and rename the theater in 2018.
Hosted by Hugh Warren, the brand-new Smoky Mountain Opry “Feel the Music” show is the largest and most attended musical variety show in the Smokies and is marking its sixth season. The new show features a musical journey through some of music’s greatest hits with country, Broadway, the silver screen, classic rock, gospel and patriotic numbers. The song and dance performances are showcased in a variety of genres and styles ranging from ballroom to tap to country western and everything in between. “Combine all of this with the special effects of this beautiful theater – and you are in for an incredible musical journey that you will never forget,” Fee said.
Back by popular demand are the high-flying silk aerialists Duo Artis’ Leann Farley and Semyon Gruzdev and the juggling artistry and comedy of David Hirschi, better known as “Slim Chance.” Farley has been performing since the age of 15 all over the world. Gruzdev graduated from one of the most prestigious dance academies in Russia and was a member of the Russian National Theater Dance Group. Chance previously performed in Las Vegas and in Branson, Mo. He juggles a bowling ball, a rubber chicken, a ping-pong ball, saw blades and many other unusual items in his act, mixed with lots of humor and audience interaction.
“We are thrilled to welcome our new cast members and our returning cast members this year,” Fee said. “Our audiences are always amazed to see Leann and Semyon gracefully fly through the air, but they also love their quick-change act, where you barely blink and they have changed costumes. Slim Chance is well known for his unbelievable skillful juggling and he is heartwarming and hilarious too!
“To call The Smoky Mountain Opry show the largest and most exciting variety show in the Smokies is an understatement,” Fee said. “We are bringing a variety of new production numbers to the stage this season, and we want to especially thank all of our fans who have seen the Smoky Mountain Opry show over the years and invite new visitors to a spectacular new show.
“Our Smoky Mountain Opry show this year features songs that our guests will remember and love all over again, with a remarkable live band,” Fee said. “Our exceptional cast of singers, dancers and musicians bring back some great memories for our guests with genres that have truly impacted the evolution of music.”
Singer Charlie Bob Smith performs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the show this year. Well known as the man of a thousand voices, Smith was winner of The Mountain Press Readers’ “People’s Choice Award” seven times and “Entertainer of the Year” in 2009. He also performs in The Smith Morning Variety Show at The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 a.m.
Other cast and musicians in this year’s “Feel the Music” show include: Talibah Ashe, Kara Bergman, Alison Bray, Mowava Bucciero, Summer Collins-Wright, Michael DeJesus, Kevin Eknes, Matt George, Timothy Goins, Mark Holbrook, Daniel Longacre, Sally Mementowski, Tim McManus, Cody Parisi, Jeremy Phillips, Kelsey Rae Reinsfelder, Luke Sanderford, Hugh Warren, Jared Willson and Kaleb Wright.
Michael Headla, general manager of The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater and entertainment director for Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group, produced “Feel the Music.” The production team includes: David Fee and Jim Hedrick, executive producers; Regina Laughlin, choreographer; Marshall Whaley, technical director; Joel Bruce, production manager; and Sunny Ware and Carol Culp, costume designers.
The show runs at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday with matinees on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. There will be occasional Sunday shows and on holiday weekends at 3:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The theater is located at 2046 Parkway in Pigeon Forge.
After this year’s regular season closes, The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater will open its “Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry” show on Nov. 1, 2017. After the Christmas show closes in January 2018, the theater will undergo a significant upgrade with details to be announced later this year.