Monday, December 17, 2012

Smoky Mountain Opry’s Christmas Show in Pigeon Forge…

Our wine tasting group opted out of a wine tasting get together in December.  For a Christmas related change of pace, Holly and Joel suggested that it would be both appropriate and fun if we drove over to Pigeon Forge Tennessee and went to the Smoky Mountain Opry’s Christmas Show.

Six couples had the date open on their calendar…and Joel came up with a special price…so he picked up the tickets for the group.   As this event occurred on Laurie’s actual birthday, it provided a celebratory outing for her too! (Understand…her birthday is celebrated for the entire month of December!)
This is the former Miracle Theater in Pigeon Forge.   As the Smoky Mountain Opry, it's been transformed and upgraded… There is a renovated stage, new and improved lighting, ‘step out’ sections on each side that allow performers to be above the audience, a laser light system, ‘flying rigs’ for the cast…plus surround sound and a digital projection system.
As we entered the lobby, we were greeted by Santa and an elf or two.  You can see the snack bar…and the apparel on display for purchase.  There is a souvenir area to the left of this photo…where Laurie bought another little birthday gift for herself.  The entrances to the theater itself are on either side of the snack bar.  As you enter the theater and present your tickets, they automatically have you pose for a souvenir photo that you can opt to purchase later…or not.  We opted to not have our photos taken.
We didn’t need a commercial photo as Holly had asked another theater goer if he’d mind taking our group picture.  He did a pretty good job of it!  From the left on the front row: Charlie, Karen, Bev, Jenny, Martha and Laurie.  From the left in the back row: Joel, Fred, Holly, Irv, me and Larry.  There were at least 4 Santa hats plus a Christmas sweater amongst us!  The best I could muster was a red shirt…and Larry, aka. 'Big Dude' went Hawaiian…
This photo is from one of the opening numbers in the show.  We had singing…both solos and en mass…plus dancing, lots of music, ice skating, live animals, great costumes, some ‘wire work’ and lots of set changes.  I’ve always enjoyed watching professional dancers…and these performers were very good indeed.  Lucinda and Mario Morin especially stood out!  Mario also performed a comedy skit or two during the show.  You can learn more about this performing couple at
The photo is a little foggy but this is Slim Chance.  He gave a very funny comedy/juggling performance and continued throughout the show as sort of an alternate Master of Ceremonies and he was a player in several skits.  Slim’s real name is David J. Hirschi and, after graduating from Virginia Tech, he began his career as a science teacher.  Other non-comedy related ‘gigs’ have involved the National Zoo in Washington D.C. as well as the National Park Service.  Slim has performed in several Las Vegas Casinos as well as at a number of venues in Branson Missouri and Pigeon Forge.  For more on Slim and where he will be appearing, go to his official web site at
This is a toy soldier music and dance number from the show.  It was interesting to note that many members of the cast were multi-talented, appearing in many roles in many portions of the show. 

It was a matinee so the Christmas Show began at 3 PM, then there was an announced 15 minute intermission.  The performance ended just a little after 5:15 PM.  The cast was in the lobby greeting the audience and signing autographs after the show.
The Christmas Show is billed as a multi-million dollar production.  This was a skit about the misfit Christmas toys who are wishing for a home where they’d be truly appreciated. 

Incidentally, the band was excellent…and it is the largest live band in East Tennessee.  Laser lights brightened up the stage for a couple of musical numbers.  Artificial fog drifted across the stage from time to time…hence Laurie ended up with a couple of hazy photos.  Near the end of the show, we even had artificial snow! 
Of course, in the second half of the show, Santa Claus himself showed up!  He was a very nice facsimile of the real thing too… No reindeer though!  Just guys in top hats… From what I could discover, the first Smoky Mountain Opry Christmas show in 2011 did have real live reindeer. 

As you will see…this show made up for the missing reindeer right at the end of the performance!
This is Lakieta Bagwell.  She was the primary featured female soloist…with an excellent voice!  Given the proximity to the Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee Nation, it’s interesting to note that Lakieta is of Cherokee descent.   She started out singing gospel music, was discovered by Dolly Parton and then spent 11 years singing at Dollywood.  Among other venues, she has also performed at the American Music Theater in Pennsylvania and the Grand Old Opry in Nashville.

For additional information about Lakieta, you can go to her Facebook listing at or you can watch her interview at
Two of the other key vocalists…they can dance too…were Jonathan Milner and Kendal Manning.  Kendal has a great voice for country music too…as she displayed in one musical number.  As for Jonathan, he was flying high at the end of this show!  Other than a review of this Christmas Show on Trip Advisor, I couldn’t find anything on either of these gifted performers…
FYI...Smoky Mountain Opry Welcomes Photographers...just not videographers!
I think that our whole ‘wine tasting’ group agreed…that this harmonization…this all male group…delivered the top vocal performance of the show!  Not only was the arrangement cleaver but the vocal blend and delivery was flawless… (FYI, that’s Slim Chance in the middle as Santa Claus trying to relax at his trailer in the off season)
At the end of the show, the focus was on the real…the original meaning of Christmas.  This celebration of the birth of Christ was complete with angels soaring overhead, (That’s Jonathan Milner as the lead angel), and we also had a flock of animals on stage.  There were camels, a donkey and sheep…along with the 3 wise men, shepherds, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.  It was a moving and spectacular finale to the Christmas show.

Our entire group enjoyed the Christmas Show at Smoky Mountain Opry!  Ratings ranged from very nice to excellent… We would recommend this show to residents of East Tennessee and to all our out of town visitors.  The Smoky Mountain Opry Christmas Show runs through December 30th….so there is still plenty of time to see this warm family friendly show. 
The Smoky Mountain Opry is located at 2046 Parkway in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.  Phone: 800-768-1170.  The Opry’s website is
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for taking stopping by and sharing this Christmas treat with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Great write up Dave and I love your research into who these people are, especially the very hot Kendal Manning

  2. Woo hoo! Party time! Sounds like fun!