Dollywood’s 2008 entertainment lineup treats guests to two international Heartbeat Award-winning stage shows—Dreamland Drive-In and The Great American Country Show— along with a roster of entertainment that showcases bluegrass, Southern gospel and mountain music.
Awarded by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the Heartbeat Award recognizes the show that demonstrates superior overall ability in reaching the hearts of its audience.
Candidates are judged on the cast’s commitment, the production’s quality and content, and the effectiveness on the part of the producing organization in seeking to create a special connection with its audience. Each year, more than 100 shows from around the world compete for the honor.
“Being recognized by IAAPA’s Heartbeart Award two years running is an honor that we at Dollywood are extremely proud of, ” said Director of Entertainment Paul T. Couch. “It really speaks to the quality and commitment of our performers, crews and creative teams that work so hard to produce shows that go the extra mile in connecting with our audience.”
Dreamland Drive-In, the 2006 Heartbeat Award winner, premiered May 13, 2006, and showcases the much-loved music of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The show’s setting is a drive-in diner where the local radio station holds live broadcasts every Saturday afternoon. The production’s storyline takes audiences on a nostalgic trip down memory lane as a 15-year romance unfolds between the show’s two central characters—“Danny the DJ” and “the girl in the green dress.” Bridging the gap between 1956 and 2006 is a video montage of the years’ biggest hit songs. Dreamland Drive-In features a 12-member cast and a fully-orchestrated musical score highlighting the eras’ most memorable hit songs including “All I Have To Do Is Dream, ” “Yesterday, ” “Can’t Help Falling In Love, ” “California Dreamin’, ” and many more.
The Great American Country Show, the 2007 Heartbeat Award winner, originally premiered May 16, 2007 and features a six-member cast and a six-piece band who perform 45 minutes of contemporary and classic country hits including “All-American Girl, ” “If You’re Reading This, ” “When I Get Where I’m Going, ” “Picture To Burn” and “Small Town Southern Man.” A special segment honoring Dolly Parton includes a video performance of Parton singing her chart-topping hit “I Will Always Love You.”
A 30-foot-wide video screen above the stage allows hosts from GAC’s most popular shows to introduce each show segment and interact with the The Great American Country Show’s performers. Various GAC cable programs define the performance segments of The Great American Country Show, including GAC’s Top Twenty hosted by Nan Kelley; Edge of Country hosted by Kylie Harris; The Year hosted by Mark Wills; and Master Series host Bill Cody.
Each performance of The Great American Country Show is highlighted by a special 10-minute guest appearance by a country artist. This year’s lineup includes Jim Ed Brown (May 16-19), Jimmy Fortune (June 2-7), Jan Howard (June 10-14), Paulette Carlson (June 24-28), Baillie & the Boys (June 30-July 5), Marty Raybon (July 8-12), Tammy Cochran (July 22-26), Linda Davis (July 28–Aug. 2), Pirates of the Mississippi (Aug. 5-9), Mel McDaniel (Aug. 11-16), Jean Shepard (Aug. 18, 20 & 22-25), Mandy Barnett (Aug. 27-Sept. 3), John Berry (Sept. 5-10), Tammy Cochran (Sept. 19-24), and T. Graham Brown (Oct. 17-22 & 24-25).
Dollywood’s live entertainment roster also features Country Crossroads, The Kingdom Heirs, The Gem Tones, The Kinfolks Show, Naomi & The Wood Brothers, and The Smoky Mountain String Band.
Dollywood is a 130-acre family adventure park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Open nine months a year (March 21, 2008-Jan. 3, 2009), Dollywood offers more than 40 rides and attractions, including Thunderhead, twice named the world’s No. 1 wooden coaster, and Mystery Mine coaster, Theme Park Insider’s 2007 Best New Attraction; award-winning live entertainment featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and mountain music; and a dozen crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Operating days and hours vary. For more information, call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD or visit dollywood.com.