I know it’s a burning question: What entertainment options will Dollywood have when the park opens for the 2021 season?
I’m quite delighted to tell you what’s in the works because there are three new shows and familiar faces!
Before jumping into the details, I want to give you a heads up about four things:
🎤 Our COVID-19 protocols are still in place: all guests are required to wear masks, seating will be limited to allow for social distancing and there will be additional shows to compensate for the limited crowd.
🎤 All theaters will be open, though not necessarily at the same time.
🎤 This list is only a look at the entertainment before Flower & Food Festival begins. There will be more to come!
🎤 Our entertainment team is still in the process of casting. There were about 300 performers vying for a limited number of spots.
Without further ado, here’s what you can expect to see on a Dollywood stage beginning March 13 (March 12 for Passholders) giving you plenty of things to do in the spring!
Harmonies of the Heart – Dreamsong Theater
Did you catch Dolly’s family in the new Christmas show in 2020? Heart of the Holidays (pictured above) was very well received, so producers have decided it’s coming back with a fresh take for spring. Two of Dolly’s nieces, Heidi Lou and Jada Star, along with Dolly’s cousin Shelley are accompanied by family friend Barry J who will sing original songs and tell stories about their doting “Aunt Granny”, better known to us as Dolly! It will be structured like the Christmas show with live music elements. If you want to enjoy some great talent, or just hear endearing stories about Dollywood’s Dreamer-in-Chief, Harmonies of the Heart is a do-not-miss!
A Brighter Day – Back Porch Theater
The Back Porch Theater will feature a brand-new production showcasing the talent of four vocalists and a five-piece band. (Pictured above is the show’s predecessor Live at the Back Porch.) In A Brighter Day, you will hear music of different genera including country, contemporary Christian and pop. All curated songs will have an uplifting and positive message. You may have noticed encouragement was a significant focus of what you saw and heard at Dollywood in 2020. (Who doesn’t need that?!) We’re going to carry that theme into 2021 with fun new shows like this one!
The Tones – The Village Depot Stage
One of our learnings from 2020 is that our guests love when we offer street performances in surprising locations. Throughout the season, our performers showed up in atypical spots around the park giving more people more opportunities to experience great talent. Similarly, rave reviews came in at Christmas when a mixed a cappella group singing pop melodies entertained audiences in The Village area of the park. So, the group formerly known as the Gem Tones will become The Tones in 2021! They’ll lose their poodle skirts and doowop for a contemporary vibe and intricate harmonies. If you got to experience The Mistletones (pictured above) at Christmas, I know you’re excited to see this new show!
Kingdom Heirs – Showstreet Palace Theater
Back for their 36th season, The Kingdom Heirs will wow audiences in Showstreet Palace Theater this year. If you are not familiar with Dollywood’s resident Southern gospel group, they are a multi-award-winning quartet. Even if you visit several times a season, they like to keep their show fresh, so there are always new songs to enjoy. Plus, the group will have a new tenor this season!
Smoky Mountain String Band – Valley Theater
Another house band Dollywood guests have come to love is our Smoky Mountain String Band. This bluegrass group has become an anchor in our entertainment lineup. They’ll be ready to get our toes tappin’ when the park opens in March. Listen for their rich Appalachian tunes as you head through Craftsman’s Valley!
The Wild Roots Band – Showstreet Gazebo
This may be the first live music you hear when you walk through Dollywood’s gates. The Wild Roots Band (pictured above in Wildwood Grove) will greet you on Showstreet with acoustic roots music—very Americana. They’ve been known to draw a crowd, so be sure this performance is on your itinerary. You’ll love being entertained by this three-piece band.
Heartsong: The Movie – Heartsong Theater
While we’re talking about entertainment options, I wanted to tell you that Heartsong: The Movie is back! This classic 20-minute film features Dolly taking you on a virtual journey through the Smoky Mountains. It’s a multi-sensory theatrical show that was created specifically for our Dollywood guests and is now presented in high definition at our Heartsong Theater. If this isn’t something you’ve done before, be sure you check it out this year!
And since I’m giving you Dolly tips, I’m going to add that Chasing Rainbows Museum will be open, too!
Streetmosphere and Characters – Throughout the Park
Where would Dollywood be without its colorful characters? When the park opens, you can expect these familiar faces to be ready to entertain you—with more friends joining throughout the year!
Miss Lillian- Yes, our beloved Chicken Lady will be roaming through Craftsman’s Valley and Rivertown Junction. You’ll catch her waving at the passing train and giving out “chicken blessings.”
Francis- Our resident park nerd will be chatting up guests about the fine weather and he’s ready to answer your questions. His loud personality is endearing—and he has the run of the park, so be on the lookout!
Apple Jack- Apple Jack will be picking his banjo (just as Dolly sings about) as he winds his way through Market Square, Rivertown Junction and The Village. Ask him to strum a song for you!
Flit, Flutter, Benjamin Bear and Ned- All these lovable characters (Flit and Flutter pictured above, pre-pandemic) will return to Wildwood Grove when we open. They will be roaming, so if you see them you are welcome to get a [socially-distanced] photo with your favorites!