On The Road: Random Adventures: Smoky Mountain Opry

She Said: Smoky Mountain Opry

When we visited the Smoky Mountain area several months ago for our vow renewal I knew that I wanted to try to see a show. We did. Our first night in town we saw Country Tonite and have continued to rave about for months. It was so good that we thought we would try more shows and see if they were good, too. Because we were celebrating (and escaping from my recent round of medical tests) we decided to go all out and try another show. It was a big, terrible mistake. For everything that we loved about Country Tonite we found twice as many things to dislike about Smoky Mountain Opry.

Smoky Mountain Opry is a relatively new show to the Pigeon Forge area. While it does have a good location and large, great performing space what it does not have is a good show. The also seem to be completely unaware of how to use the technical elements that they have to work with.  It breaks my heart that such a great space is so poorly used. RJ and I could produce some great musical theatre in that space!

As for the show itself- it’s awful! I can usually take you point by point as to what I don’t like about a show, but I can’t do that here. It’s because they gave me a migraine in the opening seconds of the show. I’ve been performing since I was 8 years old. I’ve performed in great spaces and terrible spaces and I’ve never been given a headache from lights like this. They opened the show with lights that gave the fastest onset migraine of my life. It was awful. I even put on my sunglasses and buried my head in RJ’s shoulder and the lights continued to pierce my eyes. This display of retinal attack was only about a minute or two long, but it was awful!

By the time they launched into two terrible and not very well known songs I was so sick we had to leave. I really felt awful. I had to hold on to RJ’s shirt as we left the theatre.  RJ did complain (while I got some much needed fresh air) and was told that they were a new show and still ironing out wrinkles. It worries me about the quality of the production as a whole because what happened was not an accident; rather it was a purposeful design choice.

The only good thing I can say about Smoky Mountain Opry is that their gift shop is pretty neat. I don’t like the sales people trying to get you to buy timeshares and ticket packages. But, they did have some cute signs and entertainment related knick-knacks. They also have some really cool celebrity costumes in display cases.

I wouldn’t go back here because they made me sick. I’m glad for my cool Otis Redding sign and I liked seeing one of Taylor Swift’s dresses, but it’s not worth a repeat trip.

Rating- 0

He Said: Smoky Mountain Opry

We recently wrote about a great experience we had in Pigeon Forge at Country Tonite.  Emboldened by that success, I pushed for us to try another show, and we wound up seeing Smoky Mountain Opry.  I’m so sorry that I got us to go see this show.

Smoky Mountain Opry is the complete opposite experience of Country Tonite.  I can really see why Country Tonite is rated so highly.

In truth, I can’t tell you about the whole show because we had to leave because it was hurting our heads.

The trouble started before we even entered the auditorium.  They had the performers acting as ushers, and they hardly looked at us, and were too engrossed in their own conversations to tell us much of anything.  They just scanned the tickets, and pointed to our seats.

Then the show began with smoke and a light show.  The lasers pointed straight at the audiences eyes, and I noticed we weren’t the only ones squinting.  The smoke choked us pretty quickly.  This went on for several minutes.  The first country song they performed was “Queen of Hearts.”  It was badly performed and we didn’t enjoy it, but by then the bigger problem was our headache.

We left immediately, and I sent Kari outside to get some fresh air while I handled getting our money back.  That didn’t go very smoothly either.  The first person I talked to had to go get someone else.  That person asked me what the problem was.  When I explained that the lasers they used had really hurt our heads, he tried to get me to stay.  He said, “Are you sure you want to leave, it’s a really great show.” I verified that he had heard me the first time in as polite a tone I could muster, but I’m sure I was starting to look visibly upset.  He backpedalled by admitting it was a new show and they still needed to work out some kinks.  I decided that I wouldn’t say anything else before I said something I’d regret.  As he was processing my refund (finally) he tried to talk up the other shows that were run by the same company.

Kari and I wound up playing a round of mini golf at the Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf and having a much better time.  I’d wanted to try that course for years, and the time out in the air really helped both our heads.

I submit this as my public apology to Kari for making us try this show and not go back to see Country Tonite again as she had asked.  We’re never going here again.