by VICTORIA HENLEY
One of the longest running, and most award winning, theaters in the Great Smoky Mountains, Country Tonite Theater in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. has been producing world class shows featuring dazzling costuming by an acclaimed Tennessee fashion designer, state of the art lighting and chart-topping hits performed by world class performers on one iconic stage since its inception in 1992.
I have frequently attended,and ardently supported, Country Tonite’s stellar array of productions, ranging from the wildly popular resident show (which features a plethora of chart-topping country tunes spanning the decades, as well as some contemporary and pop numbers mixed in for added crowd appeal) to the widely acclaimed Christmas show.
We were afforded the exciting opportunity to return to this breathtaking theater to cover and experience the 2022 Christmas show, which was filled with all the phenomenal high octane song and dance numbers you’ve grown to love and expect from a Country Tonite production with lots of classic and modern Christmas musical numbers added to the mix, combined with a palpable sense of Christmas spirit which will keep you and your family feeling merry and bright long after the curtain has drawn.
The first half of the show highlighted country classics from legendary performers such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams Jr., Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and the queen of the Smoky Mountains herself, Dolly Parton.
The second half of the show is fully dedicated to the holiday season, complete with striking Christmas-themed set design, lavish costuming and customized, toe tapping renditions of all your favorite Christmas songs including the relentlessly upbeat “Susie Snowflake,” Dolly and Kenny Rogers’ beloved duet “Christmas Without You,” Kelly Clarkson’s powerhouse pop hit “Underneath The Tree”, and an uproariously funny Christmas rap by “Bubba,” Country Tonite’s resident comic relief portrayed by longtime cast member, Chan Mullinax, bringing to life a rendition of “‘‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” unlike anything you’ve ever heard.
Featuring tight choreography performed with great verve, vigor, and aplomb by the tremendously talented cast of dancers, dance captain, Todd McCall creates viscerally stunning and highly complex dance routines that bring the entire production aesthetic to a whole new level. Dancer Jamie Goldman consistently wowed with a palpable energy, enigmatic stage presence and signature charisma.
Faith and patriotism are held at utmost priority by the cast and crew at Country Tonite; therefore, spiritual numbers such as “Noel,” “Oh Come Emmanuel” and a show-stopping patriotic segment featuring an emotionally charged recitation of Johnny Cash’s famous poem “Ragged Old Flag” remain pivotal moments during this nonstop two-hour entertainment extravaganza.
Special thanks to the wonderful Jamie Goldman for facilitating our visit for this spotlight feature.
PHONE NUMBER: (865) 453-2003