Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 6:08 PM | Contributed by Jeff
Theme park shows have a reputation like cotton candy’s: They’re sweet and they go down easy, but they’re not much to write home about. Part of that comes from how much they stick to a formula. Run times rarely exceed 30 minutes, the faster to get people dried off or cooled down and back to the rides. Because they’re included with admission and open to all ages, they’re family-friendly, upbeat and musical.
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I really appreciate the shows now that I'm older. I love the change of pace and the shows I've see are usually top-notch. Props to Knotts.
Musical Shows? Theme Parks?
I'm telling you...
This may come as a surprise to those who haven't been to Fiesta Texas....some of the best shows in the business. Seriously.
On my one and only visit to Opryland we made it a point to hit as many shows as we could. They were all very good.
Though sadly we'd arrived one day too late to take in a taping of Hee-Haw....
King's Island has really stepped up the quality of their live entertainment. 5 live non-kiddie oriented shows this year, and all are well done with strong talent. Playlist Live with a live band and very strong vocals/dancers and Cirque Imagine cirque-type show lead the way this year.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg has some great shows too, Celtic Fyre is a fantastic Irish Step Dance/Tap show that I could watch over and over again. This is Oktoberfest is right up there with Nessie for being an icon of the park that I have to hit every time Im there.
The Kings parks used to have amazing main stage musical productions. during the 80's, the Cincinnati park had a huge run of singers and dancers that regularly went back and forth to New York, or traveling productions in the winter.
In fact, the Keco show group actually did the outsourced shows for at least one of the Cruise lines (Norwegian) at one point.
Then with the Paramount acquisition and the demise of Winterfest, the emphasis on shows waned, and they converted the main stage theater to an Ice Show. (Middle America's taste for musical theater waned at that point too, so it sort of made sense).
In the 80s, Cedar Point had the Amazement Park Revue, which toured during the off-season, for a year or two. I think schools and corporate events were the main customers.
That decline has definitely reversed in the Cedar Fair parks. Obviously, they even called it out as a higher expense in the earnings call. It was definitely the case at Kings Island this year, and the shows at Cedar Point last year were definitely better, with bigger budgets.
They need to work on the shows at Carowinds. The concepts are there but the regular show in the main theater during the season and SCarowinds is pretty horrid.
The new show in Harmony Hall seems to be decent though.
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