[Ed. note: The following is an unedited press release. -J]
Dolly Parton showcased her songwriting in her second musical production in as many weeks at the Dollywood premiere of Sha-Kon-O-Hey!—Land of Blue Smoke on Saturday, May 9.
Billed as “a show as big as the Great Smoky Mountains,” the $1 million production is the largest and most elaborate in the theme park’s 24-year history.
“Having grown up and lived in the heart of these beautiful mountains, my love for this area is deep, genuine and heartfelt,” Parton said. “Sha-Kon-O-Hey! celebrates the wonderful people, music and proud heritage of this spectacular place.”
Sha-Kon-O-Hey is derived from the Cherokee name for the Smoky Mountains meaning “land of blue smoke.”
The new show coincides with the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, for which Parton is the official international ambassador.
Parton wrote the eight songs featured in the show. She recently released a CD entitled Sha-Kon-O-Hey! which includes all eight songs. Proceeds from first-year sales of the CD benefit Friends of the Smokies, a non-profit organization devoted to preserving and protecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park by raising funds and public awareness. The CD is available for purchase at Dollywood or dollywood.com.
Guided by Parton’s heartfelt songs, Sha-Kon-O-Hey! takes audiences back to a time of great change in the Smoky Mountains during the 1930s. The captivating story is a musical journey to the hidden land of Sha-Kon-O-Hey where a wizened storyteller guides a reluctant family as it bids farewell to the area that eventually becomes Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 45-minute production features a cast of eight singer/dancers and 10 acrobats plus a six-piece live band with fully orchestrated accompaniment. The musical introduces audiences to the settlers, the rail and lumbermen, the Cherokee warriors and the shiners while capturing the spirit of the mountains and the rich heritage of the people who call them home.
Upon entering the theater, guests are greeted by a cascading waterfall which is the gateway to the land of Sha-Kon-O-Hey. In addition to the stunning waterfall and lush set, Sha-Kon-O-Hey! incorporates scenic elements and stage effects never before seen at Dollywood. The musical reaches a dramatic culmination as the action unfo