Tuesday, April 23, 2024

From The Heart: The Life & Music of Dolly Parton Takes Fans On A Journey Through The Singer’s Life From Childhood To Superstardom At Dollywood

Dollywood is celebrating their 39th season this year, and kicked off the festivities yesterday for season pass holders and members of the media with an announcement of the exciting events guests can expect to see this season at the park.

Some of the big changes to Dollywood for the 2024 season include $1 million dollars in sight and sound upgrades at the park. New performances and shows will include: From The Heart: The Life & Music of Dolly Parton, Trio, Again featuring Three Times a Lady, and Sing-a-long with Dolly.

The weather was perfect on Friday for the park opening day and Dolly’s parade through the park but on Saturday guests had a rainy day at Dollywood. So, it became the perfect day to checkout the new shows inside the theaters around the park.

We arrived as the park opened at 10 a.m. and headed to the Dolly Parton Celebrity Theater to see one of the new show called “From The Heart- The Life and Music of Dolly Parton” at 11 a.m. for the first performance of the day.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The performance takes the crowd on a musical tour through the life of the superstar from her early years in East Tennessee through her rise to fame in Nashville. The show features multiples Dolly characters that portray the singer at all ages through her amazing life in music.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The show starts in her childhood home with her large family of brothers and sisters as she is always looking for attention and takes the audience through the story of her coat of many colors. Her Uncle is also prominently featured in the show as he takes her out to sing and gain writing and record deals. “Puppy Love” is a highlight of this era in the show.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Dolly moves to Nashville the day after she moves to Nashville and works hard to get her first big break. The show takes viewers on a journey as she performs for the first time she meets Johnny Cash and performs at the Grand Ole Opry. The Porter Wagoner Show was life changing for Dolly but ultimately she set out on her own and penned “I Will Always Love You” for Porter as she exited the popular TV program.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

As Dolly sets out on her solo career the singer was accused of leaving country music but her voice fills the theater throughout the show in recorded clips like her saying “I never left country music, I was just taking it with me.” One of the Dolly actors entered the stage wearing her signature jeans and tied up red and white shirt singing “Here You Come Again.”

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

“Two Doors Down” was another standout musical number in the middle of the show highlighting Dolly’s career was hitting peak levels. The musical takes park guests on a ride through Parton’s time filming talk shows and feature films as well as becoming producer all while creating and writing songs nonstop to tell the stories of her life.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton have one the most iconic duets of all time with “Islands In The Stream” and the show brings that song alive in one of the most crowd-pleasing numbers in the performance. The audience erupted at the end of the song with applause for the talented actors who sing the song.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Another show highlight is the songs of Dolly’s trio years singing with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. A trio performance of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” with Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn was also amazing to hear live. The actress playing Loretta Lynn had a striking resemblance to the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” singer.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

From The Heart highlights Dolly’s unique style throughout the show and discusses that she loves to dress up and wear makeup because she couldn’t afford it as a child. Dollyisms are also highlighted throughout the show including her famous quote “It’s expensive to look this cheap.”

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

At the end of the show the cast comes full circle back home to East Tennessee as Dolly says that everything to know about her will always be in the songs.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

On Saturday the Dreamer-In-Chief herself Dolly Parton walked on at the end of the 11 a.m. performance to welcome guests to opening weekend at the park and talk about how much she loved the new show.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

New and long-time Dolly Parton fans in the audience were blown away as this new show came to life in Dollywood on opening weekend. If this show is a preview of the production that Dolly is creating for her upcoming Broadway musical fans from all over the world will be in for a special treat.

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

After our first weekend at Dollywood, we can’t recommend the theme park enough and if you go make sure to check out the live shows across the park.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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