Many companies and attractions vie for the attention of the millions of annual visitors to Myrtle Beach. Over the years, a number of attractions have come and gone, changing over almost as soon as they arrive, it seems. But in a competitive and sometimes rather volatile climate, the shows at Myrtle Beach’s Carolina Opry have been remarkably consistent in their success for more than a quarter century.
Originally founded by singer/producer/entrepreneur Calvin Gilmore in 1986, the original Carolina Opry was located in Surfside Beach, just south of Myrtle Beach, a 1,000-seat theater that quickly gained great attention and accolades. It and a sister venue, later opened in North Myrtle Beach, began selling out nightly and in 1993, the new 2,200 seat Carolina Opry opened in its current location, now known as The Calvin Gilmore Theater, where Rt. 17 Business and Rt. 17 Bypass meet in the north.
Over the years, The Carolina Opry has expanded to a rotating schedule of four thrilling shows. No one can reach agreement on which show is “the best”—they are all excellent.
The Carolina Opry’s flagship, eponymous show is a two-hour spectacle that has won every major South Carolina tourism award, including Most Outstanding Attraction and the Governor’s Cup. In addition, the Myrtle Beach Sun News deems it Myrtle Beach’s best show, period. Furthermore, it has been called “a big hit” by The New York Times. The two-hour show is an ovation-worthy mix of live music, comedy and dance that leaves sellout crowds positively euphoric.
“Good Vibrations” harkens to the music of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. With a highly recognizable, infections soundtrack, special effects, multimedia screens and elaborate, colorful costumes. Given the scores of thousands of Baby Boomers (and their children) who visit the Grand Strand every year, “Good Vibrations” entertains massive numbers of fans with music from the Righteous Brothers to KISS to the Beatles during a groovy, far-out 90-minute musical romp.
Every holiday season, the spectacle known as “The Holiday Show of the South” takes center stage at the Calvin Gilmore Theater. “The Carolina Opry Christmas Special” warms the hearts and delights the eyes of all who pack the theater to see it. A list of Christmastime standards accompany comic sketches as well as a troupe of wooden clog dancers who have appeared on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” And then there’s Rocky Fretz, a singer who has been with The Carolina Opry for its entire 26-year long run. “The Carolina Opry Christmas Special” will run from November 1, 2012 until January 5, 2013.
The Carolina Opry invites lovers of stunning visuals to “see the music” with “LIGHT,” a multiple-version experience that has been called “America’s premier laser light show.” “LIGHT” is a more compact experience at 45 minutes per showing, but there are a number of versions to enjoy, meaning that the most loyal fans return multiple times to hear Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, as well as general classic rock, family, and Christian-themed music accompanying the type of laser system that travels with Madonna and Pink Floyd on tour. “LIGHT” shows take place at 5:00 p.m. and/or 10:00 p.m. almost daily throughout the summer.
The Carolina Opry has something to offer any Myrtle Beach visitor, from first-timers to repeat visitors who have been coming for decades. The range of shows on offer means a range of ticket prices. “LIGHT” showings are $13.95 for adults and $11.04 for students and children. Tickets to the remaining three shows range from $15.81 to $51.12 depending on the show and ticket level. For complete ticket, reservation and show information, visit www.TheCarolinaOpry.com or call the ticket office at (800) 843-6779.