As a country music performer, Calvin Gilmore was a popular member of the Grand Ole Opry. But when he came to Myrtle Beach in the 1980s, he brought an authentic slice of the Nashville showcase with him.
After opening and playing various venues on the Grand Strand, Gilmore eventually opened the Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach. The largest country music venue on the East Coast attracts fans from all over the world to experience top-notch entertainment in America’s No. 1 family vacation destination.
Gilmore opened the original Carolina Opry in Surfside Beach and delighted fans with an all-country music lineup. He later opened the Dixie Jubilee in North Myrtle Beach, spreading the American roots scene to the entire Strand. The success of those smaller venues convinced Gilmore to open the current Carolina Opry near Restaurant Row in 1993. Located near Myrtle Beach's famed Restaurant Row next to Dolly Parton’s new “Pirates Voyage” dinner theater, this entertainment complex is easily accessible from all ends of the Grand Strand at the junction of Highway 17 Business and Bypass.
Upon entering the palatial Carolina Opry lobby, you can sense the history the theater has played on the Grand Strand. With more than 30 years of providing quality entertainment to the Grand Strand, the Carolina Opry has played host to some big stars and award-winning productions over the years. Best of all, the Carolina Opry has only improved with time. Once considered a country music haven (and it still is), the theater has expanded its horizons to include a wide range of entertainment options.
Of course, old-school classic country music and song-and-dance numbers is and always will be the bread-and-butter of the theater. But the recent additions of rock-n-roll shows, off-Broadway-style theater productions, and high-tech laser shows to retro-music have given the Carolina Opry some diversity and an edge that keeps it current and ensures it family friendly shows have something for all ages.
The long-running show “The Carolina Opry” offers traditional and contemporary music for folks who like to keep their country music close to the roots. Featuring classic country singers and dancers, this long-running favorite features the popular stomp-dance troop “All That,” which gained national fame on the hit TV show “America’s Got Talent.” The hard-stomping, high-stepping members of the dance troop are always a crowd favorite that brings the audience to their feet.
For those who like their music a little less country and a lot more rock-n-roll, check out Carolina Opry’s latest showcase “Good Vibrations,” which canvases the formative years of popular music from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. Offering spot-on versions of hit songs from a variety of musical genres, Good Vibrations includes songs like Frankie Valli and the Four Season’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” The Temptations’ “Papa was a Rollin’ Stone,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze,” just to name a few. This variety show is perfect for families to share and learn about their personal favorite forms of music with one another, and to gain a greater appreciation about the pioneers who paved the way for today’s artists.
The Carolina Opry also ventures into the realm of classic hard rock and metal with the addition of the “LIGHT Laser Extravaganza” to the late-night lineup. Featuring high-tech lasers to the music of rock legends like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, this show attracts a nice mix of young and older audiences.
The Carolina Opry is also famous for its annual “Carolina Opry Christmas Special,” which runs in November and December. The crowd-favorite event puts everyone in the holiday spirit with traditional carols, dance numbers and a visit from the jolly ol’ elf himself.
Now more than ever, Carolina Opry has something for the whole family. From its country music roots on the Grand Strand to its newfound modern-rock sound, this theater is the perfect place for a night out with the entire family. For more information about dates, times and ticket prices, call The Carolina Opry at 800-843-6779, or visit the website at www.thecarolinaopry.com.