PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (July 8, 2013) — The Blackwoods Morning Variety Show has moved to a new location in a larger venue at the Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge.
The show features the internationally recognized Blackwoods Singers and the comedy/ventriloquism of Bob and Marty Hamill.
The Blackwoods are now singing right back where they began at the very first theater they started at in Pigeon Forge, even though the name of the theater has changed over the years. The new Blackwoods location is just a few doors down from their previous location and can accommodate almost 700 more people than they could before.
R.W. and Donna Blackwood have been performing with the Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group since 2003 and have been most recently located at the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show. All of the performers and most of the employees have stayed with the show during the move. The new season of the show has performances every morning Tuesday through Sunday.
Smoky Mountain Opry co-owner David Fee said, “We now have a bigger and even better Blackwoods Morning Variety Show. We have moved the time of this show an hour later, and it now begins at 10 a.m., and we are no longer serving breakfast. We found that most of our vacationing tourists wanted to sleep in a little longer on their vacation, and we also found that most people had already received a free breakfast at their hotel or motel.
“This show has a unique mixture of the humor of Bob and Marty Hamill, as well as the Blackwoods singing country, gospel and patriotic music. The Blackwoods have a strong fan base and an engaging stage presence. Their influence in country and gospel music endures. We are thrilled to have them.”
Donna Blackwood said, “We are excited to be moving to the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater celebrating 13 years of providing awesome entertainment to millions of people in Pigeon Forge. Just because we are in a new place, doesn’t mean everything is new. We are still singing a lot of fan favorites and all of our performers that people have come to know and love are back.”
Although most people associate the Blackwood name with outstanding gospel music, they have an award-winning country music background as well.
The dynamic new show is a country and gospel mixture of the former Blackwood Breakfast Variety Show and showcases the talents of Karen Tillery (who has performed in over 40 Bill Gaither videos and for 10 years on Trinity Broadcast Network), Craig Hodges, Jonathan Lee Kunkle and Brad Smith, in addition to the Blackwoods.
“Our new production has a selection of country favorite songs sung as a tribute to the country stars that R. W. and I have worked with, including Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Glen Campbell, Dale Evans, George Jones, Larry Gatlin, the McGuire Sisters, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Roy Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, the Statler Brothers, Tanya Tucker and Tennessee Ernie Ford,” said Donna Blackwood.
In addition, the show has some Blackwood singer audience favorites that Blackwood fans expect to hear every show such as “Put Your Hand in the Hand,” “Daddy Sang Bass,” “Sunday Afternoon Boat Ride” and “Stop and Smell the Roses.”
They invite audiences to take a trip down memory lane to when the Blackwood Singers had songs on the charts in the 70s. R.W. Blackwood said, “We had six country hits in the top 100 Billboard and Cashbox Magazine Music Charts in the 60’s and 70’s. We are performing some of our more popular country hits and yet not forgetting our gospel roots.
“We feel very blessed that we performed in Archie Campbell’s backup group, and we worked with many great country performers such as Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans, Charley Pride and Dale Robertson,” he said. “A lot of people still like traditional country but can’t hear it on the radio. People come up to us and ask us to perform these songs that they miss.”
“The Blackwoods Morning Variety Show” includes a video of Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans singing “Happy Trails.” Some of the other songs in the show include “Feeling Fine,” “You Raise Me Up,” and “Elvira.”
“The last country hit we had was a song named ‘Dolly’ that I recorded, and I sing it again in our show,” Donna Blackwood said. “Jonathan Lee Kunkel performs an inspiring version of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy,’ and there is a tribute to Elvis Presley, called ‘If The Lord Wasn’t Walking By My Side.’ Elvis was a friend of our family and as a young man wanted to be a Blackwood Brother but was turned down after an audition.”
Multi-talented ventriloquists Bob and Marty Hamill joined the Blackwoods five years ago. They entertain the crowd with two comedy segments in the show, one with puppets and one as “senior citizens.”
The Hamills were presented with the highest honor a ventriloquist can receive at the 34th International VentHaven Ventriloquist Convention, the W. S. Berger Distinguished Service Award. W.S. Berger was the president of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists and founder of the VentHaven Museum.
R.W. Blackwood said, “For years the Hamills have traveled the globe and have earned the reputation of being among the best ventriloquists in the world. We are thrilled to have them in our show.”
The show’s highlight is a patriotic finale to “When the Saints Go Marching In” that brings the crowd to its feet, complete with flying flags and video special effects. This is a special tribute to the veterans of the armed forces.
“We thank our veterans, our God and our country, and we pray our country turns back to God.”
In addition to its array of country and gospel music, the show features a dazzling but elegant use of modern sound and lighting, stage design, and costuming to usher audiences into the remarkable world of country and gospel music and bring standards of grand theater production to new levels.
The Blackwoods have had over a quarter century career, from their early days performing at county fairs, western festivals and political conventions to their eventual status as one of country and gospel music’s top acclaimed acts.
“Most people don’t realize that most of the country stars are either friends of ours or were friends of my Dad’s,” said R. W. Blackwood. For example, my Dad worked with the Everly Brother’s Dad in Iowa and he did “The Grand Old Gospel” with Porter Wagoner.”
The Blackwoods Morning Breakfast Show is open six days a week at 10 a.m. at the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater (dark on Monday). Adult tickets are $29.95, plus tax. Children 11 and under are $9.95, plus tax. Tickets are available by calling 865-908-SHOW (7469). Groups of 20 or more qualify for group rates, available by calling 1-866-492-6972.
The Smoky Mountain Opry Theater is located at 2046 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. For more information about the show, visit www.Blackwwodshow.com/tickets.html or call 1-800-768-1170 or 865-428-7469 (SHOW).
The Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group is currently running a special combination show deal that offers customers a chance to buy a ticket to the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show for $49.95 plus tax and then for just $15.00 plus tax, they can purchase a ticket to The Comedy Barn®, the Smoky Mountain Opry or the Blackwoods Morning Variety Show.
The show is part of the Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group that includes “The Comedy Barn;” “The Smoky Mountain Opry;” “The Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Show;” Tony Roma’s Ribs, Steaks, and Seafood; Happy Days Diner; Chef’s Catering and www.SeePigeonForge.com.
Deborah Fee Newsom865-414-6887 (cell)