DREAMSCAPES Fall/Winter 2017
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DOLLY PARTON AHOY!
 
(2016 - Fall/Winter Issue)

Writer: DIANE SLAWYCH



To some, being “the most honoured female country performer of all time,” would be accomplishment enough. However, for Dolly Parton, whose credits include 25 songs that reached No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, that’s no reason to slow down. Let’s just say she works beyond “9 to 5” (to borrow the title of one of her hit songs).

The singer has written books, starred in movies and even ventured into tourism. In her home state of Tennessee, there’s the Dollywood theme park, Dollywood’s Splash Country (a waterpark), and adjacent to it, the new Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort.

AN ACTION-PACKED SPECTACLE

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Parton is behind something completely different—the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, which opened in 2011 and features epic battles between pirates like Blackbeard and Calico Jack who once sailed the Carolina coast searching for treasure.

Parton is impressed by the acrobatics and apparently so are hundreds of tourists who, each night, attend the performance, rated the No. 1 show in Myrtle Beach. The massive set includes two full-sized pirate ships and a lagoon, which I later learned was 4.6 metres deep. Good thing as there were plenty of high dives from the ship’s masts.

We took our seats in the front row as servers came around with a four-course feast that included half a roasted cackler chicken, BBQ pork and apple pie for dessert. Often I wasn’t sure where to focus my attention—dinner or the show, which delivered 90 minutes of non-stop action ranging from aerial feats and sword fights to fires and the appearance of two enormous and crafty sea lions, one of which nearly splashed us a few times.

The show, judging by the audience, appeals not only to families but couples and groups of friends as well. Those with youngsters will want to arrive at least an hour early for the interactive experience in the Pirates Village (included in the price of admission).

Meanwhile Dolly Parton fans may be interested in knowing the singer collaborated with Mark Bryner to write the musical score for the show and wrote several songs including “Sailor’s Leave,” which plays as the mermaids perform on the trapeze above the audience.

On exiting the theatre, there was Dolly, or at least a large poster of her, dressed in authentic pirate garb and smiling with the greeting below that said: “Safe sailing!”

Travel Planner

The Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show (piratesvoyage.com) runs most nights throughout the year in a fully accessible theatre. Vegetarian meals are arranged with advance notice. Porter Airlines (flyporter.com) flies from Toronto to Myrtle Beach up to five times weekly from February to May. At other times of the year, WestJet operates direct flights between Toronto and Myrtle Beach. Rates at the Springmaid Beach Resort start at US$179.

 
 
 
 
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