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The Carolina Opry Theater Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The impressive variety of live music shows in Myrtle Beach can be traced back to one man, Calvin Gilmore, and his singular vision that first-rate entertainment could thrive along the Grand Strand. Now in its 34th season, the critically acclaimed Carolina Opry Show boasts over 9,000 performances and has been running longer than any show from Myrtle Beach to Broadway.

The Original and Still #1

Gilmore Entertainment and The Carolina Opry Theater have long been the leader of musical variety show entertainment in the Southeast, with the classic Carolina Opry Show, retro Time Warp, Thunder & Light, the all new Pure Magic and The Carolina Opry Christmas Special. Gilmore and his shows have been featured by USA Today, NBC Nightly News, Southern Living Magazine, Variety, and a host of other newspapers and television shows. It is the only Myrtle Beach show to receive the coveted South Carolina Governor's Cup, as well as being voted South Carolina's Most Outstanding Attraction. In recent years, Gilmore has performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, and he is designated as South Carolina's Official Country Music Ambassador.

Our Productions

The Carolina Opry

The award-winning show blends two hours of high-energy music, comedy and dance in a luxurious theater complete with state-of-the-art lighting, sound and special effects. Highly acclaimed by The New York Times, USA Today, NBC Nightly News, and CNN, The Carolina Opry is the only show to be named “Top Attraction in Myrtle Beach” by CNBC. Featuring a cast of over 35 of the nation’s most talented performers, this variety show spans all genres to bring you the best hits of yesterday, today and everything in between!

Time Warp

The best music of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, blended with rich multimedia screens, special effects, and elaborate costuming. This fast-paced, high-energy show will take you back to the decades that brought us the best in American popular music! We guarantee you won’t see anything like this on the Grand Strand!

The Carolina Opry Christmas Special

Produced and directed by award-winning Calvin Gilmore and referred to as "The Christmas Show of the South", The Carolina Opry Christmas Special is the first Christmas Show in Myrtle Beach and the standard for holiday entertainment in the Southeast. November through early January, The Carolina Opry Theater is transformed into a winter wonderland where the magic of the season comes alive in a dazzling, jolly, and sentimental musical celebration of America's best-loved holiday.

Thunder & Light

This live production features the nationally renowned clogging group All That!, combined with a multi-million dollar laser light show and features the magic of The Wagsters. The show includes exclusive, original choreography by All That!, interviews and background on the group, and the same multi-colored 5-laser show that toured with Pink Floyd and Madonna.

Known nationally for their recent success on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, All That has gathered a fanatical following.

Pure Magic

From the groundbreaking producer and director that introduced live entertainment to Myrtle Beach nearly 35 years ago, Pure Magic is an entirely new production starring The Wagsters. The Wagsters bring magic, amazement, comedy and drama together with captivating card tricks, confounding disappearing acts and even some silly sleight of hand.

In The Press

A Little History

May 2, 1986

The impressive variety of live music shows in Myrtle Beach can be traced back to one man, Calvin Gilmore, and his singular vision that first-rate entertainment could thrive along the Grand Strand. The Carolina Opry was the first show to open in Myrtle Beach and the only show in the area for 7 years.

On June 2, 1986, when Calvin Gilmore opened his doors to the first paying customers of The Carolina Opry, few locals or vacationers knew what to expect. Another country bar? Maybe Hee Haw at the beach?

What they got was a breath of fresh air. A sensational show in a cool theater. The kind of show you could take your kids or your grandmother to—but it also blew back the hair of your hard-to-please brother-in-law from New York. By late summer the word had gotten around that something spectacular was happening at The Carolina Opry, and the long line of patrons snaked out the door and around the building. Tour buses stood bumper to bumper. Gilmore had only 12 entertainers and musicians to work with, himself among the number, but they packed a wallop.

December 1986

The inauguration and phenomenal success of The Carolina Opry Christmas Special (“The Christmas Show of the South”) made Myrtle Beach a year-round destination.

Many may have forgotten that thirty years ago Myrtle Beach rolled up the sidewalks after Labor Day. It was hard to find a restaurant open for lunch in December. Then the Christmas tour busses began to roll to The Carolina Opry Christmas Special. Families from throughout the region came to Myrtle Beach in December just to see the show. Hotels and restaurants not only opened—they filled. And a new seasonal market was born.

February 1987

The Carolina Opry is named the State's Most Outstanding Attraction by the Governor of South Carolina

September 1, 1989

Selling out nightly, The Carolina Opry had outgrown its original 1,000-seat location and in 1986 Gilmore opened his second theater in North Myrtle Beach, The Dixie Jubilee. Still the only theaters in the market, Gilmore continued to expand the Myrtle Beach tourism season.

June 29, 1992

Again, Gilmore was outgrowing his two theater locations. In 1991 Gilmore broke ground on the 2,200-seat state-of-the-art theater that The Carolina Opry now calls home.

It was also around this time that national media exposure of The Carolina Opry began to culminate. Gilmore was a legend in the area and was beginning to bring Myrtle Beach into a national light. It was during this time that corporate investors saw Gilmore’s model and his success and decided to try their hand at it as well. Numerous theaters came to Myrtle Beach and the theater market eventually reached saturation and many of those theaters closed shortly after they opened. Throughout this period, The Carolina Opry remained the standard other theaters tried to live up to and was one of the few theaters to remain not only standing, but successful through this period.

The Carolina Opry is the only show on the Grand Strand to have one owner that is local, performs in the show, produces the show, directs the show, watches the show constantly and reads every single comment card himself. Gilmore’s dedication, creativity, ingenuity, and courage brought theater to Myrtle Beach and have kept The Carolina Opry at the forefront of that industry.

July 3, 1992

Calvin Gilmore opens his third Grand Strand theater, Southern Country Nights in the Surfside Beach theater that was the original home of The Carolina Opry

July 18, 1992

Governor Campbell names Calvin Gilmore “South Carolina’s Country Music Ambassador” and The Carolina Opry is designated ad “The Country Music Center of South Carolina.”

November 17, 1992

USA today credits Calvin Gilmore and The Carolina Opry with “Starting the Myrtle Beach boom” and attracting investment groups to follow in his footsteps with attractions like Broadway at the Beach and theaters like Alabama Theatre, both of which were yet to be built at this time.

January 5, 1993

S.C.’s first weekly television series, Country Music Spotlight, airs on The Family Channel live from The Carolina Opry Theater, named for the company’s in-house showbill, Spotlight Magazine.

It starred Calvin Gilmore and other featured performers from The Carolina Opry along with Merle Haggard, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, Travis Tritt, John Michael Montgomery, the Gatlin Brothers, Martina McBride, and Patty Loveless.

February 1993

Calvin Gilmore Productions wins the state’s highest and most coveted award, the Governor’s Cup for Overall Excellence in the Tourism Field.

Calvin Gilmore accepted the prestigious award from Mac McIlroy, Executive Vice President of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, and John W. Lawrence, Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. Speaking to some 500 tourism industry professionals from across the state, Gilmore said, “This is a special evening for all of our 240 employees, who have worked very hard to make a significant impact on South Carolina tourism.”

September 8, 1993

Calvin Gilmore Productions sells 80% to the Family Channel Television Network

July 1994

Nascar Salute to Fast Cars, taped live before a studio audience at The Carolina Opry, featuring Calvin Gilmore, the Carolina Opry, Denver Pyle, and Tom Wopat.

January 1995

Gilmore brings all three shows together under one roof at the 2,200-seat Carolina Opry Theater to bring the biggest live entertainment experience Myrtle Beach has seen.

April 18, 1995

The Wall Street Journal credits Gilmore with “touching off the next boom in Myrtle Beach,” influencing several developers to follow suit with attractions such as Fantasy Harbour and Broadway at the Beach, and adding over 10,000 new jobs to the area.

June 1995

Calvin Gilmore receives a star on the Myrtle Beach Walk of Fame along with Wheel of Fortune hostess Vanna White.

September 27, 1995

Calvin Gilmore painstakingly restores one of America’s oldest passenger train stations into his fourth theater, housing The Serenade Show in Charleston, S.C.

May 30, 1997

Calvin Gilmore is inducted into the official Hard Rock Café Hall of Fame and Gilmore’s Taylor guitar and custom Manuel jacket are added into the Hard Rock Café museum and proudly displayed in the Hard Rock Café pyramid in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

April 10, 1998

Murdock buys Family Channel Television Network, and Gilmore buys back 100% of Gilmore Entertainment/Calvin Gilmore Productions

August 22, 2001

Pat Summerall interviews Gilmore on Fox News Success Stories highlighting the national spotlight he brought to Myrtle Beach and his successful negotiations with one of the largest national television networks.

April 29, 2003

Calvin debuts on the Grand Ole Opry, followed by numerous appearances over the following years

August 9, 2003

Legendary producer Barry Beckett produces Calvin's album, Better Late, in Nashville

September 30, 2003

National press continues to roll in as The New York Times calls The Carolina Opry “A hit with visitors.”

March 5, 2004

Calvin Gilmore opens Tribute theater in North Myrtle Beach

August 9, 2005

Gilmore accepts the Best Producer award from The Entertainment Network at the annual convention of the International Guild of Celebrity Impersonators & Tribute Artists in Las Vegas

May 31, 2006

The Carolina Opry celebrates its 6,000th show with guest, Governor Mark Sanford, who proclaimed May 31 as Calvin Gilmore and The Carolina Opry Day.

2007

Calvin Gilmore makes small appearances in two films, “Bolden,” and “Get Low,” featuring Bill Murray and Robert Duvall.

January 10, 2008

Calvin Gilmore and cast are asked to perform the National Anthem on Fox Television Network for the National Republican debate, aired live from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

November 18, 2010

Calvin Gilmore is named Pioneer of the Year, an honor bestowed each year on the individual who has best exhibited a significant, positive impact on the Myrtle Beach area. Gilmore is also presented with the Palmetto Patriot Award, recognizing individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their fellow citizens and the State of South Carolina. The award is the highest the Lieutenant Governor can bestow.

Recent customer reviews

“Fantastic show. Well worth the money and we thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. There is something for everyone. They have dancers and excellent musicians who are fine entertainers. Highly recommend it.” -Brian S.

“Worth the money. Great comedy, music and lots of laughter. Very professionally done. Cannot say enough good about the show. Was one of the highlights of our weekend.” -eluraa1ct, Charlotte, NC

“Just got out of this show and wanted to quickly write down my comments. This show was absolutely amazing. Every single one of these singers are amazing and sound better then shows we have seen in Vegas. We had front row seats and even up front they were beautiful people with very talented voices… a must see when in Myrtle beach!” -Renee R, Vacaville, California

“This is a 2 3/4 hour nonstop (20 min break) that you will thoroughly enjoy. A wide variety of musical numbers, comedy and production numbers. One of the best that we have ever seen.” -Harris4304, Fraser, Michigan

“The Carolina Opry is in a beautiful, large, clean theatre. The seats are comfortable and the leg room is exceptional. All of the musicians and performers are very talented and work very hard to put on an excellent variety show. I was surprised at the breadth of the performances. It was much different than what I expected. This is a show that everyone can enjoy.” - Mikeshy, Aurora, Ohio

“As always the show was wonderful. We have been several times in the past. Every time we come to the beach, this is the show we see. It was great to meet up with ALL THAT again after the show. My daughters (ages 14 & 15) absolutely love the show and always request to come.” - Rebecca S

“This is a show with many talented individuals. Very notable is the clogging dancers “all That” that have competed to the finals twice on America’s got talent. As their advertising says if you only see one show this is the one to see.” -MEtoFL, Agawam, Massachusetts

“AMAZING musicians and singers!! So much talent packed onto one stage! We attended the 6/5 show and enjoyed every second of it. It truly had something for everyone! Thanks for the great show, Carolina Opry!!” -Melissa A. (Via Facebook)

“Have been coming with my mom for nearly 18 years every summer! Have had the pleasure of now bringing my young nieces and sisters in law as well to be part of the tradition! Really impressed with this year’s cast and show!!”- Eryn M. (Via Facebook)

Facility

The Carolina Opry Theater is a 2,000-seat show palace boasting state-of-the-art lighting, sound and special effects.

Credits:

Jordan Watkins

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