See Christmas on Stage in East Tennessee

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing…..Ring ting tingle-ling too….”

The sounds of the season sweep through East Tennessee in a flourish of stage shows, musical programs and theater productions.

In Pigeon Forge, Dollywood’s spectacular show “Christmas in the Smokies” begins with popular holiday tunes. Dolly Parton wrote the lyrics “I’ll be home with bells on… I’ll be home with bells on…Trim the trees and wrap the presents….Turn the Christmas music on… This Christmas I’ll be home with bells on…” The 12-member cast sings and dances to sentimental songs of fireside family gatherings and sleigh rides through winter wonderlands. Sacred music garners overwhelming applause from the audience at the Showstreet Palace Theater.

New this year, Dollywood’s Christmas on Ice show features professional figure skaters in colorful costumes doing daring spins, spirals and fancy footwork on an indoor ice rink at the DP’s Celebrity Theatre.

Giant decorated trees and twinkling lights at the Smoky Mountain Opry in Pigeon Forge put people in the holiday spirit even before the show begins. Once the curtain rises, a live band with brass section plays holiday tunes accompanied by a laser show. Soloists, comedians, champion ice skaters and dancers embrace the merriment of the season. Live camels, a donkey and sheep are part of an awe-inspiring Nativity scene that is a special hit with the children.

Music venues of Pigeon Forge are only the first stop when the Christmas express rolls through East Tennessee.

“The Nutcracker” will be performed by the Chattanooga Ballet and Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra on Dec. 7, 8, and 9 at the Tivoli Theatre. The symphony chamber orchestra also celebrates the season on December 15 and 16 with “Home for the Holidays,” a family event that features the CSO youth orchestra, chorus, and dancers. The Chattanooga Boys Choir has its 50th anniversary performance and be joined by alumni choir members, Ballet Tennessee and the youth orchestra.

The Chattanooga Theatre Center will show a weirder side of holiday cheer with the “Santaland Diaries” and “Season’s Greetings,” comedies by David Sedaris, Nov. 23-Dec. 8. The Carolina Chocolate Drops featuring Two Man Gentlemen Band perform Dec. 9 at Track 29 on Market Street. The perennial musical favorite “Annie” graces the Theatre Centre’s main stage Dec. 7-23.

“The Nutcracker” will be performed at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Johnson City hosts “Electric 94.9’s Acoustic Christmas ’12” on Dec. 13 at Freedom Hall Civic Center. In Maryville the Orchestra at Maryville College and the Community Chorus will blend musical traditions for a concert at the Clayton Center for the Arts on Dec. 3.

Maestro Lucas Richman conducts the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Knoxville Choral Society, and a host of young people singing and dancing Dec. 14, 15 and 16 at “A Tribute to Broadway.” Show tunes will include “White Christmas and “Miracle on 34th Street.” The Clarence Brown Theatre on the UTK campus will present a new version of the old classic “A Christmas Carol” starting Dec. 6.

What show are you most looking forward to this Christmas? Let us know in the comments!


Hi! I’m Linda Lange. As a travel writer living in Knoxville, I fully appreciate barbecue, bluegrass and Dollywood. My...Read on

TAGS: East TN, Music



    thomas thiel

    I am looking for a theater that is going to present The Santaland Diaries in Knoxville for the holiday season.
    Can you provide some information?

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