Pirates Voyage gets into the spirit of the season

spalisin@thesunnews.comNovember 8, 2012 

  • If you go – Christmas stage shows CAROLINA IMPROV COMPANY Where | Uptown Theater, by Bass Pro Shops in Myrtle Beach mall, at U.S. 17 and S.C. 22, near Briarcliffe Acres What, when and how much (including tax)| • “Whose Beach Is It Anyway?” – 8 p.m. Nov. 9-10 and 16-17, for $14 ages 12 and older, $12 ages 4-11 • “Whose Holiday Is It Anyway?” – 8 p.m. Nov. 23-24 and 30, and Dec. 1, 7-8. 14-15, 21-22 and 28, and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26, for $14 ages 12 and older, $12 ages 4-11 • “Dysfunctional Holiday Gathering,” for ages 18 and older – 7:30 p.m. Nov. 21, and Thursdays in December (6, 13, 20 and 27), for $14. • “Whose Year Was It Anyway?” for ages 18 and older – 8 p.m. Dec. 29, for $14 Also | Uptown and Carolina Improv are celebrating their third- and fourth-year anniversaries with free shows in November, to benefit the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. Bring gift donations for children, unwrapped, with a value of at least $15, including toys, pajamas, socks and basic clothing, and receive a free show ticket. (Details about Angel Tree program at 488-2769 or email Brenda_Ryan@uss.salvationarmy.org.) Information | 272-4242 or www.carolinaimprov.com ‘THE CAROLINA OPRY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL’ Where | Calvin Gilmore Theatre, on U.S. 17 Business, near northern junction of U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach When | • 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 12, 14,15, 19-21, 26 and 28; Dec. 3, 5, 10, 12,13, 17-21 and 26-31; and Jan. 1-5 • 1 and 7 p.m. Nov. 9-10, 13, 16, 17, 23-24, 27 and 29-30; and Dec. 1, 4, 6-8, 11, 14-15 and 22 How much (including tax) | $37.16, $42.74 or $51.12 ages 17 and older; and $24.19 or $32.55 children and students with ID Also | “Light” laser shows daily (call for schedule), for $13.95 adults or $11.04 children and students with ID Information | 913-8888, 913-4000, 800-843-6779 or www.thecarolinaopry.com ‘CHRISTMAS AT PIRATES VOYAGE FUN, FEAST & ADVENTURE’ Where | On U.S. 17 Bypass, near northern junction of U.S. 17 Business in Myrtle Beach When | Opening Friday: • 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays-Fridays through Dec. 7, also with a show at 8:30 p.m. Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving Day. • 6 p.m. Dec. 10-14, 16-21, 23, 26-28 and 30-31 • 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays: Nov. 10, 17 and all through December • 4, 6 and 8:30 p.m. Nov. 23-24 How much (including tax) | $47.95 or $53.40 ages 12 and older; $23.97 or $29.42 ages 3-11; and free for ages 2 and younger on parent’s lap. Information | 497-9700, 800-433-4401 or www.piratesvoyage.com ‘CHRISTMAS ON ICE’ Where | Palace Theatre, Broadway at the Beach, at 21st Avenue North and U.S. 17 Bypass in Myrtle Beach When | • 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Dec. 22, and Dec. 26-29, but not on Nov. 22 • 10 a.m. Wednesdays through Dec. 26 • 2 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 27, but not on Nov. 22 How much (plus tax) | Ages 13 and older: evenings $34.95, $39.95 or $44.95, and matinees $29.95; ages 3-12: $9.95 all shows Also | “Rock Around the Clock,” in King’s Theatre, 5:30 p.m. Nov. 8-10, 13-17, 21, 23 and 24; and Dec. 1, 5-8, 12-15, 19-22 and 26-29, for $29.95 ages 13 and older, and $9.95 ages 3-12. Information | 448-0588, 800-905-4228, or www.palacemb.com ‘DINO’S TV CHRISTMAS SPECIAL’ AND ‘THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES – HOLIDAY PROM’ Where | The Grand Theatre, 301 U.S. 17 Business S., Surfside Beach What and when | All shows at 7 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m.: • Dino’s – Tuesdays through November, as well as Nov. 24, and Dec. 5, 13, 18 and 20 • Wonderettes – Nov. 8, 14, 23 and 29, and Dec. 4 and 11 How much (plus tax) | Ages 13 and older: $29.95 show only, $41.95 dinner and show; and ages 3-12: $14.95 and $19.95, respectively Information | 808-9188, 800-252-5642 or www.thegrandtheatre.us ‘LEGENDS IN CONCERT’ With | Tribute artists to Elvis Presley, Celine Dion, Alan Jackson, Johnny Mathis and the Blues Brothers Where | 2925 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach, at U.S. 17 Bypass and 29th Avenue North, next to Planet Hollywood, across from Broadway at the Beach How much | $37.95 regular and $42.95 preferred/VIP for ages 17 and older; and $14.95 and $19.95 respectively, for ages 3-16; VIP table booth $52.95 all ages How much (plus tax) | $27.95 (limited view), $37.95, $42.95 and $47.95 ages 17 and older; and $9.95 (limited view), $14.95, $24.95 and $42.95 ages 3-16. When | • 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Dec. 20 and Dec. 26-30 • 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Dec. 8 • 2 p.m. Nov. 23-24 • 7 and 10 p.m. Dec. 31 How much (including tax) | $27.95 (limited view), $37.95, $42.95 and $47.95 ages 17 and older; and $9.95 (limited view), $14.95, $24.95 and $42.95 ages 3-16 – and for 10 p.m. Dec. 31 only: $10 more per ticket, including party favors. Also | In promotion with U.S. Marine Corps Reserves’ annual “Toys for Tots” program in Horry County: Bring to the theater a new, unwrapped toy worth at least $10 and for evert adults ticket purchased, receive two free children’s tickets – each up to $19.95 in value – for all shows through Dec. 15 – mention code “TOT” at time of purchase. Information | 238-7827, 800-960-7469 or www.legendsinconcert.com THE SOUTH’S GRANDEST CHRISTMAS SHOW’ Where | Alabama Theatre, in Barefoot Landing, on U.S. 17 in North Myrtle Beach When | • 7:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays through Dec. 22, and Dec. 23 and 26-30. • 2 p.m. Nov. 10, 13, 16, 17, 23, 24, 27, 28 and Dec. 1, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 15. • 3 and 9:15 p.m. Dec. 31 How much (including tax) | $39.45, $43.80 and $49.25 for ages 17 and older (for later show on Dec. 31: $41.15, $45.50 or $51); $19.95 ages 4-16 and younger: and free ages 3 and younger on parent or guardian’s lap. Other concerts | • Carolina Beach Music Awards, 3 p.m. Sunday, for $39.95, $48.95 or $63.50 • James Gregory, 7 p.m. Nov. 18 and Dec. 9, for $27.40 or $32.50 • Eddie Miles “An Elvis Christmas,” 7 p.m. Dec. 2, for $22.95, $25.95 or $29.95 Information | 272-1111, 800-342-2262 or www.alabama-theatre.com

Right after Halloween, the Grand Strand goes into Christmas mode, with music, ice skating, comedy – and now pirates – to celebrate the season.

“The Carolina Opry Christmas Special” began its 27th year of yuletide shows Nov. 1, and the other house theaters have since gotten merry, adding and changing numbers from extravaganzas performed last year. The Opry also carries the spirit the longest, through Jan. 5.

The Alabama Theatre marks its 20th year of Christmas shows; “Christmas on Ice” has made a three-peat at the Palace Theatre; the Carolina Improv Company continues building on its holiday menu of topics for an evening; and the producers of “Dino’s TV Christmas Special” and “The Marvelous Wonderettes – Holiday Prom” dinner shows have reopened at The Grand Theatre in Surfside Beach.

Even pirates have gotten into the holly jolly party for this time of year, with Dolly Parton’s “Pirates Voyage Fun, Feast and Adventure” launching its first Christmas show since the former Dixie Stampede dinner theater was transformed into a seafaring experience in June 2011.

Ken McCabe, corporate director of entertainment for Pirates Voyage/Dixie Stampede, wrote the main pirates show and has unwrapped a Christmas version premiering Friday.

He and Larry McCoy, Pirates Voyage’s director of marketing, agreed that opening Pirates Voyage last summer capped a “big undertaking” costing $11 million and that the company wanted to ride the wave with that new show through at least its first year before customizing the production for a Christmas run this autumn.

“We had taken a full year to develop that full project before we even started breaking ground,” McCabe said of renovating Dixie Stampede after 18 years of shows. “We had a lot of momentum. We didn’t want to just slap something together.”

McCabe said with something so new, and developing, that melding Christmas into this format posed a hurdle, “mostly because we don’t want to lose what everybody likes about the pirates.”

Pirates meet Scrooge

“The real challenge,” he said, “was thinking about all the iconic Christmas things and not losing the pirates’ fights and swashbuckling. It’s kind of like the pirates take on Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol.’ ”

That’s where Captain Scrooge fits in, joined by the Spirit of Christmas, to travel back in time and through the present to the future in the familiar story adapted in various ways and media through the years.

“That let us use the elements we have in the regular show,” McCabe said, “and introduce some new ones just for the Christmas season.”

He said this recounting of Scrooge aboard a ship includes two screens to project special Christmas images, along with a toys segment and a live nativity – two segments carried over from Dixie Stampede. Blending in more acrobats by professional actors from the regular pirates show and “more things dropping from the ceiling ... all in a black light” gave show producers more opportunities for creativity with this new presentation.

Without giving away too many special effects in the show, McCabe said the costume for the ghost spirit stands 15 feet tall, and it’s manned through someone inside, “holding on to the elbows of the giant arm extensions.”

“He’s The Wizard of Oz,” McCabe joked.

In “keeping the flavor” of pirates for this Christmas event, he said tunes worked into the plot cover more “old English-feel” titles such as “Good King Wenceslas,” “Here We Come a-Caroling” and older public domain classics.

McCoy said a “core” cast of 15 fuel the show in multiple roles, with “a lot more behind the scenes” and serving the meals to the audience.

Credit also extends to the animals crossing water in the show, those with hooves appearing for Christmas – including a donkey, sheep and camels – and year-round stars with fins, sea lions and mermaids.

McCabe said a crew of “excellent trainers” find out what capabilities the animals have and the script incorporates those skills.

“It’s just getting them adjusted,” he said, “with changes in scene work.”

For the finale, McCabe summed it up as “spectacular,” with “giant Christmas trees that rise out of the water” and huge ornaments that fall from above as all the ships are illuminated.

McCoy said the company invested $1.5 million in special effects for Christmas.

“This is a brand new show,” he said, “a first one in a long time on the beach.”

He said he and company colleagues have noticed how “people really seem to get the story line” in general when shifting to a holiday offering, even with sailing pirates and Christmas together, to give crowds a “magical impression.”

“You feel like you’re part of it,” McCoy said. “You really feel like you’re in a Christmas village.”

McCabe said in lining up all the last-minute preparations in the past two weeks, after months of arranging details, “I’ve lost Halloween.”

“It’s funny,” he said, “because I get into the spirit of the season by the time Christmas rolls around.”

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

Myrtle Beach Sun News is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service