Hooray for Dollywood! Theme park turns 25 - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Hooray for Dollywood! Theme park turns 25

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Posted: Sunday, June 27, 2010 4:00 am

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. • Dolly Parton had an odd request for the audience.

"Act like you never saw me," she said.

She flubbed the lyrics to a song she was performing for her latest cable special, "Dolly Parton Celebrates 25 Years of Dollywood" (airing 8 p.m. Saturday, July 3, Hallmark Channel). So Parton did the song again and asked the audience, seated outside during a recent afternoon at Dollywood, to pretend like the next take was all-new to it.

With enthusiastic applause, it did.

In two days, Parton, with the help of guests Kenny Rogers, Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus, was able to record the hourlong program, which is packed with musical numbers, views of the theme park and chitchat between the stars. Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney - both got work at the theme park in their early days - pass along their best to Parton during the special.

"A few years back, we knew we wanted to do a TV special about the 25th anniversary, and we knew we wanted to get people who had performed here at Dollywood over those 25 years," Parton said during a break in the taping. "Just so happens we could get Kenny, Billy Ray and Miley."

Why those three?

"Kenny and I are like an old married couple. Miley is so hot right now, and Billy Ray, well, he's just plain hot to me," Parton deadpanned.

Parton and Billy Ray sang "Daddy Was An Old-Time Preacher Man." With Miley, Parton reworked her signature tune "Jolene" - with the twist being about "an older woman and a younger woman fighting over the same man," Parton told the audience. The "Jolene" re-imagining turned out to be an audience favorite, with Miley's husky voice adding an aggressiveness against Parton's high-pitched pleading.

Rogers sang "I Will Always Love You" and "Islands in the Stream" with Parton.

Parton and the Cyruses played guitar and reminisced in an attic above Dollywood. They sang "Romeo," a 1994 hit for Parton and Billy Ray. Parton asked Miley if she'd ever heard of the song since she was not yet 2 years old when the song was a hit.

"Oh, yeah," Miley said to Parton. "I used to dance to the video all the time when I was a kid."

Later, in front of the audience, Parton took notice of Miley's shopping spree at Dollywood. "I'll give you a discount on that since you're a guest," Parton said. "On second thought, you should pay full price. You can afford it."

Other highlights For the week of June 27-July 3 (Listings subject to change):


• "Daytime Emmys" (8 p.m., CBS). ABC's "General Hospital" leads the nominations with 18, including Outstanding Drama.

• "Hung" (7 p.m., HBO). A second season lifts off as well-endowed Ray fights his feelings for his ex-wife.

• "Entourage" (7:30 p.m., HBO). Vince risks his life for a film stunt.


• "Huge" (9 p.m., ABC Family). Kids at a fat camp learn that weight isn't their only issue in this new drama.


• "Rescue Me" (10 p.m., FX). Tommy is starting to realize just how much rescuing he needs as the sixth season begins.


• "Real World: New Orleans" (10 p.m., MTV). Eight strangers share a house.


• "General Hospital" (2 p.m., ABC). James Franco isn't returning just yet, but his real-life mama is showing up.

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