Written by Robert Niles
Theme Park Insider Editor
Posted: January 25, 2012
A phonetic transcription of the Cherokee word shaconage, the title means "Land of Blue Smoke," which we know today as the Great Smoky Mountains. The 45-minute musical pays tribute to the history and people of the local area with eight original songs composed by Dolly Parton herself, not to mention a live bluegrass band accompaniment, as well as outstanding singing, dancing... and even acrobatics.
The show tells the story of a Depression-era Smoky Mountain family packing up to move west, in pursuit of work. But the family's young boy doesn't want to go, and runs away to an old tree, where he wishes to stay.
The boy's wish reveals an enchanted valley, where the spirits of generations past dwell. (And sing and dance, of course.) Eventually, he's joined there by his sister and grandmother, who'd come looking for him. The grandmother is the kids' bridge to the past, teaching them the "old ways" and the stories of her youth, but one of those old ways is that a child can't run away from his father.
So the boy returns to the tree to change his wish. He and his sister will reunite with their father for the trip west, while grandmother will remain home, with the people and spirits of the Smokies.