The Grand Ole Opry is about to give music fans a never-before-seen look behind the scenes of the show that made country music famous. Two new Opry House Backstage Tours, a VIP Behind The Opry Curtain Tour and a Post-Show Tour offer backstage experiences during and following Opry shows, respectively. The new tours are added to the Opry’s backstage tour line-up which also includes a daytime tour featuring video host, CMA Entertainer of the Year and Opry member Blake Shelton.
With the new VIP Behind The Opry Curtain Tour, a limited number of fans at each Opry performance can for the first time stand backstage as the big red curtain goes up on an Opry performance. The tour also offers guests an exclusive intimate look at the inner-workings of the Opry in the moments leading up to show time before they are escorted to their seats in the Opry House to take in the night’s performance.
The new Opry House Post-Show Tour features 2012 Opry inductee and Capitol recording artist Darius Rucker as video host. Immediately following Opry performances, Rucker shares with guests some of his favorite backstage moments and memories as they visit areas occupied just minutes before by artists on that night’s show. Among Rucker’s videos are “Opry home movies” sharing video footage of Opry debuts, including Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and others; vintage performances by Geroge Jones, Dolly Parton, and more; and an array of Opry fashions and hairstyles through the years.
Opry member George Hamilton IV, known unofficially as the International Ambassador of Country Music, is a frequent participant in both tours, sharing stories of spending time backstage with everyone from Patsy Cline in the early 1960s to the Opry’s currents superstar members.
Among other areas and items seen on the two new Opry House Backstage Tours as well as the Daytime Tour:
- A sampling of 18 dressing rooms, refurbished following the Nashville flood of 2010. Each dressing room is decorated with a unique theme including “Cousin Minnie,” “Wagonmaster,” “Little Jimmy,” and “Mr. Roy,” (honoring Opry greats Minnie Pearl, Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Dickens, and Roy Acuff, respectively.) Other dressing rooms celebrate “Honky Tonk Angels,” “The Cowboy Way,” and “Friends and Neighbors,” famous personalities from all walks of life who have visited the American institution.
- Opry Member Gallery, on which each member in the Opry’s 87-year history is recognized, from Uncle Jimmy Thompson to Rucker.
- The Opry House Family Room, home to the Opry’s most treasured photos, including those of visits by U.S. Presidents, Opry performances at Carnegie Hall, and more.
- Opry House Studio A, where dozens of TV series and specials have been filmed through the years, including the most famous of all, HEE HAW.
- The Opry stage, the most famous stage in country music and home of the famed circle of wood moved to the Opry House from the Opry’s most famous former home, the historic Ryman Auditorium.
Each of the Opry’s three tours are available now. Opry Post-Show Tours are available on nights in which there is only one Opry performance. Tickets and information are available at opry.com, 800-SEE-OPRY, and at the Opry House Box Office.
Photos By: Chris Hollo