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Lights, Camera...Action! A Behind the Scenes Look at Our Live Shows

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Monday, May 7th, 2012

Hey there, fans!

Have you ever wondered what it takes to put on a show like Rockin' the Decades or Charlie Brown's Hoe Down?

Before any auditions or performances can happen, our entertainment department decides what shows will be performed for the season. They make that decision based on guest feedback (yep, your comments and suggestions matter!) and what we believe guests will enjoy most.

After the shows have been selected, performers audition at Carowinds to show off their skills. For stage shows, performers learn choreography and musical numbers and for character auditions, performers only learn choreography to demonstrate personality and body movement. If a performer can’t make it to the actual audition they can submit a video audition. Did you know our performers come from around the country and from around the world? We've featured actors and dancers from Russia to Japan and across the United States!

Once the performers have gone through the hiring process, the real work begins. There are rehearsals, costumes, lighting and did I mention rehearsals?

It’s not all glamorous – making it to center stage takes a lot of hard work. To learn shows performed in theaters like Rockin' the Decades, performers have only 13 days, rehearsing 10 hours a day. Character shows like Charlie Brown's Hoe Down takes about 15 hours to learn over the course of three weekends.

Erika Hogan, our entertainment area supervisor, explains how things are perfected for performance. “It takes a lot of planning and organization. We have to rent studio space around Carowinds for our dancers and singers to learn the show, and then we move back to the park so the performers have ample time to rehearse on the actual stage.”

After performers have mastered the steps, it’s time to add details. There are about 50 costumes for shows this year. Some costumes are made at Carowinds, others are ordered and some are purchased in local stores. It takes up to two weeks to complete fittings and alterations for all costumes.

Another component of the show is the lighting, which can take weeks to perfect. “Carowinds uses an outside company for lighting design, and then we have to order lighting packages and hang the lights,” says Hogan. “It can take one month to ensure we have all the equipment and colors we need for a show.”

When the shows are completely ready - it’s time for the fun to begin! Family, friends and Carowinds staff can attend a “soft opening” of performances before the shows open for park guests.

What about pre-show jitters? Before shows open at the park the performers and technical staff arrives 60-90 minutes before the show. Performers do their hair and make-up as well as warm up. The tech crews clean the stage, run sound and lights and complete microphone checks. Then it’s show time!

No matter your age – from kids, to kids at heart, be sure to take in a show during your visit to Carowinds as they're a perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones and create lasting memories!

Be sure to check out all the shows this season: Charlie Brown's Hoe Down, PEANUTS Rockin' Party, and the new Rockin' the Decades and Got Country. You can learn more about each of these shows and the show times at

Until next time,


I like to come to Carowinds sometime in the future!

- Cameron Lute
Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 11:23 AM


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