Dolly Parton may be a woman for all seasons but she’s been especially prolific when it comes to Christmas-related projects. This year the global icon teams with the Hallmark Channel to spotlight the East Tennessee theme park that bears her name in the holiday-themed TV movie, Christmas at Dollywood.
Starring Danica McKellar, a veteran of several Hallmark Christmas films as well as the classic ABC series The Wonder Years, Christmas at Dollywood will begin filming in Tennessee in August. Parton is slated to make a special appearance in the film, which premieres in December during Hallmark Channel’s 10th anniversary of their annual “Countdown to Christmas,” beginning October 25th and running through New Year’s Day.
Featuring cameo appearances from the star’s son, Draco McKellar Verta, and her mother, Mahaila, Christmas at Dollywood tells the story of McKellar’s character Rachel Lewis, a single mom and award-winning Broadway producer with family roots in Appalachia. When a friend calls from Tennessee to tell her about an opportunity to produce a 20th anniversary show for the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival at Dollywood, she heads south with her daughter Amy in tow. Rachel soon learns she’ll be working with Dollywood entertainment director Luke Hakman, who initially sees the holiday show as a stepping stone to a position for himself as Dollywood’s general manager. While the bedtime stories Rachel tells Amy inspire her vision, Luke has some other ideas about what the show should be.
Parton previously partnered with Hallmark on a 2010 TV special celebrating 25 years of Dollywood, and in addition several Christmas albums, including Once Upon a Christmas, with Kenny Rogers, has either starred in and/or produced such holiday-themed projects as Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love, A Country Christmas Story, Unlikely Angel and A Smoky Mountain Christmas.