Generations of Family Entertainment

Meet the Gilmore Family

It’s All About Family

Meet Jeff Gilmore and Jordan Gilmore Watkins

Jeff and Jordan were ages 8 and 4, respectively, when the family moved from Missouri to the Grand Strand to pursue Calvin’s dream of building a live music theater. They  grew up in the business. Literally. Family meals were likely to include discussions about comedy, cast members, marketing and everything in between. Both of them spent a lot of time at the theater watching rehearsals or playing backstage in dressing rooms and corporate offices and each of them rode in to work with Dad in the evening from time to time. After completing college, they moved back to the beach to put their oars in the water with the family business. Thirty-six years later, they are an indispensable part of the fabric of the company, working closely with Calvin and long-time family friend and Gilmore Entertainment president David Olive.

Calvin Gilmore performing at The Grande Ole Opry

Jeffrey Gilmore

As a company vice-president, Jeff produces and directs shows, along with Calvin, and participates in all administrative operations.
At age 8 he carried ice for concession stands and even appeared onstage in the first Christmas show carrying on comedy props for Bogie. He roamed the theater, and knew it all like the back of his hand (He was, in fact, once found running the length of the top of a parked tour bus—to retrieve a football).
Today, Jeff is primarily involved with the productions, overseeing cast, rehearsals, finding new material, scheduling auditions, and doing master planning with Calvin. The toughest nights are nights when someone is unexpectedly out of the show, which entails quick planning, agile adjustment, and a shifting of show line-ups. He additionally oversees scheduled celebrity concerts, making sure their “load in” of equipment goes smoothly and directing the fulfillment of their very involved contract riders which can cover everything from specific foods (one star required a specific brand of pork rinds) to flower arrangements (a well-known band claimed that they knew how the whole gig would go, based on our flower arrangements). Then there was the one that required rental flat-screens backstage so his technical crew could keep up with a playoff game. At the end of the day, celebrities and traveling acts always love playing in Calvin Gilmore’s theater.
Jeff graduated from Waccamaw High School in Pawleys Island before spending a couple of years at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. After marriage, he and wife Carrie moved to Chicago for three years to complete their degrees, returning to the beach in 2004. They now live in Pawleys Island along with their two children, Evie and Walker. Jeff’s family attends the Anglican church in Pawleys Island. Jeff is an involved father, a film buff, a tender animal-lover, enjoys reading, and is an avid sports fan – particularly of the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs. 

Jordan Gilmore Watkins

As company vice president, Jordan is Marketing Director, also participating in administrative operations. In addition to directing the many aspects of the company’s robust marketing plan, she is trained in graphic arts, and produces many of the company’s marketing materials herself. She is often seen with her camera and shoots all the photography for the company. In her marketing capacity, Jordan serves on various committees for the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the the Santee Cooper Customer Advisory Board, and a fund-raising arm of Brookgreen Gardens.

Just age 4 when the family moved from Missouri to the beach, she barely remembers any other way of life. “I can remember watching the first cast rehearse while renovations were still being done on the original theater. I used to watch the show just captivated. At that age I had no idea the risks my parents were taking, what a new and innovative experience they were creating, what an institution it would someday turn into. I would love to go back and look in on those days as an adult, I imagine the excitement and fear my parents must have been feeling as they embarked on this new journey. The Carolina Opry wasn’t just what my parents did, it was who we were. The cast was an extended part of my family and the theater was like home. I’m not sure how they felt about me hanging around the theater as a child, watching the girls put on their makeup and curl their hair, but I have always thought the world of them. All those sentiments still ring true, this is my family and my home and I always knew this is where I wanted to be when I grew up.”

Jordan graduated at Waccamaw High School in Pawleys Island, where she and her husband Russell now make their home, with their son Rudd and daughter Gilmore. As Clemson graduates, they are die-hard Clemson Tiger fans, holding season tickets every year and are often enjoying a tailgate with friends. She is involved with their Southern Baptist church, active in community and school activities, and enjoys playing USTA tennis. 
Calvin Gilmore performing at The Grande Ole Opry

 It gives me a great deal of comfort to know that Jeff and Jordan are on the front lines, maintaining the high level of integrity and product expected of Gilmore Entertainment. Their talent and work ethic is a gift. I never dreamed that it would be so satisfying to have my children working side by side with me. How did I get so lucky?

- Calvin Gilmore