Category Archives: Branson Shows

Best Branson Insider Highlights for April 2017

There just something special about Spring in the Ozarks!

April is the month where our Ozark Hills bloom into the full freshness and beauty of spring,” said, Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “April is also when Branson’s shows and attractions ‘burst into the bloom’ of their 2017 seasons,” she added.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, with a list of the highlights of special events you can enjoy in Branson during the month of April:

Featured Show of the Month: The Haygoods are celebrating their 25th year of entertaining Branson Audiences in 2017. Starting as youngsters at Silver Dollar City, these incredible artists have developed a unique iconic style of quality high energy entertainment. They are constantly re-energizing and changing their performances throughout the year to meet the expectations of their anticipated audience. How good is this show? When I saw it, I wrote, “Based on over 30 years of seeing Branson shows, I can testify to the fact that it’s, “Really terrific!” A WOW, WOW, and WOW, on a Three WOW Scale with three WOWs being as high as you can get! From the “Get go,” its two hours of the most unique, innovative, talented, energetic, personable, and exciting entertainment you will ever experience on a Branson stage.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Kris Kristofferson for one night only! Heralded as an artist’s artist, the three-time GRAMMY winner wrote and recorded the hit songs Me and Bobby McGee, For the Good Times, Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down and Help Me Make It Through the Night. In addition to many other awards, Kristofferson is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, winner of the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriter Hall of Fame, and was honored with the American Veteran’s Association’s “Veteran of the Year Award” in 2002.

Featured Event of the Month: Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Recipients, Thursday, April 20 through Saturday, April 22. It’s a unique event remembering, honoring, serving, and entertaining those receiving the ‘Purple Heart’ as the result of combat wounds suffered while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s designed to allow time for the attendees to spend time with one another, experience Branson, and participate in events that honor, entertain and support them. All the activities are free to Purple Heart Recipients. For additional information or to Register, please call 1-800-268-4014 or go to the Branson.Com Honors Purple Heart Recipients website.

Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date.)

Apr 7: Kris Kristofferson
Apr 7: The Dean Z Show
Apr 8: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest
Apr 12: Ricky Nelson Remembered
Apr 19-20: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Apr 21-22: Oak Ridge Boys
Apr 21-22: Branson Music Fest

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Apr 1-2: Big Bass Tour Table Rock Tournament
Apr 1-May 31: Ozark Mountain Shindig Festival
Apr 6-8: 2017 Kenneth Copeland Branson Victory Campaign
Apr 6-30: Silver Dollar City Presents a Festival of Wonder
Apr 8: FLW Ozark Division Bass Fishing Tournament
Apr 8: C.A.M. Benefit Trout Tournament
Apr 8: Easter Bunny Festival
Apr 15: MCDA Cheer and Dance Championships
Apr 15: Hollister Easter Egg Hunt
Apr 15: Branson RecPlex Easter Egg Hunt
Apr 15: Easter Egg Hunt – Rockaway Beach
Apr 16: Easter Cruise on Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Apr 16: Easter Shopping at Tanger Outlets
Apr 16: Easter Brunch at Chateau on the Lake
Apr 16: Easter Weekend in Branson
Apr 16: Keeter Center Easter Brunch
Apr 17-Apr 23: Legends of Golf Presented by Bass Pro Shops
Apr 19: College of the Ozarks to dedicate The Missouri Gold Star Families Memorial
Apr 20: Hootenanny in the Park
Apr 20-22: Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Recipients Weekend
Apr 21-22: Branson Music Fest
Apr 21-22: The Branson Collector Car Auction
Apr 21-23: Taneycomo Throwdown
Apr 27-28: JMH Righteous Revolution Rally
Apr 29: Kayak Branson’s Biggest Flotilla Adventure on Lake Taneycomo

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with a Branson-based vacation planning specialist. They will be delighted to answer any questions, and assist you with show or lodging reservations and there’s absolutely no charge for this service

Showboat Branson Belle launching exciting new guest experience in 2017!

The magnificent Showboat Branson Belle!

When the magnificent Showboat Branson Belle leaves the dock on her first 2017 Table Rock Lake cruise, on March 4, 2017, something special will happen. Her guests will be cruising into an exciting new experience. They will enjoy the improvements of Phase One of a two-year, multi-million dollar, “large-scale guest experience relaunch.” The relaunch delivers to the boat’s guests what they said they wanted during extensive research done in 2016.

Nick Guevel, Director of Operations for the Showboat Branson Belle, took time from his busy schedule to the talk with the Branson Tourism Center about the Branson Belle and the exciting new guest experience they will have in 2017.

BTC: How long have you been working at the Showboat Branson Belle?
NG: I’ve been with Herschend Family Enterprises for five years and with the Showboat Branson Belle for just over a year.

BTC: What does the Director of Operations do?
NG: They manage the complete operation of the Showboat. This includes everything from marketing and ticket sales to the daily execution of cruises and customer service.

BTC: If you could write the headline for an article describing the experience your guests will have on the Branson Belle in 2017 what would it be?
NG: Showboat Branson Belle launching exciting new guest experience in 2017!

BTC: In 2017, the Showboat’s guests will enjoy the enhancements of Phase One of a two year multi-million dollar “large-scale guest experience relaunch.” What was the driving force behind the project?
NG: Giving our guests an experience creating “Memories worth repeating” has always been our mission. To do that we are constantly evolving to give our guests the best experience possible. Last year we conducted extensive research to get their opinion as to what they wanted. This project delivers what they said they wanted.

BTC: What are some of the major elements of Phase 1?
NG: A complete redo of our theatre and dining area including carpeting, stage, chairs, wall paper and painting. The launch of a new summer show, “Country on the Lake;” menu changes, expansion of the premium dining area, entertainment on the top deck; modification of the panoramic windows throughout the boat so the curtains won’t have to be drawn while guests enjoy the show, and much more.

Just enjoying the moment.

BTC: Of all the physical enhancements in Phase One, which one are you personally most excited about?
NG: I’m most enthused about those that focus on enhancing the experience of the lake for our guests. One example is taking the curtains off the giant panoramic windows throughout the boat so that our guests can see the lake at all times while on the boat.

BTC: Does glare coming through the windows interfere with guests enjoying the show?
NG: No. We have a coating on the windows that reduces glare while permitting the guests to enjoy both the show and the view of the lake.

BTC: In the past, a premium dining and seating experience was offered in the Paddle Wheel Room. How is that experience changing for 2017?
NG: We have guests on the boat that want the best deal they can get. We also have guests that are willing to pay for premium experiences. In 2017 we are growing our premium seating and the amenities that go along with it. Our “Captain’s Club Premium Seating and Dining Experience” includes priority boarding, ordering from a menu with a choice of delicious entrees, and premium seating. The 60 premium dining seats, the first three rows in the balcony, are considered “the best seats in the house.” The “upcharge,” from “General Admission,” to “Captain’s Club” is $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for children..

BTC: Will the “Paddle Wheel Room,” still be part of the premium dining experience?
NG: No. In the past it was, but diners then missed the pre-show.

BTC: Will the enhancement include more room between seats?
NG: Yes. One of the things people told us during our research was that they wanted more room. We have removed seats from the boat so that there is more room between each seat.

BTC: What are the Phase Two enhancements?
NG: We’re going to continue to work on the remodel of our front atrium area, more seating and activities on the exterior of the boat, the top deck, and more work on the White River Landing area where people arrive.

BTC: Why the emphasis on more seating and activities on the exterior of the boat?
NG: We are trying to make the outside of the boat more flexible for each guest. We want to create an opportunity for guests to go up to the top deck and enjoy it their way. If they want to sit up front and listen to the music we have seats for that. If they want to go find a quiet place on the boat to just sit and talk, we want to have nice seating for that too. We’re trying to create these “pods” around the boat with activities and seating where people can really get to use the boat to maximize their experience.

BTC: Could you give an example of where these “pods” would be located?
NG: Throughout the exterior of the boat we have spaces where we are creating unique comfortable settings for people to enjoy. The back of the boat on the top deck provides a lot of flexibility, but there are other areas. One would be the “atrium balconies” at the front of the boat on each level.

BTC: What one thing about the first phase of the enhancement project means the most to you?
NG: For me, there’s a sense of pride in that we are delivering on what our guest research told us our guests wanted. It’s satisfying to me to know that we not only asked, but that we listened.

BTC: Will the boarding process be a little different in 2017 than in the past?
NG: Yes. We want people to relax and enjoy the experience. That starts with giving them more time to shop and enjoy the landing, maybe have a coke before boarding. We also wanted to do away with long boarding lines and make it a more fluid experience. Everyone has an assigned seat so there’s no need to rush on board. We will call smaller groups by row. You listen for your row, we will scan your ticket and you go right down and sit in your seat. There’s no need to wait in those long lines.

CELEBRATE’s Cassandré Faimon-Haygood and Christopher James.

BTC: CELEBRATE is the headline show of the Showboat Branson Belle. Are there any major cast or production changes from last year?
NG: Our all-star cast is returning. This includes the ShowMen, our talented vocal group; Cassandré Faimon-Haygood, one of Branson’s premier female vocalists and entertainers; the four-man dance troupe Rhythm; and comedian emcee Christopher James will all be returning. The Rockin’ Dockers, one of the finest live bands anywhere, will also be back.

BTC: Will there be changes in the music in CELEBRATE?
NG: Yes. Our research indicated that our guests wanted more classic rock. Although there will certainly be a variety of music, with something for everyone, it’s going to be much more focused on classic rock.

BTC: Can you give us an example of the artists whose music will be included?
NG: Sure, Billy Joel, Elton John, The Beatles and others. The songs will be songs, that you grew up listening to and will get your toes tapping.

BTC: Is magic and comedy still part of CELEBRATE?
NG: Absolutely and in a big way! Christopher James, our emcee is fabulous with his ultra-sharp improvisation, magic and humor.

BTC: The Branson Belle is featuring a new noon show for 2017 called Country on the Lake. What lead to the decision to change to the new country format?
NG: Our guest research told us that there is a real love for country music and specifically, 1990’s country music.

BTC: What type of music will it feature?
NG: It will be a musical journey through some of the most popular country music of the 90s along with some of the southern classic rock hits that influenced that music.

BTC: Will the menu for that show be different than the CELEBRATE! menu?
NG: Yes. It has been designed to enhance the overall country experience of our guests. It includes slow smoked pork, smoked at Silver Dollar City and delivered fresh to the boat each day; BBQ Chicken, loaded baked potatoes; roasted corn; homemade rolls; a great spring mix salad and ice cream pie for dessert. It’s also made at Silver Dollar City and transported to the boat.

BTC: So the CELEBRATE! and Country On the Lake shows will have different casts, a different show, and a different meal?
NG: They are two entirely different experiences resulting in one thing. An extremely enjoyable and entertaining experience providing “Memories worth repeating.”

If you’d like more information on the Showboat Branson Belle please call the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. A Branson based Vacation Specialist will answer any questions you have about Branson lodging, shows, or attractions. They can also help with ticketing, reservations and getting the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

 

What else but “grand” shows at Grand Country!

Grand Jubilee’s New South Quartet; Jim Dandee with straight-man, MC, and producer Mike Patrick; and the lovely Jackie Brown.

“We feel so blessed about the quality, variety, and award winning talent our shows have,” said Mike Patrick. Patrick is the producer of the Grand Jubilee, Comedy Jamboree, Amazing Pets and other shows at the Grand Country Music Hall. “We offer something for everyone. More importantly however, they are shows the whole family can enjoy together,” he added.

“We appreciate the folks at the Grand Country Music Hall so much,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Their shows are perennially on Our List of Most Popular Shows and are available to Branson visitors more than any others throughout the year.”

Grand Jubilee is one Branson show that has it all. An incredibly talented quartet of gifted guys, the award winning New South Quartet and Branson’s Female Vocalist of the Year, Jackie Brown, perform the vocals. Accompanied by one of the finest live bands in Branson, it’s an unforgettable musical journey with rock’s greatest hits of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, classic gospel and country, and today’s Top 40. The hilarious comedy of Jamie Haage, aka Jim Dandy, and straight man, emcee, Mike Patrick, will have you in stiches. It’s easy to understand why some say, “If awards were handed out for being just a plain heapin’ helpin’ of family fun, ‘Grand Jubilee’ would be America’s most recognized show!”

Amazing Pets features delightful circus-like acts with an impressive cast that’s not your typical circus animals. They are everyday house pets! Using feline friends that are famous for only doing what they choose to do, well-respected animal trainer, Valery Tsoraev, has created a delightful line-up of animal acrobatics and tricks! With more than 30 happy, well-trained animals performing it’s a bit of magic, a touch of mayhem, and a whole lot of furry frivolity! An amazing show for “kids” of all ages and adults sharing it with their children or grandchildren.

The Comedy Jamboree is an electrifying extravaganza of music and mayhem…is there anything more fun than a live show that has everything? This show will inspire you to let go of your reserve and laugh hysterically, dance and sing in the aisles, and wish the fun would last forever! Zany comedians Applejack, Stretch McCord, and Adam will have you laughing until it hurts. The Jamboree Singers, the Grand Band, and piano-playing genius, Tracy Heaston will perform some of today’s hottest country hits. Add a bit of dancing, including that good, foot-stomping fun known as clogging and you have the phenomenal Comedy Jamboree!

And that’s just some of the shows at the Grand Country Music Hall. In addition there’s the New South Gospel staring New South on Thursday afternoon, Branson Country USA at 11:00 PM on Friday, and Ozarks Country and Ozarks Gospel shows on Sunday. For more information on these and other great Branson shows call the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. A Branson based Vacation Specialists will be happy to answer any questions and help with ticketing, reservations and getting the best available show seats. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

For best Branson vacations one call takes care of it all!

Just a few of the many choices Branson visitors have.

“There’s good news and bad news for those planning to vacation in Branson,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “The good news is that there’s so much to see and do. The bad news is there’s so much to see and do.”

How can “good news” also be “bad news?” Garrison says there’s more excitement, fun, live entertainment, and adventure for families in Branson than any similar sized travel destination in America. So much so, that planning a vacation to Branson can be challenging, for first time visitors. “But one call to the Branson Tourism Center, at 1-800-785-1550, can take care of it all.”

The Branson Tourism Center has been helping Branson Visitors plan exceptional vacations since 2002. “‘Helping people have the best possible Branson experience,’ is not just a trite phrase. It describes the passion and commitment of our 100 Branson based employees as they share all Branson has to offer each day,” Preston adds.

One call to 1-800-785-1550 puts you in contact with one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson-based Vacation Specialists. They’ll help you to narrow all the choices Branson has to offer into the perfect vacation for you and your family. There is absolutely no fee or charge for this service.

The Vacation Specialist will guide through the 20,100 hotel rooms, condos, and cabins available to come up with the one that is ideal for you and your family. Do you want a lake side cabin, condo, or room? Do you want to be near Silver Dollar City? On a golf course? Pet friendly or not? Are there particular amenities or services wanted? What price range?

Want the lowest guaranteed price on your lodging? No problem, just select lodging that is part of the Branson Tourism Center’s Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee Program. These include properties such as the Welk Resort, Dutton Inn, Pointe Royale Resort, and others. Subject to a few conditions, if you find a lower price for the same room on the same dates, between when you book and arrive in Branson, the Branson Tourism Center will match it.

Branson’s shows are famous! From over 120 shows, as varied as Moses, Million Dollar Quartet, Presleys’ Country Jubilee, and Amazing Pets, the Vacation Specialist will help boil it down to those that most interest you and your family. They will also show you how to save money by bundling lodging and shows and using Family Passes.

“And that’s just shows and lodging! As with them, there are similar choices within each of the general categories of things to do in Branson. It’s not just a “lake” there is a choice of three. Do you want to fish for warm water fish like bass and crappie or cold water species like Rainbow and Brown Trout? How about zip lines? Do you want a full guided eco canopy tour across many zip lines, platforms, and skywalks like that offered by Branson Zipline. Or would you prefer the unique thrill of zipping across Lake Taneycomo to the top of Mount Branson for a spectacular view of Branson Landing and Historic Downtown Branson on Parakeet Pete’s zip line?

From rooms, to shows, attractions and other activities, your Branson based Branson Tourism Center Vacation Specialist will help custom design the perfect Branson vacation for you and your family. At the very least they will save you valuable time and, in most cases, money. Most  important of all however, is that they’ll help plan a Branson vacation that could make memories lasting a lifetime!

The words of Peggy Barthel, the purchaser of our three millionth ticket, said it all! “I had spent most of that day on the internet spinning my wheels trying to decide where to go, what we were going to do, and that kind of thing.” Then she found the Branson Tourism Center and called 1-800-875-1550. “One call, that’s all! They just took care of everything. We just came and had fun.” Doesn’t that sound like great advice? “One call takes care of it all!”

Did you know about these exciting things going on in Branson in 2017?

Showboat Branson Belle features new 2017 noon show, “Country On The Lake.”

“There’s always fun and excitement in Branson,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Branson is constantly adding something new and fresh. There’s always a reason to comeback to Branson! Why would anyone go anywhere else, but Branson for a vacation or a get away?”

From celebrating Branson entertainment milestones, to new festivals, shows and attractions there’s an adventure for everyone in Branson to enjoy during 2017. Here’s some of the highlights:

Silver Dollar City’s The Festival of Wonder: Its new Festival of Wonder promises “A most Amazing Entertainment Experience!” The “all-new festival presents amazing acts of curiosity and larger-than-life performances. See The Earth Harp Collective, featuring the world’s largest playable stringed instrument; the Glass Armonica showcasing “one of the world’s largest instruments made of glassware;” and much more. Festival activities are in addition to everything else the award winning 1880s-styled theme park offers daily.

Milestone Show Performances: 2017 presents a unique opportunity to celebrate and become part of Branson’s history. Presleys’ Country Jubilee and the Presley family celebrates their 50th year performing in Branson. They have been in the same location since June 30, 1967. The Haygoods are celebrating 25 years of entertaining Branson audiences with an all-new show in 2017. The five Haygood brothers and their sister first performed for Branson audiences in 1992 at Silver Dollar City.

Raiding the Country Vault: Opening for its first full Branson season in 2017, six words sum up this show up, “It will blow your socks off!” Devoted to traditional country music, it is an extremely well-produced show, presented by a cast who are not only masters at their craft, but obviously have a love and enthusiasm for the music they are performing.

Raiding the Rock Vault: The producers of Raiding the Country Vault are bringing their hit Las Vegas show, Raiding the Rock Vault, to Branson for a limited engagement appearance July 6 through July 22.

Miracle of Christmas Returns to Sight and Sound: Sight and Sound’s spectacular biblical epic, Miracle of Christmas returns to Branson for the Christmas season from November 4 through December 30. Experience the story of the Nativity and Christmas as it comes to life with high drama, awe-inspiring special effects and live animals. See the true meaning of Christmas unfold right before your eyes!

Dreams – A Classic Rock Fantasy: In its first full season in Branson, this show is sure to provide one of the most intimate nights of high energy classic rock entertainment in Branson. Classic rock fans will love the way Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart and Mick Jagger “come alive” in this powerhouse of sound woven into the story of a father’s “Steampunk dream.”

Showboat Branson Belle’s Country On The Lake: Starting Memorial Day Weekend, the Branson Belle will have a new noon concert cruise. “Country On The Lake is designed as a concert cruise, featuring multi-talented rising country stars performing #1 hits from yesterday’s classic rock to country favorites of today, backed by a live band,” said Nick Guevel, Operations Director for the Showboat Branson Belle. “We’ll include tributes to country stars of the ’90s with songs by stars such as Garth Brooks and Faith Hill, plus many of classic rock’s most memorable songs.” The show’s meal will include slow-smoked pork prepared by the pit master at Silver Dollar City and delivered to the Showboat every morning and desserts prepared by the Silver Dollar City bakers.

Rhonda Vincent, Neal McCoy, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Fortune, and the Oak Ridge Boys are just a few of the touring national stars appearing in Branson during 2017!

Touring Stars performing 2017 Limited Engagements: Many touring stars will perform Limited Engagement shows in Branson during the year. Here’s the list with links to add scheduling and ticket information, as of February 11:

America: Oct 8
Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol: Nov 1-Dec 16
Loretta Lynn: Oct 14-15
Neil Sedaka: Oct 21
Paul Anka: Nov 12
Tanya Tucker: Sep 16
Bill Anderson & Moe Bandy: Jun 23
Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson: Apr 19-20
Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune: Oct 17-18, Nov 11-12
Branson Music Fest: Apr 21-22
Charley Pride: Sep 29
Country Unplugged Tour: Nov 8
Daniel O’Donnell: Oct 30-Nov 18*
Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, & B.J. Thomas: Oct 6-7
John Conlee: Jun 7
Johnny Mathis with Gary Mule Deer: Nov 17-18
Kris Kristofferson: Apr 7
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers: Nov 1 & 15
Larry’s Country Diner-T. Graham Brown: May 1 & Sep 18
Larry’s Country Diner-Mo and Holly Pitney: May 4
Larry’s Country Diner-Mark Wills: May 5
Larry’s Country Diner-Gene Watson: May 3 & Sep 20
Larry’s Country Diner-Jimmy Fortune: May 2 & Sep 21
Larry’s Country Diner-Rhonda Vincent: Sep 19
Larry’s Country Diner-The Isaacs: Sep 22
Menopause The Musical: May 18-21
Neal McCoy: Nov 1-16*
Oak Ridge Boys: Apr 21-22, Sep 20-21, Oct 4-31 & Nov 1-16*
Raiding the Rock Vault: July 6-22Richie McDonald: Aug 13
Ricky Nelson Remembered: Apr 12
Roots and Boots Tour starring Pam Tillis, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye: Oct 13
Sister Sledge: Jul 7

T. G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang: Jul 5
The Bellamy Brothers: May 31
Titanic Dance: Nov 1-12*
Trace Adkins: Jun 30
Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest: Apr 8
Vicki Lawrence and Mama: May 14

White Water’s New Interactive Kids’ Play Area: The new half-million dollar kids’ play area has been added to the “Coconut Cove” section of White Water. Designed for the smaller kids the area has five slides, four water blasters, “bubbler” fountains, hose jets, tipping buckets and more.

The History of Fishing Museum: If you are a fisherman, this is a must see! Opening for its first full season in Branson in 2017, the museum has more than 40,000 pieces, valued at nearly $5 million. It showcases the private collection of Karl & Beverly White including lures, rods, reels, boats, motors, and everything else having to do with sport fishing. The museum’s collection covers everything that is “collectible.” It includes many “firsts” such as the first Skeeter bass boat to come off the line.

Titanic Museum Attraction’s “Titanic Movie Gallery:” To honor the 20th Anniversary of James Cameron’s iconic movie “Titanic,” the museum has a has a new “Titanic Movie Gallery.” It showcases many never seen before items from the movie including costumes, set pieces, props, signed scripts, and more. This is a limited engagement from March 12-June 11.

Main Street Lakes Cruises’ Scenic and Dinner Cruises: This will be the first full year operating in its new easy access location at 9 South Boardwalk at Branson Landing. Its new prime location, along the shoreline of the Bass Pro Parking lot provides drive-up parking and immediate level access to the main entrance from a flat parking lot. Main Street Lake Cruises offers Lake Taneycomo sightseeing and dinner cruises aboard its two vessels, the 140 passenger riverboat replica Lake Queen, and the 100-foot luxury yacht, the Landing Princess.

“And this is just the middle of February!” said Wood. For more information, call the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. For planning the ideal trip to Branson, “One call can take care of it all.” A Branson based Travel Planner will answer any questions about Branson, help with reservations, and getting the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

* Please check linked schedules for exact dates, ticketing, and pricing.

The new 2017 Ultimate Branson Guide to touring national stars

Rhonda Vincent, Neal McCoy, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Fortune, Daniel O’Donnell, and the Oak Ridge Boys are just a few of the touring national stars appearing in Branson during 2017 for Limited Engagement performances!

“The quality and variety of Branson Shows is one of the major reasons people come to Branson,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It is a combination of Branson’s excellent resident shows* and touring national stars that attracts them,” she added.

Most of Branson’s most popular local shows are on our list of Most Popular Shows. Here’s two lists of touring national stars and acts performing in Branson during 2017. For ease of use, the sorting on the first list is by “Name” and the second by “Date:”

2017 Limited Engagements Sorted by Name

America: Oct 8
Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol: Nov 1-Dec 16
Loretta Lynn: Oct 14-15
Neil Sedaka: Oct 21
Paul Anka: Nov 12
Tanya Tucker: Sep 16
Bill Anderson & Moe Bandy: Jun 23
Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson: Apr 19-20
Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune: Oct 17-18, Nov 11-12
Branson Music Fest: Apr 21-22
Charley Pride: Sep 29
Country Unplugged Tour: Nov 8
Daniel O’Donnell: Oct 30-Nov 18*
Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, & B.J. Thomas: Oct 6-7
John Conlee: Jun 7
Johnny Mathis with Gary Mule Deer: Nov 17-18
Kris Kristofferson: Apr 7
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers: Nov 1 & 15
Larry’s Country Diner-T. Graham Brown: May 1 & Sep 18
Larry’s Country Diner-Mo and Holly Pitney: May 4
Larry’s Country Diner-Mark Wills: May 5
Larry’s Country Diner-Gene Watson: May 3 & Sep 20
Larry’s Country Diner-Jimmy Fortune: May 2 & Sep 21
Larry’s Country Diner-Rhonda Vincent: Sep 19
Larry’s Country Diner-The Isaacs: Sep 22
Menopause The Musical: May 18-21
Neal McCoy: Nov 1-16*
Oak Ridge Boys: Apr 21-22, Sep 20-21, Oct 4-31 & Nov 1-16*
Raiding the Rock Vault: July 6-22
Richie McDonald: Aug 13
Ricky Nelson Remembered: Apr 12
Roots and Boots Tour starring Pam Tillis, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye: Oct 13
Sister Sledge: Jul 7

T. G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang: Jul 5
The Bellamy Brothers: May 31
Titanic Dance: Nov 1-12*
Trace Adkins: Jun 30
Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest: Apr 8
Vicki Lawrence and Mama: May 14

2017 Limited Engagements Sorted by Date

Apr 7: Kris Kristofferson
Apr 8: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest
Apr 12: Ricky Nelson Remembered
Apr 19-20: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Apr 21-22: Oak Ridge Boys
Apr 21-22: Branson Music Fest
May 1: Larry’s Country Diner-T. Graham Brown
May 2: Larry’s Country Diner-Jimmy Fortune
May 3: Larry’s Country Diner-Gene Watson
May 4: Larry’s Country Diner-Mo and Holly Pitney
May 5: Larry’s Country Diner-Mark Wills
May 14: Vicki Lawrence and Mama
May 18-21: Menopause The Musical
May 31: The Bellamy Brothers
Jun 7: John Conlee
Jun 23: Bill Anderson & Moe Bandy
Jun 30: Trace Adkins
Jul 5: T. G. Sheppard & Kelly Lang
July 6-22: Raiding the Rock Vault
Jul 7: Sister Sledge
Aug 13: Richie McDonald
Sep 16: Tanya Tucker
Sep 18: Larry’s Country Diner-T. Graham Brown
Sep 19: Larry’s Country Diner-Rhonda Vincent
Sep 20: Larry’s Country Diner-Gene Watson
Sep 20-21: Oak Ridge Boys
Sep 21: Larry’s Country Diner-Jimmy Fortune
Sep 22: Larry’s Country Diner-The Isaacs
Sep 29: Charley Pride
Oct 4-31: Oak Ridge Boys*
Oct 6-7: Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, & B.J. Thomas
Oct 8:  America
Oct 13: Roots and Boots Tour starring Pam Tillis, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye
Oct 14-15: Loretta Lynn
Oct 17-18: Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune
Oct 21: Neil Sedaka
Oct 30-Nov 18: Daniel O’Donnell*
Nov 1-12: Titanic Dance*
Nov 1 & 15: Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers
Nov 1-16: Oak Ridge Boys*
Nov 1-16: Neal McCoy*
Nov 1-Dec 16: Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol*
Nov 8: Country Unplugged Tour
Nov 11-12: Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune
Nov 12: Paul Anka
Nov 17-18: Johnny Mathis with Gary Mule Deer
May 14: Vicki Lawrence and Mama

For more information on these shows or other shows please call one of our Branson based Travel Planners at 1-866-593-9740. They’ll also answer any questions about Branson including its hotels, attractions, and shopping and can help make the appropriate reservations. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

* Check schedule for specific performance dates

If the Million Dollar Quartet isn’t a quartet what is it?

The Million Dollar Quartet, David Brooks as Jerry Lee Lewis, left, on the piano; Brad Waters as “Carl Perkins;” Austin Wilson as “Jay Perkins,” the bass player; Tyler K. Hunter as “Elvis Presley;” and Cliff Wright as “Johnny Cash”

The Million Dollar Quartet is an entertaining Tony Award-winning musical. It’s the story of the most famous rock and roll “jam session” in history.  The show features four of the most famous rock and roll stars of all-time Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins singing together, but were they a quartet?

What’s a “quartet?” In musical terms, it’s a group of four people intentionally playing instruments or singing together as a group. Examples are “Jazz quartet,” “the Four Lads,” and “string quartet.”

Four people sang together, why isn’t it a quartet? If they weren’t a quartet, why is the show named the Million Dollar Quartet? To get the answers, let’s go back to the storefront recording studio of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee on December 4, 1956.

Sun recording artist, Carl Perkins, was in the studio doing a recording session for what would become his next hit, “Matchbox.” Playing with him was his brother Jay on bass, drummer, “Fluke” Holland, and budding Sun recording artist, Jerry Lee Lewis, on the piano.

Johnny Cash, another Sun recording artist, stopped by to watch the session and talk with Sam Perkins, the owner of Sun Records. Later, RCA, and ex-Sun, recording artist Elvis Presley, just dropped by with a young woman he was seeing at the time.

At the end of the Perkins recording session, the four young performers spontaneously started talking, playing music, and singing. The resulting unplanned jam session, involving four of the greatest rock and roll performers of all-time in the early stages of their careers, was a unique onetime event. They never performed together again!

When Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, discovered the jam session, he called Bob Johnson, the entertainment editor of the “Memphis Press-Scimitar.” Johnson came to the studio with a photographer. The next day he published an article entitled, “The Million Dollar Quartet.”

That would have been the end of it, and the “Million Dollar Quartet” would have been a forgotten footnote of history. In fact, it was for decades, and would have remained that way except for the foresight of sound technician Jack Clement. He had recorded the Perkins session and was still in the sound booth. When the impromptu jam session started, he recognized its significance and recorded it without anyone’s knowledge.

The recording went into the Sun Records “library,” where it remained unnoticed for decades. It was discovered by a new owner of Sun Records and was recorded and released in Europe in 1981 under the title “Million Dollar Quartet.”

The recording and the events of the original jam session became the basis for the musical Million Dollar Quartet, written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott, which premiered in 2007. This Tony Award winning hit has played in Chicago, Broadway, and Las Vegas and has toured extensively in the US and abroad. It’s currently one of the hottest shows in Branson, Missouri, performing at the Welk Resort Theatre.

The common definition of “quartet” is immaterial. Bob Johnson’s headline, the day after the jam session, “Million Dollar Quartet,” has stood the test of time. It will forever describe what Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins were, and did, on December 4, 1956.

“Family” starts Presleys’ amazing 50-year Branson odyssey

Gary , left, and Steve Presley sharing memories about their first 50 years on the Branson Strip .

The first 2017 performance of Presleys’ Country Jubilee, on March 10, will be the beginning of the Presley family’s 50th year performing in Branson. During a recent interview, Gary Presley said, “When we originally opened, as the ‘Mountain Music Theatre,’ on June 30, 1967, it was a cooperative family effort. That same family effort, our love for one another, and what we do, has blessed us throughout these first 50 years,” he continued.

Going back to those early days, Presley said that he; his two sisters, Deanna and Janice; and dad, Lloyd played at “Fantastic Caverns” in Springfield, Missouri. In about 1962, separately, he also played “Herkimer” and was the comedian in the “Underground Theatre Show” near Kimberling City. It was in a cave located in the same valley as “Talking Rock Caverns.” The show featured Bob White, Slim Wilson, Speedy Haworth, others, and occasionally, Red Foley.

Around 1964, some of the cast members quit. Lloyd and his two sisters, Deanna and Janice, came and performed a few shows with us in the cave. The idea for a theatre on Highway 76 in Branson started to take root around that time.

Highway 76 was a two-lane road, outside of the Branson City limits, that tourists used to travel to the growing “Silver Dollar City,” “Shepherd of the Hills,” and “Table Rock Lake.” Presley said that the theatre becoming a reality was a family effort involving four couples. The original partners were his Mom, Bessie, and Dad, Lloyd; he and his wife Pat; his sister Deanna and her husband David Drennon; and Larry and Francis Drennon, David’s parents.

“We got together and decided that if we could put a building on Highway 76 we might have a few people show up,” he said. He points out that the move from that point to opening the theatre was a co-operative effort of all the partners. “It never would have been built without the effort and sacrifice of the total family,” he added.

As the theatre took form, a show was developing along the format that Lee Mace’s “Ozark Opry” was using so successfully in the Lake of the Ozarks. Based on short sets of country music broken up by comedy, it fit in ideally with the Presley family’s talents.

The musical talent of the Presley family Lloyd, Janice, Deanna and her husband David, Steve, and Gary, supplemented with other cast members, addressed the music. Add the comedy of Gary as “Herkimer” and the result was an ideal fit for the Presley family.

Steve Presley pointed out that, if show didn’t make it, they had a backup plan. Although only ten years old at the time the building was built, he recalled that it was built with a flat floor and huge double doors in the back. The thinking was that if things didn’t work out with the show the building could be used to store boats. Well, it’s worked pretty good so far! As Lloyd Presley once, smilingly said to his sons, “Tell you what…we never had to store any boats in the theatre, did we boys?”

“No sir, you sure didn’t!” That building, and the Presley family has become a constant beacon for the spirit of Branson’s family entertainment and what it represents. Their talent and that of the cast performing with them in Presleys’ Country Jubilee has entertained, and continues to entertain, millions of Branson visitors.

It’s an entertainment experience blessed with the innate ability of the Presleys to communicate their genuine love for what they are doing, each other, and family, to their audience. For 50 years, and counting, they have created wonderful Branson memories as they inspire and entertain Branson audiences. Congratulations and thank you!

Best Branson Insider Highlights for February 2017

The Hughes Brothers from our Featured Show of the Month, “It starring the Hughes Brothers.”

“Valentine’s Day and President’s Day Weekend provide February’s focus for romance, fun, shopping, and entertainment,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s hard to imagine a more romantic spot for Valentine’s Day or a better shopping destination during President’s Day Weekend. And it just gets better, as many of Branson’s most popular shows open their 2017 Season,” she added.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, with a list of Special Event Highlights you can enjoy in Branson during February, 2017:

Featured Show of the Month: As words go, “it” is a short word. The show it Starring the Hughes Brothers, shows how big “it” can be, with music, fun, inspiration, and entertainment for every member of the family!

It’s one thing to be “world’s largest performing family.” It’s entirely something else when that performance results in a show listed on Branson Tourism Center’s Most Popular and Highly Recommended Show List. The majority seeing “it,” hearing “it,” and experiencing “it,” as I did, know why. From the opening curtain to the finale, “it” is one of the most energetic, unique, colorful, and inspirational shows in Branson, entertaining all ages simultaneously.

Featured Event of the Month: The beginning blush of Branson’s 2017 live show season with the opening of some of its most popular shows including:

Amazing Pets
Branson Country USA
Comedy Jamboree
Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies
Grand Jubilee
The Haygoods
it starring the Hughes Brothers
Legends in Concert
New Jersey Nights

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Feb 4:     Father/Daughter Valentine Dance
Feb 5:     Super Bowl LI at The Paddlewheel
Feb 7-14:  Tanger Outlets Share the LOVE Event
Feb 10-14: Valentine’s at Chateau Grille
Feb 11:    Hot Winter Fun at Trophy Run
Feb 12:    2017 Branson Bridal Show
Feb 14:    Valentine’s Day
Feb 14:    Valentine’s Weekend in Branson
Feb 14:    Valentine’s Day Dinner at Keeter Center
Feb 15:    The Massacre at Ledgestone Country Club
Feb 17-19: Tri Lakes Building & Home Show
Feb 17-20: President’s Day Weekend Sale – Tanger Outlets
Feb 23-26: VisionCon – Gaming, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Anime Convention
Feb 25:    Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament – Lilleys’ Landing

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood said that weather and seasonal show, attraction and lodging availability are important when planning a trip to Branson during the winter months. She suggests calling the Branson Tourism Center, toll-free at 1-800-785-1550, and talking with one of its Branson-based Vacation Planning specialists. They’ll answer any questions and help with show reservations, ticketing and lodging. There’s no charge for this service.

So you think that all Branson shows are country!

Moses. The Haygoods, and the Million Dollar Quartet illustrate the breadth of entertainment that Branson shows offer.

“It’s absolutely amazing that so many people have the mistaken opinion that Branson shows are predominately country,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “While Branson’s rich live entertainment tradition is rooted in country music and humor, as reflected by the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Presleys’ Country Jubilee this year, and it offers many great country music shows, an examination of some of Branson’s most Popular Shows, indicates the majority of those shows are not country at all providing a marvelous variety of live entertainment for Branson show goers to enjoy.”

Here’s three of Branson’s most popular shows that illustrate this point:

Million Dollar Quartet: This Tony Award winning musical is based on an actual, one time impromptu jam session involving four young performers in the early stages of their career, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis that took place on December 4, 1956, in the storefront recording studio of Sun Records, in Memphis, TN.

The storyline, the historical moment in rock & roll history it tells, and the way it is artfully woven around timeless music that everyone knows and loves, brings the excitement and spontaneity of that almost forgotten jam session to life. Add an outstanding cast, great production, the show’s unique set and the result is an incredible entertainment experience for the whole family that should not be missed.

The Haygoods: Many sibling singing groups are blessed with a God given sound that makes their harmonies a joy to hear, but The Haygoods have that blessing along with an instrumental talent that is amazing! When the Haygoods combine the two, a synergy is created that just must be experienced to be believed.

The music, energy, action, and special effects of The Haygoods show will captivate and hold the interest of all adults and most children simultaneously throughout the show. As the ads say, “Where else can you check out a guitar-playing LED robot rocking out to ‘The Cotton Eye Joe’” or “see an amazing harp player performing in a magical light up dress.” In a town filled with great live entertainment, this show is a WOW on so many levels. It should not be missed!

Moses: This powerful and epic biblical story follows Moses on his quest for personal identity; what that meant as he decided to follow his God and, unbeknownst to him at the time, change the course of human history. Journey back to that time with your family and witness some of the greatest moments in biblical history; experience the exhilaration and celebration of the Israelites as they brush past you on their path to freedom; feel God’s awe-inspiring power as you sit amid the parted Red Sea, and the moment God first speaks to Moses at the burning bush, all presented as only Sight and Sound can do.

“While maintaining its inspirational biblical perspective, Moses is the most spectacular, technologically advanced show that Sight & Sound Theaters has ever put on stage,” said Mike Pitman, the Business Development Manager for the theatres. He said that people expect the inspirational and spectacular from Sight & Sound, but Moses takes it to an entirely new level! That’s saying a lot, especially when one considers some of the other Sight and Sound productions that have been presented in Branson such as Noah – the Musical, Miracle of Christmas, Joseph, and Jonah. Moses will be performed from March 4 through October 20, at which time it will conclude its 2017 season to make way for the spectacular Miracle of Christmas which will run from November to December 30.