Category Archives: Branson Shows

Branson is “Creating Memories worth repeating”

Innovations like its new world breaking "Outlaw Run" wooden coaster have helped Silver Dollar City "Create memories worth repeating" for over 50 years.

BRANSON, Mo., July 1, 2013 – “One of the remarkable things about Branson is the number of repeat visitors it gets each year with some coming back year after year,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) “and a big reason for that is that Branson, like its most popular and oldest paid attraction, Silver Dollar City, specializes in “Creating memories worth repeating.” Johnson points out that the perfect example would be that of long time BTC customers George and Sally Kaup, from Woodridge, IL, who have been coming back to Branson each year since at least 1996, sometimes by themselves and, at other times, bringing their family.

For many people those memories generally involve one or more of the three major things that attract and draw people to Branson. Those would be its fabulous live shows, the natural beauty of Branson’s lakes and surrounding Ozark Mountains and its major attractions such as Silver Dollar City, the Titanic Museum Attraction and others.

How important are Branson’s live shows in “Creating Memories worth repeating?” “Very” according to a report that the Branson Board of Aldermen received last year from the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB about a study they did on what brings people to Branson. The study concluded that “Branson’s Shows” are the Number 1 reason people come to Branson.

A quick glance at some of Branson’s most popular shows, as featured in the Official Branson.Com Show Schedule, powered by Branson Tourism Center, will show that Branson offers a breadth of live show that is unmatched by most major tourist destinations. When the quality of those shows is coupled with the fact that they are mere minutes from the natural beauty of Branson’s lakes, the beautiful natural scenery of the Ozark Mountains and its major attractions the result is an unmatched opportunity for “Creating Memories worth repeating” and one that brings visitors back year after year.

The pristine waters of Branson’s two closest lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo, and of the ever present Ozark Mountains is a unique draw for Branson visitors. Whether it’s fishing for bass in the warm waters of Table Rock Lake or the elusive Rainbow and Brown Trout in the colder water of Lake Taneycomo, swimming, boating, camping and or simply relaxing and viewing the beautiful ever changing Ozark scenery; it all plays an important part in “Creating Memories worth repeating” and bringing visitors back to Branson year after year.

Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction, the award winning 1880s style theme park, Silver Dollar City has attracted tens of millions of guests to Branson over the years with its rides, shows, festivals, food services, demonstrating craftsmen and much more. From the very beginning their mission has been to be a place that creates “Memories worth repeating” that will bring visitors back time and time again. The fact that they have been entertaining Branson visitors for over 53 years testifies to its success. The constant addition of new attractions, such as the Titanic Museum Attraction and dozens more, provide still more exciting and fun ways to help Branson visitors create special memories.

It is the “Creating of memories worth repeating” that not only brings families and visitors back to Branson each year, but is the promise that attracts many initially. Branson’s commitment to and keeping that promise is what makes it such a unique and special place.

A cruise on Lake Taneycomo with some absolutely awesome teens

"Operation Liftoff "teens and caregivers on bow of "Lake Queen" as they boarded.

BRANSON, MO, June 28, 2013 — I have been on many cruises aboard Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen, but none was more special or personally significant than yesterday. I had the opportunity to cruise with 10 awesome courageous teenagers who are fighting Cancer and were in Branson on an “Operation Liftoff Teen Trip” with their seven care givers.

Randi McCormick, a Sales Manager with the Group Sales Division of Branson Tourism Center, said that she was contacted by John McLaughlin of Operation Liftoff through the BTC website, www.Branson Tourism Center.Com about setting up a Branson trip for the teenagers, each of whom is fighting Cancer. McCormick explained that from a logistical and processing perspective the planning of the group’s itinerary and Branson activities was routine and was designed to help the Group Leader, in whatever way possible, to plan and provide their group with a great Branson experience. From a personal perspective however, it was much different.

McCormick said that both of her parents are fighting Cancer. “The planning of this trip was very near and dear to my heart, but this group just kind of touched us all and brought us all together as we thought about what these kids are going through and fighting; we just wanted to do a little extra.” The result was a number of surprises for the kids from a brownie and ice cream party provided by Branson Landing, a pool side pizza party hosted by the Hilton Promenade Hotel as well as other surprises from Dixie Stampede, Branson Tourism Center and Main Street Lake Cruises.

John McLaughlin, the Group Leader, said that he has been involved with Operation Liftoff for over 20 years in different capacities. Currently he is a board member who heads up its “Teen Trip Program” which is the part of Operation Liftoff that provide trips for teenagers who are currently fighting Cancer and could not otherwise afford to make a trip like this on their own. McLaughlin pointed out that in addition to the fun, one of the primary benefits that a trip like this offers is a chance for the kids to get together with other kids who are in similar circumstances.

Bald Eagle just prior to launching into flight.

Just about every teen on the trip, under the watchful eye of Captain Brian Ayers, took advantage of the opportunity to sit in the Captain’s Chair and steer the Lake Queen on her return trip from Rockaway Beach. Although it was one of the hottest days of the year, as is normally the case, the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo mitigated the heat. In addition to the spectacular rock formations downstream from Branson, panoramic vistas and the beauty of Lake Taneycomo’s shore line, the group was treated to a show by a Bald Eagle who posed from its perch and preened itself prior to launching itself into flight from its lakeside perch.

The group had a full itinerary on their trip in addition to their cruise on the Main Street Lake Cruises’ Lake Queen including Dixie Stampede, Silver Dollar City and the Showboat Branson Belle. I had a short interview with three of the teens from the group, none of whom had been to Branson before, about the cruise and what they thought of Branson.

Miss NM* said that the cruise was “awesome,” extremely relaxing, that she had never seen an Eagle in the wild before and would definitely recommend the cruise to other teenagers, a sentiment echoed by Misters CJ* and RR.* RR said “you will never get bored in Branson” and all three spoke about the great time they had at Dixie Stampede the night before and of how eager they were to go to Silver Dollar City. Even with another day and a half in Branson ahead of them, all three expressed their eagerness to come back to Branson. RR said that he would live in Branson if he could.

Each year, groups of all sizes come to Branson for many reasons from reunions, meetings, competitions and conventions etc. because of all that it has to offer. How special is it that what Branson offers was able, even if only temporarily, to offer respite, fun and relief to these special teens from the daily challenges that their battle with Cancer presents?

* Initials used to protect the privacy of these teenagers.

 

Legendary super stars abound in Branson’s ultimate tribute show

Johnny Cash

BRANSON, Mo., June 22, 2013 – Legends in Concert is to tribute shows what the Indianapolis 500 is to auto racing and has been presenting the ultimate tribute shows for over three decades in Las Vegas and at different venues throughout the world. I had the chance to see the Branson Legends in Concert show on June 17 and was again amazed at the variety and quality of not only the legendary super stars who performed, but the production itself. It is the perfect illustration of why Legends in Concert has been around for 30 years and has millions of fans.

The “Hallmark” of Legends in Concert since its inception has been celebrity impersonators recreating legendary superstar performers. Each recreation incorporates the looks, voice and mannerisms of the star being recreated into a performance that is about as close to that given by the super star being recreated that most people will ever experience. Where else, except Legends in Concert, can a person go and see recreations of Johnny Cash, Celine Dion, The Blues Brothers, The Temptations, and Elvis Presley of this quality in one exciting entertaining show?

The “Legends” being recreated are obviously the stars of the show, but the shows band, dancers and vocalists are an inherent part of why Legends in Concert is such an enjoyable entertainment experience. The Legends in Concert Band is composed of Kevin Allen, Guitar/Band Leader; Lyman Clark, Keyboard; Eddie Howard, Drums and Brian Zerbee, Bass Guitar. The Legends in Concert Dancers are Dance Captain Stephanie Drey, Elisha Conner, Jamie Curry, Cindy Dardas, Larry Miller, and Stephanie Richardson. Conner and Richardson also provide the vocal backup for many of the shows numbers.

The amazing thing is the way that these talented performers seamlessly enhance the performance of each of the super star recreations being performed whether it’s a performance of Johnny Cash or The Temptations. One of my favorites, from among many, was the way it all came together during the Blues Brothers performance of “Land of A Thousand Dances.”

Celine Dion

Each of the performing Superstars does a set of four or five numbers covering some of their biggest hits. Rather than give a list of the songs each sang, and realizing that your favorite might be different from mine, while briefly describing each performance I will take the liberty of mentioning my one “favorite” number from the set. The first three Johnny Cash, Celine Dion and The Temptations were “guest” stars. The last two are a staple part of each Branson Legends in Concerts show, perennial favorites The Blues Brothers and Elvis.

Johnny Cash was performed by Paul Eve and his rendition of “Ring of Fire,” which was co-written by June Carter Cash, was outstanding. I had an opportunity to hear Johnny Cash while he was appearing in Branson years ago and Paul Eve did a remarkable job of recreating the “Man in Black.”

Celine Dion was performed by Brigitte Valdez. From her stunning vocals, to her Celine Dion look, energy and interaction with the audience her whole performance just blew me away. Her beautiful clear powerful voice was a delight especially as she sang, “My Heart Will Go On.” The shows dancers and astute use of videos with footage from the movie “Titanic” combined with her superb performance is yet another example of the production values that make this show such a wonderful entertainment experience.

The Temptations, performed by Tal Pearsol, Doc Hutchinson, Greg Laster, Greg Finley, and Frederick Berry opened the second half dressed in the flashy cool style they were known for and performed a nine number set of the R&B and blues hits that made them famous. I just loved their performance of “My Girl.”

The Temptations

The Blues Brothers performed by Justin Clark as Elwood Blues and Bucky Heard as Jake Blues was the high energy act of show. How do you top these guys? I personally do not recall ever seeing a performance of the Blues Brothers until I saw them in the Branson Legends of Concert show years ago so these guys are the “Blues Brothers” to me. From their first number to the last they are nothing, but pure energy and entertainment and a joy to see and hear. My favorite number from their set was “Shout” which combines the talents of the two Blue Brothers with the dancers into another wonderful production number. Jakes “long note” start of the song is really impressive.

The last set of the Show is Elvis performed by Dean Z. As would be expected he does a number of “The King’s” greatest hits and performs them ever so well. What is not expected however, is the “Jam Session” when he and the band set up at the front of the stage and take live requests from the audience. It was neat and included “Kentucky Rain” among others. The song “If I Can Dream,” from the 1968 “Elvis ‘Comeback’ Special” was a wonderful way to end the set and had special personal meaning for me that day.

Legends in Concert would be great entertainment with just the mini concerts of its “superstar” impersonators. With the addition of colorful costuming, the band and dancers all seamlessly choreographed into the performances of the superstars the show becomes an outstanding entertainment production and experience.

For additional information or tickets for Legends in Concert or any of Branson’s other shows, attractions and activities or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by either calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

 

 

Material Connection

There’s only one Duttons show and what a show it is!

Benjamin, left, Abigail, Jonathan, Amy and Timothy Dutton in Finale.

BRANSON, MO, June 17, 2013 — In a review of the Duttons written last year, I said, “It is a show that truly has been designed and produced to have highlights for everyone, adults as well as teens and younger children. Each performance is a celebration of family, one of the finest entertainment experiences available in Branson or anywhere else and is a special sharing of their family with yours. It is a wonderful experience that will be remembered long after the curtain comes down.” Having just seen the 2013 edition of this show on June 18 that opinion has not changed, except to strengthen it.

From the all cast Jukebox Medley opening ,including “Rock Town,” “Can’t Buy Love,” “Rock Around The Clock and the “girls” rendition of “Lollipop” to their signature Finale “”Boil them Cabbage Down,” the Dutton family presents a unique one of a kind Branson entertainment experience. As but one example, just about every fiddle player in Branson does their variation of the fiddle classic “The Orange Blossom Special” and most do it well, but only at the Duttons show will you see two fiddlers of the quality of Amy and Timothy Dutton “duel” it out during their fantastic performance of this number. It is, like so many parts of this show, not only impeccable in its instrumentality, but so entertaining in its method of presentation.

Their classical presentation of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons Summer Movement” is another example of how the Duttons turn the exceptional into the spectacular. On any day Amy Dutton playing the piece is a beautiful thing to hear by itself, but combined with a guitar prelude of a Hungarian “Csárdás” and the rest of the Dutton family the result is another one of those fabulous moments that can only be experienced at the Duttons show.

Cousin Julio and Jonathan.

Most of the comedy in the show is provided by the interaction of the Dutton’s cousin “Julio,” who looks a lot like his cousin “Benjamin.” In one instance, Julio, who interacts primarily with Jonathan Dutton, wants to audition for the show with his horn act. The discussion and costuming up to the actual playing of the horns will entertain adult and child alike and the actual playing of the horns, in conjunction with Jonathan playing the banjo is one of the most unique and entertaining performances of “Dueling Banjos” most people will ever hear. Later in the show things really “break up” when Julio picks someone from the audience to come up on stage and play the fiddle.

The main Dutton stars are siblings Abigail, Amy, Benjamin, Jonathan and Timothy, Timothy’s wife Judith, along with their parents Sheila and Dean perform the bulk and core of the show, but it is the strategic and choreographed use of some of the Dutton’s 25 grandchildren that help keep children of all ages invested in the show while at the same time delighting adults. It’s a delicate balance, but the Duttons are experts at it and do it so wonderfully.

The solo performance of “Danke Schoen,” by young Master Timothy Dutton and the absolutely spectacular all cast performance of “Count On Me” that ended the first half of the show are but two examples. Young master Dutton’s performance and costuming were spot on and a perfect example of the effort that goes into using the grandchildren in a manner that enhances the overall experience of the audience. The performance of “Count On Me” that ended the first half started out with “four and ended up with the whole family on stage. What an inspirational and fantastic way to end the first half of the show and illustration the one of a kind entertainment that the Duttons provide.

And those are just a few of the many show highlights. From rock and roll to blue grass and country this show has a variety of music that has something for everyone. It’s not the shows content alone however, that makes the show so special. It’s how they present it, with that unique Dutton talent, instrumentality, flair, showmanship and innate ability to instill that warm directly “from our family” to “you and your family” feeling in its audience members, that make this show the unique, special and wonderful Branson entertainment event that it is.

For additional information or tickets for the Duttons show or information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

 

Material Connection

 

 

 

 

The Price Is Right Live! cash, prizes, fun and laughter

Host Jerry Springer, left, encouraging contestent as they play the "Punch A Bunch Game."

BRANSON, MO, June 7, 2013 – Since 1956 the iconic TV game show “The Price Is Right” with its unique and simple format has been giving away millions of dollars in prizes and cash and entertaining TV viewers. Its format differed from the usual question and answer format in that it is based on something that just about everyone can relate to, “shopping” and the “prices” they pay for the items they are shopping for. Now visitors to Branson can experience the thrill, fun, excitement, including the opportunity to win cash and prizes, of “The Price Is Right” at Branson’s most unique show, The Price Is Right Live!

Those attending the show who want to appear on stage and participate in the show or be eligible to win prizes fill in a simple two question form, well three, “First Name,” “Second Name” and “Date of Birth” as they receive their “Price Is Right Live Name Tag” prior to going into the theatres auditorium and no later than 7:45 PM. While waiting for the actual start of the show, the audience is entertained with clips about the TV version showing on large screens on either side of the auditorium.

When we attended the night of June 5, the shows announcer, Andy Taylor, got the audience’s adrenalin going as he prepped it for the start of the show. He greeted and entertained everyone, as he also explained some of the rules and how the process worked if you we called to “Come On Down” and infused it with a bit of his own energy and enthusiasm as he got them ready to greet the shows show’s host, Jerry Springer.

Some might wonder about “Jerry Springer” and “Branson” as being opposites, when in actuality nothing else could be further from the truth. He does mention his TV show in passing, but if this writer was going to pick one word to describe the relationship Jerry Springer has with the audience and the contestants it would be “endearing.” He is warm and witty while putting the contestants at ease and moving the show along from game to game in an entertaining, natural and unscripted manner.

Just like on the TV show, the announcer invites audience members to “Come On Down” to the front where they compete against each other by guessing the price of an item. The one who comes the closest to the actual price without going over gets to go up on stage with Springer and compete for cash and prizes playing one of the shows actual games, such as “Plinko,” “Punch A Bunch” “Cliff Hangers,” “The Clock Game,” and others.

One neat feature that is different from the TV show is that the selection for the contestants to compete in “Show Case Showdown” at the end of the show is open to everyone who has registered to be a contestant on the show and had nothing to do with whether or not a person has competed in the show or won anything up to that point. Just like on the TV version, each prices their own Showcase competing for a chance to win its prizes and, during this show a car. Another difference between the TV and Live show is that in between each game the announcer reads off the names of five instant winners who, after the show, have the opportunity to come on stage, spin the big wheel and pose for pictures with the shows cast.

In an earlier interview with this writer Springer was asked, “What do you like most about hosting the show?” He said, “The joy of the show for me is discovering and exploring the personalities of the contestants on the show. To me the game is secondary. What I enjoy most is just interacting with regular folks and having a good time.” He said that people should come to the show “to maybe win some prizes, but mostly to simply have fun and spend time laughing and having a good time.” After experiencing the show earlier this week, all this writer can say is “Ditto.”

For additional information on The Price Is Right Live show please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.

 

 

 

Material Connection

 

 

Musical legends honored by Branson tribute shows

In addition to the other "stars" performing "The Blues Brothers," along with "Elvis" are in every Branson Legends in Concert show.

BRANSON, MO, June 5, 2013 – “On a daily basis, Branson’s theatres offer a variety of live musical entertainment shows that is unmatched by any tourist destination in terms of the number, variety and quality offered on a daily basis,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “One of the many types of shows Branson offers is the ‘Tribute Show.’ In a general musical context that would, at a minimum, involve honoring a legendary singer, instrumentalist or music group by performing their hit music and, in many cases, the incorporation of their looks and mannerisms,” she continued.

While realizing that Branson has a number of excellent tribute shows, let’s take a look at five that represent the breadth and quality of the Branson shows that are tribute based and present and honor tmusical entertainment legends on a daily basis:

LEGENDS IN CONCERT

In terms of “tribute” shows, whether in Branson or anywhere else saying that the Legends in ConcertShow is just another tribute show is like saying the ‘Kentucky Derby’ is just another horse race. With shows in Branson, Las Vegas and many other venues Legends in Concert sets the bar for tribute shows with its celebrity impersonators going far beyond just a musical tribute and recreating legendary superstar performers and their performances. Each recreation is a wonderful artistic performance incorporating the voice, mannerisms and looks of the star being recreated. When the quality and variety of the legendary acts in each show is combined with a cast of dancers and backup singers, a great live band, marvelous production and choreography the result is no less than a “legendary” entertainment experience.

The Legends in Concert show pays tributes to many musical entertainment legends both living and deceased. It brings in new celebrity impersonators at least four times a year in addition to The Blues Brothers and Elvis who perform throughout the entire season. So far this year Jerry Lee Lewis, Diana Ross, and Brooks & Dunn have performed. Celine Dion, The Temptations, Johnny Cash are performing through September 3; Buddy Holly, Whitney Houston, Johnny Cash from September 5 through October 31 and Stevie Wonder, Cher and Alan Jackson through December 31.

DANCING QUEEN ABBA’S GREATEST HITS

Dancing Queen pays a musical tribute to the Swedish pop group, ABBA. Touring since 2009 in places such as Monaco, Las Vegas, Reno & Niagara, Dancing Queen is now proud to call Branson its home paying tribute to ABBA with “a sparkling show stopping musical extravaganza. This musical spectacular features singers and dancers performing ABBA favorites such as “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo” and “The Winner Takes All” as well as other ABBA era 70’s classics like “YMCA” and “In The Navy;” an upbeat medley including “Respect” & “Mustang Sally” and a rip-roaring Motown section featuring, among others, “Dancing in the Streets,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Shout”.

LIVERPOOL LEGENDS

The 2013 tribute performance of the Liverpool Legends titled “The Complete Beatles Experience!” is an all new full production Beatles extravaganza spanning the entire musical career of The Beatles including the “solo” years. The Liver Pool Legends is the only Beatles tribute band that was handpicked and received the tutelage and guidance of Louise Harrison, the sister of original Beatle George Harrison. Every detail from the Liverpool Legends music, mannerisms and performance including costumes, vintage instruments and special effects are as close to a performance of the original Beatles as one is ever likely to see.

 

Joseph Hall performing his recreation of "Elvis" as only he can.

JOSEPH HALL ELVIS ROCK N REMEMBER TRIBUTE

How good is Joseph Hall’s tribute to Elvis? When he appeared on “NBC’s America’s Got Talent,” Piers Morgan said, “Elvis is back in the building.” It’s a refrain that many of those who have seen his Branson show are echoing.

It makes no difference whether it’s the “black leather” era of “I’m All Shook Up” to the “white jump suit” era of “An American Trilogy” or anything in between; Halls Elvis recreation tribute is a one of a kind performance in terms of sound, mannerisms, looks and costuming. One person, who has been an avid Elvis fan since 1962 and personally saw ten live Elvis Concerts said, “He is the best that I have seen. It’s like watching Elvis.”

RANKIN BROTHERS CLASSIC MUSIC REVUE

The Rankin Brothers Classic Music Revue is a musical tribute show to the music of the 50’s through the 90’s and the legendary stars who performed it. Its tribute is a unique combination of the musical and characterization  and “replication” of those who performed it. Although, if you closed your eyes and just listened to many of the songs being performed you would swear that you were hearing the original artists; the show is not a “recreation” show in the format of Legends of Concert.

It is more a “replication” of the classic songs “the way you remember hearing them.” There are many who had the opportunity to hear the performers and groups being honored during the show in “real-time” during the height of their careers who can attest to the fact that it is that and much more. In many of the performances during the show that sound is enhanced by the “appearance” of the performer themselves such as, among others, “Sonny and Cher,” “Elvis,” “Buddy Holly,” and many more which adds variety, excitement and, in some cases, a little comedy to the tribute.

For additional information or tickets on the tribute shows mentioned in this article or Branson’s other tribute shows please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Material Connection

Shoji Tabuchi Diamond Anniversary show – a sparkling Branson entertainment gem

Shoji Tabuchi performing "How Great Thou Art."

BRANSON, MO, June 3, 2013 – There’s a reason the Shoji Tabuchi Show is going into his 25th season of performing in Branson. Simply put, it’s because Shoji Tabuchi is a master at his craft, loves what he does, relates to his audience not only on a musical, but personal level, surrounds himself with some of the best musicians, singers and dancers in Branson and stars in a unique, colorful and exciting one of kind entertainment production.

Now I expected something special for Shoji’s 25th year, but was just blown away as the show, to paraphrase a page from “Star Trek,” “Goes boldly where no Shoji Tabuchi show has gone before.” Oh, it still features the amazing fiddle and violin playing of its star, great production, costuming, sound and lighting and a variety of music that covers everything from polkas, country, gospel, rock and roll to bluegrass, Texas Swing and more, but the 25th anniversary show, with about 90% of the show new, presents it in a fresh and almost evolutionary manner that makes an already great and unique entertainment experience even more so. My wife Lois, who has seen a number of Shoji Tabuchi shows since 1986, said, “This is the best one yet.”

The show’s first two “sets” established the tenor for the variety, quality and pace of the great entertainment that would follow throughout the show. Its opening set, with the full singing and dancing cast is, from costuming to its music, including “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal,” themed on Michael Jackson. As Shoji Tabuchi is introduced and raises onto the stage, the production immediately and smoothly transitions into Shoji and the band playing a jazz segment including “Sweet Georgia Brown,” and “Tiger Rag,” a fiddle standard “Draggin’ The Bow,” and it’s a “It’s A Wonderful World.”

Whole cast number of "Gangnam Style" shows a whole different side of Shoji.

Then, as happens periodically throughout the entire show, the stage bursts into a flurry of color and action as the singers and dancers join Shoji and the band in a production number of Charlie Daniels classic “Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues” featuring Shoji on the fiddle and Darrel Blevins on the guitar. The set was closed out by Shoji and Darrel doing a duet of the Brad Paisley song “Nervous Breakdown,” which was one of this writer’s favorite numbers in the show.

Realizing that my “favorite” numbers might not be yours, is very subjective and are selected from many other outstanding performances during the show, I typically mention a few from each show. In addition to “Nervous Breakdown,” Shoji’s solo performance of “How Great Thou Art” was as magnificent as it was inspirational; Christina Tabuchi’s poignant performance of “Not A Day Goes By” was simply beautiful; Allie Hutsell’s passionate and powerful rendition of “Ain’t No Grave” blew my socks off; the duet of Shoji and Sharlyn Smith on the mandolin, playing “Young Joe Clark,” Shoji’s version of mountain folk song “Old Joe Clark” had a special appeal and the all cast performance of South Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” including a “side” of Shoji we’ve never seen before, just cracked me up.”

The fiddle and violin playing of Shoji Tabuchi is legendary and needs no embellishment from this writer. From “Gangnam Style,” to classical, gospel to rock and roll, blue grass to Texas swing; whether it’s the “Orange Blossom Special” or “Danny Boy” a violin or fiddle, when Shoji Tabuchi plays it is a unique one of kind performance that will not soon be forgotten.

Christina Tabuchi performing "Not A Day Goes By."

The lead female vocalist, is his daughter, Christina Lingo Tabuchi, who is also the show’s co-dance captain. In addition to her performance of “Not A Day Goes By” mentioned above, she uses her considerable vocal talents on a variety of numbers throughout the show from covers such as Adele’s “Rollin In The Deep” and Bruno Mars “Locked Out Of Heaven” to Linda Ronstadt’s “The Only Mama That’ll Walk The Line” and others. Her duet performance with Shoji of one of her original songs, “Livin’ In Fear” from her album “The Originals,” was beautiful and touching.

An integral part of the overall experience of this show is the instrumentality and skill of the shows band and the vocal and dancing talents of its dancers and singers, all of which have been artfully woven and choreographed into this wonderfully entertaining production under the guidance of the show’s producer, Dorothy Tabuchi. The dancers and singers are Norvin Breeck, co-dance captain; Alicia Winking; Jonny Laughlin; Jeremy Sterling; Jere Holt; Allie Hutsell and Sharlyn Smith who is also an accomplished mandolin player. The band consists of Carl Hose, trombone and band leader; Mike Carrol, saxophone; William Green; percussion; Gregg Gray, piano, John Anderson, drums; Michael Waggoner, bass and Darrel Blevins, guitar.

During an interview earlier this year, Dorothy Tabuchi said that one of the most important things in producing the show was, “Giving our customers a WOW experience, something they will never forget. I want the new people coming to the show for the first time to say, ‘This is the best show I’ve ever seen.’ I want the people who are returning to say, ‘I did not think it could get any better, but it just did.’ Well, both my wife and I have seen the Shoji Tabuchi Show before and all we can say is, “We did not think it could get any better, but it just did.” Don’t miss this sparkling 25th Anniversary Branson entertainment gem.

 

Material Connection

Hospitality and shows bring couple back to Branson for 17 years

George and Sally Kaup during 2011 Branson Trip.*

BRANSON, MO, June 2, 2013 – “The quality and quantity of Branson’s live shows is a major reason many people come to Branson,” said Tiffany Isnard, Director of Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “That’s not surprising, given the reputation Branson has for the variety and quality of its live entertainment, but it is a wonderful testimony to Branson’s shows and how important they are to Branson when people like George and Sally Kaup, from Woodridge, IL, come back to Branson year after year primarily to see them and have seen as many as 32 in one visit.”

The Kaup’s loyalty to Branson and its shows came to light while George and his wife were having a discussion with personnel from Main Street Cruise Lines in connection with a sightseeing cruise on scenic Lake Taneycomo aboard the paddlewheel river boat replica, “Lake Queen.” Although “Branson – Up Close and Personal,” a service of the Branson Tourism Center, normally provides readers with an up close and personal look at a Branson star or personality we thought it would be interesting to interview the Kaups. The interview with George Kaup (GK), with input from Sally, uses a “Question and Answer” format with the interviewing being done for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) by Gary J. Groman, a 27 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist and freelance writer.

BTC: How long have you been coming to Branson?

GK:  Since 1996, at least once a year, sometimes by ourselves and other times, like last Thanksgiving with family members.

BTC: What do you like the most about Branson?

GK: Its shows, friendliness of the people and hospitality.

BTC: What is your favorite thing to do in Branson?

GK: Go to shows.

BTC: When was your last trip to Branson?

GK: We arrived late on May 22 and left on May 29. Our last trip prior to that was the week of Thanksgiving so that we could show our Grandchildren what Christmas was like in Branson.

BTC: How many shows did you see during your May trip?

GK: We saw 14 shows.

BTC: What were your favorite top three shows on this trip?

Rankin Brothers vocal cast performing a beautiful rendition of "Shenandoah," with Lori Kelly, left, Matt Rankin, Mark Rankin and Amy Coffer.

GK: Rankin Brothers, ABBA Tribute – Thank You for the Music and Ozark Murder Mysteries.

BTC: What is the most shows you have seen on one trip?

GK: We had a 13 day trip during which we saw 32 shows.

BTC: With all those trips to Branson do you have a favorite place that you stay?

GK: Over the years we have had the Branson Tourism Center book us into different hotels. This last trip they booked us into the Dutton Inn. We were very impressed with the continental breakfast, how clean their rooms were and their hospitality. I would put them at the top of our list and, over the years, we have stayed at a variety of different Branson lodging establishments. When we come back we are sure going to try to stay there because it really made an impression on us. Again, not only were the rooms extremely clean, but whatever people you dealt with at the hotel seemed to bend over backwards to do anything they could for you. Hospitality goes a long way.

BTC: On your last trip you took a sightseeing trip on Lake Taneycomo aboard the Lake Queen. How did you enjoy the trip?

GK: It was fantastic.

BTC: What did you like most about the trip?

GK: The relaxing ride, beautiful scenery and the narration the Captain gives about Branson history and the sites we were passing on the trip.

BTC: Would you recommend a sightseeing cruise on the Lake Queen to others?

GK: Definitely. As a matter of fact we did already while we were down there.

BTC: What other Branson attractions did you see?

GK: None this trip, but we saw the Titanic Museum Attraction on one of our recent trips and really enjoyed it.

BTC: About how many times have you used the services of the Branson Tourism Center to plan a Branson vacation?

GK: For at least the last ten years.

BTC: Would you recommend the Branson Tourism Center to others?

GK: Oh definitely!

BTC: Why?

GK: It’s the only way to go. You make a call to them, decide what shows and attractions you want to see, the type of lodging you want and they arrange it all. You just sit back and wait for the call from them confirming your reservations, where you are staying and pricing. Everything is locked in. It’s a super place to work through, friendly, hospitable and ready to bend over backwards to help you. On our last trip we decided to come a day early, called the BTC about getting an extra night lodging at the Dutton Inn when we were about 20 minutes out of Branson and by the time we pulled into their reception center at 8:00 PM, they had made the arrangements with the Dutton Inn for our extra day.

BTC: When are you coming back to Branson?

GK:  Next year in May.

BTC: Is there anything in Branson that you haven’t done yet that you are planning to do on your next visit?

GK: We have never been to Silver Dollar city and we are talking about going next year.

BTC: Anything else you would like me to include?

GK:  Great place to visit and we would love to live there.

*Photo courtesy George and Sally Kaup.

 

Branson, summer and Fun go together

Color and excitement of a production number during Clay Cooper's Country Express.

BRANSON, Mo., May 29, 2013 — “Regardless of the season having fun is always a great reason to visit Branson, but there is no season that has more ways to have fun in Branson than during the Summer season,” said Tiffany Isnard, the Director of Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “There is always a wonderful choice of entertainment, attractions, shopping and other activities in Branson providing visitors with that great experience Branson is known for, but there are just so many more choices during the Summer. What other vacation destination offers such natural beauty and the opportunity for aquatic fun on thousands of surface acres of pristine lakes all within a few minutes of a world class award winning theme park, 100 live entertainment shows, dozens of attractions, great golfing, dining and shopping and so much more?”

Branson is known world-wide for its live shows and its great live entertainment goes non-stop all summer long. From the Acrobats of China, to the pioneer shows that started it all, the Baldknobbers Jamboree and Presleys’ Country Jubilee and shows such as the Haygoods, Rankin Brothers, Clay Cooper, “it,” Jim Stafford, Twelve Irish Tenors, Legends in Concert, Shoji Tabuchi, Pierce Arrow or one of the many other Branson shows, the quantity, quality and variety of its shows is as mindboggling as it is entertaining. The Summer season is an excellent time to see Branson’s major outdoor drama, The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Play and will provide a special, inspiring and exciting experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.

The magnificent Showboat Branson Belle.

Branson’s three lakes, the warm water lakes of Table Rock and Bull Shoals Lakes and the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo, provide for a variety of aquatic activities available in very few places and when combined with the fact it is offered within minutes of everything else Branson offers, not available anywhere else in the world. Whether it’s a day on the beach at Table Rock Lake’s “Moonshine Beach;” world class bass or trout fishing; boating; swimming; a meal cruise and show on the Showboat Branson Belle on Table Rock Lake; a dinner cruise on Lake Taneycomo aboard the luxury yacht Landing Princess or any of the other opportunities for fun and excitement they offer; a special part of summer in Branson revolves around its lakes.

White Water's iconic 7-story multiple slide "Kalani Towers."

During the summer, all of Branson’s major attractions are open and in full operation. Its most popular paid attraction, Silver Dollar City, the 1880s styled theme park is premiering its new record breaking wooden coaster ride, Outlaw Run this year in addition to its world class festivals and everything else one would expect from an international award winning world class theme park. In addition to all the fun and adventure that is routine part of any “voyage” aboard the iconic Titanic Museum Attraction is featuring a new exhibit honoring the 133 children who were on the Titanic and a very special exhibit from Aug. 1 to Aug. 15 showing the actual violin played while the Titanic sank.” A featured attraction during the summer is Southwest Missouri’s largest outside water park White Water, with its iconic seven story multiple Kalani Tower water slide and much more.

Isnard points out that those are just three of the dozens of exciting Branson attractions. “Whether its butterflies or tigers, toys or Hollywood, go carts or zip lines, mini golf or championship golf or one its dozens of other attractions there’s no bigger variety of fun activities available or a better time to enjoy them that during Branson’s Summer season,” she continued.

In any season, Branson provides an unrivaled shopping experience in terms of the diverse variety and quality of the shopping it offers. From the spectacular Branson Landing to Dick’s Old Time 5 & 10 in historic downtown Branson, major discount malls and hundreds of specialty, art and craft shops, Branson offers an exciting unique shopping “adventure” that is unmatched by any similarly sized travel destination.

For additional information on all the fun and excitement of a summer visit to Branson or for tickets to any of Branson’s shows and attractions or lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or on their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Price Is Right Live show “Springs” into 2013 Branson Season

Jerry Springer initial 2013 host of "The "Price Is Right Live" in Branson .

BRANSON, MO, May 23, 2013 — When The Price Is Right Live starts its 2013 season in Branson, tomorrow, its initial host will be well known TV star and personality Jerry Springer. Earlier in the week this writer had the opportunity to interview Springer (JS), on behalf of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, about his hosting of the show, his first trip to Branson and other items.

BTC – Have you been to Branson before?
JS – No.

BTC – Never having been to Branson, what is your perception of Branson?
JS – Middle America, family values and good time entertainment without all the craziness of the extremes of pop culture.

BTC – When did you first hear of “Branson?”
JS – Years ago from Andy Williams and more recently when I was hosting “Americas Got Talent” and the Duttons, from Branson, appeared on the show.

BTC – Will your time in Branson be part work and some play?
JS – Definitely. I am really looking forward to experiencing Branson and I’m not just telling you that for an interview.

BTC – What is the number one thing on your Branson Bucket List?
JS – I love live entertainment so my number one thing to do will be to see some of its live shows.

BTC – How long have you been the guest host on the “Price Is Right Live?”
JS – I have been working with “Freemantle Media” for a few years doing their live shows for “America’s Got Talent,” “Price is Right,” “Family Feud” and “Let’s Make A Deal.” I have been doing the “Price Is Right Live” show for about two years.

BTC – What do you like most about hosting the show?
JS – The chance to interact and joke around with the contestants. To me the game is secondary. What I enjoy most is just interacting with regular folks and having a good time.

BTC – Why should people come and see the Price Is Right Live Show in Branson?
JS – To maybe win some prizes, but mostly to simply have fun and spend time laughing and having a good time.

BTC – Is there a constant highlight for you that happens during each show?
JS – The joy of the show for me is discovering and exploring the personalities of the contestants on the show.

BTC – Why do you feel that the “Price Is Right” has been such an iconic show for so long?
JS – It’s easy for the shows viewers to become instantly involved. Unlike some other shows, they don’t have to be an expert in a particular area because the shows results hinge on the prices of items that most of the show’s viewers either shop for or are familiar with. If you think about the show it might have been one of TV’s first reality shows “staring” everyday folks providing entertainment on TV based on the reality of something that they do in their everyday life, “shopping.”

BTC – In your career you have done many things from running for governor to hosting radio and TV shows. Of it all, if you were going to pick one that meant the most to you what would it be?
JS –What I do now is fun, but in terms of significance and doing something that impacted on people’s lives, being the Mayor of Cincinnati was the best job I ever had. [Springer was elected by the City Council and served a one year term as Cincinnati’s mayor starting in 1977.]

For additional information or tickets for The Price Is Right Live Show or for information or tickets for any of Branson’s shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.