BRANSON, MO, February 27, 2013 — When my daughter, Mary, who had just seen the 2013 edition of the Pierce Arrow Show said, “Dad you have to see this show, it’s totally different than last year and is just amazing” I thought to myself, “Well I just saw the show in October and I thought it was great then, how much better can it be?” Well I saw the 2013 edition on January 22 and, in a word the answer is “Lots.”
Actually, the answer to the question deserves more than a one word answer and the opinion of Debra Wiskirchen, a Manager at the Branson Tourism Center, which has sold well over 3 million Branson show and attraction tickets is a great place to start. She said, “I have seen this show many times before and the 2013 edition is by far the best. Their press release says, ‘If you think you’ve seen the Pierce Arrow show…think again in 2013.!’ That might be an understatement, it is truly an amazing show with great comedy and music that the whole family will enjoy.”
Let’s start with the comedy which is provided by one of Branson’s premier comedians, Jarrett Dougherty. From start to finish, comedy is an inherent element of this show and is woven in at just the right moment to complement the great music in the show. This year Dougherty starts the show with a new character, the funniest Animal Control Officer you will ever meet, Ray Bees who is in search of a snake that has escaped from the new Promised Land Zoon being built just east of the theatre. From there, the laughs just keep coming as he makes just about the whole cast, with special emphasis on Band Leader Bobby Blackburn, “his straight man,” as his hilarious comedic journey, among other places, takes the audience to the bible, the demise of the snake and the most beautiful, funny and unforgettable version of the Nat King Cole classic “Unforgettable” you will ever experience.
As good as 2012’s music was, the shows musical repertoire has been completely changed and features two new vocalists, Jimmy Fulbright and Michelle Wait adding fresh energy and vibrancy resulting in a totally new experience. Fulbright has been the bass guitar player and fill in singer with the Oak Ridge Boys for the past 12 years and prior to that time was a member of the Branson Brothers Quartet in Branson along with bass singer Dan Britton who is the owner of the Pierce Arrow Theatre. Wait was a vocalist with the Kings Castle Theatre in Branson (formerly known as the Branson Variety Theatre.)
The Pierce Arrow Quartet consists of American Idol finalist, Luke Menard; Jimmy Fulbright, Scott Fraker, previously with the gospel group “Chosen Few” and Tim Storms, the current Guiness Book of World Record holder for singing the lowest note. “Amazing” is a good word to use to describe this group as they cover a wide variety of music. Highlights for me was the gospel segment, Dan Britton’s appearance with the group during “Dream On” and “Sixteen Tons,” their acapella performance of “Drift Away” and the group’s performance of “Come On In” at the beginning of the show as they continued the exciting tenor, energy and excitement with which Michelle Wait kicks off the show.
Wait’s opening number, “Here for the Party,” is a high energy performance that gets the show off to a rousing start and establishes the musical tenor for the rest of the show. “Wind Beneath My Wings” is one of my favorite songs and her rendition of it was simply beautiful. In 2011 I did a review of the show “Hooray for Hollywood,” and wrote, “To say that the shows vocalist, Michelle Wait, did an outstanding job would be an understatement.” All I can say for her performance in the 2013 edition of the Pierce Arrow Show is “Ditto.”
The Pierce Arrow Band is outstanding and, like the rest of the cast, really gets involved with the excitement and flow of the show and is strategically featured during various numbers throughout the performance. The band consists of Bobby Blackburn/band leader, lead guitar; Randy McConnell/bass guitar; Colt Straub/keyboards/mandolin and Michael Jackson/drums. Sitting in the audience one can just sense the synergy between the band and the vocalists who just seem to be having fun with each other, the audience and enjoying what they are doing as it draws you into the performance and enhances the overall entertainment experience.
The theatres newly renovated sound and lighting system and its “Vegas” styled moving stage all enhance the enjoyment of the show. Two hours spent with the Pierce Arrow Show has always been a great entertainment experience, but the statement “If you think you’ve seen the Pierce Arrow show…think again in 2013!” is true. If you have never seen the Pierce Arrow show 2013 is an excellent opportunity to experience two of the most exciting and enjoyable hours of entertainment in Branson that will be over all too quickly.