Category Archives: Branson Shows

“Adventures of Marco Polo” world debut in Branson

One of the many spectacular and colorful moments in the show..

BRANSON, Mo., August 2, 2013 – The story of Venetian “explorer” Marco Polo’s 20 plus years of living in China, his relationship with Kublia Kahn and first hand descriptions of the culture, history and heritage of China in the late 1200′s created a fascination with China when the “story” “The Travels of Marco Polo” was first published around 1300. On August 9 Branson audiences will have the opportunity to experience Marco Polo’s story and China as it is beautifully and spectacularly brought to life on stage in the show the “The Adventures of Marco Polo.”

Pamela Kay Critchfield, Director, Sales, Marketing and PR for the White House Theatre said that it “is one of the biggest shows that ‘China Heaven Creations International Performing Arts Co. Ltd.’ a major producer of entertainment productions in China since 1999, has ever produced. “It was especially created with American audiences in mind and to debut in Branson,” she continued.

Critchfield points out that the shows lavish sets and a 2,000 square foot floor to ceiling and side to side high resolution screen LED screen provide a spectacular, visual, and dynamic element to the show. When combined with an international cast of 66, over 100 beautiful costumes, “original orchestration, amazing dance, acrobatics and magic,” along with a story line combining history and love, the result is a show that will truly entertain all ages “from 2 to 92.” She said that Branson audiences will be treated to an entertainment spectacle the caliber of which is typically only available in New York or Las Vegas.

“We are just so excited that this epic production will be added the line-up of great shows that Branson has to offer,” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Too we are honored that ‘China Heaven Creations International Performing Arts Co. Ltd.’ chose to have the world debut The Adventures of Marco Polo in Branson,” she added.

For additional information or tickets for The Adventures of Marco Polo please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourism Center.com
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Yakov Smirnoff performs limited engagement Branson shows

Yakov Smirnoff

BRANSON, MO, July 24, 2013  “Even if only for a limited engagement, it’s great news to have Yakov Smirnoff returning to the Branson stage and performing in his all new Branson show Dinner with Yakov,” said Tiffany Isnard, Director of Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “And the news just gets better,” she continued, “because it was just announced that not only will he be appearing from October 1 through November 27 in 2013, but will be returning to Branson to perform in the Fall of 2014.”

Dinner With Yakov combines a “delectable mouth-watering meal ” with side-splitting comedy that will have the audience “laughing the entire way through their meal” as Yakov shares “his insightful and laughter-filled philosophy on life, love, family and country. He takes his comedy to a new level to showcase laughter’s effects on relationships and envisions a world where sadness and tears are replaced with love and laughter. The New York Times called his one man hit Broadway show, “warm-hearted, delightful and splendidly funny.”

Between 1992 and 2012 Yakov produced “several outstanding award-winning shows” and entertained over four million Branson visitors. In 2011 he announced that 2012 would be his last full Branson season. After traveling around the U. S. with his acclaimed “The Happily Ever Laughter Tour” during most of 2013 he will be returning to Branson for his Fall season limited engagement performances with his new show.

One of America’s favorite comedians since he first hit the entertainment scene in the late 1970′s Yakov “has been a popular guest on numerous national TV shows including the Tonight Show, HBO and his highly praised Showtime special as well as co-staring ” in movies with Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson, Tom Hanks in The Money Pit, Meryl Streep and JackNicholson in Heartburn, and Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions.” He has been “invited to to perform at the White House for several presidents and honored guests and President Ronald Reagan called him a “national treasure.”

For additional information on Dinner with Yakov or for 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.

 

 

New 2014 Branson show is “Unbelievable”

Dave Hamner, Tamra Tinoco and Denise Hamner at announcement.

BRANSON, MO, July 17, 2013 – At a press conference on July 15, world renowned illusionists Dave and Denise Hamner announced that their new extreme variety show, the “Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show,” will open in the renamed “Hamner Variety Theatre,” on March 11, 2014. Dave Hamner described the new show as an “extreme variety show.” When asked what an extreme variety show is, Hamner, with a twinkle in his eye, responded, “Unbelievable.” He added that “birds appear, people fly, voices soar” and audiences of all ages will be constantly amazed and entertained by an “Unbelievable” combination of talent that will have them on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what is coming next.

He said that the new variety show will feature major illusions, great vocals, dancing, close up magic, comedy, Russian acrobatics, Adagio dancing, impressions and, perhaps, a few surprises. The cast of “Unbelievable” will feature the internationally renowned illusionists Dave & Denise Hamner, comedian and impressionist Jeff Brandt, vocalist Tamra Tinoco, Russian Acrobatic Adagio father and daughter dance pair, Vadim & Mariya Serykh, comedian and close up magician Lex Pearson, ventriloquist Brenda Hahne, and dancers A.J. Heard and Ken Brown. Here’s a little more in depth look at each:

Illusionists Dave and Denise Hamner have headlined many major production shows around the world, presenting their award winning and original feats of magic; have co-owned and co-produced the Hamner Barber Variety Show for the past ten years and have received the prestigious “Magic Masters Award” by their magical peers in Las Vegas. They are best known “for their one of a kind act in which they produce several beautiful Macaws and Cockatoos that appear amid flying cards, flaming swords, falling coins and jewels. The birds then perform an incredible flight over and around the audience before gracefully returning to the stage. Other original illusions include ‘Stargate,’ ‘The Lightning Levitation,’ ‘Vertigo: The Fall of Death,’ ‘Secrets of the Lost Ark Revealed,’ and the magical finale to their Veteran’s tribute, ‘Thank You’s Not Enough.’”

Cast members Rex Pearson, left, Jeff Brandt, Tamra Tinoco, Vadim & Mariya Serykh, Dave & Denise Hamner, Brenda Hayne and Ken Brown.

Impressionist Jeff Brandt “is considered one of the top singing impressionists in the country. Jeff has co-starred in several Branson shows over the years including to the high-energy Wayne Newton show which featured Jeff’s amazing vocal talents for 13 years both in Branson and Las Vegas. Among Jeff’s other accomplishments are two appearances on NBC’s ‘Tonight Show,’ a featured spot on the TV show ‘Las Vegas,’ two featured film appearances in ‘Vegas Vacation’ and ‘Smoking Aces,’ performances at the White House in Washington DC, and the National Republican Convention.”

Vocalist Tamra Tinoco “is from Springfield, MO. She has a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from the University of Kansas City Conservatory of Music. She has performed all over the world and in 45 different states. She has produced shows such as ‘Magnificent Country,’ ‘Today’s Country,’ ‘Showcase Jubilee’, and currently the ‘Magnificent Variety Show.’ Tamra has performed with artists such as Lee Greenwood, Vince Gill, John Davidson, Jim Stafford, Ferlin Husky and was Porter Waggoner’s guest star on the ‘Grand Ole Opry.’”

The father and daughter team of Vadim & Mariya Serykh “have been performing hand balancing adagio at Cirque Montage for the past two years. Mariya’s first appearance on stage was when she was just 4 years old with her parents on the Showboat Branson Belle and she has been performing ever since in numerous events and productions throughout the country. Mariya is a natural when it comes to acrobatics but more so as a dancer in Ballet, Modern, Contemporary and Jazz. She was a competitive dancer and used her agility to learn how to soar through the air as an aerialist and had the honor of winning the title of National and World Champion in dance.”

Close Up Magician and comedian Lex Pearson has appeared in a number of Branson shows spending the last seven years with the Hamner Barber Variety Show and has been a featured artist in a number of Mexican resorts in addition to appearing in the movies ‘Surrendered’ ‘The Movie,’ and ‘Broken Faith.’ You will be amazed with his close-up magic. And won’t believe your eyes as he performs incredible tricks of the trade using cards, ropes, coins and more.”

Ventriloquist Brenda Hahne “and her cast of characters have been entertaining audiences for over 15 years. Not only a ventriloquist, Brenda is also a magician’s assistant, having worked side-by-side with her magician husband Marty since they were married in 1983. Besides performing for hundreds of family audiences across the country, Brenda has also entertained on seven different cruise ships, and internationally in New Zealand and Singapore. Originally from Ohio, Brenda makes her home in Ozark, MO.”

Choreographer and Dancer AJ Heard grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, where she started taking dance and ice skating lessons at the age of 3. “She trained with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and at age 17 joined a professional training program at the highly regarded, Randolph Dance Theater. She was hired by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a lead dancer in their multimillion dollar variety shows and this is where she met her husband, Bucky. AJ has performed and choreographed for a variety of shows including, The Van Burch and Welford Show, … and Jimmy Osmonds American Jukebox…AJ is currently the choreographer/dance captain for the Hamner Barber Variety Show.”

Assistant Choreographer Dance Captain Ken Brown “grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He also worked alongside The Hamners in Jimmy Osmond’s American Jukebox. Affectionately referred to by the cast as ‘Downtown Kenny Brown,’ Ken is a multi-talented entertainer and gives 110% to every performance.”

“Unbelievable” will be directed by Johnny Thompson who “performs under the stage name ‘The Great Tomsoni.’ Within the magician community, ‘Tomsoni’ is considered a virtuoso, widely known as a mentor and teacher of magic, and a creator of tricks, as opposed to simply a performer. He has worked behind the scenes with magicians such as Penn and Teller, Lance Burton, and Criss Angel. In 1999, he was awarded one of the highest honors in the magician community, a Masters Fellowship with the Academy of Magical Arts. Dave and Denise are thrilled to have the expertise of such a high caliber director, producer to bring a fresh new look to their magical variety show.”

Denise Hamner said, “I am so excited. It’s not just that we have a new show that we believe will be fantastic, but for the quality and enthusiasm of all the acts that will be featured with us. It’s a show and cast that will keep people on the edge of their seats eagerly anticipating what’s coming next and leaving the theatre exhausted from the all the fun, excitement, entertainment, amazement and wonder they have just experienced.”

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.

 

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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.

 

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