Category Archives: Branson Shows

Branson Legends in Concert 20th anniversary lineup will blow your mind!

JC Brando as "Adele," top right, Michael Knight and Elizabeth Scarborough as "Michael Jackson" and "Taylor Swift, "Dean Z as "Elvis "and Chance Havens and Danny Zeligman as the "Blues Brothers."

JC Brando as “Adele,” top right, Michael Knight and Elizabeth Scarborough as “Michael Jackson” and “Taylor Swift,” Dean Z as “Elvis “and the “Blues Brothers™.”

“We are just so excited to be starting our 20th anniversary season in Branson,” said Legends in Concert General Manager, Jeannie Horton. “The star studded lineup is mind blowing, even by Legends in Concert standards. It is designed to meet the changing demographics of our audience as they change throughout the season, and provides them with the stars that they have most often requested,” she added.

Horton points out that, in addition to the seasonal star-studded guest lineup, every performance of Branson’s Legends in Concert includes a Blues Brothers™ and Elvis tribute. The always entertaining, energetic, and exciting Blues Brothers™ tribute is performed by Clint Nievar. and Danny Zeligman. For the 2016 season, the Elvis Tribute will be performed by a rotation of noted Elvis tribute artists such as Bill Cherry, Cody Ray Slaughter, and Ted Torres, except when Dean Z is performing the tribute May 1 through the end of August, and November 1 through the end of the year.

Jeannie is excited about the opening lineup for the spring season, which started February 5. It includes a powerful tribute to Tina Turner and the Ikettes as Lori Mitchell-Gay opens the show with her always crowd-pleasing rendition of “Proud Mary;” Paul Eve’s tribute to Johnny Cash, including “Ring of Fire”, “Folsom Prison Blues,” and other hits; the crazy antics of The Blues Brothers™ that will just make “Everybody” want to “Shout;” Michael Knight’s return as Michael Jackson, starting off his set with a medley of hits from The Jackson Five, and working his way up to “Thriller” and “Billie Jean,” and the return of Bill Cherry as Elvis Presley, performing #1 hits from The Jumpsuit Era, like “See See Ryder” and “My Way.”

Here’s the amazing 20th anniversary Legends in Concert 2016 lineup of stars, by season:

Spring: February 5 – May 17

Johnny Cash, Tina Turner, The Blues Brothers™, and Elvis through May 17, with Michael Jackson from February 5 through April 30, and Michael Bublé from May 1 through May 17.

Summer: May 19 – September 6

Johnny Cash, Kenny Chesney, Michael Jackson, The Blues Brothers™, and Elvis through September 6, with Taylor Swift from June 1 through August 15, and Martina McBride from August 16 through September 6.

Fall: September 8 through October 31

Barry White, Marilyn Monroe, Alan Jackson, The Blues Brothers™, and Elvis

Christmas: November 1 through January 2

Frank Sinatra, George Strait, Adele, The Blues Brothers™, and Elvis

And, it gets better! Although the obvious stars of the show are the tribute artists, it is the manner in which their individual talents and personalities are integrated with the show’s extremely talented dancers, vocalists, and live band, into a series of unique, exciting, and entertaining “mini concerts,” that makes Legends in Concert a spectacular and entertaining production that holds the interest of the audience from beginning to end.

For additional information or tickets for Legends in Concert, or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services; call 1-800-785-1550 or visit www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Why you’ll love Branson’s new stage spectacular “Moses”

150907 Moses NOP

“While maintaining its inspirational biblical perspective, Moses is the most spectacular, technologically advanced, show that Sight & Sound Theaters has ever put on stage,” said Mike Pitman, the Business Development Manager for the theatres. He said that people expect the inspirational and spectacular from Sight & Sound, but Moses takes it to an entirely new level.

“Wow, that’s saying a lot when you consider the spectacular productions, such as Noah – the Musical, Miracle of Christmas, Joseph, and Jonah, that Sight & Sound has become legendary for,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. She points out that the legend will continue with the Branson premier of Moses on March 2, 2016.

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

When asked what his favorite scene in the show was, Pitman, who has seen the show in Lancaster, PA, said that it would be difficult to pick just one because of the scope of what the show covers, the incredible cast, and the spectacular special effects. Would it be the awe-inspiring feeling he got sitting there when all of a sudden he felt a gush of air as he found himself in the midst of the parting of the Red Sea; the impactful and powerful scene at the top of the mountain when God first speaks to Moses at the “burning bush;” or one of the show’s many other inspirational and exciting scenes?

Parting of the Red Sea.

Parting of the Red Sea.

“The show has incredible special effects throughout that leave people asking, ‘How did they do that?'” Pitman said. Another of his favorite scenes illustrating that point is where the staff of Moses turns into a snake, crawls down a stair banister, and turns back into a staff again. He loves the way that this enables the audience to feel like they are literally with Moses, surrounded by the mountains, at the “burning bush,” and in the Red Sea when it parts around the Israelites as they escape Pharaoh’s wrath.

He points out that another interesting aspect of the production is the way it shows how the Israelites were treated as slaves, and their celebration at being freed as they rush right through the audience on their path to freedom. You realize the true exhilaration they had because God answered their prayers. “It’s pretty powerful,” he said.

Pitman points out that there are cast members and live animals transitioning to and from the stage, in and around the audience, periodically, throughout the show, and that people are not permitted to enter the auditorium for seating while that’s happening. In order to ensure that you’ll not miss part of the show, he strongly suggests that audience members be in their seats before the show starts and by the end of intermission.

Branson Tourism Center’s Wood said that Moses will run through December 31, 2016, and that tickets for Moses are currently available through the Branson Tourism Center. She recommends getting them early to ensure not only availability on desired dates, but the best available seats. For additional information or tickets for Moses, or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services; call 1-800-785-1550 or visit www.BransonTourismCenter.com .

 

Best Branson Insider Highlights for February 2016

Grand Jubilee's award wining quartet, "New South."

Grand Jubilee’s award wining quartet, “New South.”

“The four-day combined Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend in the middle of the month highlights both the romance of Branson and its signature live shows,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. Romance is in the air as Branson celebrates Valentine’s day; a time when many of our most popular shows are opening for their 2016 Season,” she added.

Wouldn’t your sweetheart absolutely love an awesome Valentine’s Day in Branson? From the Titanic Museum Attraction’s celebration of Romance Month, to the Keeter Center’s Valentine’s Day Dinner and Dancing, to special Valentine’s Day menus at restaurants, the answer to that rhetorical question just has to be, “Yes!” In addition, many of Branson’s Most Popular Shows are welcoming the 2016 season that weekend.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, along with a list of the major events you can enjoy in Branson during February, 2016:

Featured Show of the Month is Grand Jubilee, which has been performing its 2016 show since premiering on New Year’s Eve. Remarkably, this talented cast of producers, vocalists, musicians, and technicians develop and rehearse the next year’s show, at the same time they are performing their Christmas Show, so that it can be presented on New Year’s Eve. Branson’s “Grand Jubilee” boasts tight harmonies and a variety of musical styles; a show custom-made for all ages! Enjoy the dynamic performance of the quartet New South, female vocalist Jackie Brown, and the sound of the Grand Band as they perform it all, from country and gospel, to rock & roll favorites! Jamie Haage, aka “Jim Dandy,” and emcee extraordinaire, Mike Patrick, will keep you in stitches!

Event of the Month: The four-day combined Valentine’s/Day President’s Day weekend presents an ideal time for a winter getaway to Branson, where the feeling of romance will be in the air along with everything else Branson is noted for, including live shows, attractions, shopping and much more.

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Feb 1                           Hot Winter Fun Big Show
Feb 1 – Feb 29            Sweetheart Month at Titanic Museum Attraction
Feb 8 – Feb 21            Tanger Outlets Share the LOVE Event
Feb 12 – Feb 14          The 20th Annual Branson Tri-Lakes Building & Home Show
Feb 12 – Feb 14          Valentines at Chateau Grille
Feb 12 – Feb 15          Presidents Day Weekend Sale – Tanger Outlets
Feb 12 – Feb 15         Valentine’s Weekend in Branson
Feb 14                         Valentine’s Day Dinner & Dancing – Keeter Center
Feb 26 – Feb 28          25th Ann.VisionCon – Gaming, Science Fiction…Convention
Feb 27                         Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament – Lilleys’ Landing

Due to the possibility of winter weather, seasonal show and attraction schedules, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are just opening for their 2016 season, Branson Tourism Center’s Wood suggests that that an easy way to avoid problems; save time and, in many cases, money, as well as making sure you have the most current information, is by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center toll-free at 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of its Branson-based vacation planning specialists. They’ll be delighted to answer any questions and assist you with show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

Did you know this about the 2016 version of Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show?

Dave and Denise Hamner with some of their winged friends during their astonishing bird illusion.

Dave and Denise Hamner with some of their winged friends during their astonishing bird illusion.

Branson has a number of fabulous magic shows, but only one offers a variety of high quality entertainment along with world class illusions, sleight-of-hand, and a Veterans salute that is truly as monumental as it is magical, Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. Dave Hamner who, along with his lovely wife Denise, not only produces the show, but stars in it, said, “The show is magically reminiscent of the format of the current NBC prime time hit show, America’s Got Talent, and also of one of the greatest variety shows to ever appear on TV, The Ed Sullivan Show. From magic to great vocals, to comedy, and more, the constantly changing mixture of different types of entertainment, color, and action provides a magical and exciting experience that will have our audience sitting on the edge of their seats anticipating what’s coming next.”

Hamner is really excited about the changes in the show this year, saying that both the award-winning vocalist, Tamera Tinoco, and impressionist Jeff Brandt, are working on some great new material for the show. “We might even see a little Journey,” he chuckled.

Everyone’s favorite, the loveable Gakita the gorilla, will be returning, as will dancers AJ Heard, Ken Brown, and Mariya Serykh. The father-daughter team of Vadim & Mariya will again amaze audiences with their strength, balancing adagio, and high-flying silk act. New this year will be the comedy of Ken Brown, featured in various ways throughout the show.

The magic and illusions of Dave and Denise Hamner will be the focal point of the show. Their signature, one-of-a-kind bird act, with flaming swords, coins, and beautiful Macaws and Cockatoos appearing and flying out over the audience; seeing the transformation of a beautiful woman into “Gakita” the gorilla, and their award-winning Veterans Finale, are just a part of the “magic” that these two masters of illusion perform throughout the show.

Although he wouldn’t reveal what it was, Hamner said that he can’t wait to perform the new comedic illusion they are preparing for this season in cooperation with Don Wayne, a brilliant designer of magic illusions, who has worked with David Copperfield. And that’s just one of the new illusions being added to the show including the resurrection of a favorite from the past, Stargate.

Hamner said that from little kids, to grandma and grandpa, this is a show that the whole family will enjoy, one where they’ll have a great time together. Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show premiers its 2016 Branson season on March 8. For more information, or tickets please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

A Baker’s Dozen list of the top reasons people chose Branson for their vacations

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The three top reasons people gave for visiting Branson.

“Branson, Missouri, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, has become a premier vacation destination because of its unique combination of live entertainment, attractions, pristine lakes, world class shopping, natural beauty, and other activities,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “The2014 Branson Visitor Profile, compiled by the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and CVB, based on a survey of 2014 Branson visitors, provides an interesting insight into which of those activities were the primary reasons they chose to visit Branson,” she added.

Here is a Baker’s Dozen list of the top activities sorted in the order of the highest percentages for each:

  1. Live Shows (Branson shows) 59.70%
  2. Silver Dollar City 20.60%
  3. Shopping 18.00%
  4. Excursions (Ride the Ducks, Branson Railways, Down Town Trolley, etc.)18.00%
  5. Go to Branson Landing 13.10%
  6. Downtown Branson/Main Street 11.90%
  7. Unique Local Restaurants 6.60%
  8. Museum attractions 6.50%
  9. Rural Sightseeing 4.30%
  10. Wine Tasting/Winery Tours 3.00%
  11. Outdoor activities 2.60%
  12. Fishing 2.60%
  13. Special Events/Festivals 2.30%

Let’s explore the top three in a little more detail. With the reputation for the number, breadth, and quality of Branson’s shows, it’s no surprise that it would be Number 1 on the list. When Branson’s lineup of its resident shows, that includes a variety such as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, SIX, The Million Dollar Quartet, Grand Jubilee, Shoji Tabuchi, Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, The Haygoods, Legends in Concert, Dixie Stampede, Billy Dean in Concert with Jarrett, and dozens more, is combined with an outstanding lineup of national touring artists such as The Oak Ridge Boys, The Texas Tenors, The Osmond Brothers, LeAnn Rimes, Ray Stevens, Daniel O’Donnell, Jennifer Nettles, and dozens more, it’s hard to imagine a travel destination offering a more amazing array of live entertainment options.

Number 2 on the list is Branson’s oldest and most popular paid attraction, the international award-winning, Silver Dollar City. This 1880’s style theme park is Branson’s oldest continually operated attraction, and easily its most popular. It features dozens of rides, including the record setting wood coaster, Outlaw Run, and the Wildfire coaster; practicing craftsmen; live shows; six world-class festivals that include An Old Time Christmas; and everything else one would expect from a popular, high quality theme park. And it’s just one from a long list of exciting and fun-filled Branson attractions that includes the Titanic Museum Attraction, celebrating its tenth anniversary in Branson during 2016, and many other exciting activities like go karts, ziplines, indoor and outdoor water parks, zoos, and so much more.

Shopping was the Number 3 reason on the list of why people chose to come to Branson, and for good reason. You’ll find more than 250 different boutiques, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, famous-name outlet stores, and specialty shops all over Branson, making it easy to find that long sought after item, unique gift, or big bargain! Whether you stroll along the streets of historic downtown Branson, cruise along the Strip, hop around to the craft malls, or seek entertainment-style shopping at Branson Landing; Branson offers a thrilling shopping experience unrivaled by any national travel destination anywhere near its size.

That’s just the first three items on the list! There are pristine lakes, the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains, and so much more that makes Branson the ideal place for a short getaway, a great family vacation, or a reunion of any kind. For additional information on all that Branson has to offer, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, and talk with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

The Ultimate List of final 2015 performances of Branson’s incredible live shows

Don't miss the final 2015 performances of these and other great Branson shows.

Don’t miss the final 2015 performances of these and other great Branson shows.

“Although many of Branson’s most popular shows will be open through Christmas Week, a number of shows will be closing before Christmas, with some as early as December 5,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Here’s a list of when most Branson’s shows will be performing their last 2015 show, along with a link to their schedule, other show details, and pricing information, sorted by the date of their last scheduled performance,” she added.

December 5

The Lettermen
Buck Trent
8 O’Clock Rock
Bee Gees and Beyond
Bon Jovi Tribute
Craig Wayne Boyd
George Jones and Friends Remembered
Good Ol Boys
Patsy Cline Remembered

December 6

Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Red, Hot & Blue

December 8

Linda Rondstadt and Jackson Browne Tribute Show

December 9

Shoji Tabuchi
Duttons
George Dyer
Pure Comedy Feud

 December 10

New South Gospel
Mel Tillis & The Statesiders
Barbara Fairchild Dinner Show
Carpenters Once More
George Strait Country starring James Garrett

December 11

Down Home Country
A Neil Diamond Tribute
Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute Show
Doowop Pop and Soul Tribute Show

December 12

Andy Williams Christmas Show
#1 Hits of the 60’s & 50’s too
70’s Music Celebration Starring Barry Williams
A Tribute to John Denver
Bretts
Eagles Tribute Concert
Hank Williams Revisited
Jonah Behind The Scenes Tour

December 13

Ozark Mountain Jubilee
Sunday Gospel Jubilee
Magnficent 7 Show

December 16

Wissmann Family Christmas

December 17

A Tribute to Marty Robbins
Comedy and Meatballs Dinner Show

December 18

Branson Country USA
Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies
AYO starring Voices of Glory

December 19

Presleys’ Country Jubilee
SIX
The Sons of Britches

December 20

Christmas Wonderland
New Jersey Nights
Puttin’ on the Ritz

 December 25

Kelli Grant “The Queen of Swing”
Golden Sounds of The Platters with Eddie Stovall

Many of Branson's most popular shows will be open Christmas Week.

Many of Branson’s most popular shows will be open Christmas Week.

December 26

Doo Wop and the Chico Vega Drifters
Sanders Family Christmas
Smoke on the Mountain

December 27

The Petersen Family Bluegrass Band

 December 28

Clay Cooper’s Country Express
Wade Landry’s Gumbo Show

December 29

The Haygoods
Jonah

December 30

Billy Dean in Concert with Jarrett
Baldknobbers Jamboree

December 31

Acrobats of China
Amazing Pets
Comedy Jamboree
Grand Jubilee
Hughes Brothers Christmas Show
it starring the Hughes Brothers and their Families
Legends in Concert
Million Dollar Quartet
The BIG Show
Christmas on the Trail Chuckwagon Dinner Show
Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Comedy Hypnosis Dinner Show
Dixie Stampede
Doug Gabriel #1 Hits Tribute
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety
Motown Downtown
Pierce Arrow
Showboat Branson Belle
The Twice Adopted Gospel Show

Click here for a list of Branson shows sorted alphabetically.

BTC’s Wood suggests advanced planning because of limited show seating, the scheduling of show performances during the Christmas season, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are closed. She said that an easy way to avoid problems, save time and, in many cases money, is by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center, toll free at 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of their Branson based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist in making any show or lodging reservations and answer any questions. There is no charge for this service.

Five things you really need to know about having a fabulous Christmas Week in Branson!

Many of Branson's most popular shows will be open Christmas Week.

Many of Branson’s most popular shows will be open Christmas Week.

“Branson is famous for its live entertainment, attractions, shopping, fun, and other exciting activities,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Christmas Week, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, is filled with all the things that Branson is famous for…and then some,” she continued.

Here’s a list of five things you should know about spending Christmas Week in Branson:

1. Many Branson Shows are still performing: Although many of Branson’s shows are closed for the season, a number of its most popular shows are open during Christmas Week. This includes such shows as The Acrobats of China, Amazing Pets, Billy Dean in Concert with Jarrett Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Comedy Jamboree, Dixie Stampede, Grand Jubilee, Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety, The Haygoods, Sight and Sound’s spectacular Jonah, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Legends in Concert, Paul Harris and the Cleverlys, Pierce Arrow, the Showboat Branson Belle, and many more.

2. The vast majority of Branson Attractions are open: The vast majority of Branson’s attractions will be open. This includes its oldest and most popular paid attraction, the international award-winning Silver Dollar City presenting its “Old Time Christmas;” the Titanic Museum Attraction decked out for its beautiful “Christmas and Winter Celebration;” the unique White Flight exhibit at the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure; the National Tiger Sanctuary; Branson’s Promised Land Zoo, and others.

3. All major Branson Christmas lighting displays will still be aglow: All the major lighting displays including Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights, the giant 30 foot nativity scene on top of Mount Branson overlooking Lake Taneycomo, Branson Landing and Historic Downtown Branson, and the Ozark Mountain Christmas Lights & Village will continue throughout the week.

4. Shop ‘til you drop: – Branson’s shopping experience is legendary and Christmas Week is no exception. From the unique Branson Landing, with its 100 retail stores, to the shops of Historic Downtown Branson, featuring Dicks 5 & 10; from outlet centers such as Tanger Outlets and The Shoppes at Branson Meadows, to the dozens of specialty shops offering arts and crafts and one- of-a-kind items, Branson’s Christmas Week shopping will satisfy the most avid shopper.

151124 CoClayGoods 2015

5. New Year’s Eve Fun: In addition to New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dancing – Keeter Center, and other area celebrations welcoming in the New Year, the following shows will have special New Year’s Eve celebrations:

Big Cedar Resort’s New Years Eve Celebrations
Chateau on the Lake New Years Eve Celebration
Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Doug Gabriel’s #1 Hits Tribute Show
Grand Jubilee
Hughes Brothers
Legends in Concert
Million Dollar Quartet
Pierce Arrow
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety

BTC’s Wood points out that the weather, Show schedules, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are closed should be considered when planning your trip. She suggests that an easy way to avoid problems, make sure you have the most current information, save time and, in many cases, money, is by simply calling the Branson Tourism Center toll-free at 1-800-785-1550, and talking with one of their Branson-based vacation planning specialists. They’ll be delighted to answer any questions and assist you with show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

America’s sweethearts share their amazing 60 year journey

The Lennon Sisters circa early years, Kathy, left, Dee Dee, back, Peggy, and Janet .

The Lennon Sisters, circa the early years, Kathy, left, Dee Dee, back, Peggy, and Janet, front .

In what might well have been one of the greatest Christmas entertainment gifts ever, Lawrence Welk introduced the four lovely and talented Lennon Sisters to America during his national TV show on Christmas Eve of 1955. America fell in love with them and now, 60 years later, ‘America’s Sweethearts’ are still entertaining, thrilling, and inspiring audiences with their one-of-a-kind vocal sound and personality.

Recently, between rehearsals for the Andy William Christmas Show at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre in Branson, the Lennon Sisters (LS); Janet, Kathy, and Mimi, took time from their hectic schedules for an interview about their fabulous 60 year journey. The interview was conducted in a “Question and Answer” format for the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) by Gary Groman, a 29 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist and freelance entertainment writer:

BTC: How did you discover your remarkable singing talents as a group?
LS: We come from a family with a musical background. Our grandmothers were dancers, one of our grandfathers was a honky-tonk piano man, the other an Irish Tenor, and our father was a wonderful singer who sang with his brothers in a group called the “Lennon Brothers.” None of us read music, but we learned their harmonies by ear and sang around the house when we were little. It came to us naturally.

BTC: Where were you born and raised?
LS: We were born and reared in the beach town of Venice, CA.

BTC: How would you describe your childhood?
LS: Our whole family, my dad, his brother, over 30 cousins all lived in Venice. It was an amazing, wonderful, and loving childhood. It was great!

BTC: What was the original reason the Lennon Sisters started singing professionally in 1954?
LS: To help put an addition on our house. The whole family lived in a two bedroom-one bath house and mom and dad slept on a pull-out sofa in the living room. Daddy wanted to add a dormitory onto the house for the girls. We sang a church musical. People in the audience liked it and said they would pay us to come and sing for their organizations, and that’s what we did.

BTC: How many brothers and sisters did you have?
LS: There’s 11 of us, six girls and five boys.

BTC: What part did Larry Welk play in getting you the opportunity to appear on the Lawrence Welk Show?
LS: Dianne, Dee Dee, went to school with Larry Welk Jr. He asked her to go to a Halloween Party, but she said she couldn’t because she had to sing at the Elks Club. He went to the club to pick her up, heard them sing, and liked what he heard. He said that his dad had just started a TV show and that he was going to tell him about them.

BTC: What were the circumstances of your first meeting with Lawrence Welk?
LS: About a month later Larry called Dee Dee and told her to get her sisters together and come over to the house because his dad was home sick, couldn’t get out of the house, and that he wanted us to sing for his dad. When we got there, Lawrence Welk came out wearing a maroon smoking jacket and velvet slippers, sat down, turned to us, and said, “My son has told me all about you; now sing!” That’s how it started. It’s the only audition we have ever had.

BTC: When did you make your first TV appearance on the Lawrence Welk Show?
LS: On Christmas Eve of 1955.

BTC: Do you remember the name of the song you sang?
LS: “He.”

BTC: Which sisters made that appearance and how old were they?
LS: Dianne, 16, Peggy, 14, Kathy, 12, and Janet, 9.

BTC: When did Mimi join the group?
LS: Although she sang with us as a fill in for many years, she joined us permanently in 1999 when Peggy retired.

The 2015 Lennon Sisters Kathy left, Janet, and Mimi

The Lennon Sisters, circa 2015,  Kathy left, Janet, and Mimi

BTC: Except for the first performance, what was your most memorable moment while on the Lawrence Welk Show?
KATHY: The very first time Mr. Welk asked me to sing a solo. It was “Dark Moon.”
JANET: I loved dancing with Mr. Welk and singing duets.

BTC: When did you leave the Lawrence Welk Show?
LS: 1968.

BTC: Did you go to another TV show?
LS: Yes. We had our own national TV show, the “Jimmy Durante Presents the Lennon Sisters Hour.”

BTC: Did the appearance of the Lennon sisters on that show establish a new entertainment milestone?
LS: Yes. We were the first sister act to star in their own national TV variety show.

BTC: You have sold millions of recordings, but how many different songs have gone into those recordings?
S: Over 400.

BTC: Of all of those songs, which was your personal favorite:
KATHY: “Sophisticated Lady,” but I can’t wait to record “Love Story” which will be on our new album.
JANET: The Skeeter Davis hit, “The End of the World.”
MIMI: Our Rosemary Clooney Medley with “Hey There,” “Tenderly,” “Sisters,” and “Come On-A My House.”

BTC: Has a book been published about your remarkable career?
LS: Yes, we have an autobiography, “Same Song, Separate Voices.” It took us ten years to write and we wrote every word ourselves.

BTC: Over the years, you have received numerous awards and recognitions. Is their one that means the most?
LS: We are appreciative, grateful, and honored for all of the many awards we have received over the years, but being inducted into the “Vocal Group Hall of Fame” in 2001 and receiving a star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame Star” has special significance.

BTC: In a career filled mostly with highs, have you traveled through any valleys that could have ended the journey?
LS: Like most families, it’s not all roses and mountain highs. Valleys have been encountered along the way. Our bio describes a painful valley that we traveled through and, but for the intercession of Andy Williams, might have been the end of our career. The bio says, “On August 12, 1969, their father, William (Bill) Lennon, was gunned down and murdered by a demented fan, who believed that the Lennons’ father had kept him from being married to one of the Sisters. This tragic event left their mother to support seven children under the age of eighteen. Wanting to protect their siblings, their mother, and their growing families, The Lennon Sisters decided to stop all personal appearances due to the fear of being vulnerable in the public eye. It was only Andy Williams’ persuasion and promise to take care of them that resulted in a careful choice to appear on live stage again.”

BTC: Prior to Branson, when did you first start performing with Andy Williams?
LS: In the 1960s and through the 70s on TV, Vegas, and Lake Tahoe.

BTC: What part did Larry Welk play in bringing the Lennons to Branson?
LS: We had never heard of Branson until we got a call from Larry Welk who said he was opening a theatre in Branson and asked if we would star in his show.

BTC: How did you end up in Branson?
LS: After Larry’s call, we called Andy Williams and others who were in Branson. They said that we belonged in Branson so we came, looked, and said, “Maybe we can do this for a year.” We are now celebrating our 22nd season in Branson.

BTC: How many Lennons moved to Branson originally?
LS: 35.

BTC: When did you start performing in Branson?
LS: In May of 1994 at the Welk Resort Theatre.

BTC: When was the first time you performed on the “Andy Williams Christmas” show prior to coming to Branson?
LS: In 1960.

BTC: When did you start performing at the Andy Williams Moon River Theatre?
LS: In 2011.

BTC: What was the name of the show?
LS: We did two different shows, “An Evening with the Lennon Sisters” and the “Lennon Sisters Christmas Show.” We performed our Christmas Show in the afternoon and performed in the “Andy Williams Christmas Show” in the evening. One of Andy’s last wishes was that the Osmond Brothers and Lennon Sisters would continue his legacy and perform his traditional Christmas show. We have been performing with the Osmonds in the “Andy Williams Christmas Show” for the last three years and just love working with them.

BTC: Whether in Branson or not, what was your favorite Christmas memory of performing with Andy Williams?
LS: In the early 70s Andy wanted us to perform in his Christmas show at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. We told him we never go out of town at Christmas unless we can take our families. It was worked out, and the whole family, including Grandma, went to Lake Tahoe to perform. Perry Como was doing his Christmas show right across the street at Harrah’s. At Christmas our whole family got together and went caroling to the houses of both Andy Williams and Perry Como. It was like the best thing ever!

Janet's favorite moment in this years Andy Williams Christmas Show.

Janet’s favorite part of this years Andy Williams Christmas Show.

BTC: What is your favorite part of this year’s “Andy Williams Christmas Show?”
KATHY: The “Ave Maria” and “Silent Night” medley.
JANET: I love working with my granddaughters. They are just so much fun.
MIMI: Singing the “Christmas Song” with the Osmonds.

BTC: As you complete the remarkable achievement of 60 years in show business, what is the one moment that has meant the most to you?
LS: It’s not just one moment. The simple joy of being able to work with each other over these last 60 years and the special bond that we have is priceless. So, too, is the humbling experience of knowing that our music not only entertains our fans but, in many cases, has impacted their lives in some special way.
LS: In terms of just one number, it would be singing “Close to You,” a capella with Andy Williams during some of our Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe appearances with him. We just sat around him on stools and sang. It was a little piece of heaven.

BTC: Anything else you would like our readers to know?
LS: We’re so appreciative of the fans who have supported us on this 60 year journey and hope people will come and see us perform, whether it’s in the Andy Williams Christmas Show in Branson, or one of the 10 to 15 dates a year outside of Branson. We think they will enjoy not only the wide variety of music we do, but the peaceful nostalgic journey back to a simpler time as viewed through the video flashbacks of our 60 year journey, and some of the amazing stars we have performed with. Whether two or 92, you will enjoy the show!

For additional information or tickets to see the Lennon Sister perform in the Andy Williams Christmas Show, or 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 by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Experience why It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year at the Andy Williams Christmas Show

The Osmonds and Lennon Sisters opening the show, Jimmy, left, Cathy, Merrill, Janet, and Jay.

The Osmonds and Lennon Sisters opening the show, Jimmy, left, Kathy, Merrill, Janet,  Jay and Mimi.

I’ve just come from seeing the 2015 edition of the Andy Williams Christmas Show; all I can say is, “WOW!” It’s a spectacular, unique, and magical Christmas production that is as beautiful and inspiring as it is entertaining, exciting, and fun.

Recently, during separate interviews with Jimmy Osmond and the Lennon Sisters, they expressed what an honor it was to remember and honor Andy Williams by continuing his style of Christmas show. From the very first number, to the last, the show is a variety of music, dancing, color, magic, and more, moving from element to element as I eagerly awaited what was coming next.

The hallmark of an Andy Williams Christmas show is the combination of color, excitement, variety, fun, and the way various elements are woven together to simultaneously hold the interest of all ages throughout the entire show. From dancing reindeer and beautiful dancing, to the quick change artistry, magic and, of course, the amazing vocals of the Osmonds and Lennon Sisters, this show does just what the song implies; it leaves no doubt that It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

From the show’s opening number to its final number, the Osmonds and Lennon Sisters sing a variety of Christmas and other music as only they can. The distinctive style of each group has been entertaining audiences for decades and is wonderful, but when they join together in numbers like “The Christmas Song,” their two different familial voices combine into a special Christmas experience that is a joy to hear and experience.

Many of their numbers are mini productions involving dancers, special effects, and more. During one such number, the audience was surprised and delighted when the Lennon Sisters were joined by three of Janet’s talented granddaughters who danced and sang with them.

Surround the wonderful vocals with the adagio dancing and quick change artistry of Pasha & Aliona, and the magic of Rick Thomas at strategic points throughout the show, and the result is like opening presents under the tree on Christmas morning. You don’t know what’s in the next package, but what a wonderful surprise it is when the package is opened and you discover what’s inside!

Kids and adults alike will be amazed at the magic and charisma of Rick Thomas. Although he performed other illusions, I must mention the “Air Adagio” illusion he performs with his lovely wife, Tara. To see her magically dancing in the air so gracefully high above the stage is as beautiful as it is amazing, not only from an illusion perspective, but from an appreciation for her grace and the skill of the dancing itself. It will leave you wondering, “how do they do that?”

Well you might not know how he did it when you walk out of the show, but you will know two things for certain; that you just had a wonderful entertainment experience, and that It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

 For additional information or tickets for the Andy Williams Christmas Show, or 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 by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

You should share a Branson Christmas show with your family because…

From the "Grinch" to the Nativity and true meaning of Christmas, Branson's Christmas shows are full of color, fun, and the "Reason for the Season."

From the “Grinch” to the Nativity and true meaning of Christmas, Branson’s Christmas shows are full of color, fun, and the “Reason for the Season.”

“…it will create wonderful Christmas memories that will last a lifetime,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Christmas is one of the most exciting times of the year in Branson, and nowhere is that more obvious than at our shows. Each is like an exquisite ornament on a Christmas tree, adding unique beauty, fun, and spirit to the Christmas season.”

Here’s a list of things about our Christmas shows you might want to consider while planning your visit to Branson:

They’re part of Ozark Mountain Christmas: Branson’s live shows are an important part of all that Branson has to offer every day, but during Ozark Mountain Christmas, they share the true spirit of Christmas, the reason for the season, with their audiences in a very special and personal way. Ozark Mountain Christmas runs from November 1 through December 31, and Branson’s Christmas shows generally start with their first November performance.

There are two Christmas show formats: It can generally be said that Branson’s Christmas shows follow one of two formats. First are shows that are totally Christmas, such as the Andy Williams Christmas Show, Christmas on the Trail, Christmas Wonderland, Shoji Tabuchi, and the Hughes Brothers Christmas Show. The second, and by far the more prevalent format used, involves a mixture of their regular season show and their Christmas show. Typically, one half of the show is devoted to the best of their regular season show, and the other half, usually the last half, to their Christmas show.

Most Christmas shows end their season in mid December: Many shows hold their last Christmas performance by the end of the third week in December. These include some of Branson’s most popular shows: Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Andy Williams Christmas Show, Christmas Wonderland, Dublin’s Irish Tenors and the Celtic Ladies, Duttons, Mickey Gilley, New Jersey Nights, Shoji Tabuchi, SIX, and George Dyer. Other popular shows such as Billy Dean in Concert With Jarrett, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Grand Jubilee, Haygoods, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Legends in Concert, Paul Harris and the Cleverlys, Christmas on the Trail, and Dixie Stampede are open through the third week in December or beyond.

Early reservations are highly recommended: Ozark Mountain Christmas is not only one of the most special seasons for a visit to Branson, it can also be one of the busiest. The limited Christmas show schedules can make the demand for tickets even greater; so early reservations are very important, not only to ensure availability, but to get the best seats. Branson Tourism Center, a company that’s sold more than 4.5 million Branson show and attraction tickets, has a special relationship with its theatre partners. This relationship helps their customers not only get the show tickets they desire, but also the best possible seats available at the time the tickets are purchased. Branson Tourism Center can be reached by phone at 1-800-785-1550, or through their website at www.BransonTourismCenter.com.