Category Archives: Featured

What else but “grand” shows at Grand Country!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about a mind-blowing vacation in a Branson condo?

Overview of Pointe Royale Resort with Lake Taneycomo access and golf course/

“Whether it’s for work or vacation, the choice of where you stay while traveling is an important decision,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Nowhere is it more important however, than when you’re on a family vacation for multiple days!”

The major focus of the typical hotel room is “the bed.” Even with adjoining rooms that focus doesn’t change. There is no kitchen or common area for the family to share together. If someone gets up early to work on their computer, make a cup of coffee, or something else they must either leave the room or, disturb those they are sharing it with.

The major focus of a condo is roominess and common areas separate from the bedrooms. They typically offer fully equipped kitchens and large living areas for everyone to enjoy. The resulting levels of comfort, relaxation and flexibility will certainly add to the enjoyment of any vacation.

For more than two people, the cost of a condo is comparable to renting two or more rooms at a hotel. The condos rented by the Branson Tourism Center are fully equipped and luxuriously appointed. All are in resorts with their guests enjoying full resort amenities and services. Let’s look at some of Branson’s best!

Pointe Royale Resort is one of Branson’s premier gated communities. It’s set in a beautiful, natural, and spacious setting on the shore of Lake Taneycomo. Amid the scenic splendor of the Ozarks Mountains, it offers one-bedroom to three-bedroom condos and features a challenging 18-hole golf course. The Pointe has a beautiful clubhouse with a lounge and restaurant, some of the finest trout fishing anywhere, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, wilderness hiking trail, fitness center, playgrounds and more.

Spacious kitchen of a Thousand Hills Condo.

Thousand Hills Condos is one block from the center of the famed Branson Strip. It offers guests a choice of condos and town houses ranging from one-bedroom to five-bedrooms. The condos surround the lush fairways of the Thousand Hills Golf Course. The 18 hole, four star rated “Golf Digest,” course is one of Branson’s most popular courses. The resort has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fitness center, basketball and tennis courts, shuffleboard; and much more.”

Both the Pointe Royale Resort and Thousand Hills Condos are but minutes away from the fun and excitement of Branson’s shows, attractions, and shopping. They are also participants in Branson Tourism Center’s Lowest Rate Lock Guarantee Program. When you book through the Branson Tourism Center, they guarantee the price you pay to be the lowest rate available. If you find a lower price offered for the same condo on the same dates, between when you book and arrive in Branson, subject to minimal conditions, BTC will match the lower rate.

The Hilton Convention Center Hotel and the Hilton Promenade Hotel offer a limited number of luxurious one-bedroom condos in addition to their standard hotel rooms. Their location is ideal for those attending events at the Branson Convention Center or wanting to be close to Branson Landing and Historic Downtown Branson.

Still Waters Resort, located on beautiful Indian Point, offers well-appointed one-bedroom to three-bedroom condos. Its location on the shoreline of Table Rock Lake and full-service marina, make it the perfect resort for those who want to enjoy Table Rock Lake. It’s only five minutes away from Silver Dollar City by Indian Point Road, yet within minutes of all that Branson offers.

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

 

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

Just a few of the many choices Branson visitors have.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new 2017 Ultimate Branson Guide to touring national stars

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

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

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

2017 Limited Engagements Sorted by Name

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

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

2017 Limited Engagements Sorted by Date

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

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

* Check schedule for specific performance dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Branson – Up Close and Personal” with Adele Tribute Artist J. C. Brando

J.C. Brando during her Legends in Concert Adele Tribute .

How did the question, “Can we call you Mrs. Adele,” help J. C. Brando create a Legend? Read on to find out and don’t miss her Adele tribute in the world renown Legends in Concert show, in Branson, April 1 through May 16.

“Branson – Up Close and Personal,” is a service of the Branson Tourism Center. It provides readers with an interesting and up-close look at a Branson star or personality in a concise Question and Answer format.

BTC: Where were your born and when?
JC: French Camp, California in 1980.

BTC: When did you first start singing?
JC: I have been singing for as far back as I can remember.

BTC: What were the circumstances?
JC: Both my parents and older sister sang. I can remember singing for a group of a few hundred people, when I was about seven years old. We sang for a church in California as part of a group called the “Missionettes.”

BTC: When did you first realize that you wanted to make a living singing?
JC: Around my senior year in high school. I realized that I loved performing, musical theatre, and wanted to pursue it when I went to college.

BTC: What college did you attend?
JC: Azusa Pacific University.

BTC:  Did you receive a degree from Azusa Pacific?
JC: I sure did, a BA with a major in “English” and minor in “Drama/Theatre.” I thought that teaching would be a great fall back job if I couldn’t make it as a performer. Except for substitute teaching between “gigs” I haven’t had to fall back on it yet.

BTC: Where was your first professional gig?
JC: I started auditioning in the Los Angeles area and ended up doing a small 99 seat theatre production of the “Man of La Mancha.”

BTC: When?
JC: Right after I graduated college in 2002

BTC: Between then and becoming an Adele Tribute Artist how did you spend your time developing professionally?
JC: Performing aboard cruise ships and doing professional Christmas caroling. The caroling was in a capella quartets, dressed in full Dickens regalia, at Disney Parks, hotels, celebrity parties, and other places.

BTC: Did you study at Oxford in England?
JC: I did! During my junior year in college I did one “Study Abroad Semester” at Oxford.

BTC: Did your substitute teaching have anything to do with you deciding to become an Adele Tribute Artist?
JC: Yes. After working on cruise ships for several years I was trying to find a job in Las Vegas. While auditioning, I did substitute teaching. In late 2011, while doing a long-term sub in a high school Spanish class, some students said I looked like Adele and asked if they could call me “Mrs. Adele.” I looked Adele up on my I Phone and saw the likeness.

BTC: How did that likeness end up in you becoming an Adele Tribute Artist?
JC: It must have been in the stars. I heard Legends in Concert was having an audition in a few weeks. At the same time I made the discovery that the substitute teacher in the next class room had been a production manager for Legends in Concert. With his help and advice, I studied her mannerisms, singing style, accent, and worked perfecting my technique on the songs I wanted to use for the audition.

BTC: How did the audition go?
JC: The January 2012 audition was an “open call” for dancers. I had to dance, but when I finished, I asked if I could audition Adele for them. They said, “Yes.” I waited two hours while they finished the rest of the “dance call,” and auditioned. Within two days I got a call to come in and audition for the CEO. I did and they offered me Atlantic City for the summer. That gave me about three or four months to put my act together and go on stage.

BTC: How long have you been performing Adele with Legends in Concert?
JC: I have been performing Adele continuously for Legends in Concert since the summer of 2012.

BTC: What specific efforts do you go through to recreate Adele’s mannerisms, style, and vocal characteristics to provide as authentic an Adele experience as possible for your audiences?
JC: Thank God for You Tube! I have studied hundreds of hours of her videos, to learn her mannerisms, looks, and style. I even draw three of her visible tattoos each day. Besides my vocal warm-ups, which I combine with putting on my makeup, I spend about 45 minutes to get ready for my set.

BTC: What is your personal favorite Adele song?
JC: It’s “One and Only.”

BTC: Based on your feel of audience reactions to your performances, which Adele song is the audiences favorite?
JC: Right now, “Hello.”

BTC: Do you do gigs outside of Legends in Concert?
JC: Not many because Legends has kept me so busy.

BTC: Outside of Adele, if you could perform or meet with any entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
JC: I’m a huge musical theatre fan, so it would be Barbara Streisand

BTC: What kind of summer stock would you most like to perform if time permits?
JC: Musicals. My dream show would be “Into the Woods.”

BTC: In the Legends in Concert Christmas show you sang “Silent Night.” How did you decide on that?
JC: Adele hasn’t recorded any Christmas songs, but she has mentioned Etta James as one of her influences. The version of “Silent Night” I sing is an Etta James arrangement.

BTC: Adele or not, what is your personal favorite song?
JC:  Barbara Streisand singing, “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from “Funny Girl.”

BTC: When did you first perform in Branson?
JC: During the spring of 2014

BTC: Had you ever been to Branson before that?
JC: No.

BTC: What is your first impression of Branson?
JC: It’s surrounded by natural beauty.

BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
JC: I love Silver Dollar City!

BTC: Where is your favorite place to eat in Branson – Favorite dish?
JC:  Wakyoto Japanese Restaurant across from Walmart. I love their Sushi.

BTC: In your career, of all the performances you have made and you have been in, no matter how big or small, which one personally meant the most to you and why?
JC: Playing the role of “Dolly” in Hello Dolly” during my senior year in college. It was amazing!

BTC:  Do you have a favorite hobby or activity and what is it?
JC: Sit around watching movies. I love movies.

BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would enjoy?
JC: I’m addicted to chap stick and use it multiple times daily.

BTC: What part of your show/act do you enjoy performing the most and why?
JC: I love the talking bits and laughing between my songs.

BTC: How do you feel about performing in Legends in Concert?
JC: I love it. The show’s concept has something for everyone and leaves the audience wanting more.

Legends in Concert starts its legendary 2017 Branson Season with its spring lineup, running from February 3 through May 16. The all-star lineup starts with George Strait, Dusty Springfield, The Temptations, The Blues Brothers™ and Elvis Presley. Guest Artist Prince joins them starting February 16, with Adele replacing Dusty Springfield on April 1, and Michael Jackson joining them from May 12 through May 16.

For more information or tickets for the Legends in Concert, or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550. One of our  Branson based Travel Planners will answer your questions and help with reservations and getting the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

Best Branson Insider Highlights for February 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

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

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

Doesn’t your Sweetheart deserve a romantic Branson Valentine?

Legends in Concert’s spring cast, the Hughes Brothers, Titanic’s Grand Staircase. and the Branson Landing’s south promenade.

Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” “Love, chocolates, and flowers are all part of Valentine’s Day, but think how very special it would be to show your love for your Valentine by ‘celebrating’ Valentine’s Day in Branson,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. Wood points out that with Valentine’s Day, February 14, falling on Tuesday this year, it provides a variety of times to share a romantic Valentine’s Getaway to Branson. It might be a day trip on the 14th with a dinner and show or a romantic weekend, either before or after Valentine’s Day, but one thing is for sure, a Valentine’s Day celebration in Branson will provide that “special someone” with Valentine memories they will long cherish.

A traditional part of the Valentine’s Day celebration involves a special meal. Whether it’s an evening of fine dining and dancing with live music amid a rose petal and candlelight setting at the College of the Ozarks’ Keeter Center, the elegance of dinner at a table for two, overlooking Table Rock Lake in the Chateau Grille at the Chateau on the Lake Resort, the simple Ozark’s fare of McFarlain’s Family Restaurant, or any of dozens of other fine restaurants, Branson has the perfect Valentine’s meal for you and your sweetheart.

The Hughes Brothers Theatre plans a very special memorable celebration on Valentine’s Day itself. No pun intended, but it includes the amazing show it starring the Hughes Brothers; a scrumptious candle light dinner, complete with flowers and romantic music, served in their balcony restaurant area starting at 5:30 PM, and the showing of a classical romance movie; a fun renewal of vows; and a free memory portrait.

In addition, some of Branson’s Most Popular Shows will be open providing a wide variety of live entertainment to share with your special Valentine, including:

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

And that’s just a partial list of the shows that will be open over the Valentine’s Day time period. At this time of the year the list changes on just about a daily basis. For a current list of shows, please go to Branson Shows and select the date(s) that interest you.

Many of Branson’s attractions will be open for you and your sweetheart to enjoy together. The Titanic Museum Attraction, and the romance associated with it and Valentine’s Day, fit perfectly with the museum’s celebration of Sweetheart’s Month at the Titanic! Its elegant, full-sized replica of the “Titanic’s Grand Staircase” is a spectacular, inspiring, and beautiful spot for a wedding or to renew vows in celebration of Valentine’s Day or, for that matter, on any other day. Its gift shop is a treasure trove of special unique Titanic gifts, where every piece of jewelry is inspired by a Titanic story.”

Valentine’s Day, or any other time, Branson offers a unique world-class shopping experience unrivaled by any other travel destination anywhere near its size. It offers hundreds of different famous-name outlet stores, boutiques, galleries, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, and specialty shops at just about every turn including, outlet malls, the historic downtown Branson shopping district and Branson Landing with its 120 retail stores, kiosks and restaurants eclectic shops, national retailers, fine dining, intimate cafés, and nightspots.

“Don’t know exactly what’s available, or would like to customize a special Branson Valentine package for your sweetheart; no problem!” says Branson Tourism Center’s Wood. “Just call one of our Branson based Travel Planners at 1-800-785-1550, from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, seven days a week, and they will be delighted to help make that happen as well as answering any questions you might have.” She also points out that the bundling shows and lodging into a package normally saves money.