Four things to consider when picking a Branson show for children

Children love "Jonah." It has it all action, color, spectacle, peer performers and an ageless story.

Children love “Jonah.” It has it all action, color, spectacle, peer performers and an ageless story.

“One question we get asked quite often, especially at this time of year with many of families vacationing in Branson, is ‘What are the best shows for children?’” said Tammy Johnson, the Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “All of Branson’s shows, in terms of content, are suitable for children but ‘what is best’ for a particular child depends on their age, attention span, interests and other factors,” she added.

Based on my experience with Branson shows over the last 28 years, Johnson’s advice is right on. She’s in an excellent position to know because the Branson Tourism Center will sell its four millionth ticket this month and many of those tickets were sold to families with children. Ask most Branson shows and they will tell you that there is something in their show “for children of every age.” That might very well be true for a short portion of the show, but some shows, more than others are more likely to hold the interests of children throughout more of the show than others. Realizing that these may overlap, here’s three things to consider when considering a Branson show for children:

1. Does the show have a lot of action or animals throughout that will appeal to your children? Most children like action and variety throughout the show. Some shows have a lot of action and variety that naturally and obviously appeals to children such as the Acrobats of China, Amazing Pets, Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety ShowLe Grand Cirque, Dixie Stampede, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience, Illusionist Rick Thomas and Jonah among others.

2. Does the show have performers in it that your children will relate to on a peer to peer basis? This one is tricky because it’s not just a matter of having children performing; it’s about the quality of their performance and how it relates to the total entertainment experience of everyone in the audience because these shows, although designed to hold the interests of children throughout with key peer to peer performances, are primarily music shows. Some do it with a mixture of performers going from their star parents to younger children; prime examples of this type of show would be the Duttons, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, and it at the Hughes Brothers Theatre. In others, such as the Haygoods and Ayo staring the Voices of Glory, the stars themselves are the peer to peer performers that children, particularly teenagers, will relate to.

3. Does the show have enough color, spectacle, or action to hold your child’s interest throughout the show? Is there enough color, spectacle and action intermixed throughout the show, whether intended specifically for children or not, to hold their interest? Presleys’ Country Jubilee is an excellent example of this type of show where their colorful costumes and the hilarious action filled comedy of “Herkimer” and his son “Cecil” combine with outstanding music into a show that has been successfully and continuously entertaining families visiting Branson since 1967.

4. Does the child have the attention span to sit through the show? This is primarily age related and something only the parent or adult thinking of taking a child to a show would know. If after considering the three factors listed above the answer is, “No,” then it might be advisable to spend the time and money enjoying one of Branson’s many other activities such as the Titanic Museum Attraction, a sightseeing cruise aboard the river boat replica Lake Queen, the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery or any one of the dozens of other Branson Attractions.

Branson Tourism Center celebrates 4 Millionth Ticket with Gift Card Giveaway

Use your gift card to see Sight and Sounds spectacular production of "Jonah" the smash hit of Branson's 2014 season.

Jonah, the smash hit of Branson’s 2014 season, is just one of the many Branson shows, attractions and lodging facilities that winners can use their gift cards on.

BRANSON, Mo., June 6, 2014 – “We are so excited that the Branson Tourism Center (BTC) has sold just under 4,000,000 tickets for Branson area shows and attractions and will pass that milestone later this month,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Just to think of the number of people those 4 million tickets represent, who have come to Branson and experienced its fun, excitement and adventure, is a humbling thought,” she added.

Wood said that, in celebration of the selling its 4 millionth ticket later this month, the Branson Tourism Center is having a 4 Millionth Ticket Celebration Sweepstakes giving away a Grand Prize of a $400 Branson Tourism Center Gift Card and 4 runner up prizes of $50 Branson Tourism Center Gift Cards. The gift cards can be used at BTC for the purchase of any the shows, attractions and lodging that it sells.

Entering the contest is simple and requires no purchase or requirement to have any social media account. Simply go to BTC’s 4 Millionth Ticket Celebration Sweepstakes page, enter your email address, read of the contest rules and submit your entry by clicking “Enter Now.” Once you have entered you’ll have the opportunity to get more entries by helping spread the word about the contest.

“At BTC the words, ‘We don’t sell discount vacations. We sell amazing vacations at a discount,’ are more than a slogan and one of the primary reasons why we will be selling our 4 millionth ticket this month,” Wood said.

Amazing Le Grand Cirque will leave you breathless

The "Wheel of Death" will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

The most daring stunt ever performed on a Branson stage. The “Wheel of Death” will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Over the past 28 years I have seen just about every “Cirque” type of show that has come to Branson. On May 31st I saw Le Grand Cirque, the most exciting, amazing, entertaining and daring cirque show that I have ever seen in Branson. In fact, I have never seen a show in Branson that combines music, dancing, comedy, amazing acrobatics and extreme stunts into a “sit on the edge of your seat excitement” entertainment experience like “Le Grand Cirque” does.

The full cast opening featuring dancing and music performed by colorfully dressed “clowns” is a fast paced number filled with neat acrobatics and moves that blends into one of best “hula hoop” acts I have ever seen. Young Noemi Lee España does amazing things with hula hoops that I have never seen before. Oh I have seen plenty of hula hoop acts and people twirl ten hoops before but I have never seen a hula hoop act like this and it’s just the first act.

For reasons that will be explained in a moment, this is as good a time as any to point out the cast of the show and what they do:

Vivien España – Aerialist, Hoop, Trapeze and Chiffon
Noemi Lee España – Hula Hoops, Contortionist, Aerial Chiffon
Elan Alex España – Diabolo Juggler, Chair Balancing
Noe España – Wheel of Death Walker and Globe of Death motorcycle rider
Felix Angello Toscano Hernandez – Globe of Death motorcycle rider
dilson De Paula Fernandes – Wheel of Death Walker
Mime – Jay McManus

Noemi during her amazing Hula Hoop performance.

Noemi during her amazing Hula Hoop performance.

You will note that the name “”España” appears quite a bit. It’s amazing that all this talent is one family. In addition to the talent, the different acts performed by different family member from “mom and dad” down to the kids relates so well to the audience, especially the children. How well? This comment from a review of this show by “zrahnoelle” on May 28 on Branson’s largest message board, “1Branson.com” said, “We saw La Grand Cirque at Kings Castle Theatre last night. Ages 7 to 67 and we all loved it! Several very dangerous acts had us on the edge of our seats and my 11 year old said she was so scared they would fall that her tummy hurt!” In my opinion this is one of very few Branson shows that will entertain children and adults simultaneously from the beginning to the end of the show.

There is just the right mixture of audience interaction and humor with the Mime mixed with music and dancing as the show swiftly and seamlessly moves from one act to another in a colorful and entertaining manner. One example is with the introduction to the aerial hoop act when a box appears on the stage and colorfully dressed characters come out until Vivien España  comes out of the box and rises gracefully into the air to perform her beautiful Aerial Hoop act. The “Black Light” routine leading into the “Wheel of Death” is another example.

The “Wheel of Death” is one of the most extreme stunts I have ever seen performed on any stage, Branson or anywhere else. Noe España and dilson De Paula Fernandes each walk in a “wheel” at one end of a pendulum that is swinging the two wheels in a full 360 degree circle that goes from the stage to the top of the theatre over 30 feet in the air. It scary enough when both of them are walking inside the two wheels as the pendulum speeds up, but it approaches insanity when one of them gets on top of the revolving wheel and performs. What an act and we haven’t mentioned the two motorcyclists performing in the “Globe of Death” as they zoom around not only each other, but, Noemi Lee España standing inside the “Globe.”

Even acts you have seen before take on new life and excitement in this show. Young Elan Alex España performs with the Diabolo “Chinese YoYo.) What he does with one is amazing, but when he goes to two and three he knocks it out of the park. From music, colorful costuming, excitement, grace beauty and danger, L”e Grand Cirque “has it all and is truly “Amazing Beyond Belief.”

For additional information or tickets for Le Grand Cirque please call the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website, www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Material Connection

 

 

Three tips that every first time Branson visitor should know

Christina Tabuchi, right, Shoji Tabuchi and Sharlyn Smith performing during the "Dixieland" segment of the Shoji Tabuchi Show.

Christina Tabuchi, right, Shoji Tabuchi and Sharlyn Smith performing during the “Dixieland” segment of the Shoji Tabuchi Show.

It’s no mistake that Branson, Missouri was listed on the “Top 25 List of U.S. Destinations” in “TripAdvisors® 6th Annual Traveler’s Choice Destination Awards.” There is just so much to do in Branson and so many ways for families to relax, have fun and create memories that will last a lifetime. Here are three tips for first time visitors that we hope will help them enjoy Branson to its fullest:

1. Start relaxing while planning your vacation: With all there is to see and do in Branson, deciding what you want to see and do, making show and lodging reservations, etc. why not relax, avoid the hassle and start your vacation early by using the free vacation planning services of a company such as the Branson Tourism Center. Just one toll free call to 1-800-785-1550 is all it takes to put you in contact with one of their Branson based Vacation Planners who will be delighted to help plan your Branson trip, answer questions and make all the reservations. “One call does it all.” All you have to do is show up in Branson and enjoy your vacation.

2. Plan to see a Branson show: Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing, for the Branson Tourism Center, who has sold over 3,900,000 Branson show and attraction tickets points out that Branson is noted for the quantity and quality of its shows. With Branson shows as diversified as Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Shoji Tabuchi, SIX, Le Grand Cirque and almost a hundred others there is a Branson show for everyone. Wood points out that Branson’s shows are some of the most reasonably priced anywhere and made even more so when the fact that many of its most popular shows offer Family Show Passes which can save families quite a bit.

Start out by looking at the lodging choices that are available and pick one that fits in with what you want from your vacation.

 

3. Pick lodging that will enhance your overall vacation expectations: On any trip, a bad lodging experience can spoil the trip and that is even more so when you are on vacation. The “good news” is that Branson has over 18,000 rooms and 200 lodging facilities to pick from. Whether its enjoying the relaxing atmosphere and quality service of a reasonably priced full service resort such as the Welk Resort, the lakeside luxury of the Chateau on the Lake or the quaint hominess of the Gazebo Inn, centrally located in the Branson Strip, or any one of Branson’s 197 other lodging properties there is sure to be lodging that is just perfect for your vacation. The use of Branson Tourism Center’s Lodging Page and its filters makes it easy to find the lodging you want by just clicking a few buttons or you can call 1-800-785-1550 and one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Vacation Planners will help you find the perfect lodging for your vacation.

No Pun, Jonah’s one whale of a show!

"Jonah brings  biblical story of "Jonah" to life in   a "whale" of an entertainment experience.

“Jonah brings biblical story of God’s reluctant prophet  to life in a “whale” of an entertainment experience.

Living in Branson for 28 years and writing about it for most of those years has put me in a position to see all of the spectacular Sight and Sound Branson shows, “Noah, the Musical,” “Miracle of Christmas,” and “Joseph.” When I went to see their new Branson production, Jonah, on May 29 I expected to see a show with great music, vocals, spectacular sets and costuming presented as only Sight and Sound can do it. Well folks I got that and a “whale” of a lot more. OK so it was a “big fish,” but I like the term “whale” that is commonly used when people talk about the biblical story of “Jonah.”

As great as the special effects and scenery have been in their other productions, the special effects and scenery in Jonah are just about unbelievable. The action scenes of the ship breaking up; Jonah flying through the air, particularly as he departs the belly of the whale; the set of Jonah in the belly of the whale and the underwater scene with the great whale are simply magnificent and something no one has ever come close to seeing on a Branson stage.

30,000 pound ship "sails" the stage and breaks up during the storm.

30,000 pound ship “sails” the stage and breaks up during the storm.

The ship alone took two years to build, weighs 30,000 pounds, sails “the seas on the stage” with its crew and starts to breaks up right before your eyes as the storm plummets it about. Then, after, they throw Jonah overboard, the storm abates and the stars again sparkle in the background. Meanwhile Jonah sinks into the depth of the sea setting the stage for the visual highlight of Jonah, the underwater segment with the great whale.

The audience is immersed, in a literal sense, in a spectacular underwater environment as beautiful fish swim about, Jelly Fish come down from the ceilings and the great whale comes out of the darkness and swims slowly and gracefully out over the audience through a beautiful underwater world and then, returns to swallow Jonah. Parents need not worry, the actual swallowing of Jonah by the whale is not seen. One minute the whale is swimming toward him and the next, there is a set with Jonah in the belly of the whale. Jonah’s exit from the belly of the whale was a “high flying” experience that delighted the audience.

As a general rule, with Sight and Sound shows you want to be in your seats when the show starts and immediately after intermission. If you are not, there is a chance you will not be admitted into the auditorium until it can be done safely because of the fact that animals and cast members use the aisles. This is particularly the case right after intermission when the big underwater scene takes place.

This show has it all, drama; original music produced specifically for Jonah and performed by Prague Symphony Orchestra; great vocals sung live on stage by the shows cast; 30 live animals including sheep, highlander cattle, camels, alpacas, horses, llamas, dogs, birds and miniature donkeys, and great sound, special effects, lighting and spectacular sets. The energy and talent of the shows cast of 41 performers brings the story of “Jonah,” and how he tried to run from what he knew God wanted him to do, to life in a very special and entertaining way.

It’s hard to imagine a show with a greater appeal and spectacle than Jonah as it brings to life and illustrates one of the greatest biblical stories of all time about the lesson one of God’s own prophets had to learn about His mercy and love for us, even as he tried to run from it. The magnificent and spectacular way the story comes to life in Jonah is unlike anything that most people will every experience live on stage, a pure joy to experience and something is that special type of entertainment that every member of the family will enjoy and remember for a lifetime.

 

 

Material Connection

Hatchery hatches more than trout for Branson visitors

Visitor's Center of Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery with Table Rock Dam in the background.

Visitor’s Center of Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery with Table Rock Dam in the background.

From its 43,000 plus surface acre water playground, Table Rock Lake, to attractions, museums, shopping, theme and water parks and over 100 live shows of every kind Branson, Missouri offers a bewildering number of things to see and do. “Many like Silver Dollar City, Branson’s great live shows and the Titanic Museum Attraction, to name a few, are well known,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Among the lesser known things to do is the opportunity for Branson visitors to experience the “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery” at the foot of Table Rock Dam,” she added.

The “Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery,” is operated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is part of a 211 acre complex including a “Conservation Center” consisting of trails, a wild life refuge, and a Visitor Center. It is located less than 10 minutes from the famed “Branson Strip,” just off of State Highway 165 at the foot of Table Rock Dam.

The hatchery was built in conjunction with the building of Table Rock Dam because the cold water passing through the dams generators to generate electricity was ideal for Rainbow and Brown trout, but would have a a negative impact on the warm water species prevalent before the dam was built. With the completion of the dam, the first trout were stocked in Lake Taneycomo in 1959.

As a result, Lake Taneycomo, has become one of the finest trout fisheries in America with one of its outfitters, River Run Outfitters, actually winning the coveted “Orvis Outfitter of the Year Award,” in 2006, over outfitters in the other states that are legendary for their trout fishing.

In terms of raw numbers the hatchery produces over 1.1 million Rainbow and Brown Trout annually, of which about 475,000, 10 to 12 inch trout are included in the 700,000 plus trout stocked in the lake annually. The other 225,000 trout that go into Lake Taneycomo each year come from federal hatcheries, primarily Neosho, which are required by federal law to replace the “warm water” species that the building of Table Rock Dam displaced.

Hatchery visitors are welcome to tour the “race ways,” “trout runs,” by themselves during normal business hours and will see thousands of trout in the various stages of development from the large “brood stock” used to produce them to the smallest of trout. In addition, guided tours of the hatchery depart the Visitors Center from Memorial Day to Labor Day on weekdays at 10 and 11 AM and 1 and 2 PM. The Visitor Center opens at 9:00 AM every day except, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Displays of wildflowers and plants common to the Ozarks are displayed in a natural setting, with most being identified, in the area just outside the Visitor’s Center. Activities inside the Center include a nature display, a huge aquarium with “lunker” Brown and Rainbow Trout and an informative 15 minute “movie” showing how the how the hatchery produces the trout that has made Lake Taneycomo the prime trout fishery that it is.

The Visitor Center also has volunteers and Department of Conservation personnel available to answer questions as well as maps and information showing the system of four trails that winds through the undeveloped area of the Conservation Center. These trails vary in length and are ideal for families to share together. The “White River Corridor Trail” is particularly enjoyable because it parallels Lake Taneycomo for almost its entire length, is only 0.4 of a mile in length, one way, and provides a spectacular “kaleidoscope” view of the fog shrouding Lake Taneycomo early on warm summer mornings burning off as the sun rises.

Except for a coin operated dispenser for trout food for those wanting to feed the trout in the raceways, all the activities at the hatchery are free. Whether it’s a few minutes or a few hours, The Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery is another one of those things that makes Branson, Missouri the memorable unique travel destination it is.

Is the 2014 Shoji Tabuchi show the best ever?

Christina Tabuchi, right, Shoji Tabuchi and Sharlyn Smith performing during the "Dixieland "segment of the show.

Christina Tabuchi, right, Shoji Tabuchi and Sharlyn Smith performing during the “Dixieland “segment of the show.

 

“Is that Shoji Tabuchi playing Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir?’” It absolutely is and to kick off his 2014 show no less! Performing for his 26th season in Branson, Shoji’s 2014 show just might be his best show ever and clearly demonstrates why he, and his show, have not only remained one of Branson’s premier entertainment experiences for so long, but are poised to continue that tradition well into the future.

I have seen dozens of great Shoji Tabuchi shows over the last 28 years great, but the one I saw on May 21st is like no other. All the hallmarks that the Shoji Tabuchi show is known for, its wide range of music; great dancing, singing and an orchestra filled with extremely talented multi instrumental musicians; colorful costuming, lighting, lasers, exciting and varied sets along with a seamless flow from one segment to another, are there in force. Although certainly an intangible it is the way that it all seems to come together, with an infectious charismatic blend of energy, excitement and the ability of the cast to convey the feeling to the audience that they are just having fun, that makes this year’s show so special.

One lady, speaking of Shoji’s playing said, “It’s not just that he is playing music that brings back some great memories, but the way he plays them just makes them so much more special.” If I were going to pick three of my favorites that Shoji played, from among many, illustrating that point I would pick “Love Me Tender,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “Through The Eyes of Love.” Whether it’s the violin or the fiddle, “Kashmir” or his “patented” version of the “Orange Blossom” there is something special and magic when Shoji plays.

The singer/dancers with Shoji and Christina during a stirring gospel number.

The singer/dancers with Shoji and Christina during a stirring gospel number.

The singer/dancers are multi-talented and add and exciting dynamic to the show not only with their singing and dancing, but in other areas. The opening of the second half with the Taiko drums, from Shoji’s native Japan is but one example, as ten drummers play three different drums including the large “Odaiko” in a unique one of a kind performance. As part of the segment Shoji plays the “Shamisen,” a three string instrument that is the Japanese equivalent of the banjo and does a duet of, what I believe was “Sukiyaki,” with his daughter Christina. Sharlyn Smith, one of the singer/dancers plays the mandolin during a beautiful bluegrass duet with Shoji.

The lead female vocalist for the show is the talented Christina Lingo Tabuchi, who is also the co dance captain and Shoji’s daughter. She does an excellent job performing a variety of original and cover vocals throughout the show. My favorites were her version of “”Boondocks” and an original song she recorded in Nashville, “Breaking It Down.”

Shoji’s ability to relate to his audience, whether playing, telling the story of how he came to be an American citizen, got his “southern accent” or anyone of a variety of other anecdotes sprinkled throughout the show is an inherent part of the whole experience. As I wrote last year and will again reiterate, “Simply put, 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.” I would add one thing for this year’s show, hold on to your seat from the moment the curtain does up because this year it’s on steroids!

For more information or tickets for the Shoji Tabuchi Show 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

Initial 2014 Cruise With The Stars experience with Billy Dean & Paul Harris

Billy Dean, right, and Paul Harris on the bridge of the "Landing Princess" during the cruise.

Billy Dean, right, and Paul Harris on the bridge of the “Landing Princess” during the cruise.

“What a pleasure it was to see the excitement and fun that both the passengers and Branson stars, Billy Dean and Paul Harris, had as they cruised together on an exclusive luncheon cruise aboard the 100 foot luxury yacht Landing Princess on May 23,” said Annette Wood, the Director of Sales and Marketing, for the Branson Tourism Center. “It was a super way to start off a great Memorial Day weekend in Branson and our 2014 Cruise With The Stars season,” she continued.

Wood pointed out that, in addition to having lunch with Billy and Paul and the chance to interact with them in a less formal and time controlled environment than is normally available during the of the typical theatre “meet and greet” that it was a picture book day to cruise on beautiful Lake Taneycomo. In between talking with Billy and Paul, posing for pictures and getting autographs, the passengers had a chance to experience the beauty of Lake Taneycomo, scenic vistas, a unique view of Branson Landing and its $7.5 million synchronized fire, water and music fountain show, Bald Eagles and more as they leisurely cruised.

The cruise was part of the innovative “Cruise With The Stars” experience available exclusively through the Branson Tourism Center because of the special relationship it has with Branson’s shows, entertainers and Main Street Lake Cruises. The value added experience consists of choice seats at the show of the star(s) featured on the cruise and the exclusive luncheon cruise itself; providing an unparalleled Branson entertainment opportunity combining the chance to see the star(s) perform coupled with the opportunity to meet them up close and personal.

Wood reminds those who might be interested in a similar experience that this cruise was just the first of those that will be offered during the 2014 season and suggests that they check the following schedule to see if it fits in with their Branson travel plans:

Legends in Concert Show – June 19
SIX – July 17
The Duttons – Sep.12
Grand Jubilee – Sep.13
The Texas Tenors – Sep. 18
John and Ambrus Presley from Presleys’ Country Jubilee – Oct. 7
The Osmonds, American Jukebox & the Andy Williams Christmas Show – Nov. 18

Advanced reservations are recommended because each separate “Cruise With The Stars” experience is a onetime per season event controlled by the seating available on the “Landing Princess.” To get additional information or to make reservations for any of the Cruise With the Stars experiences please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550.

You’ve probably been to Branson if…

 

Silver Dollar City is Branson's most popular paid attraction.

Silver Dollar City is Branson’s most popular paid attraction.

You’ve experienced one or more of the things mentioned below. When most of us tell someone we have been to a major tourist destination there are generally certain places or things that come up in the conversation. It’s hard to imagine mentioning that you have been to New York City, particularly to someone who has been there before, and not having one or more of the following com up as part of the conversation the “Statute of Liberty,” “Broadway,” the “Empire State Building,” the “911 site” or other key things New York City is noted for.

While certainly not on the same size scale as New York City, Branson has been named as one of the top 25 U.S. Travel Destinations and, like the mention of New York City or other major travel destinations, has certain places or things that come to mind when discussing a visit to Branson. Based on a history that started with visiting Branson in 1976 and living in Branson since 1986, it would be my opinion that most discussions about having visited Branson would include at least one or more of the following:

Branson’s Spirit: It would be hard for me to imagine that the same spirit of hospitality and values that drew me back to Branson year after year, until I finally moved here over 28 years ago, would not be a special memory of a Branson visit. In my opinion, Branson’s spirit and unabashed love of family, God, country and our military; coupled with a sincere desire and commitment to insure that every Branson visitor has a great Branson experience would be something that most people who visit Branson would feel, appreciate and associate with what makes Branson so special.

The Branson Strip: Located on Highway 76, called by some “Country Music Boulevard,” the “Branson Strip” is where most of Branson’s theatres and major attractions are located. It is said that Branson “has more seats than Broadway” and its signage, particularly at night, reminds one of Las Vegas, but its entertainment, personality, value and spirit is rooted in the history and tradition of the Ozarks and family.

Silver Dollar City: This award winning 1880′s styled theme park is Branson’s oldest continually operated attraction and is easily its most popular paid attraction. It features dozens of rides, including the record setting wooden coaster, “Outlaw Run” and its “Wildfire” coaster; practicing craftsmen; shows; six world class festivals including “An Old Time Christmas,” and everything else one would expect from a world class theme park.

Branson Landing: The 95-acre, $435 million public/private multiuse project spans 1.5 miles of waterfront on Lake Taneycomo and is conveniently located adjacent to historic Downtown Branson. It’s combination of luxury condos and over 120 retail stores, kiosks and restaurants including “eclectic shops, national retailers, fine dining, intimate cafes and nightspots,” Main Street Lake Cruises, a zip line, two “floating restaurants, lakefront boardwalk on Lake Taneycomo and the spectacular free $7.5 million Branson Landing Fountain synchronized fire, water, light and music show make it one of the most popular attractions in Branson.

Branson's Titanic Museum Attraction  towers above the famed "Branson Strip."

Branson’s Titanic Museum Attraction towers above the famed “Branson Strip.”

Titanic Museum Attraction: The iconic, two story, ½ size, replica of the Titanic opened in 2006 and dominates the intersection of State Highway 165 and the Branson Strip. This permanent museum holds hundreds of Titanic artifacts in its many galleries and is an interactive adventure that makes the guests part of their own Titanic experience from beginning to end.

Inspiration Tower: Located in the historic Shepherd of the Hills Homestead, where Harold Bell Wright wrote his 1907 classic novel “The Shepherd of the Hills,” Inspiration Tower stands 230 feet above one of the highest points in southwest Missouri and on a clear day, provides a unique spectacular view of the Ozarks that extends over 90 miles into Arkansas.

Tanger Outlet Mall: It might seem strange to list an outlet mall as one of the things people who visit Branson are more than likely to talk about, but its central location in the middle of the Branson Strip, the fact that its Branson’s biggest outlet mall and one of the most popular shopping destinations in Branson combine to put it on the list.

Branson’s Live Shows: Although certainly not everyone who comes to Branson attends one of its live shows, the vast majority do and just about everyone who has visited Branson is aware of its shows. From the Acrobats of China and Jonah to Clay Coopers Country Express, Shoji Tabuchi, The Haygoods, Legends in Concert, SIX and dozens more, Branson has a variety, quantity and quality of shows that is unmatched by any travel destination anywhere near its size.

Presleys’ Theatre: Home of the Presleys’ Country Jubilee, the theatre was the first theatre on the Branson Strip in 1967. Two of its current cast members, Drummer, Steve Presley and comedian, “Herkimer,” Gary Presley have been performing continuously since that time.

Spectacular Beauty the Ozarks: Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, Branson is surrounded by the constantly changing tapestry of the beauty of the Ozark Mountains and its two pristine lakes, Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo.

 

Why SIX human voices are the hottest show in Branson

SIX, Owen, left , Kevin, Jak, Lynn, Curtis, and Barry during the gospel segment of the show.

SIX, Owen, left , Kevin, Jak, Lynn, Curtis, and Barry during the gospel segment of the show.

As many times as I have seen the amazing show SIX, I find myself looking for the band that is not there. This, even though I know that every sound I hear comes from the six human voices of siblings, Barry, Kevin, Owen, Lynn, Curtis and Jak Knudsen who make up the entire cast of one of Branson’s hottest shows, SIX. It was no different on the afternoon of May 20th, 2014 as I experienced the vocal magic of SIX performing their 2014 Branson show.

If you have never seen the show it’s hard to describe because it’s much more than a vocal band. It is a total entertainment experience consisting of great vocals covering a wide variety of music from the 60s to the present, an amazing “band” consisting of the same performers singing the vocals and comedy that is also presented by the same performers. Their energy, familial harmonies and humor, coupled with the vocal band aspect of their show result in an an awesome entertainment experience that is certainly unique in Branson if not in all the world.

From the time the curtain goes up to the last number one or more, in most cases more, of SIX is on the stage entertaining. That might not seem remarkable, but when one considers that whether it’s a drum beating, a beautiful vocal or the brothers telling stories and providing a warm wonderful comedic element to the show, it is just the six of them and they do it virtually non-stop, except for intermission, for two hours.

It’s not just what they do, but how they do it. As demonstrated numerous times during the show by, among others, the performance of “Stand By Me” by Curtis; Coldplay’s “Fix You,” featuring Owen or Lynn featured in the song “Love Times Ten,” each has been blessed with a remarkable vocal talent. When that individual talent blends together in numbers such as “People of the World,” “America” and the gospel segment, the power and familial harmony is, simply put, “A joy to hear.” 

Owen, is the "drum" in the band as well as an accomplished vocalist.

Owen, is the “drum” in the band as well as an accomplished vocalist.

One minute Owen is “a drum” doing “Wipe out” and the next he is performing a beautiful rendition of “Fix You” and that’s just one of “six. “Multiply that talent and versatility by six and you begin to get an idea of just how unique and special this show is.

The comedy, mostly provided by Jak interacting with the audience or one of his brothers is funny and comfortable because much of it relates back to them. Like the vocals, that familial element takes something that is already funny and makes it a unique and special part of the total SIX entertainment experience. A perfect example is Jak and Barry, with the musical backup of the rest of the group in the “Mr. Hollywood,” segment. From the comedy to the vocals, in total, it is a vintage SIX “moment.”

From songs as varied as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight and “Pretty Woman” to “Fix You,” “Viva Las Vegas” and many more the shows choice of music will have something for just about every musical taste. Its Veterans segment with Kevin featured in “I’m An American Soldier” and their performance of “America;” their performance of “Love Times Ten,” dedicated to their mother who died all too early from Cancer and the show gospel segment are as inspirational and touching as they were powerfully and beautifully performed.

The lighting, sound and interactive use of the giant screen on the back of the stage as well as the side monitors all added significantly to the enjoyment of the show. SIX is one of the most popular shows in Branson and, to this writer, the unique, powerful high energy performance he saw today is the reason why.

For additional information or tickets for SIX 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 .