Country or non-country Branson’s entertainment paradigm has not changed

Production number with dancers during Clay Cooper's Country Express.

BRANSON, MO, April 3, 2013 — Branson shows were once thought of as being primarily country music shows because most of its early shows followed the format paradigm used by Branson’s first show, The Baldknobbers when they started Branson’s first show in historic downtown Branson in 1959. That paradigm included a mixture of country music, gospel and hillbilly comedy.

When the Presley family opened Presleys’ Country Jubilee, the first theatre on what is now the famed “Branson Strip” in 1967 they, as well as the majority of the shows that came after them until the mid 80’s, followed basically the same paradigm with variations in the comedy, styles and costuming. When the CBS prime time show “60 Minutes” did its piece on Branson in the early 90’s it strongly reinforced that paradigm and firmly established Branson’s country music reputation in the minds of many people, but a new paradigm has gradually emerged on the Branson show scene since then.

As entertainers such as the Osmonds, Lennon Sisters, Andy Williams, Yakov Smirnoff, Jim Stafford and others joined the Branson show scene, along with shows such as the Acrobats of China, Dixie Stampede, Shoji Tabuchi, the shows on the Showboat Branson Belle and others it quickly became obvious that Branson certainly wasn’t just country anymore. In the last two decades, with the explosion of non-country shows such as the Duttons, it, Haygoods, Joseph, George Dyer, SIX, Liverpool Legends, Amazing Pets, Buckets N Boards, the Hamner Barber Variety Show and a host more has actually expanded the depth of Branson’s major shows to the point where the number of major non-country shows outweighs the number of major country shows.

Although that’s the case, an examination of the the Branson Tourism Center Show Schedule lists a number of shows that are country music based. The two original shows that started the paradigm that made Branson famous, The Baldknobbers and Presleys’ Country Jubilee are not only still going strong, but are two of Branson’s most popular shows along with Pierce Arrow and the Grand Jubilee who use basically the same format.

Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, as would be expected, is country music based, but with a unique twist, production numbers. Clay’s wife Tina, an accomplished dancer, has choreographed a number of dance numbers into the show that are performed by a cast of dancers which in combination with a live band, Clay’s singing and ability to relate to his audience and great costuming results in the most unique country music shows in Branson.

In addition, many country music legends perform limited engagement performances in Branson throughout the year. This includes but is not limited to artists such Charlie Pride, Ray Price, The Charlie Daniels Band, Clint Black, Neal McCoy, Randy Travis and many more. Limited engagement appearances are indicated in the Branson Shows List by a “Limited Engagement Clock Symbol” on the right hand side of the entry.

It’s really interesting the way that Branson’s shows still have the two original shows, and the very paradigm format that helped establish its live entertainment industry, going as strong and popular as ever along with other country music shows while right beside them, and entertaining Branson audiences in growing numbers, is a variety of non-country music shows. From its very beginning the paradigm of Branson’s live entertainment industry has been about more than “format.” It has involved providing its visitors with a great entertainment experience and, country or non-country, that paradigm will never change.

For additional information or tickets for any of the shows mentioned in this article or any of Branson’s other 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 800-785-1550.

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