Author Archives: Gary Groman

Samson the First Superhero in Final Branson Season

Sight and Sounds spectacular stage production of the scriptural epic Samson is in its final season of delighting Branson audiences. Josh Eneck, who has been with Sight and Sound for over 23 years, and is currently its President and Chief Inventive Officer, said that the ideas for the shows they produce “…absolutely comes from prayer with the Lord and seeking Him on what’s the best story to tell for the day and age we are in right now.”

It’s hard to picture a better story for “right now, an era enamored with “Superheros” than the biblical story of the world’s first superhero, Samson. An ordinary guy, like many of us today who’ve strayed from God’s path, and need to believe in Him and His grace, to get back on the path. Samson’s story of his heroic fight against the Philistines, is both exciting and inspiring. After succumbing to temptation, losing his strength and sight he fought on and, by having faith, in God redeemed himself in superhero fashion.

Samson, while based on one of the most famous biblical stories of all time, is also an incredible and unique entertainment experience. The show’s cast, music, dancing, scale, spectacle, story, and ability to entertain happens regardless of one’s biblical appreciation or knowledge.

The story unfolds on Sight and Sound’s 300-foot surround stage. An extremely talented cast, awesome sets, amazing special effects, colorful costuming, and a host of live animals bring the story alive in a production unlike what most have ever seen. The audience is immersed and surrounded in the action and drama taking place not only on the stage, but all around them. Don’t want to spoil any of the surprises, but rest assured, the performance absolutely “brings the house down.

It is a story most are familiar with, narrated by Manoah, Samson’s father. He guides the audience through the story of Samson’s trials, temptations, and relationships. A story that tells how Delilah and her unfaithfulness caused him to falter in those beliefs and fall towards the depths of defeat. But, in the end, it’s a story of faith rekindled and redemption as he returns to his God and gives his all in one final “superhero” display of faith and belief in his God.

In addition to a great story, it’s beautifully acted, sung, and danced by an outstanding cast. Their talent, love and dedication to what they are doing is obvious. As is the custom of Sight and Sound productions, the story is the star, but two of my favorite musical numbers was the entire cast performance of the rousing “Philistia Brave and Strong” and Samson’s performance of “What Is This Grace?” during his realization and acceptance of God’s grace.

Prior to seeing Samson you might like to take the special Behind the Scenes Tour of the production. “A million watts of lights, sixty-thousand watts of sound, a massive stage over twenty-thousand square feet in size that wraps around the audience on three sides and four-story tall set pieces towering right in front of you.” This additional add on tour, includes exclusive backstage access to everything that happens behind the scenes and can really add to the total Samson experience.

For more information on Samson, the Behind the Scenes Tour, or other great Branson shows or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services and sellers of over 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com .

BTC’s Best Branson Insider Highlights for May-Aug 2019

Branson’s newest show, “Shrek the Musical” opening at ,the Welk Resort Theater on June 8.

There is so much to see and do in Branson that it’s sometimes hard to make sure that you don’t miss something you might want to do. If you’re planning a trip to Branson during May through August 2019 access to information on Branson Shows and Attractions is commonly featured and readily available at many internet sites including www.BransonTourismCenter.Com.

What is not as commonly as available, and is a little harder to find, particularly in one place, is schedules of national stars and shows appearing in Branson for “limited engagements,” and information about special events. BTC’s Best Branson Insider Highlights provides this information in a convenient format sorted by starting date to make it easier to see what’s available on the dates you you plan to visit Branson.

Featured Limited Engagement:

Everyone’s favorite ogre “Shrek,” is coming to the Welk Resort Theatre this summer, from June 8 through August 10. Shrek The Musical is filled with wonderful music, hilarious comedy and a heartwarming message of love and acceptance. Based on the award-winning Broadway show and movie, it’s an entertaining story of a gruff, but lovable ogre who sets out on an adventure, so that he can be left alone. But, along the way, he discovers that friendship and love can have a place in his life. This unique Branson entertainment experience is a show the whole family will enjoy together.

Limited Engagements: May – August

May 5: Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee – The Urban Cowboy Reunion*
May 12: Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two Woman Show
May 18: Darryl Worley with Special Guest Billy Dean
May 25: Tommy James & The Shondells

Jun 1-30: Shrek The Musical

Yakov Smirnoff

Jul 1-31: Shrek The Musical
Jul 1-13: Yakov – Famous Russian Comedian!

Aug 1-10 : Shrek The Musical

*  First day of multiple appearances during month. Check Schedule for additional dates.

Featured Special Event:

Silver Dollar City’s Star Spangled Summer Festival offers all the excitement and adventure the world class 1880s styled theme park is noted for; over 40 thrilling rides & attractions including the 10 Family Adventures of Fireman’s Landing® and The World’s Fastest, Steepest & Tallest Spinning Coaster — Time Traveler®! In addition, the festival features ‘“Kid Magic,’the youngest professional magician in the world, Kadan Bart Rockett and sister Brooklyn with their jaw-dropping illusions;” comedian, magician and juggler Greg Bennick; ‘“Reuben’s Swashbuckling Adventure’ created exclusively for Silver Dollar City by the park’s award-winning producers.” This Broadway-style musical is a magical journey of discovery and dreams; and much more.

Special Events: May – August

May 2-27: Bluegrass & BBQ at Silver Dollar City
May 12: Mother’s Day
May 24-27: Memorial Day Sidewalk Sale at Tanger Outlet Mall
May 26: Memorial Day Fireworks at Big Cedar Lodge
May 27: Memorial Day
May 28-Jun 7: Season Pass Holder Appreciate Days at Silver Dollar City
May 31-Jun 2: 2019 Summer Concert Series at Silver Dollar City

Jun 1-2: 2019 Summer Concert Series at Silver Dollar City
Jun 1 – Jun 7: Season Pass Holder Appreciate Days at Silver Dollar City
Jun 7 – Jun 9: 2019 Summer Concert Series at Silver Dollar City
Jun 8 – Jun 15: National Law Enforcement Week
Jun 8 – Jul 21: Star Spangled Summer at Silver Dollar City
Jun 10 – Jun 15: Stage One National Dance Competition
Jun 16: Father’s Day
Jun 28: Praise & Waves at White Water

Jul 1-21: Star Spangled Summer at Silver Dollar City
Jul 4: Independence Day
Jul 4: Independence Day Show at the Hughes Brothers Theatre
Jul 12-14: Cooking School at The Keeter Center
Jul 20-Aug 4: Moonlight Madness at Silver Dollar City

Aug 1-4: Moonlight Madness at Silver Dollar City
Aug 16-18: Cooking School at The Keeter Center
Aug 22 – Sep 2: Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City

These are just the highlights of some of the things going on in Branson. Branson’s entertainment scene is in constant motion. To keep up with of any changes or additions, please feel free to call one of the Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners at 1-866-593-9740. They will be delighted to answer any questions you might have about Branson and assist with reservations and tickets. There is no charge for this service, and they are available daily, except Christmas Day.

 

What you really need to know about The Shepherd of the Hills!

Scene from the “Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama” with the Baldknobbers burning cabin.

“The Shepherd of the Hills,” Harold Bell Wright’s bestselling 1907 novel, about life in the late 1800’s Ozarks, love, and forgiveness was the beginning of tourism in the Branson area, before Branson was even a city. The Shepherd of the Hills Homestead and surrounding area, where Wright penned his novel and whose life and people it’s about, has been a constant source of tourism and interest for over a century. Here’s a few reasons why:

The Shepherd of the Hills Outdoor Drama started performing in the Ole Mill Theatre in a hollow on the Homestead in 1960. The drama presents Wright’s novel in an exciting action-packed production with a cast of more than 90 performers; dozens of animals including, horses, donkeys, mules, and sheep presented in an outdoor amphitheater, covered by the stars, and surrounded by the very hills Wright wrote about.

This legendary tale of love, Ozarks life and heritage inspires as it entertains and will be remembered for a lifetime. Its 2019 season starts on May 18 and runs through October 19. For more information please go to www.bransontourismcenter.com/shows/info/shepherd-of-the-hills

The Shepherd of the Hills Historic Homestead Tour: A fantastic daytime activity touring the historic Homestead and set where one of Branson’s favorite nighttime shows happens! The tour sets the stage for the outdoor drama, The Shepherd of the Hills, and gives you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into this legendary production and much more. You’ll take a tram across the trail of the homestead with an experienced guide, learning interesting details about several different landmarks, including Old Matt’s Cabin, the original home of the story’s main characters. It visits Inspiration Point, the site is where Wright compiled the notes for his book and see statues of the key characters in the story and a monument honoring Harold Bell Wright, the author of ” The Shepherd of the Hills

 

ATV Adventure.

Shepherd with the Hills ATV Adventures: An ATV experience like no other, with two different “adventures” from which to select. Beginners to ATV’s can take a single hour excursion. The first 30 minutes includes instruction, tips, and practice on how to operate the ATV on pavement. The last 30 minutes is fun and adventure into the backwoods trails of the Homestead. If one hour’s not enough there is an hour and a half excursion including one “hour of deep off-roading that’ll make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.” All the off road trail rides, excursions, are a guided and led by Shepherd of the Hills staff.

Shepherd of the Hills Inspiration Tower: This iconic tower is 230 feet tall and sits on top of an Ozarks’ mountain high above beautiful Ozarks scenery and Branson. Constructed in 1989 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of famed author, Harold Bell Wright, the impressive structure incorporates more than 92,000 pounds of steel, can withstand a continual wind of 172 miles per hour or gusts of up to 224 miles per hour and includes more than 4,400 square feet of glass; enough to cover a third of a football field.

The Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park features a Zipline Canopy Tour, Rope Course, and Lil Pete’s Playland. They offer a choice of fun and adventure for every member of the family.

Shepherd of the Hills Inspiration Tower: This iconic tower is 230 feet tall and sits on top of an Ozarks’ mountain high above beautiful Ozarks scenery and Branson. Constructed in 1989 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of famed author, Harold Bell Wright, the impressive structure incorporates more than 92,000 pounds of steel, can withstand a continual wind of 172 miles per hour or gusts of up to 224 miles per hour and includes more than 4,400 square feet of glass; enough to cover a third of a football field.

The Shepherd of the Hills Adventure Park features a Zipline Canopy Tour, Rope Course, and Lil Pete’s Playland. They offer a choice of fun and adventure for every member of the family.

For further information, tickets, or reservations for Shepherd of the Hills activities or any of Branson’s other shows, attractions, or lodging please call the Branson Tourism Center at 800-785-1550 for assistance.

 

Four Great Ways to Great Spring Memories in Branson

The Hughes Music Show is a show the whole family will enjoy.

With a blast of winter snow and temperatures down into the teens over the last few days, it’s kind of hard to imagine that spring is just a couple of weeks away, but it is. As spring bursts onto the scene, what better way to shake those “winter blues” than to take a “break” in Branson.

For some it will the a “spring break” from college and for others, just a “needed break” from their daily routines. Regardless of what the break is “from,” if it’s in Branson, it’s going to be “to” fun, excitement, and adventure.

With all its natural beauty, lakes, shows, attractions, shopping and other activities, figuring out what to do can, especially for first time Branson visitors, be bewildering. Here’s four steps to help set you on the path to wonderful memories of a special spring visit to Branson:

1. See the Natural Beauty of the Ozarks: No matter where you are in Branson, the beauty of the Ozark Mountains is at every turn. Never is this more true than during spring as the hills awaken to the promise, beauty, and freshness of another year. Whether seen from the deck of the river boat replica Lake Queen on Lake Taneycomo, cruising aboard the Showboat Branson Belle on Table Rock Lake, the top of one of Silver Dollar City’s roller coasters, or just driving around Branson, you will be immersed in a beautiful one of a kind show produced by “Mother Nature.”

 2. Experience Branson’s Amazing Live Shows: Along with the natural beauty blooming throughout the Ozarks, Branson’s 2019 Show Schedule starts into full bloom. Branson offers a number, variety, and quality of lives shows unrivaled by any other tourist destination anywhere near its size. From Branson’s first show on its famed “Branson Strip,” Presleys’ Country Jubilee, celebrating its 52nd consecutive year of entertaining Branson visitors, to the Grand Jubilee, The Hughes Music Show, Amazing Pets, the biblical spectacular Samson, The Haygoods, Clay Cooper’s Country Express, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, or dozens more, there’s a show just right for everyone

3. Visit Silver Dollar City: In terms of the excitement, fun, and adventure Branson has to offer, Silver Dollar City, Branson’s international award winning 1880s styled theme park is hard to beat. Whether it’s riding one of its over 40 exciting rides, including its world class coasters such as the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster, “Time Traveler,” “Outlaw Run®,” or its iconic WildFire®; watching dozens of practicing crafters demonstrate their crafts; going hundreds of feet beneath the ground on a guided tour of Branson’s original attraction, “Marvel Cave;” experiencing one of its shows or many other activities, a day at Silver Dollar City will be filled with “Memories Worth Repeating.”

4. Enjoy Branson’s Attractions: Taking a “voyage aboard” the Titanic Museum Attraction; an adventure on the Shepherd of the Hills Zipline Canopy Tour; a nostalgic visit to the World’s Largest Toy Mueum Complex; seeing the big cats of the National Tiger Sanctuary; a thrilling ride on the Runaway Mountain Coaster are just a few of the dozens of Branson Attractions to enjoy. And that’s not including great golfing, bass and trout fishing, hiking; boating; or anyone of dozens of other attractions and activities that Branson has to offer.

Branson is a great value in terms of its prices for lodging, shows, attractions and other activities. For more information on saving money by “packaging” or personal assistance in planning the perfect break to Branson, please call one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners at 1-800-785-1550. They will be delighted to assist and answer any questions you might have about Branson shows, hotels, or attractions. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily from 9:00 AM to 8.00 PM.

Valentine’s Day or any Day Opportunities for Romance Abound in Branson


Valentine’s Day or any day, Branson has so many ways to show that “special someone” just how special they are.

On Valentine’s Day romance and love abound with sweethearts trying the show that “special someone” just how much they are loved. Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” A paraphrase of that would be “All you need is love. But a little Branson now and then doesn’t hurt.”

What better way, to show that special someone, on Valentines Day, or any day, how much they are loved than by “celebrating” that love in Branson. What could be more romantic than a quiet dinner for two at one of Branson’s great restaurants; walking hand in hand down the Branson Landing Boardwalk or Promenade, seeing one of Branson’s great live shows, or any one of hundreds of other things. The important thing is that a lot of the same things that makes Branson such a fun place to visit are the same things, with the right person and, perhaps, at a slower pace, that make it romantic.

For many, Valentine’s Day, means a special meal with that special someone. Whether it’s the elegance of dinner at a table for two, overlooking Lake Taneycomo at “Cantina Laredo” on Branson Landing, the affordable American fare of the “Stage Door Grill” at the beautiful Welk Resort, a great steak from the “Paradise Grill and Steakhouse,” a dinner cruise aboard the “Landing Princess, or a meal from one of its other fine restaurants, Branson has the perfect meal for you and your sweetheart, not only on Valentines Day, but every day!

Valentine’s Day or any day, Branson’s shows provide a wide variety of live entertainment to share with your Valentine or that special someone. Some of Branson’s most popular shows such as “Amazing Pets,” “Comedy Jamboree,” “Grand Jubilee,” “The Haygoods,” “Hughes Music Show,” “Legends in Concert,” “Reza Edge of Illusion,” and others 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 the Branson.Com Show List and select the date(s) that interest you. By the end of March virtually every Branson show will be open.

The majority of Branson’s attractions, on Valentine’s Day or almost any other day of the year, are 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 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.”

If a little shopping might be part of a romantic getaway then Branson is the place to be. It offers a unique world-class shopping experience unrivaled by any other travel destination anywhere near its size. There’s hundreds of different famous-name stores, boutiques, galleries, national chain stores, flea markets, craft malls, and specialty shops at just about every turn. Branson Landing with its 120 retail stores, kiosks and restaurants eclectic shops, national retailers, fine dining, and nightspots is located on the shores of Lake Taneycomo just step away from the unique shopping experience offered in the historic downtown Branson shopping district.

Want help to customize a special Branson romance package for you and that special someone? Just call one of one of the Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners at 1-800-785-1550, from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM, seven days a week. They will be delighted to help you plan that the perfect romantic get-a-way for that special someone.

Branson Shows Greet 2019 With Amazing New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Legends in Concert is just one of the Branson shows having special New Year’s Eve Celebrations .

From “Elvis” to the world’s largest performing family and so much more, it’s doubtful that any other travel destination in America will be offering the variety of family friendly live shows that Branson is on New Year’s Eve. Even better, each show is just a part of the total excitement and fun that those attending will enjoy. Here’s an example of the choices available on New Year’s Eve in Branson:

Pierce Arrow presents its Decades New Year’s Eve Party with Hors d’oeuvres, party favors, drawings and giveaways, midnight balloon drop, the “Pierce Arrow Decades Show,” and special Guest Doug Gabriel. For more information or reservations call 417-332-2529.

Hughes Brothers Theatre’s From Christmas to New Year’s Eve Show! Featuring two Award winning shows “The Hughes Music Show” and the “Hughes Brothers Christmas Show,” a yummy dinner, cool “Light-Ups,” noisemakers, midnight Balloon Drop, and an after Midnight cut-a-rug, boogey down dance with the cast, and many other surprises; this celebration promises “A Good Time & Lots of Laughs.”

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Clay Cooper and The Haygoods in Branson’s biggest family friendly party of the year the Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve. This party features performances by Clay Cooper’s Country Express and The Haygoods, gourmet Hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, pyrotechnics, a laser show, party favors, and non-alcoholic toasts and balloon drop at Midnight. The doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Great New Year’s Eve and Day 10 a.m. Morning Show for the whole family: Grand Country’s Amazing Pets featuring, what else, but a cast of loveable cuddly pets performing feats that will amaze you.

New Year’s Eve at the Grand Country Music Hall features the premier performance of their 2019 “Grand Jubilee Show,” party favors, munchies from the Grand Country’s famous buffet, and a Midnight balloon Drop.

The Hamners continue one of Branson’s longest running New Year’s Eve celebrations with their “New Year’s Eve Fiesta.” The fiesta features Mexican food, party favors, contests, prizes, and a special extended version of “Hamners Unbelievable Variety Show.”

The Americana Theatre’s New Year’s Eve Party features an “All-Star New Year’s Eve Show.” The All-Stars include the fantastic C. J. Newsome; one of Branson’s favorite comedians, Terry Sanders; the world’s only female aerialist violinist, the amazing Janice Martin; and more. Big D’s Barbeque will be catering the party and attendees an bring in the New Year toasting with either non-alcoholic or regular champagne. “Dinner’s” at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9 p.m.

The Legends in Concert New Year’s Eve Celebration at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre, is featuring an array of truly “legendary” tribute performances including Elvis Presley, The Blues Brothers, Brooks and Dunn, Elton John, Tina Turner, and Cher. And, that’s just the beginning; the party is complete “with party favors, gourmet boxed dinners, wine and beer service, and a midnight celebration like no other.

For more information, tickets or reservations on these or other Branson shows, attractions, events, or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services and sellers of over 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

What could be more amazing fun than Christmas Week in Branson?

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

What could be more amazing fun than Christmas Week in Branson?

“Not much! If you’re looking for excitement, fun, and entertainment during your Christmas vacation then Christmas Week, the week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, in Branson is the place for you!” said Preston Garrison, Business Unit Manager, for the Branson Tourism Center. He points out that although there’s a misconception that there’s not much to do in Branson during Christmas Week, that’s simply not the case.

Although many of Branson’s shows are closed, many of its most popular shows are open, as is Silver Dollar City with its Old Time Christmas, and most of Branson’s other attractions. From butterflies and tigers; to drive through Christmas lighting displays; acrobats; museums; world class shopping; golfing, indoor and out, weather permitting; and New Year’s Eve celebrations, Christmas Week in Branson is full of the fun, entertainment, and shopping that Branson is noted for.

Here’s a list summarizing just some of the major highlights:

Branson Shows: Although many of Branson’s shows are closed for the season, some of Branson’s most popular shows will be open during Christmas Week. Among others, this includes, in alphabetical order, Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai, Amazing Pets, Clay Cooper’s Country Music Express, Comedy Jamboree, Dixie Stampede, Grand Jubilee, Hamner’s Unbelievable Variety, Million Dollar Quartet, The Haygoods, Hughes Brothers Christmas Show, Legends in Concert, Pierce Arrow‘s “Decades,” Samson, and the Showboat Branson Belle.

Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas Festival: Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas Festival is one of the Nation’s top Christmas events. The award winning 1880s styled theme park is aglow with over 6.5 million sparkling Christmas lights, including 1.5 million added just last year for its spectacular “Christmas in Midtown.” The park’s Broadway styled shows including “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol’ and “It’s A Wonderful Life;” unique shopping; food; weather permitting, dozens of exciting rides; and demonstrating craftsmen are just some of what the Festival offers. At dusk, each evening, the 5-Story Special Effects Christmas Tree in the city square comes to life, with its 350,000 colorful sparkling LED lights, choreographed to Christmas music, and making over 100 light changes per second. “The most famous reindeer of all” leads Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade through the square. The parade amazes with its musical floats, illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights; 33 colorful costumed characters, including Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, 14-foot moose characters, 12-foot tall elves and 10-foot candy canes, penguins, and a troupe of marching wooden soldiers.”

Spectacular Christmas Lighting Displays: Evan after Christmas Day, Branson’s spectacular major drive through Christmas lighting displays will remain open through Christmas Week. These include the Shepherd of the Hills Trail of Lights, Branson’s Gift of Lights, the giant 30 foot illuminated nativity scene on top of Mount Branson overlooking Lake Taneycomo and historic downtown Branson.

Branson Attractions: 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 “Edwardian Christmas;” the unique White Flight exhibit at the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure; National Tiger Sanctuary; World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex and many more.

Branson Shopping: Branson’s legendary shopping is “always” open and Branson’s Christmas Week is no exception. From the outlet malls such as “Tanger Outlet” and “The Meadows” and the unique “Branson Landing,” with its 100 retail stores, restaurants and entertainment venues; to the shops of Historic Downtown Branson, featuring “Dicks 5 & 10;” and specialty shops offering arts and crafts and one of a kind items, Branson’s Christmas week shopping should not only satisfy the most avid shopper, but just might have a few “after Christmas sales” to boot.

New Years Eve – In addition to other New Year’s Eve celebrations, among other, the following shows will have special New Year’s Eve celebrations:

Dec 30:  Hughes Brothers New Years Eve Party
Dec 31:  Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Dec 31:  Legends in Concert
Dec 31:  Americana New Year’s Eve Show
Dec 31:  Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve
Dec 31:  Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety (New Year’s Eve Fiesta)
Dec 31:  Pierce Arrow

BTC’s Garrison points out that the off season scheduling of shows, limited seating; possibility of winter weather, and the fact that some Branson lodging facilities are closed requires some thought and advance planning. He suggests that an easy way to get the most current information, 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 answer any questions and assist in making any show or lodging reservations. There is absolutely no charge for this service.

 

Is Million Dollar Quartet rock and roll’s greatest Christmas Gift?

The “Million Dollar Quartet.”

The Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet is one of Branson’s hottest shows, but how could it possibly have anything to do with being “rock and roll’s greatest Christmas Gift?” For many, and especially so in Branson during its celebration of Ozark Mountain Christmas, the Christmas season includes the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It was during that time frame, December 4, 1956 to be exact, when an impromptu, spur of the moment, jam session by four young recording super stars to-be, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash, took place inside the Memphis storefront recording studio of Sun Records. It was not intended to be a “gift” or even recorded and except for a single newspaper article in the “Memphis Press-Scimitar,” and its accompanying photo, dubbing the four the “The Million Dollar Quartet” the jam session went virtually unnoticed for decades. Yet, that jam session during the Christmas season of 1956, and the virtual miracle of the preservation of its memory, might very well be rock and roll’s greatest Christmas Gift.

Unbeknownst to the four, the session had been informally recorded and put in the Sun Records library, where it remained, unnoticed for decades. When it was discovered by the new owners of Sun Records and recognized for the true gift to rock and roll history that it was, selected tracks from the recording were released as an album entitled “Million Dollar Quartet” in 1981. That jam session and resulting album became the inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet, sharing the music, spontaneity, and drama of what took place that 1956 December day when these four legends performed together for their first and only time.

The Branson production of the Million Dollar Quartet weaves an outstanding cast, a great storyline, and timeless music that just about everybody knows, into an amazing entertainment experience that the entire family will enjoy.

The four super stars represented in the lead roles, plus the iconic music being performed, requires some extremely talented entertainers to do it all justice. Cliff Wright as Johnny Cash, Tyler K. Hunter as Elvis Presley, John Countryman as Jerry Lee Lewis, and Brad Waters as Carl Perkins do an outstanding job with hits including “Matchbox,” “That’s All Right,” “I Walk The Line,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” “Hound Dog,” “Peace in the Valley,” “Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and many more. From among them, two of my personal musical highlights are “Ghost Riders In The Sky,” sung by Johnny Cash| and “Peace in the Valley,” not simply because| of the way it was sung, but how the storyline integrated personal memories from each of the performers seamlessly into its performance. It was a special moment.

Lindsey Perenchio plays the role of “Dyanna.” She does a great job, not only in her role as the girl Elvis was with that night, but in interacting with the four singers and Sam Phillips to add a dramatic element with a hint of romance and “commonsense” to the show. Her vocal performance of “Fever” also demonstrates her considerable vocal talents and is yet another example of how she enhances the shows overall entertainment experience. Daniel Dossey plays the drummer, W.S. Fluke Holland, with Austin Wilson rounding out the cast as Jay Perkins, the bass player and brother of Carl Perkins.

“As amazing as the music is, it’s the storyline, the historical moment it describes that’s so expertly woven into the musical tapestry surrounding it that makes this such an entertaining show. Matt Joyce as Sam Phillips, the founder of Sun Records, the man many call the “Father of rock n’ roll,” and the person who essentially set the circumstances in motion that ultimately lead to the jam session, does an excellent job of telling the story in a manner that ties all its diverse elements together and holds the audience’s interest throughout.

It is a mixture of historical facts and fiction about what happened that day, the relationship between the stars themselves, the mechanics of how the record business worked in those early years, and the very beginning of rock n’ roll history. “This includes the part Sam Phillips played in bringing the four together that day; the answer to the question on everyone’s mind at the time, ‘Why did Phillips sell Elvis Presley’s contract to RCA for $40,000 in 1955?’ the angst Carl Perkins, the old man in the group at age 24, felt towards Elvis Presley over Blue Suede Shoes; why Johnny Cash was leaving Sun Records for Columbia Records; the jealousy some felt regarding the emphasis Phillips had placed on Elvis Presley, and much more. Watching the connection between Jerry Lee Lewis, the not so bashful rookie in the group ,evolve is as interesting as it is entertaining.”

“How a simple recording session by Carl Perkins, with his brother and a drummer, evolved into what is perhaps history’s greatest rock n’ roll jam session, as presented in the Million Dollar Quartet, is as wonderfully entertaining as it was unlikely to have occurred in the first place. From beginning to end its nonstop music, fun, drama, and entertainment with no intermission. Oh, and when you think the show’s over, hold onto your seat and remember the old Yogi Berra saying, “It ain’t over| till it’s over.” We don’t desire to spoil the surprise, so just “Wait for it!” It’s a grand ending to a totally delightful and absolutely entertaining show!”

The Million Dollar Quartet will be performing at the Welk Theatre in Branson for selected dates through December 30. For scheduling information or tickets please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s biggest and most respected vacation planning services, by calling 1-800-785-1550, or going to www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

BTC’s Best Branson Insider Highlights for Ozark Mountain Christmas 2018

Presleys’ Country Jubilee, in its 51st year of entertaining Branson guests, is one of Branson’s many shows celebrating Ozark Mountain Christmas with special Christmas shows.

Ozark Mountain Christmas, from November 1 through December 31 each year, is one of the most beautiful, entertaining, and inspiring times of the year in Branson. It’s easily America’s biggest celebration of the traditional American Christmas with its millions of Christmas lights, the award winning “Old Time Christmas Festival” at Silver Dollar City, Branson’s shows presenting their Christmas shows, world class shopping, and all the fun and excitement Branson is noted for.

BTC’s Best Branson Insider Highlights, for Ozark Mountain Christmas 2018, highlights limited engagement performances by national touring stars and major events taking place during Ozark Mountain Christmas that are in addition to all the other live shows, attractions, and everything else Branson offers on a daily basis. They are listed by category, sorted in order of starting date, and are preceded by our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event.

Inspiring Nativity from Hughes Brothers Christmas show.

Featured Show: The Hughes Brothers Christmas Show has been described as “the ultimate Christmas experience and a triumph of everything you want to feel at Christmas,” and for good reason. The Hughes Brothers and their extremely talented family, “transport you to a Christmas wonderland filled with the season’s best vocal harmonies, exciting dances, inspiring instrumentals, and of course, the enchantment and light-hearted humor that everyone loves about the Hughes Brothers Show. Along with all the festive surprises and treasured family traditions, see Santa in a new light when he explains the symbols of Christmas in the most moving Christmas presentation you’ve ever witnessed.”

Daniel O’Donnell and Mary Duff.

Featured Limited Engagement: Daniel O’Donnell is a perennial favorite of Branson audiences. He has performed in Branson many times, but this year, to the delight of his Branson fans and for the first time, he is performing his Christmas show, Christmas With Daniel. This new, full Christmas stage production features O’Donnell singing many Christmas and other festive songs from across the decades. He is joined on stage by the very talented Mary Duff and local choirs. With the limited number of performances, the interest in this new Branson Christmas show, and the way many of Daniel’s shows sell out in advance, it is suggested that those wanting to see his show make advance reservations to ensure both availability and the best seating. It should be noted that the last performance is scheduled for December 1, 2018.

The center of Silver Dollar City’s “Old Time Christmas.” It’s town square and five story special effects Christmas Tree.

Featured Event: Silver Dollar City’s “Old Time Christmas” celebrates the true meaning of this special magical season amidst the glow of over 6.5 million dazzling lights, including 1.5 million for its newest light spectacular “Christmas in Midtown.” It’s been proclaimed as “The Most Illuminated Park on Earth” by the Travel Channel and “One of the most sparkly, lively holiday celebrations anywhere” by Midwest Living. And that’s not all, there’s the Broadway style shows with the musical adaptations of, “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” and “It’s A Wonderful Life;” The Living Nativity; “Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Christmas Light Parade;” plus demonstrating craftsmen; great shopping; weather permitting, all of the rides including its new “Time Traveler,” the “World’s Fastest, Steepest & Tallest Spinning Coaster;” and everything else the park offers on a day to day basis.

Limited Engagements (By Starting Date)

Nov 4-17: Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee – The Urban Cowboy Reunion*
Nov 6-15: The Texas Tenors*
Nov 6: Tony Orlando
Nov 6-24:Yakov, Famous Russian Comedian
Nov 7- Dec 1: Daniel O’Donnell
Nov 7: Lee Greenwood
Nov 7-29: Neal McCoy*
Nov 8-9: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Nov 8-15: Oak Ridge Boys*
Nov. 10 & 30: Dailey and Vincent
Nov 11: Lonestar
Nov 11: T.G. Sheppard & Moe Bandy
Nov 14: Crystal Gayle Christmas Show
Nov 14-19: Nathan Carter
Nov 18: BJ Thomas
Nov 25: Frankie Avalon
Nov. 30-Dec 8:  Dailey and Vincent*
Dec 1: Daniel O’Donnell
Dec 2: Diamond Rio
Dec 4: Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee – The Urban Cowboy Reunion
Dec 5: Lee Greenwood Christmas Show
Dec 9: Romantic Piano Sensation Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas
Dec 13: Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune
* On select dates during period. Please check schedules for exact dates.

Major Special Events (By Starting Date)

Nov 1 – Dec 29: VIP Tours of Branson Christmas Light Tours
Nov 1 – Dec 31: Branson Landing’s Winder WonderLanding
Nov 1 – Dec 31: Let there be lights! Christmas Drive Thru…Promised Land Zoo
Nov 1 – Dec 31: Ozark Mountain Christmas at Château on the Lake
Nov 3 – Dec 30: An Old Time Christmas – Silver Dollar City
Nov 5 – Nov 11: Veterans Week Events Page
Nov 6 – Nov 9: Branson’s 7th Annual Naval Memorial
Nov 10: 22nd Annual Military Gala and Banquet – Château on the Lake
Nov 11: Veteran’s Day Parade
Nov 16 – Nov 17: Branson Market Days
Nov 22: Château on the Lake Thanksgiving Day Brunch – Château on the Lake
Nov 22: Moonlight Madness & After Thanksgiving Sales – Tanger Outlets
Nov 22: Thanksgiving Brunch at the Keeter Center
Nov 23: Branson Landing’s Black Friday Blowout!
Nov 23: Santa Visits Branson Tourism Center
Dec 2: Adoration Parade
Dec 6: Million Dollar Quartet – on 62nd Anniversary of actual “Jam Session.”
Dec 25: Christmas Day Brunch & Evening Dinner at Château on the Lake
Dec 31: New Years Eve Celebrations and Shows
Dec 31: New Year’s Eve Celebration and Fireworks Display – Château on the Lake
Dec 31: New Year’s Eve Dinner at the Keeter Center
Dec 31: Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve

For more information, tickets or reservations on these or other Branson shows, attractions, events, or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services and sellers of over 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Shoji’s amazing Branson audiences with his awesome Christmas show!

The incredible Shoji Tabuchi during opening set.

The Christmas spirit springs alive in Branson shows this week as most begin their Christmas shows. They will not only provide excellent entertainment for you and your family, but fill you with the spirit of the traditional American Christmas and celebrate the “reason for the season.

Among Branson’s Christmas shows, there’s always been something extra special about Shoji Tabuchi’s Christmas show. That’s even more so this year as the show, Celebrate 25 Days of Christmas With the Tabuchis, marks the first time Shoji has performed a show in Branson since a fire damaged his theatre in the Spring of 2017. And, after seeing the show on October 29, all I can say is, “WOW, what a show!”

From Santa Claus arriving on the very first number to the closing, with the “reason for the season,” this show is all about Christmas. Oh there’s a few special Christmas gifts strategically placed throughout the show, audience favorites, such as Through the Eyes of Love, Pure Imagination, and the Orange Blossom Special, but from beginning to the end, this show is a delightful celebration of the joys, spirit, and wonders of Christmas.

In addition to the amazing Shoji Tabuchi, the show features Christina Lingo-Tabuchi as the featured female vocalist. She is also the co-dance captain and co-producer of the show. The show’s entertainers, who add so much to the show, among other things, dance, sing, and, unless my guess is wrong, “magically” appear as reindeer and penguins. They are Kami  Ballard, Norvin Breeck (Co-Dance Captain), Jeremy Sterling, and Sharlyn Todd.

The shows live band adds another enjoyable dimension to the show. It consists of Dougie Duggan, Guitar (Band Director), Carl Hose, Trombone, Dan McMasters, Bass, Collin Rozario, Keyboard, and Anthony Walter, Drums. They play in just about every number and featured in many.

The opening number sets the Christmas tenor right away with Here Comes Santa Claus featuring Shoji Tabuchi. What better time to have Santa Claus himself arrive and, to the delight of the audience, especially the kids, come down into the audience and wish them a “Merry Christmas.”

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer goes Hawaiian.

Speaking of kids, they should love this show! There’s the music of Christmas, which most will relate to, and colorful unique costuming. Starting with the arrival of Santa Claus there are strategically placed numbers and things that will excite and entertain kids, such as the march of the drumming toy soldiers, penguins, the Hawaiian reindeer in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and when they get a chance to come up on stage, interact with Christina and receive a “little gift.”

The set list for this show covers the full range of Christmas music that celebrates both the fun and excitement of Christmas as well as the “reason for the season.” The fun music of Christmas includes music such as Here Comes Santa Claus, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, Jingle Bells, Reindeer Boogie and others. The inspirational music of Christmas includes, among others, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, and Oh Holy Night.

Interestingly, although there is a mixture of both kinds of music throughout the show, both the first and second half of the show end with versions of Joy to the World. The first half with Shoji and the band playing a unique instrumental arrangement incorporating three variations of music, Latin, Pop, and Rock and the second with the whole cast singing it along with the audience. What an inspirational way to end both halves of the show with the “real reason” for the season.

Fully recognizing that your favorites might be different than mine, and from among many, I typically pick two things from each show that are my favorites. Shoji and the bands instrumental version of Joy to the World, with its different beats and Christina’s rendition of “Oh Holy Night” were as inspiring as they were entertaining. OK, I’ve got to mention two more. The mandolin and violin duet with Shoji and Sharlyn Todd of Christmas Time’s A Comin’ provided a fun change of pace and a bit of bluegrass that I particularly enjoyed. Shoji’s favorite song is Through the Eyes of Love, from the movie “Ice Castles.” I have had the privilege of hearing him play it for over 20 years, it’s my favorite Shoji number, and it always touches my heart. This time was no exception.

Not only is it a special joy to see Shoji performing in Branson again, but particularly to see him continue his legacy of legendary Branson Christmas shows. If, regardless of age, you want to be entertained and celebrate all that is Christmas don’t miss this show. It will be performing at the Clay Cooper Theatre on selected dates through December 21. For more information on Celebrate 25 Days of Christmas With the Tabuchis or other Branson Shows, attractions or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550 or through their website https://www.bransontourismcenter.com/.