Category Archives: General

Last chance to see “Moses” in Branson before the “Miracle of Christmas”

Not wanting to miss a last chance to see Sight and Sound’s amazing Moses again before its last performance in Branson on October 20, my bride and I went to see it last week. Every time I see it I am reminded of what Mike Pitman, the Business Development Manager for Sight and Sound, said about Moses prior to its opening in Branson. “People expect the inspirational and spectacular from Sight & Sound, but Moses takes it to an entirely new level. While maintaining its inspirational biblical perspective, Moses is the most spectacular, technologically advanced, show that Sight & Sound Theaters has ever put on stage,” he said.

In addition, it’s an epic and powerful biblical story with which we are all familiar. It follows Moses on his search for personal identity as he decided to follow his God and, unbeknownst to him at the time, change the course of human history. It’s an adventure back in time to witness some of the greatest moments in biblical history; feel God’s awe-inspiring power as you sit in the midst of the parted Red Sea; and experience the exhilaration and celebration of the Israelites as they brush past you on their way to freedom and the promised land.

The story is told as only Sight and Sound can! It has incredible special effects throughout that leave people asking, “How did they do that?” But it has so much more too. The colorful costuming, 360 foot surround stage, magnificent sets, live animals, and outstanding dramatic and vocal performances by the cast, resulting in a spectacular entertainment experience that the whole family will enjoy.

 

One of the many inspiring and spectacular scenes from Sight and Sound’s “Miracle of Christmas.”

After Moses closes on October 20 Sight and Sound will be setting up for its Christmas spectacular, Miracle of Christmas which runs from November 4 through December 30. What better way to get in the true Christmas spirit than this inspiring biblical account of the birth of Jesus and the events leading up to it as they explore the human side of His birth and the true “reason for the season.”

It’s a modern production “miracle.” From its very beginning, the audience is swept into a betrothal ceremony displaying the first of the shows spectacular sets, a large two-story edifice surrounding a courtyard in the center of Nazareth. It takes up the entire center of the 20,000-square foot, 300 foot long wrap around stage. The talent of the cast is immediately apparent as Mary and Joseph sing of their love for each other and the cast joins together in a beautiful and lively celebratory dance.

The Miracle of Christmas ends “with flying angels and magnificent music, camels and wise men and shepherds at the manger honoring the Son of God after his birth. It is one of the most spectacular things most people will ever experience on a stage in terms of production, grandeur, entertainment, and sensory appeal. An amazing ending! It’s not only exciting entertainment, but a Christmas blessing for those who know Jesus as their Lord and Savior as well as those who don’t.”

Sight and Sound will be presenting its jaw-dropping production of Samson in Branson for the 2018 season. This amazing biblical story is brought to life by a world-class cast, spectacular special effects, and live animals – on stage and in the aisles. It’s an unforgettable, uplifting thrill ride that literally brings the house down!

For more information on either Moses, Samson, and the Miracle of Christmas, 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 almost 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Yakov Smirnoff to make Branson audiences laugh again in 2018

Yakov Smirnoff “supervising” the repair of the “K” on the YAKOV sign during the announcement.

After a two-year absence from his Branson theatre, America’s favorite Russian comedian, Yakov Smirnoff, announced on September 20, 2017, that he would be returning to his theatre in 2018. The announcement was made as he was personally “supervising” the repairs to his theatre sign.

He said, “After touring the world over the last two years and being in Hollywood for a while now, I’ve been missing Branson. Today I put the ‘K,’ that’s been missing from my ‘YAKOV” sign, back up. In 2018, I’m putting my show, that’s been missing from my Branson theatre, back. It’s time to Make America Laugh Again!” With the current political climate between Russia and the United States, America’s favorite Russian comedian has “plenty of new material to keep everyone in stitches.”

Yakov was born in Odessa, Ukraine on January 24, 1951 and brought his comedy to America when he immigrated with his family in 1977. Prior to his latest two-year tour, Yakov had spent 20 seasons entertaining Branson audiences making them come alive with laughter. His comparisons with life in Russia and life in America, along with his philosophy and insights about how “Love and Laughter” go hand in hand and is as funny, interesting, and entertaining.

He said, “If you are aware of the concept that laughter can guide you through life, it can help you tremendously. If you don’t pay attention to who you laugh with and you hang out with people who don’t, your life is not going to be a happy life. Laughter can guide you to the right people. If you are having fun you are doing it right. If you are not having fun you are doing it wrong. It’s as simple as that.”

Yakov will be continuing his worldwide tour, performing and teaching courses on “Happiness and Laughter,” until he returns to perform in Branson from October 13 through November 24, 2018. He is an accomplished artist, holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and is currently earning his Ph.D. in Psychology and Global Leadership at Pepperdine University.

 

“Country on the Lake” is so much more than just a show!

Vocal cast of Country on the Lake Ali Lynn Antonetz, right, Santino Tomasetti, Brian Nolf, Kelly White, Kelsie Watts and Brendan Young.

“To describe ‘Country on the Lake’ strictly as a show doesn’t do it justice,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s part of a wonderful entertainment adventure, including the show, cruising Table Rock Lake aboard the 278 foot-long Showboat Branson Belle, and a delicious meal,” he added.

Recently, I had the opportunity to cruise aboard the magnificent Showboat. It’s something I have enjoyed on many occasions in the past but WOW, “What a difference a year makes!”

During her off season, the Showboat underwent Phase One of a two year multi-million dollar “relaunch” project. Nick Guevel, Director of Operations for the Showboat Branson Belle, said it included a complete redo of the theatre and dining area’s carpeting, stage, chairs, wall paper, painting, and an expansion of the premium dining area. It also includes a major modification made to the panoramic windows throughout the boat so that the curtains won’t have to be drawn while guests enjoy the show; and much more.

All I can say is that it’s beautiful. There is more space between seats and I really enjoyed being able to look out the windows during the show. They have even changed the boarding process to eliminate long lines and permit a more relaxed experience from the very beginning.

“Country on the Lake” and its BBQ menu is also part of the “relaunch.” The show, and its menu was developed in response to what research indicated their guests wanted. Soon after boarding, the “Country on the Lake Band” started playing classic country songs as the Showboat’s excellent servers started serving lunch. It includes a great spring mix salad; slow smoked pork, smoked at Silver Dollar City and delivered fresh to the boat each day; BBQ Chicken; loaded baked potatoes; roasted corn; homemade rolls; and ice cream pie for dessert.

After lunch, and ample time to stroll the boat and enjoy the scenery, “Country on the Lake” starts. It uses a straight concert format. It‘s different from the “variety” format typically used on the Showboat’s other shows such as its evening cruise show, “CELEBRATE.” The cast features “some very talented rising Nashville stars backed by a live band performing country hits from Dolly Parton, Glen Campbell, Garth Brooks, The Judds, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire and many more!”

The shows vocalists are Brian Nolf, who also Hosts; Alyssa “Ali Lynn” Antonetz; Santino Tomasetti; Kelsie Watts; Kelly White; and Brendan Young. They are accompanied by the “Country on the Lake Band,” composed of band leader and pianist, Ricki Holmes; guitar player, Grant Moody; fiddle player, Dean Church; drummer, Brian Duvall; and bass player, Austin Wilson

From their opening number, Party on the Lake, to their closing number, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, the talent and passion of this cast is a joy to experience. My custom is to describe three of my favorite highlights from each show I write about in the hope that it will give a feel for what to expect.

Dean Church has been playing the fiddle for Branson audiences for decades. His rendition of the Charlie Daniels hit “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” with the integration of the videos screen on the side was one of the most entertaining and exciting performances of this song that I have every experienced. Two other highlights were Alyssa Antonetz’s performance of the Carrie Underwood hit “All American Girl,” and the all cast Finale including Aaron Tippin’s “Stars & Stripes & Eagles Fly” and the “Battle Hymm of the Republic.”

As we debarked, the cast was there to say, “Hi,” pose for pictures, and sign autographs. From beginning to end the entire experience was a delight. What a great way to start an afternoon in Branson!

For more information or tickets for the Showboat Branson Belle and its shows please contact the Branson Tourism Center. They can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com,

 

Touring national stars appearing in Branson during balance of 2017

Daniel O’Donnell, Tanya Tucker, Jay Leno, and The Oak Ridge Boys.

“Branson offers a great selection of live shows. How many tourist destinations can match the quality and variety of Branson’s shows?” said, Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “With well over 100 diverse resident shows, there’s quality live entertainment for just about everyone.”

Touring national stars add even more to Branson’s entertainment choices. Although a few perform for longer periods of time, most only perform “limited engagements” for short periods of time. These usually range from one to three days. Most occur between September and December with the increases in the number of people coming to Branson to see the Ozark’s fall foliage, share in “Branson’s Veteran’s Week,” and “Ozark Mountain Christmas.”

To make it easier to see whose performing when, here’s a list of the limited engagement performances for September through December 2017, sorted by the starting date:

September

Sep 1: Ben & Noel Haggard and The Strangers
Sep 16: Tanya Tucker
Sep 18: Larry’s Country Diner-T. Graham Brown
Sep 19: Larry’s Country Diner-Rhonda Vincent
Sep 20-21: Oak Ridge Boys
Sep 20: Larry’s Country Diner-Gene Watson
Sep 21: Larry’s Country Diner-Jimmy Fortune
Sep 22: Larry’s Country Diner-The Isaacs
Sep 23: Righteous Brothers
Sep 29: Charley Pride

October

Oct 4-5: Oak Ridge Boys
Oct 5: Dailey and Vincent
Oct 6-7: Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone & B.J. Thomas
Oct 8: America
Oct 11-12: Oak Ridge Boys
Oct 12-13: Boot Daddy Presents Gene Watson
Oct 13: Neal McCoy
Oct 13: Roots and Boots Tour starring Pam Tillis, Sammy Kershaw and Collin Raye
Oct 14: John Michael Montgomery
Oct 14: Sawyer Brown
Oct 15: Sara Evans
Oct 17-18: Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune
Oct 18: Gary Lewis & The Playboys, Dennis Tufano, and La La Brooks
Oct 20: Bill Engvall
Oct 21: Neil Sedaka
Oct 25: Easton Corbin
Oct 26: Oak Ridge Boys
Oct 27: William Shatner: Shatner’s World
Oct 28: The Golden Boys
Oct 30-31: Daniel O’Donnell
Oct 31: Oak Ridge Boys

November

Nov 1-18: Daniel O’Donnell
Nov 1-30: Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol
Nov 1: Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers
Nov 1-2: Neal McCoy
Nov 1-2: Oak Ridge Boys
Nov 3: Charlie Daniels Band
Nov 3: Jay Leno
Nov 7-9: Oak Ridge Boys
Nov 8: Country Unplugged Tour with Joe Diffie, Lorrie Morgan and Mark Chesnutt
Nov 8-9: Neal McCoy
Nov 11: Scotty McCreery
Nov 11-12: Boot Daddy Presents Jimmy Fortune
Nov 12: Paul Anka
Nov 14-16: Oak Ridge Boys
Nov 15: Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers
Nov 15-16: Neal McCoy
Nov 17-18: Johnny Mathis with Gary Mule Deer

December

Dec 1-16: Hallmark Presents Maxine’s Christmas Carol
Dec 2: Home Free
Dec 9: Wynonna Judd
Dec 31: Bill Anderson & Friends

WOW, look at the “friends” appearing with Bill Anderson at the Welk Resort Theatre on New Years Eve!

For more information or tickets for any of these shows, please call one of Branson Tourism Center’s  Branson based Vacation Specialists at 1-800-785-1550. They’ll also be delighted to answer questions about Branson, make reservations, and get you the best available show seats and lodging. There is no charge for this service and they’re available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9.30 PM.

Silver Dollar City’s world record breaking “Time Traveler” coaster spinning into Branson

Within a few seconds of leaving the “station,” riders on Silver Dollar City’s “Time Traveler” spinning coaster are in a 10 story, 90 degree vertical drop down the Ozark mountainside.

After two years of planning and development, Silver Dollar City announced the biggest attraction in its history today, the new $26 million “Time Traveler.” Already well under construction and scheduled to open in the Spring of 2018, Time Traveler is the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest spinning coaster.

“This coaster’s state-of-the-art controlled spin feature provides riders a unique thrill experience while still appealing to families,” said Brad Thomas, President of Silver Dollar City Attractions. “It’s a revolutionary coaster ahead of our time, and there’s only one place on the planet to experience it; that’s here in Silver Dollar City!” he added.

The Time Traveler, spinning coaster, will be a world-record-breaking coaster from many different aspects. With a top speed of 50.3 miles per hour, it will be the fastest and its “immediate out-of-the-station 10 story, 90 degree vertical drop”… straight down the Ozark mountainside, is the steepest drop. Other “first and only” features include three inversions, a Dive Loop, Vertical Loop, and a Zero-G Roll; a 95-foot tall Vertical Loop; and a double launch.

Riders, who must be a minimum height of 51 inches tall, will be in “trains” of four “vehicles.” Each vehicle will have two rows with two people in each row and will be spinning a full 360 degrees as the coaster speeds over the mountainous terrain on its half a mile plus journey. Its track crosses over itself 14 times. Want to experience a short virtual ride on Time Traveler?

The spin on each vehicle will be controlled by a state-of-the-art magnetic spin control system. It was developed specifically for the Time Traveler by the renowned coaster manufacturer, MACK RIDES of Waldkirch, Germany.

The theme of the coaster will be “Time Travel” along with the challenge to “Dream Big-Do Good.” “For over 57 years Silver Dollar City has dreamed big and has done so much good for Branson and the tens of millions it has given ‘Memories worth repeating’ to,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “What a wonderful and exciting way to continue that tradition, while sharing the past with their guests and bringing them into the future with this revolutionary new family ride,” she added.

Ways families with kids can save money on Branson shows

Some of Branson’s most popular shows make it easier on the pocketbook for families to enjoy a great Branson show.

“Do you want a family vacation destination that’s filled with exciting things for your family to do and that’s easy on the pocketbook?” asks Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s hard to imagine a place anywhere in the country that offers families more exiting ways to have fun or is easier on the pocketbook than Branson, Missouri.”

Garrison points out that with Branson’s lakes, attractions, museums, and over 100 live shows, shopping, and more, there’s always something new and exciting for families to see and do. Branson’s live shows are legendary for their variety, quality, and being an outstanding entertainment value. Shows further enhance that value, for families with children, in different ways.

Two of the most popular are by offering free tickets to children under certain conditions, and the use of Family Passes. Either way, it makes it easier on the pocketbook for families to enjoy their favorite Branson show.

The conditions for getting free tickets for children will vary from show to show. As one example, one of Branson’s hottest shows, the Million Dollar Quartet, offers a free child’s ticket with the purchase of each adult ticket.

Although differing from show to show, generally the Family Pass will include two adults, and up to a certain number of children, for a substantially reduced rate. Presleys’ Country Jubilee, celebrating its 50th year in Branson, is a great music and comedy show for the whole family. By using its Family Pass, a family of two adults, one teenager and two children ages 10 and 11 can save over 34% off the price of buying them separately.

The following is a list of the Branson shows, on “Branson Tourism Center’s Most Popular Shows (and Highly Recommended) List,”  offering either free tickets for children under certain conditions or Family Passes. Each entry contains a link to more information, photos, videos, schedules and ticket pricing:

Amazing Pets
AYO starring Voices of Glory
Buckets N Boards
Clay Cooper’s Country Express
Comedy Jamboree
Down Home Country
Grand Jubilee
The Haygoods
Million Dollar Quartet
New South Gospel
Ozarks Country
Ozarks Gospel
Pierce Arrow
Presleys’ Country Jubilee
Shoji Tabuchi

Garrison points out that the savings can really mount up when the free children’s tickets or Family Passes are part of a “package” including lodging. For help in finding or creating, a package that is just right for your family, and saves you the most money, please call one of our Branson based Vacation Planning Specialists at 417-785-1550. “One call can take care of it all,” he adds.

 

Best Branson Insider Highlights for June 2017

The “Amazing Pets Show” and “Silver Dollar City’s Star Spangled Summer Festival,” featuring the return of The Harlem Globetrotters, are two of the Branson Tourism Center’s featured events for June.

“Branson’s always a special place, but never more so than when families enjoy it together,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “With school out, it’s a pure joy to see families together as they share the adventure, fun, and excitement of a vacation in Branson.”

Here’s an insider’s highlight list, containing some of the best of what’s going on in Branson during June, our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month:

Featured Show of the Month: Amazing Pets features delightful circus-like acts performed by a most unusual cast! Cats galore, cuddly canines, and even brilliantly colored exotic birds put on a show sure to delight “kids” of all ages! It’s a magical touch of mayhem and furry frivolity and fun for the whole family to enjoy!

Trace Adkins

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Trace Adkins, the beloved big man, with the bold baritone voice, hits the Branson stage for the first time. During his impressive career, Adkins has scored Top 40 Hits with nearly every single he’s released! These include the catchy and clever Honky Tonk Badonkadonk; his Grammy nominated collaboration and #1 hit single with Blake Shelton, Hillbilly Bone; Songs About Me; Every Light in the House; The Rest of Mine; and many more.

Featured Event of the Month: Silver Dollar City’s Star-Spangled Summer Festival offers family fun and entertainment you won’t find anywhere else. See the world famous Harlem Globetrotters for their final season at Silver Dollar City, your favorite cartoon characters, Championship Cloggers, and much more! And that’s beside everything else Silver Dollar City offers. The 1880s styled them park has over 40 thrilling rides and attractions including “The World’s Most Daring Wood Coaster,” Outlaw Run, demonstrating craftsmen, shows, and other activities.

Featured Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date.)

Jun 7: John Conlee
Jun 16: Home Free
Jun 23: Bill Anderson & Moe Bandy
Jun 30: Trace Adkins

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Jun 1-2: Ballparks of America – Memorial Day Classic (10U-13U)
Jun 1-Sep 4: Branson Landing’s Annual School Shoes For Kids
Jun 2: Gold Wing Road Riders Association Parade & Light Display
Jun 2: Missouri Truck Driving Championships
Jun 3: Relay For Life
Jun 3: 18th Annual Mopars in Branson
Jun 3-9: Ballparks of America – Week 2 Summer Kickoff Tournament 10U-13U
Jun 3-Jul 16: Silver Dollar City Star Spangled Summer Festival
Jun 9-10: Branson Skaggs Classic Golf Tournament
Jun 9-10: Scott’s Challenge Firefighter Combat in Branson!
Jun 10: Run for a Vet; 5K & Half Marathon
Jun 10: Ballparks of America – Week 3 Branson City Lights Classic 10U-13U
Jun 10-17: Law Enforcement Recognition Week Celebration in Branson
Jun 15-17: Law Enforcement Recognition Week – Light Cruise Parade
Jun 17-Jun 23: Ballparks of America – Week 4 Father’s Day Classic 10U-13U
Jun 18: Father’s Day
Jun 18: Father’s Day Brunch and Car Show at Keeter Center
Jun 18: Chateau on the Lake Father’s Day Champagne Brunch
Jun 23: The Taneycomo Festival Jazz Orchestra – Live in Concert
Jun 23-25: Branson Invitational Golf Tournament
Jun 24-30: Ballparks of America – Week 5 Bring the Lumber Tournament 10U-13U
Jun 28: Branson Fly Fishing Expo

For additional information on these events, Branson’s shows and attractions, or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with a Branson-based vacation planning specialist. They will be delighted to answer any questions, and assist you with show or lodging reservations and there’s absolutely no charge for this service.

 

Branson’s “zig-zag” streets testify to the time Branson “disappeared”

The Zig-Zag streets of Branson testify to the time Branson “disappeared.”

San Francisco’s “Lombard Street,” is famous for being steep and crooked, but has little to do with the early history of San Francisco. On the other hand, Branson’s “College Street,” with its unique “zig-zag” streets, while not as famous, has a lot to do with the early history of Branson.

“Most of the millions who visit Branson each year will never see this unique historic feature. It’s a great way to spend some time between enjoying Branson’s great live shows and attractions and experience Branson history,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “Interestingly, many drive within two blocks of the zig-zag streets on their way to Branson Landing and Historic Downtown Branson,” he added.

As you drive east on Highway 76, Main Street, you will notice a McDonalds to the north (left). McDonalds is at the intersection of Sixth and Main Streets.

Turn right, onto “Sixth Street” and drive south two blocks, passing “Pacific Street” to the apparent end of Sixth Street at its intersection with College Street. It’s only when one “Zigs,” by turning left onto College Street and then, about a quarter of a block down College, “Zags” back onto Sixth Street by turning right, that the “zig-zag” alignment of Sixth Street becomes apparent. If the Sixth street turn is missed basically the same thing can be done by turning onto Fourth or Third Streets.

Some might ask the question, “Why didn’t the people who planned Branson simply have the streets go straight through?” The answer is because the city of Branson, as it was originally incorporated on April 1, 1912, was a combination of two different plats with different roads, alignments, and block lengths.

In about 1882, Ruben S. Branson opened a general store near the mouth of Roark Creek and the White River. He named the post office in his store “Branson,” and even though he moved away, the name stuck, well, kind of.

In the early 1900s, as the railroad started into the “Branson area,” there were competing interests trying to get land and plat towns. The first town platted was “Lucia” on October 2, 1903 with the town of “Branson” platted soon after on October 26, 1903. In general, College Street was the dividing line between the Lucia and Branson town plats, It was the northern edge for Lucia and the southern edge for Branson.

According to most historical accounts, Charles Fulbright and his “Branson Town Company” acquired both town sites by the end of 1903. So, although the two plats became “Branson” in 1903 their roads remained as they were, and are to this very day.

Branson “disappeared” for a short time. The official records of the U.S. Post Office indicate that the name of the “Branson” Post Office was changed from “Branson” to “Lucia” in 1902 and changed back to “Branson’ again in 1904.

Branson’s zig-zag streets might not be at the top of the list of things most visitors plan to experience while in Branson. However, they can certainly provide a pleasant five or ten-minute side trip while on the way to or from Historic Downtown Branson or Branson Landing and testify to the time in history when Branson, if only for a short while,  “disappeared.”

They provide an excellent lead into the various historic things to see in “Historic Downtown Branson.” These would include, the site where the Mabe family started Branson’s first show, the “Baldknobbers,” the grave of Ruben S. Branson for whom Branson is named, the oldest free standing building in Branson, and, of course, “Dick’s 5 & 10.”

 

 

Your guide to an awesome day of bingeing on country music in Branson

Down Home Country’s Wayne Massengale and Melody Hart.

“Branson has over 100 live shows of every type and kind of music,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “Some shows however, feature country music providing country music fans the opportunity to ‘binge’ on country music from morning till night,” she added.

Here’s four of from our list of Branson’s Most Popular Shows that will fill your day with great country music:

Down Home Country is country music, and then some, at its best! What a great way to start the day with this morning show. This show features traditional country tunes including songs from big time, beloved artists like Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Hank Williams, and others. In addition, these talented singers and the “Grand Band” will give you a taste of gospel, bluegrass, and western swing as well. And there’s more. Jamie Haage is joined by Melody Hart, one of Branson’s premier fiddle players. and that crazy and colorful comedian, Jarrett Dougherty and some of his crazy characters. Good music, clean comedy, and a whole lot of country charm make this a great way to start a day of country music binging.

Raiding the Country Vault will highlight your afternoon*with 90 minutes of non-stop “definitive country music hits” presented by musicians with the extraordinary skill and experience to bring that music to life.”  It takes its audience on a wonderful trip through many of country music’s greatest hits by celebrated artists including: Conway Twitty, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Charlie Daniels Band, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Dwight Yoakam, George Strait, and many, many more.” A large LED screen displays the history of each song and the artist making it famous adding to the enjoyment of the show.

Either of the following evening shows would be the perfect completion to a “binge” day of country music in Branson:

Clay Cooper’s Country Express features the vocal talents and audience charisma of Branson favorite, Clay Cooper. And that’s just the start! It has some of the best dancers and choreography on any Branson stage, the vocal talents of featured female vocalist Kari Garrison, and one of the most talented live bands in Branson. Add the talent and comedy of Matt Gumm, the rope and gun handling performance of Johnny Lonestar. The result is two hours of great country music, dancing, fun, laughter, and variety.

Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Branson’s first show on the Branson Strip, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. As many times as I have seen this show, every time I see it, I feel like I’m witnessing a Branson treasure. Its country origin, and the faithfulness of four generations maintaining the traditions and heritage of that origin, make Presleys’ Country Jubilee special.  The spirit and talents of the Presley family and cast, musical variety, and uniqueness of the show’s humor is a one of a kind entertainment experience. It flows seamlessly from one entertaining part to another.  With this formula, there can only be one result…a special, unforgettable Branson entertainment memory that should not be missed!

For more information on these or other great Branson shows or lodging, please contact the Branson Tourism Center. Reach it by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com. Selling almost 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets, it’s Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services.

Branson Up Close and Personal with the Million Dollar Quartet’s “Dyanne”-Sarah Tweedle

Sarah Tweedle as “Dyanne,” in Million Dollar Quartet

The smash hit show Million Dollar Quartet, at the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson, tells the story of one of the greatest jam sessions in rock n’ roll history. A unique, impromptu, and one time jam session including four young recording legends-to-be: Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The events of what took place in the storefront recording studio of Sun Records on December 4, 1956, come to life on the Branson stage in a wonderful musical production for the ages.

Also there that night, was a young lady who was with Elvis Presley. That presence provides the basis for the character Dyanne in the show.  This edition of Branson Up Close and Personal, is with Sarah Tweedle (ST) who plays the role of “Dyanne” in this “ground shaking” not to be missed Branson production

“Branson – Up Close and Personal” is a service of Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. It uses a “Question and Answer” format to provide readers with an up close and personal look at a Branson star or personality. The interviews are conducted for the Branson Tourism Center by Gary Groman, a 31 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist, and freelance writer.

BTC: Outside of your Dad, if you could perform or meet with any entertainer/person (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
ST: Judy Garland 100 %! The first movie I remember watching as a kid was the “Wizard of Oz.” My dad bought it and we would watched it over and over and over again. I absolutely feel that it inspired me to become an entertainer.

BTC: Where was your last gig before theMillion Dollar Quartet
ST: My husband and I were working for Carnival Cruise Lines cruising the Caribbean.

BTC: When did you get married?
ST: I married my husband Drew on May 10, 2015. We have known each other since elementary school.

BTC: Is he an entertainer too?
ST: He’s a spectacular guitar player. He plays in the Eagles Tribute Concert and the Lynyrd Skynyrd & Suthyrn Fryd Frynds Tribute shows at the Tribute Theatre.

BTC: Where is home?
ST: Branson.

BTC: When did you first hear about the musical Million Dollar Quartet?
ST: I was a musical theatre major. My first introduction to the Million Dollar Quartet was in 2010 when I was watching the Tony Awards with my family. It was nominated for a Tony Award as “Best Musical” and one of the actors [Levi Kreis] won the Tony for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical” for his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in the show.

BTC: When did you hear about the Million Dollar Quartet in Branson?
ST: While working aboard the cruise ships in 2015. We got reports that the Million Dollar Quartet had opened in Branson and would really be a ground shaking production for the town.

BTC: Where did you audition for the Million Dollar Quartet?
ST: In my living room.

BTC: How did that come about?
ST: I had heard about the role opening up while we were on the cruise ships. We didn’t get back until the end of October 2015. I was a little burnt out and kind of wanted to rest a bit before making any decisions about what to do next, but I kept on hearing about the role. In early 2016, I decided to get in touch with people I knew at the theatre. They sent me some songs and scenes and asked me to set up a video camera in my living room and record myself. I did, sang “Fever” and “I Hear You Knocking,” read a scene, and sent them to Chris Cathcart, the show’s Production Manager. A couple of days later I went in for a meeting. Shortly after the meeting I was offered the part.

BTC: What made you decide to audition for the part of “Dyanne” in Million Dollar Quartet?
ST: I am a musical theatre major and I love musical theatre. Up to the Million Dollar Quartet, I have always done review shows or fronted rock bands. To be able to be part of a show in Branson that was a book musical, where I could build a character, memorize lines, and be a part of the new age of musical theatre in Branson, really excited me.

BTC: They used the real names of everyone else in the show. Why do you think that they used the name “Dyanne” instead of her real name, “Marilyn,” in the show?
ST: That’s an interesting story. Elvis actually did bring a woman, Marilyn Evans, with him that night. In “The Picture,” if you zoom out, she is sitting at the end of the piano. Her involvement in the jam session was minimal except for the fact that she had come with Elvis. The producers of the show developed a new character, “Dyanne”, who sings and adds an additional dimension to the show that would otherwise not be there.

BTC: What did you know about Marilyn Evans prior to deciding to audition for the Million Dollar Quartet?
ST: I had seen the picture with her in it, but didn’t really know anything about her.

BTC: What is your favorite Elvis Presley song? Why?
ST: “Can’t Help Falling In Love” because of its beautiful message.

BTC: What do you like most about playing “Dyanne” in the Million Dollar Quartet?
ST: There’s two things. The first is that everything she does, vocally and music wise, is different from the last thing she did. “Fever” is quiet and sultry, but “I Hear You Knocking,” is big and I get to wail on some stuff. In “Peace in the Valley” I get to sing with the boys, and I get to use some of my classical training in some of the backgrounds such as “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” The second thing I love is that I have the best seat in the house. I get to sit on stage every night and get to watch my incredibly talented cast mates “rock and roll.”

BTC: Whether you’re in it or not what’s your favorite part of the show?
ST: I really love the Concert Finale. I’m not even on stage, but when the jackets come down and the boys go into their finale it’s a joy to experience the audience’s excitement and reaction!

BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see the Million Dollar Quartet?
ST: It’s a beautiful top notch production, full of fun and timeless music, telling a story that entertains and spans generations. There’s nothing else like it in Branson. And be ready, because once you see it you will want to come back and see it again!

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?
ST: In 2013 my dad [John Tweed] and I did a show called “Reelin’ in the Years” that we had developed together. It was toward the end of the season and my brother Jacob, who is my best friend and who had never performed on stage with us, did. He came out on stage and sang, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” as my dad played guitar and I just sat next to them crying.

BTC: Where were you born?
ST: Costa Mesa, California

BTC: When?
ST: January 15, 1988.

BTC: Was there something special about your childhood that you think our readers would be interested in?
ST: Just that I was blessed growing up in a family surrounded by music.

BTC: When did you realize that you wanted to sing professionally?
ST: When I was 14 we went to New York City and I saw “Beauty and the Beast” on Broadway. I remember walking out of the theatre and matter of factly saying to myself, “I think I’ll do that!”

BTC: Do you have any formal training in theatre or acting?
ST: I’m a graduate of the two year “Musical Theatre Program” of the “American Musical and Dramatic Academy” in Hollywood, CA. I loved it because most of the teaching staff were working professionals.

BTC: When did you first perform in Branson?
ST: When we moved here in April of 1995.

BTC: What was you first impression of Branson?
ST: I was just seven years old when we moved here from Los Angeles. I thought it was exciting and had a lot of fun things to do.

BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
ST: I sew a lot. My “Happy Place” is in front of my sewing machine.

BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would like to know?
ST: I’m such a big Judy Garland fan that I actually wore ruby slippers when I got married and walked down the aisle to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

For additional information or tickets for the Million Dollar Quartet, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.