Samson bringing Branson house down in a mighty way!

Sight and Sound’s production of Samson is as epic and spectacular as the man whose story it tells.

Sight and Sounds spectacular stage production of the biblical epic Samson is literally bringing the house down daily to the entertainment delight of Branson audiences. When responding to the question, “How do you pick your shows?” Josh Eneck, President and Chief Creative Officer of Sight and Sound Theatre’s said, “It 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 imagine a better story to tell in the day and age we find ourselves in right now than that of the world’s first “super hero,” Samson, a man, like many today, who have strayed from God’s path, and need to trust in Him and His grace, to return to the His path. The story of Samson’s heroic battle with the Philistines, succumbing to temptation, losing his strength and sight but, through perseverance and by trusting in God and His grace, redeeming himself in a mighty way is well known. And who better to bring it to the stage than Sight and Sound Theatres, noted for their spectacular entertaining biblical productions?

It’s important to note however, that this show, while based on one of the most famous biblical stories of all time, stands on its own as a unique entertainment experience. It’s a show whose story, cast, music, dancing, scale, spectacle and ability to entertain does so, regardless of one’s knowledge or appreciation of the bible. It’s just an amazing entertainment experience to be enjoyed by all!

The story’s brought to life on Sight and Sound’s 300 foot surround sound stage, amid amazing sets and special effects, colorful costuming, and a host of live animals. Don’t want to spoil the surprises, but suffice it to say there’s action on the stage, up and down the aisles and overhead as the story unfolds. Ok, just have to mention one part, you’ll have to wait for it, but it literally brings the house down.

It’s a story we can all relate to, that uses the narration of Manoah, Samson’s father, to tie different elements together as he tells the story of his son, his trials, temptations, and relationships. As should be the case today, Samson’s relationship with his family played a pivotal role in developing the man who rose to the heights of success, faltered in his faith and fell to the depths of defeat, and ultimately rose again in victory. Too, it tells the story of a father and mother’s love for their son; the conflicting emotions of both Samson and Delilah as they dealt with their relationship, her ultimate betrayal, and the rekindling of Samson’s faith under the most dire of circumstances for his final act of heroism and service to his God.

The musical format under which the story unfolds is beautifully acted, sung, and danced by an outstanding cast that exudes not only a tremendous amount of talent, but a love and dedication to their performance. 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. The role of Manoah, Samson’s father, narrating the story really added to the overall experience.

No matter how you look at it, story wise, musically, or production wise, Samson is one incredible entertainment experience that inspires as it entertains and can should not be missed.

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 almost 5 million Branson show and attraction tickets by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com .

 

“Samson” and Silver Dollar City’s “Time Traveler ” are finally here!

“There’s always something new and exciting in Branson; 2018, is no exception,” said Preston Garrison, Business Unit Manager for the Branson Tourism Center. “Two of the most anticipated events of 2018 are the Branson premier of Sight and Sound’s spectacular stage production of Samson on March 3 and the opening of Silver Dollar City’s world record setting ‘Time Traveler’ spinning coaster, scheduled for March 14,” he added.

Sight and Sound Theatres, noted for its spectacular productions, will be premiering Samson in Branson on March 3. It presents the story on a  “jaw-dropping scale as it’s 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!…As Samson battles the Philistines – and his own personal calling – he soon falls prey to temptation, losing his strength and sight. But he never stops hoping. He’s a frequent failure and an underachiever yet, in the New Testament book of Hebrews, ‘Samson’ is included on the all-star list of faith. Discover how God transforms this unwilling hero to accomplish His work.”

Those planning to see Samson might also want 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.” It has exclusive backstage access to everything that happens behind the scenes.

The Behind the Scenes Tour is available with the purchase of regular season ticket. Arrival time is at 12:30 pm, the tour begins at 1:00 pm, and lasts 1 hour.

Silver Dollar City’s new $26 million Time Traveler coaster is the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest spinning coaster. “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!” said Brad Thomas, President of Silver Dollar City Attractions.

The Time Traveler, is a world-record-breaking spinning 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. It’s first day of operation is scheduled to be in conjunction with the opening of Silver Dollar City’s 2018 season on March 14.

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

 

Best Branson Insider Highlights for March 2018

Sight and Sounds’ biblical spectacular “Samson” premiers March 3.

“With the winter we’ve had everyone is looking forward to spring and, there’s just something special about spring in Branson,” said, Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center. “The beauty of our Ozarks as they begin to blossom out with spring foliage and colors, the opening of Silver Dollar City, and the start of the season for Presleys’ Country Jubilee has for decades been signs that it’s spring in Branson,” he added.

Here’s our Featured Show and Event of the Month, with a list of the highlights of special events you can enjoy in Branson during the month of March:

Featured Show(s) of the Month: The Branson Premier of Samson, Sight and Sound Theatres’ newest biblical spectacular. Experience this epic story as Samson battles the Philistines and himself and discover how God transforms this unwilling hero to accomplish His work. It’s all brought to life on a 300 foot surround sound stage, with animals, awesome special effects, colorful costumes, spectacular sets, and an amazing cast in a production that will entertain and inspire the whole family.

Presleys’ Country Jubilee, Branson’s first show on the “Branson Strip” starts its 51st consecutive Branson season on March 9. Its mix of that special Presley comedy strategically interwoven into the shows great music provides a one of a kind entertainment experience that keeps the audience, kids and adults alike, completely entertained, laughing, and wondering what to expect next! Once you’ve experienced you will understand why it has been one of Branson’s most popular show for over 50 years.

Featured Event of the Month: The scheduled opening of Silver Dollar City’s new $26 million “Time Traveler,” the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest Spinning Coaster on March 14 in conjunction with the 2018 opening of Silver Dollar City. It’s a world-record-breaking Spinning Coaster from many different aspects including a top speed of 50.3 miles per hour, making it the fastest with its immediate out-of-the-station 10 story, 90 degree vertical drop”… straight down the Ozark mountainside, making it the steepest.

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Mar 2 – Mar 4: Branson Classic Gymnastics, Branson Convention Center
Mar 2: First Friday, Branson Landing
Mar 8 – Mar 10: National IH Collectors Club Winter Convention
Mar 9: 5 K The Kenyan Way
March 14: Silver Dollar City opens 2018 Season
Mar 14 – Apr 08: Spring Ride Days, Silver Dollar City
Mar 16 – 17: American Cheer Power Cheerleading Competition
Mar 17: Hughes Music Show Presents St. Patrick’s Luck of the Irish Show
Mar 22 – 25: MoNASP State Tournament, (Archery) Branson, Convention Center
Mar 24 – Mar 25: KVD Big Bass Classic
Mar 31: Hollister Easter Egg Hunt Hollister High School Football Field
Mar 31 – Apr 2: Silver Dollar City Young Christians Weekend

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s shows and attractions, or for lodging arrangements, 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.

 

A whole lotta rock n’ roll history makes Million Dollar Quartet an entertainment blast!

The “Million Dollar Quartet,” Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash.

When four young recording legends-to-be, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, ended up in an impromptu jam session on December 4, 1956 history was made. Ironically, no one appreciated its importance at the time and one of the most significant moments in rock n’ roll history was almost forgotten.

Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Except for one newspaper article, which referred to the four as “The Million Dollar Quartet,” and its accompanying photo, appearing a Memphis Newspaper the day after, the session was largely forgotten. It was only after the sale of Sun Records decades later, when the new owner discovered a forgotten recording of the session, that its significance became apparent.

Those recordings, that jam session, and the four rock n’ roll legends involved became the inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet. It shares the music, spontaneity, and drama of what happened that day, as four future legends performed together for their first and last time.

Branson has over 100 live shows, offering a wide variety of quality entertainment, but there’s only one like the Million Dollar Quartet. It’s great story line, outstanding cast, timeless music that everyone knows, combine with the show’s unique set and great production to create an incredible entertainment experience for the whole family to enjoy together.

To do the music and a story line justice requires an awesome cast of talented performers. The cast of Million Dollar Quartet is just that and “then some.” Tyler K. Hunter as Elvis Presley, Cliff Wright as Johnny Cash, John Countryman as Jerry Lee Lewis, and Brad Waters as Carl Perkins, do a great job of sharing the music, spontaneity, and excitement of that night. They perform classics such “Great Balls of Fire,” “I’ll Walk the Line,” “Riders in the Sky,” “Hound Dog,” “Peace in the Valley,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” and many more. Watching them perform, in the show’s elaborate Sun Records Studio set, I felt, even if only for a moment, that I was getting a personal glimpse of what they actually shared together that night. It was awesome!

Lindsey Perenchio plays Dyanna, representing the girl accompanying Elvis that day. She adds her considerable musical talents to the  musical repertoire of the jam session performing “Fever” and “I Hear You Knocking.” In addition, her character adds a special dimension and perspective to the dramatic aspects of the show, both from a potential romantic aspect to the more practical, when she interacts with the other characters as the story unfolds.

As timeless and wonderful as the music is, it is the storyline, the historical moment it describes and the way it is artfully 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 some call the “Father of rock n’ roll,” and the person who actually set the circumstances in motion that resulted in the jam session, does a superb job of dramatically narrating the story and tying its diverse elements together in a manner that kept me keenly invested throughout the entire performance.

The story’s  filled with interesting antidotes and historical facts about not only what happened that day, but the artists involved, how the record industry worked at that time, and the early history of rock n’ roll. Among them is how the four musical icons came to be together that day for the impromptu jam session; the angst Carl Perkins, the old man of the group at 24, felt towards Elvis Presley over Blue Suede Shoes; why Johnny Cash was leaving Sun Records for Columbia Records; the answer to the question in everyone’s mind of why Phillips sold Elvis Presley’s contract to RCA for $40,000 in 1955; the jealousy some felt about the emphasis Phillips placed on Elvis Presley, and more. Watching the relationship between Jerry Lee Lewis, the brash outspoken rookie of the group, and the others evolve is a hoot.

It’s nonstop fun, drama, great music, and entertainment from beginning to end with no intermission. Oh, and a word to the wise, remember the admonition of Yogi Berra who said, “It ain’t over till it’s over. Don’t want to spoil the surprise, but “Wait for it” because it’s a grand ending to an absolutely delightful and completely entertaining show that ends all too quickly.

The Million Dollar Quartet‘s 2018 season runs from March 14 through December 30. For additional information or tickets for please contact the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services, by calling 1-800-785-1550, or by visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Grand Jubilee is more than “grand,” it’s amazing entertainment!

New South, Jamie Haage and Mike Patrick, Luke Menard and David Regan, and Jackie Brown.

Continuing a 16 year tradition of opening Branson’s new show season, the Grand Jubilee premiered its 2018 show as part of their New Year’s Eve celebration and, except for a short vacation break, is in full swing with their 2018 season. Mike Patrick, the show’s producer and MC said that in developing the show, the challenge is to keep the things that their audiences like and expect and work fresh new elements and numbers into the show.

Having just seen it earlier this month and observed the audiences reaction, it’s obvious that he has done just that. It’s an extremely fast moving show, showcasing great music and hilarious comedy all performed by an award winning cast that just resonates with their audience. The blend of music, colorful costumes, strategically blended in with the hijinks and comedy of “Jim Dandy” and MC Mike Patrick, results in two of the fastest and finest hours of entertainment on any Branson Stage. It is one of those rare Branson shows that simultaneously entertains both adults and children throughout the majority of the show.

New South, Grand Jubilee’s award wining quartet is composed of Lead Vocalist, David Ragan; Tenor, Luke Menard; Baritone Jon Drockelman; and Bass, Mark McCauley. They sing a variety of music from gospel to pop, patriotic, and rock and roll and do it so beautifully. From many, two of my favorite highlights was their medley of Bobbie Sue, All The Gold in California, Tomorrow Never Comes, and Mountain Music. Their unique version of Hallelujah is simply breath taking! Jackie Brown, the shows award winning vocalist shines as she sings a number of songs with my favorite being the Patty Loveless classic, Timber, I’m Falling In Love.

“The Grand Band,” affectionately called “The Rhinestone Mafia,” is blessed with some of the finest musicians in Branson; Michael W. Davis, Piano/Keyboard & Vocals; Wayne Massengale, Fiddle and Acoustic Guitar; Larry Allred, Bass Guitar; Rob Blackburn, Drums; Chad Cathell, Lead Guitar, Acoustic Guitar and Gene Mulvaney, Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar, Banjo and Band Director. Their talent is evident throughout the show as they accompany the vocalists and have solo features with the vocalists. Their talent and “personality” adds a wonderful dimension to the show.

If the music was all there was, that would be enough, but there’s more, the comedy talents of Jamie Haage, as “Jim Dandy.” He, and his straight man “Mike Patrick,” have the audience rolling in laughter throughout the show with their comedy. Just as amazing and entertaining, is the metamorphosis of multi-talented Haage as he surprises the audience with his wide range of musical talents.

There’s just something special about this show! In a previous story I wrote, “From the intimacy of the Grand Country Music Hall, the entire cast coming out during intermission to meet the audience, talk, and sign autographs, and the way the cast relates to the audience during the show, this is a “close up” entertainment experience where it is obvious that both the audience and the entertainers are having fun!” That has not changed one IOTA! This is a unique Branson entertainment experience that should not be missed.

For more information on the Grand Jubilee 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.

Best Branson Insider Highlights for February 2018

One of the “big cats” at the National Tiger Sanctuary, the Titanic Museum Attractions’s full scale replica the Titanic’s “Grand Staircase, and the Grand Jubilee’s award winning quartet “New South.”

“With more shows starting to open for their 2018 season, Valentine’s Day, the long President’s Day Weekend, and smaller crowds, February is an ideal time to visit Branson ” said Preston Garrison, Business Unit Manager for the Branson Tourism Center. “It’s hard to imagine a more romantic place to celebrate Valentine’s Day or a better shopping destination during President’s Day Weekend,” he added.

Garrison also points out that many of Branson’s great shows will be open, or opening, during February. In fact, the beginning blush of Branson’s 2018 live show season with the opening of some of its most popular shows in February is our “Featured Show” of the month. Among the shows joining Grand Country’s Amazing Pets, Branson Country USA, Comedy Jamboree, and Grand Jubilee which premiered their 2018 shows in January, will be the following, sorted by opening date:*:

SIX (Feb 1)
Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute Show (Feb 1)
Legends in Concert (Feb 2)
Eagles Tribute Concert (Feb 2)
Motown Downtown (Feb 9)
The Haygoods (Feb 10)
Doo Wop and the Drifters (Feb 10)
Ozarks Gospel (Feb 11)
Branson Murder Mystery Dinner Show (Feb 13)
The Blackwoods (Feb 14)
Dolly Parton’s Stampede (Feb 23)
Ozarks Country (Feb 25)

Please check schedule for specific times and changes.

Many of Branson’s major attractions are open year round providing a myriad of opportunity for fun and adventure. These include, but are certainly not limited to the Butterfly Palace & Rainforest Adventure, Fritz’s Adventure, Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess, National Tiger Sanctuary, Shepherd of the Hills ATV Adventures, Titanic Museum Attraction, World’s Largest Toy Museum Complex and dozens more.

Featured Event of the Month: VisionCon 2018 continues a two decade only tradition of being Missouri’s premier comic book, science fiction, fantasy, live action, role playing, and gaming convention. Being held at the Branson Convention center, more than 4,000 people will attend with one common goal, having fun and raising money for local charities.

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Feb 1-25: Off-Road Ozark ATV Adventures
Feb 14 & 17: Valentine’s Day Cruise on Main Street Marina’s luxury yacht The Landing Princess
Feb 14: Happy Valentines Day
Feb 14: Valentine’s Day Dinner at Keeter Center
Feb 15-19:  President’s Day Weekend Sale – Tanger Outlets
Feb 23-25: VisionCon 2018- Gaming, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Anime Convention
Feb 25: Vince Elfrink Memorial Tournament – Lilleys’ Landing

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

 

Three ways to beat the Winter Blues in Branson

Just four of the amazing ways to beat the Winter Blues in Branson.

“Especially with the extremely cold weather we’ve had this year, keeping many indoors, cases of the “Winter Blues abound,” said Preston Garrison, Business Unit Manager, for the Branson Tourism Center. “An article entitled Got The Post-Holiday Blues? Here’s How To Beat ‘Em, by Catherine Pearson, published in the Huffington Post suggests that one thing people can do to help beat the blues is to “‘Get their pamper on’ by giving themselves a break.” Here’s three ways Branson can help you relax, have fun, and escape those winter blues:

1.  Just Getting Away from Home and Relaxing: Branson offers a wide variety of resorts, hotels, cabins, condos, and bed and breakfasts. From the quiet and soothing comfort of the Welk Resort, with its recently redecorated and updated rooms and its separate 10,000-square-foot “Splash-A-Torium; the Grand Country Inn with its “Splash Country Indoor Waterpark” and “Fun Spot Amusement Center” with an indoor go kart ride; and dozens of places in between; there’s a perfect place to stay that will provide just the relaxing fun filled experience you need to shake those winter blues.

2. Shopping: Would a little shopping therapy ease those blues? With hundreds of places to shop, Branson is a shopper’s paradise just about any time of year, but even more so during the slower-paced winter season. It’s hard to beat the reduced prices on clothing, housewares, designer shoes, gifts, luggage, and other unique merchandise at Tanger Outlets or The Shoppes at Branson Meadows. Add a unique assortment of flea markets, craft shops, boutiques, art galleries, local eateries, and other specialty shops, including the famous Dick’s 5 & 10, and Branson Landing’s department stores, galleries, and shops, along with lakefront dining establishments, and it’s hard to imagine a better shopping experience than that available in Branson!

3.  Fun, Adventure, and Entertainment: Branson offers an unrivaled choice of activities and entertainment, like shows, attractions, museums, scenic walking trails, and so much more whether its winter or summer. How about an entertaining evening at one of Branson’s great shows, such as the Grand Jubilee, with the vocals of Jackie Brown, the harmonies of the New South Quartet, the sound of the Grand Band, and the comedy of the multi-talented Jamie Haage, a.k.a, Jim Dandy? How about an exciting “voyage” aboard the Titanic Museum Attraction, spending some time with the big cats at the National Tiger Sanctuary, or enjoying anyone of the dozens of other exciting activities and attractions Branson offers.

What better way to pamper yourself or take a break than an enjoyable getaway to Branson, Missouri? All it takes to plan your Branson escape is one toll-free phone call to the Branson Tourism Center, and talking with one of their Branson-based Travel Planners who will be delighted to assist you in planning the perfect Branson getaway. BTC can be reached by calling 1-800-785-1550 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM seven days a week, or through its website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Up-Close and Personal with the Million Dollar Quartet’s John Countryman

Cast of the Million Dollar Quartet Sara Tweedle as Dyanna, Tyler K. Hunter as Elvis Presley, Cliff Wright as Johnny Cash, and John Countryman as Jerry Lee Lewis.

One of Branson’s most popular shows, the Million Dollar Quartet tells the story of one of the greatest jam sessions in rock ‘n’ roll history, an impromptu gathering of four young recording legends-to-be, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis. It took place 51 years ago this week, on December 4, 1956, in the Memphis storefront recording studio of Sun Records.

It went largely unnoticed until recordings of the event were discovered and released decades later. It is that jam session, those recordings, and the four rock ‘n’ roll legends involved, that became the inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet. The show shares the music, excitement, and drama of what happened that day, as these four legends performed together for their first and, last time.

Recently, John Countryman (JC), the tribute artist playing Jerry Lee Lewis in the Branson production of the Million Dollar Quartet, was kind enough to take time from his busy schedule to do an interview for a Branson – Up Close and Personal, a service of the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services. It’s intended to provide an “up close and personal look” at a Branson star or personality and uses a “Question and Answer” format.

BTC: If you could meet and perform with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
JC: I’d go with Leon Russell because I like the old ‘rock and rollers.’ I got to meet him shortly before died.

BTC: What do you like most about performing Jerry Lee Lewis in the Million Dollar Quartet?
JC: It’s fun! Everyone else in the session, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Ray Perkins were established performers, but Jerry Lee’s career, at that point, was just starting. He was only there because he was doing some session work for Ray Perkins, but he knew everything and wanted everyone to know that he did. It’s so much fun to play the role as I push everyone’s button.

BTC: Whether you’re in it or not, what’s your favorite part of the Million Dollar Quartet?
JC: The very end of the show when we do the mini concert with four songs back to back.

BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see the Million Dollar Quartet?
JC: It’s 90 nonstop minutes of fun and exciting live rock ‘n’ roll music, humor, great entertainment, and a history lesson about some of the coolest guys you’re ever going to hear about. I have been in a lot of productions and about 800 performances of the Million Dollar Quartet. The caliber of everyone in this cast is fantastic and it’s one of the best I have every performed with.

BTC: Where were you born?
JC: Newport News, Virginia

BTC: When?
JC: September 11, 1989.

BTC: When did you first become interested in music?
JC: My mom was a music teacher, mom and dad sang in the choir in church, and there are pictures of me playing the piano when I was a baby, but I was 12 years old when I really decided to get serious and started practicing playing the way I do now.

BTC: Do you have any formal musical training?
JC: Just a couple of music lessons before I was 12 years old. Although my mom was a music teacher, the lessons were from another lady. We, myself and four brothers, were homeschooled by my mom so she thought it would be a good idea to get the music lessons from someone else.

BTC: When did you first become interested in Jerry Lee Lewis and why?
JC: When I first started playing the piano because, “He’s the man!” He was also “kind of dangerous,” played rock ‘n’ roll, and my mom suggested taking a look at his music. Once I played “Great Balls of Fire” I was hooked.”

BTC: When did you first perform publicly?
JC: At a home school convention talent show case in Winston Salem, North Carolina when I was about 15 or 16. I did a Jerry Lee Lewis medley that had Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta of Shakin’ Goin’ On‘ in it.

BTC: When did you first start performing professionally?
JC: In 2009 when I played with the Dirty Names Band. I played with them for about a year and a half. I left for many different reasons and took a job in a bank.

BTC: How did you end up in the Million Dollar Quartet?
JC: Shortly after starting with the bank, I got a call to audition for the Tony Award® winning hit Broadway show and the rest is history. In 2013, I went on the National Tour with the show and have been performing in it ever since.

BTC: Whether sung in the Million Dollar Quartet show or not, what is your favorite Jerry Lee Lewis song?
JC: The obvious answer would be songs like Great Balls of Fire and A Whole Lotat of Shakin’ Goin’ On, but I like some of his deeper cuts. His version of the Hank Williams song, Jambalaya from ‘Live at the International Hotel’ is one of my favorites.

BTC: What’s your favorite genre of music?
JC: Boogie-Woogie and Rock ‘N’ Roll.

BTC: Jerry Lee Lewis or not, what’s your favorite song?
JC: I really like the song Freight Train Boogie by Doc Watson.

BTC: If you could influence someone to remember one thing about Jerry Lee Lewis or his music, what would it be?
JC: The power’s in the left hand. Boogie-woogie involves a repeating bass pattern from the left and throughout. It’s that pattern that’s the music’s soul.

BTC: Prior to coming to Branson you were performing in Chicago. How did you end up in Branson?
JC: I was performing in the Chicago production of Million Dollar Quartet the first time I had a chance to do the show in Branson. I turned it down to stay in Chicago, but it closed a few months later and I had been performing the role in regional productions of the show when the Branson opportunity opened up. I was exhilarated when I got the chance to play the role in Branson and it’s been a great experience so far.

BTC: When was your first time in Branson?
JC: In the spring of this year. I had never been to Branson before and arrived on Friday just before we started rehearsals on Monday.

BTC: What was your first impression of Branson?
JC: It’s so beautiful and the people so friendly.

BTC: What do you like the most about Branson?
JC: I just love to play music, so I just love it that “you can’t throw a rock’” without hitting a musician.”.

BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
JC: Play music.

For more information on the Million Dollar Quartet and other amazing Branson shows, attractions, or lodging, please call one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners at 1-800-875-1550. They will be delighted to answer any questions you might have about Branson, its shows, hotels, or attractions and assist you with reservations to help ensure that you obtain the best available seating at shows and the accommodations you desire. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

End of Season Branson Show Guide for 2017

The “Million Dollar Quarter;” Ambrus Presley and Chuck Crain singing “Mary Did You Know”  during the “Presleys’ Country Jubilee Christmas show;” Jason Hughes and family performing in the “Hughes Brothers Christmas Show,” and Sharon Owens as, “Barbara Streisand,” in “Legends In Concert.”

“Wow, it’s near the end of the 2017 Branson show season already,” said Preston Garrison, Director of Operations for the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest providers of tourism services and information. “As the season winds down, some of our most popular shows will be ending their season over the next two weeks however, many will be open through Christmas week and up through New Year’s Eve.

Here is a list of the last date in 2017 that some of Branson’s most popular shows will be performing. It’s sorted chronologically by week(s), starting on December 3 and ending on Dec. 31. Within each week it’s sorted date. We’ve followed it up with a list of some of Branson’s most popular New Year’s Eve shows and celebrations:

LAST 2017 PERFORMANCE BETWEEN Dec. 3 – Dec. 9

The Lettermen: Dec. 9
Down Home Country: Dec  15
Andy Williams Christmas Extravaganza: Dec. 16

LAST 2017 PERFORMANCE BETWEEN Dec. 10 – Dec. 16

Ozarks Gospel: Dec. 10
Ozarks Country: Dec. 10
New South Gospel: Dec. 14
Branson Country USA: Dec. 15
Presleys’ Country Jubilee: Dec. 16
New Jersey Nights: Dec. 16
Christmas Wonderland: Dec. 17

LAST 2017 PERFORMANCE BETWEEN  Dec. 17 – Dec.23

Puttin’ on the Ritz: Dec. 17
Dublin’s Irish Tenors and The Celtic Ladies: Dec. 22
SIX: Dec. 22

LAST 2017 PERFORMANCES BETWEEN Dec. 24 – Dec. 31

Reza Edge of Illusion: Dec 28
Clay Cooper’s Country Express: Dec. 29*
Hughes Brothers Christmas Show: Dec. 29
Acrobats of China: Dec.  30
Grand Jubilee: Dec. 30*
The Haygoods: Dec. 30*
Million Dollar Quartet: Dec. 30
Miracle of Christmas: Dec. 30
The Blackwoods Morning Show: Dec. 30
Acrobats of China: Dec. 31
Amazing Pets: Dec. 31
Comedy Jamboree: Dec. 31
Dixie Stampede: Dec. 31
Legends in Concert: Dec. 31*
Showboat Branson Belle: Dec. 31

BRANSON’S MOST POPULAR NEW YEARS EVE Shows/Celebrations

Hughes Brother’s New Year’s Eve Party: Dec. 30
Bill Anderson and Friends

Clay-Goods Jambor-Eve (Clay Cooper and Haygoods joint celebration)
Grand Jubilee
Legends in Concert
Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Americana New Year’s Eve Show
Hamners’ Unbelievable Variety Show
Pierce Arrow New Year’s Eve Celebration

 * Has New Year’s Eve celebration. Clay Cooper & Haygoods celebrating jointly

Branson Tourism Center’s Garrison points out that weather, abbreviated Christmas show schedules, and availability are excellent reasons to, not only check the schedule for the show(s) you are interested in but, make advance reservations. He suggests calling 1-800-785-1550 and talking with one of BTC’s Branson based Travel Planners. They will be delighted to answer any questions you might have about Branson, its shows, hotels, or attractions and assist with reservations to help ensure that you obtain the best available seating at shows and the accommodations you desire. There is no charge for this service and they are available daily, except Christmas Day, from 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM. BTC may also be contacted through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com

The Best of Branson Insider Highlights for December 2017

Landing Princess, “Christmas in Midtown” at Silver Dollar City’s Old Time Christmas, Grand Jubilee’s New South quartet, and Bill Anderson & Friends.

“From its night time Adoration Parade, to multiple drive through Christmas lighting displays, Silver Dollar City’s nationally renowned “Old Time Christmas Festival,” and its great live shows, December in Branson is filled with that special spirit of the traditional American Christmas,” said Annette Wood, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Branson Tourism Center. “And there’s not a letdown the week after Christmas either; its filled with the entertainment, excitement, and fun that Branson is known for right up to the celebration of New Year’s Eve, Branson style,” she added.

Here’s our Featured Show, Event, and Limited Engagement of the Month, along with a list of the major, special limited engagement performances and events you can enjoy in Branson during December, 2017:

Featured Show: The Grand Jubilee Christmas show has it all, including amazing vocals by Branson’s award winning quartet, New South and Jackie Brown; hilarious comedy with Jamie Haage, a.k.a. “Jim Dandy,” and his sidekick Mike Patrick, who is also the show’s emcee and producer; and the “Grand Band,” one of the best bands in Branson. From the preshow to the final curtain, this awesome production will entertain and inspire you with “grand” music, comedy, and the spirit of a traditional American Christmas.

“We sing the traditional favorite Christmas songs that people sing every year,” said Mike Patrick, the shows emcee and producer. “To me our show is like taking out your favorite Christmas ornament each year and hanging it on the tree.” When asked what his personal favorite part of the show was he said, without hesitation, “When we get to read the Christmas story from the Bible and see how it resonates with our audience.” His two favorite numbers in the show are New South’s rendition of a Gatlin Brothers’ song “Santa Are You Going To Atlanta” and Jackie Brown’s beautiful performance of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

 Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: There’s not a more “Limited Engagement” than the spectacular unique ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Branson.How about cruising Lake Taneycomo aboard Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess, a 100 foot luxury yacht, while enjoying a live DJ, dancing, games, prizes, party favors, full-service cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, a dessert bar, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight? Cruising not your thing, then how about an entertaining and exciting evening with some of Branson’s most popular shows as they welcome in 2018 with unique awesome New Year’s Eve celebrations including:

Dec 30:  Hughes Brothers New Years Eve Party
Dec 31:  Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Dec 31:  Legends in Concert
Dec 31:  Bill Anderson & Friends New Years Eve Show
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
Dec: 31 Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess

Featured Event of the Month: 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 added just this year for its new light spectacular “Christmas in Midtown.” 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, “you’ll take home beautiful holiday memories destined to last a lifetime!”

LIMITED ENGAGEMENT PERFORMANCES (Sorted by starting date)

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

NEW YEAR’S EVE BRANSON STYLE

Dec 30:  Hughes Brothers New Years Eve Party
Dec 31:  Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Dec 31:  Main Street Lake Cruises Landing Princess
Dec 31:  Legends in Concert
Dec 31:  Bill Anderson & Friends New Years Eve Show
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

SPECIAL EVENT HIGHLIGHTS (Sorted by starting date.)

Dec 1 – Dec 30:  Trail of Lights
Dec 1 – Dec 31:  Branson Landing’s Winter Wonderlanding!
Dec 1 – Dec 31:  Titanic Museum Christmas Tribute
Dec 3:  Santa Train
Dec 3:  69th Annual Adoration Parade and Lighting Ceremony
Dec 4 – Dec 10:  Branson’s Festival of Trees
Dec 4 – Dec 23:  Showboat Branson Belle – Santa’s Pancakes & PJs Cruise
Dec 4 – Dec 24:  Visit Santa at Bass Pro
Dec 1 – Dec 24:  Santa at the Branson Landing
Dec 4 – Dec 30:  An Old Time Christmas Festival at Silver Dollar City
Dec 4 – Dec 31:  Gingerbread Houses on Display at Chateau
Dec 2:  Pancakes with Santa at Mc Farlain’s
Dec 9:  Breakfast with Santa – Branson RecPlex
Dec 16:  Chateau on the Lake Breakfast with Santa
Dec 25:  MERRY CHRISTMAS
Dec 25:  Christmas Day Champagne Brunch at Chateau on the Lake
Dec 27 – Dec 29:  Xtreme Winter Branson
Dec 30:  Keeter Center New Year’s Celebration (Saturday Evening)
Dec 31:  Keeter Center New Year’s Eve Sunday Brunch
Dec 31:  New Years Eve Celebration at Keeter Center
Dec 31:  Chateau on the Lake New Year’s Eve
Dec 31-Jan 1:  Silver Dollar City’s New Year’s Celebration
Dec 31:  HAPPY NEW YEAR

For additional information on these events, or any of Branson’s 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 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com