Experience the amazing story of the Million Dollar Quartet

Among the greatest jam sessions in rock n’ roll history was a spur of the moment jam session of four young recording legends-to-be, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, that took place inside the Memphis storefront recording studio of Sun Records on December 4, 1956. Even more remarkable is that, except for a single newspaper article and its accompanying photo, dubbing the four “The Million Dollar Quartet,” the jam session went unnoticed for decades until a recording of it was discovered in the Sun Records library and released in Europe in 1981. That jam session and recording became the inspiration for the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet.The show shares the music, spontaneity, and drama of what took place that December day when these four legends performed together for their first and only time.

For over three decades, I’ve seen Branson shows of all types, but in all of that time I have never seen a show like the Million Dollar Quartet. Its outstanding cast; timeless music that just about everybody knows; and a| wonderful storyline combines with its unique set into an extraordinary entertainment experience that the entire family will enjoy.

Some might ask, “Will my kids like it; it was over 50 years ago, by performers, some of whom my kids might not recognize, and is a genre of music that is not popular with today’s kids?” In a recent interview, with Ryan Pelton, the extremely talented Elvis Presley Tribute Artist currently appearing in the Branson’s Legends in Concert show, was asked, “Why would kids like this show [Legends in Concert]? He replied, “Kids might not know who some of these stars are, but good music is just good music and kids appreciate that. Bruno Mars started as an Elvis impersonator and he’s one of the most popular stars today.” More to the point, “Carol C,” who recently attended the Million Dollar Quartet, with her husband and 14 year old daughter said that her daughter just loved the show with its music and the dramatic interplay between the characters.

Clearly, with four recording stars represented in the lead roles, plus the iconic music being performed, it requires some extremely talented entertainers to do it all justice. Tyler K. Hunter as Elvis Presley, Cliff Wright as Johnny Cash, 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 a personal memory from each of the performers seamlessly into its performance. It was a special moment.

As amazing as the music is, it’s the storyline, the historical moment it describes that’s so expertly woven in to 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.

And what a story it is! Filled with fascinating historical facts and antidotes about not just simply what happened that day, but the stars themselves, a hint of romance, the mechanics of how the record business worked in those early years, and beginning history of rock n’ roll. 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.

Lindsey Perenchio as “Dyanna,” does an awesome job, not only in her role as the girl Elvis was with that night, but in interacting with the four musical icons and Sam Phillips and adding a dramatic element with a hint of romance and “commonsense” to the show. Her 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.

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!

For more information or tickets for the Million Dollar Quartet 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.

Branson Tourism Center’s Best Branson Insider Highlights for July 2018

Just one of the many “cool” things to do at Silver Dollar City during its Star-Spangled Summer Festival.

On a daily basis, Branson offers a variety of live entertainment, attractions, shopping, and exciting fun things to do that few, if any other, travel destinations can equal. They are further enhanced with the addition of Limited Engagement performances by national touring stars and special events.

The primary purpose of the Branson Tourism Center’s Best Branson Insider Highlights is to highlight those performances and major events taking place during the month that are in addition to the live shows and attractions that Branson offers on a daily basis. It will also highlight a Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event for the month. All Limited Engagements and events are listed in order of starting date.

Featured Show of the Month: Branson’s Comedy Jamboree is an exciting mix of music, comedy, and fun. This clean-humored high-spirited afternoon show, has everything; a cast of lovable and eclectic comedic characters, talented vocalists, and a live band that just loves to make people laugh and have a great time. It’s one of those shows that truly does have something for everyone and, whether it’s the great music, the comedy, or a mixture of both, will entertain young and old simultaneously. If you’re hungry after the show, its just a few steps to one of Branson’s best buffets, “The Grand Country Buffet.”

Dennis Quaid.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: “Dennis Quaid,” most recognized for his roles on television and in movies, will be appearing in Branson for the only time this year on July 28. Dennis Quaid & The Sharks enjoy great popularity for their rock ‘n’ roll / country-soul sound and perform many original songs as well as covers like Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire,” that Quaid performed in the 1989 movie of the same name.

Featured Event of the Month: Silver Dollar City’s Star-Spangled Summer Festival running through July 22, offers family fun and entertainment you won’t find anywhere else. See your favorite cartoon characters, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience, Rockapella, Championship Cloggers, and much more! And that’s beside everything else Silver Dollar City offers. The 1880s styled theme park has over 40 thrilling rides and attractions. New this year is the $26 million “Time Traveler,” the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest Spinning Coaster. 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 mountain side!

Limited Engagements (By Starting Date)

6-7 July: Yakov, Famous Russian Comedian
15 July: Bruce in the USA: World’s #1 Tribute to The Boss & the E Street Band
22 July: Satisfaction: The International Rolling Stones Show
28 July: Dennis Quaid & The Sharks
28-29 July: Kidz Roc – Talent on Parade

Major Special Events (By Starting Date)

1-22 July: Silver Dollar City Star-Spangled Summer Festival
1-2 July: Hometown Heroes Salute – Ballparks of America
1-4 July: 4th of July Weekend Sale at Tanger Outlet Mall
3 July: Branson Landing’s 11 Annual Liberty Light up Concert & Fireworks!
4 July: Château on the Lake 4th of July Celebration
4 July: Independence Day Celebration at Big Cedar Lodge and Top of the Rock
4-6 July: Stars & Stripes Showdown – Ballparks of America
7-13 July: Ballparks of America – Mid-Summer Classic (11U-12U)
14-20 July: Ballparks of America – Show Me Shootout (12U)
21-27 July: Ballparks of America – Missouri Heat Classic (12U-13U)
22 July-Aug 5: Moonlight Madness at Silver Dollar City
23-25 July: B2 Cheer and Dance
28 July-3 Aug: Ballparks of America – Boys of Summer Classic (12U)

For more information, tickets or reservations on these or other Branson shows, attractions 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.

What’s an ideal family day in Branson?

“Amazing Pets!” is a great way for a family to start an ideal day in Branson!

For many, “an ideal family day in Branson would be one where the whole family had fun and made great memories together.” The great news is that with all the live shows, attractions, shopping, and other things that Branson has to see and do that’s not hard to have happen, but what would an ideal family day in Branson consist of, in terms of activities for the whole family to enjoy together?

There obviously is no one right answer because of the variables that could come into play such as weather, age of children, budget limitations, etc. Although there’s many different ways to plan an ideal family day in Branson, here’s one approach; dividing the day into three time periods Morning, Afternoon, and Evening with suggestions for an Attraction and one or more Shows for each time period.

MORNING

Attraction: Fun Spot Farm Mini Golf is a unique course offering fun for everyone in the family. It hass “two different 18 hole courses featuring life size whimsical and animated farm animals, a milk shed, water tower, horse barn, ponds, windmill, outhouse and a chicken coop. Sensors bring this outdoor course to life by setting off sound effects and animations throughout the game. It’s the first course in Branson to feature a championship style layout. Dependent upon skill levels, players putt into one of two cups, making the course playable for beginners and small children, while creating a challenge for the most advanced players.”

Show: Amazing Pets features dogs, cats, and beautiful flying birds delighting the audience with their performance. Trainer Valery Tsoraev has combined the antics of his well-trained cats and dogs, with costuming, and choreography into a unique unbeatable entertainment experience that kids, as well as the adults who brought them, just love. The interaction between the show’s host, the affable “Apple Jack,” played “from the heart” by Shannon Thomason, and the audience is filled with fun and keeps things moving along between the animal acts. It’s a show made even more special because over 80% of the dogs and cats in it were recused by Valery and his family from shelters.

AFTERNOON

Attraction: Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen is a 140 passenger riverboat replica offering a one of a kind sightseeing cruise on Branson’s beautiful Lake Taneycomo. Your well-informed, extensively trained, and certified boat captain guides you safely along the flowing waters of the river-like lake, while sharing stories about the lake, landmarks you’ll encounter along the way, and the wildlife that make their home on this unique lake. You will see birds, water fowel, and other wildlife that abound on Lake Taneycomo and its shoreline; these sightings may include deer, River Otters, the Great Blue Heron, and Bald Eagles, among others. Amazing natural bluffs dating back eons of time, and the spectacular majesty of Ozark vistas, not seen by the vast majority of the millions of visitors who come to Branson each year, will also be seen, along with a view of Branson Landing and its water and fire fountain show that’s as unique as it is beautiful and inspiring.

“Reza, Edge of Illusion” gives a fresh cutting edge to magic and illusions.

Show: Reza Edge of Illusion will bewitch your sense of reality with unbelievable magic. You’ll see some of “the old-style tricks; the disappearing birds, or the beautiful assistant being sawed in half, but don’t expect the just the predictable . “Reza’s fresh, cutting edge, and out to change the world’s perception of the centuries-old art of magic.” The whole family will be entertained and amazed by this show!

EVENING

Attraction: See the night time lights and splendor of the Branson Strip and surrounding Ozarks from lofty heights of The Branson Ferris Wheel. Chicago’s iconic “Navy Pier Ferris Wheel” now resides at its new home, at Track 4 of The Track Family Fun Parks along with the four story 1,200 foot long “Heavy Metal” Go Kart Track and many other rides and amusements. The Branson Ferris Wheel has 40 gondolas, holds 240 riders, is 150 feet tall, and illuminates the night time Ozark’s sky with “Electify,” a 16,000 LED music and light spectacular.

 

One of Branson’s hottest shows, the “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Shows:

In its 4th smash-hit season, the MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET has been one of Branson’s hottest shows for over three seasons. It’s an incredible musical and entertainment experience based on the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and the amazing true story of a unique one time recording session that took place in the storefront studio of Sun Records on December 4, 1956. Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records and the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” brought together icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins in what turned out to be an impromptu night of unforgettable music. Add great sets, a talented energetic cast, a touch of drama and romance, music that everyone knows and loves, and the result is an unforgettable night of entertainment for the whole family.

Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai features acrobatic feats so phenomenal; you won’t believe your eyes! This cast is a troupe of China’s finest and most elegant athletes performing acrobatic feats requiring an amazing array of skills. The stunning costumes, the beautiful backdrops, and an entire theater, custom-designed for the acrobats, from the stage, to the sound to the lighting, provides the perfect showcase for their talents.

In our discussion of an ideal family day in Branson we did not mention Branson’s oldest and most popular attraction, the 1880s themed amusement park, Silver Dollar City. With its combination of more than 40 rides and attractions, its new coaster “Time Traveler,” the world’s tallest, steepest and fastest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster; 100 resident craftsmen; Marvel Cave; shows; and festival related activities; this award winning amusement park is in and of itself the place for an ideal family day in Branson and should not be missed!

With all the shows, attractions, free things Branson has to offer there is almost an infinite number of ways to plan an ideal day for your family in Branson. Please feel to contact one of the Branson Tourism Center’s Branson-based Vacation Specialists, who will be delighted to help you plan the ideal Branson vacation, by calling 1-800-785-1550 or through their website www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

Branson Tourism Center’s Best Branson Insider Highlights for June 2018

Some of the cuddly stars of “Amazing Pets.”

From great live shows to exciting attractions and its beautiful Ozarks hills and lakes, Branson offers a variety of entertainment and fun things to do on a daily basis that few, if any, travel destinations can equal. Those daily activities are further enhanced with the addition of Limited Engagement performances by national touring stars and special events. The primary purpose of the Best Branson Insider Highlights is to highlight those performances and major events taking place during the month.

We will also highlight a Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event for the month. All Limited Engagements and events are listed in order of starting date.

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!

The Texas Tenors.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Since their national debut on NBC’s hit prime time show America’s Got Talent in 2009, The Texas Tenors have become one of the most popular singing groups in America. In addition, to a full concert schedule and many hit recordings, they have filmed two PBS Specials, “You Should Dream” and, just recently their newest, “Rise.” The show is in concert format containing many covers and original music including country, classical, gospel, Broadway, and more. From their first number to the last, the power, beauty, and intensity of each totals up to an unforgettable entertainment experience that should not be missed!

Just one of the many fun things families can do together at Silver Dollar City during its “Star-Spangled Summer Festival.”

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 your favorite cartoon characters, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience, Rockapella, 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. New this year is the $26 million “Time Traveler,” the world’s fastest, steepest, and tallest Spinning Coaster. 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 mountain side!

Limited Engagements (By Starting Date)

8 June: Marshall Tucker Band
15 June: Home Free
17 June: Vicki Lawrence & Mama: A Two Woman Show
28-30 June: The Texas Tenors

Major Special Events (By Starting Date)

5-8 June: Ballparks of America – Sum. Kickoff Tournament 12U-13U
7-10 June: 2018 Classics Cruisin’ Table Rock Lake
9 June: Run for a Vet; 5K & Half Marathon
9-15 June: Ballparks of America – Branson City Lights Classic (12U)
9-16 June: Law Enforcement Week
9 June-22 July: Silver Dollar City’s Star-Spangled Summer
11 June: Branson Skaggs Classic Golf Tournament
14-16 June: Ozark Mountain Thunder Motorcycle Rally
16-22 June: Ballparks of America – Father’s Day Classic (12U-13U)
18-23 June: StageOne National Dance Competitions
21-24 June: USSSA Ozark Classic NIT
23-29 June: Ballparks of America – Bring the Lumber (11U-13U)
24 June: College of the Ozarks Honor America Celebration
29 June: Summer Bopomapalooza (Branson Ferris Wheel)
30 June: Fireburst (Fireworks Display Kimberling City)
30 June-2 July: Hometown Heroes Salute – Ballparks of America

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 visiting www.BransonTourismCenter.com, or calling 1-800-785-1550.

Up-Close and Personal with Elvis Presley tribute artist Ryan Pelton

Ryan Pelton

Recently, Ryan Pelton (RP), an internationally known Elvis Presley tribute artist, currently performing in Branson’s Legends in Concert show 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: Outside of Elvis Presley, if you could meet and perform with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
RP: Well there are three, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. [Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.] If I have to pick one it would be Buddy Holly because he was so talented, both as a song writer and singer. I’ve always been a Buddy Holly fan and his songs are catchy even today. He had a different sound, combining a little bit of Texas Swing, rockabilly, rock and roll and country.

BTC: What do you like most about performing the Elvis Tribute in the 2018 edition of Branson’s Legends in Concert?
RP: Splitting up the Elvis set of the show into two mini concerts reflecting two different eras of Elvis’ life. I open the show wearing a military uniform and doing a patriotic tribute to the movie  “GI Blues,” and our Veterans. I just love that era and honoring our Veterans! It’s done without sideburns because Elvis did not have them in the movie and or while in the military. During the second half of the show, I close the set with the 70’s era Elvis, complete with white jump suit and sideburns.

BTC: Whether you’re in it or not, what’s your favorite part of the this year’s Branson Legends in Concert Show?
RP: ­­Absolutely the Veteran’s tribute and singing “America the Beautiful” to open the show.

BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see the Legends in Concert?
RP: To see one of the most unique and entertaining musical shows they will ever see. Unbelievably talented entertainers pay tribute to entertainment legends. Not only do they sing like the stars they pay tribute to, but they have the look and mannerisms too. It’s five miniature concerts letting the audience experience the realism of the legend getting the tribute. And if that’s not enough, its done amid a full scale choregraphed production with dancers, singers, a live band, colorful costumes and special effects providing a spectacular entertainment experience.

BTC: Why would kids like this show?
RP: Kids might not know who some of these stars are, but good music is just good music and kids appreciate that. Bruno Mars started as an Elvis impersonator and he’s one of the most popular stars today.[Click here to see when!]

BTC: Where were you born?
RP: State College, Pennsylvania overlooking Beaver Stadium.

BTC: When?
RP: January 12, 1973.

BTC: Do you have any formal musical training?
RP: Zero.

BTC: What was your profession before you started performing as an Elvis Tribute Artist?
RP: I owned my own website development firm when the internet first started gaining prominence in the early 1990s.

BTC: Just have to ask this, “Do you have a web site and did you design it?
RP: Yes and Yes,  RyanPelton.Com

BTC: It is said that you sometimes refer to yourself as “The Forest Gump of the Elvis Tribute Artists (ETA) World.” Is that true and if it is, what’s the story behind it?
RP: Yes. In the movie Forest Gump, Forest just goes through life living it as best he can, and things just happen to him because he’s at the right place at the right time. I have been very blessed to be able to do what I do, I take it very seriously, and have been blessed to be in the right place at the right time many times.

BTC: When did you first become interested in Elvis Presley and why?
RP: I had zero Elvis influence growing up, except for some people saying I looked like Elvis. Had no interest in Elvis, or music through high school, my stint in the U.S Marine Corps and college. Then one day, out of no-where, my mom faxed over an entry form for a local Elvis Contest and said, “I dare you to do this.” I saw it and thought, “She sent that thinking I’m not going to do it. She’s just having some fun with me because people say I look like Elvis.”

Even though I knew nothing about Elvis, I took the dare. A week later I competed in the contest. The guitar didn’t have strings on it and I taped the lyrics to it because I didn’t even know the words to the songs. I sang “Stuck on You,” “I Need Your Love Tonight,” and “Love Me” in the preliminaries, “Jail House Rock” in the finals, and won the contest. I rented a VHS video called “Elvis 56” from Blockbuster Video. It was all I had and I went from there.

I had no costume for the finals because I didn’t expect to get that far. I was singing Jail House Rock so I went to K-Mart and got a black jeans jacket and sprayed white t shirt with black stripes. I didn’t know the music so I wrote clues to all the verses on my hand. It was hot out and it melted so I ended up singing one verse five times, but I ended up winning.

BTC: What impact did winning the contest have on your future?
RP: Prior to that point I was not sure what I wanted to do, and sure did not plan on being an Elvis Presley tribute artist. Within a week I was performing in Philadelphia, had offers from all over  and made the decision that, “If I am doing this I need to do it.” I sold my internet business and went full time into a production show called “Pure Gold,” down on the Louisiana coast. It was a tiny version of what Legends in Concert is and was a cool experience. In addition to Elvis I got to  perform others such as “Buddy Holly,” “Elwood” in the “Blues Brothers,” the Indian in the “Village People.” I did two shows a night, six nights a week and wasn’t making much money, but it was worth its weight in gold in terms of becoming an entertainer.

BTC: How did you end up with Legends in Concert?
RP: In about 2000, after “Pure Gold,” I had a live audition for Legends in Concert during one of their shows in Las Vegas and worked with them until 2009.

BTC: What happened in  2009?
RP: I wanted to go out on my own, so I started my own band “Ryan Pelton & the Difference.” We toured extensively performing a combination of Elvis and my own music.

BTC: Were you also in a movie?
RP: Yes, using the screen name “Blake Rayne,” I starred with Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, and Seth Green in the 2014 movie, “The Identical.”

BTC: How did that come about?
RP: My band and I were rehearsing original music in the studio in Nashville. By chance I met the executive producer of the movie and the result was a role in the movie.

BTC: What did you do after that?
RP: Went back on the road performing over 280 dates per year until I re-established my relationship with Legends in Concert.

BTC: What is your favorite Elvis Period to perform?
RP: The “Black Leather 68 Comeback.”

BTC: Whether you sing it in the Legends of Concert show or not, what is your favorite Elvis Presley song and why?
RP: I have to give you two for that one. My favorite Elvis Presley song is a song called “Pieces of My Life.” Nobody knows it. It is in so many ways the sadder part of my life’s story and some of the things I had to go through. Performance wise it’s “Poke Salad Annie” because of its energy and the response you get from the crowd.

BTC: What’s your favorite genre of music?
RP: I listen to and appreciate all genres of music, but my favorite is “Soundscape.” It’s hard to describe what it is specifically, but it’s just calming and relaxing.

BTC: Elvis Presley or not, what’s your favorite song?
RP: The Spanish version of Hallelujah sung by Il Divo. It’s just so beautiful. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzB8xC_CwH8]

BTC: If you could influence someone to remember one thing about Elvis Presley or his music, what would it be?
RP: Elvis Presley was just a man with a very specific vision. He wanted to be a singer and against all the odds he created his own world and made it happen. You can do the same thing.

BTC: When was your first time in Branson?
RP: 2001 when I filled in for Tony Roi.

BTC: What was your first impression of Branson?
RP: There was a sense of community and the friendliness of the people.

BTC: Do you have a favorite hobby or activity?
RP: I have a wood shop in my garage and love woodworking on things like furniture., I’m still a computer geek to this day and love video editing.

BTC: What else would you like our readers to know?
RP: I like to learn. I feel that when you are through learning you are through. Everyday I wake up and think, “What can I learn today?”

For more information on Branson’s Legends in Concert show 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.

Why is Amazing Pets a must see Branson show for kids?

The “Amazing Pets” in action.

Branson, Missouri has a variety of amazing shows that would be the envy of most other major tourist destinations. From biblical super heroes, amazing acrobats, and magicians, to music shows with a million dollar quartet, pure country or just about any other genre of music, it can truly be said that there is a show for every age.  However, even in Branson, where all shows are suitable for kids, there are very few shows capable of holding their interest throughout most of the show. Grand Country’s Amazing Pets show is one of those amazing shows.

Amazing Pets is designed for kids

This show, although it will also be entertaining to adults, has been designed to appeal to kids. The dogs, cats, and beautiful flying birds in the show, as well as the interactions between the show’s host, the affable “Apple Jack,” played “from the heart” by Shannon Thomason, and the audience are filled with things appealing to kids. Does it work? If the reactions of my three year old great grandson, and other kids that I saw enjoying the show, are any indication the answer is “Absolutely.”

Kids just naturally love the cuddly stars of Amazing Pets

What kid doesn’t relate to and love dogs and cats? Trainer Valery Tsoraev has combined the antics of his well-trained cats and dogs, with costuming, and choreography into a unique unbeatable entertainment experience that kids, as well as the adults that brought them, just love. It’s even more special because over 80 of the dogs and cats in the show were recused by Valery and his family from shelters.

Kids are amazed at the things these dogs and cats can do

It’s a joy to see the excitement and expectation on the faces of the kids as they see dogs and cats perform amazing feats that most never even imagined they could. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but here’s one example of what to expect. In the movie “Big Fish” there’s a scene where a cat is put on a platform and raised high above the audience. It then jumps from its perch and plummets down into a pillow held by its trainer. As amazing as it was to see in the movie, it’s even more so in real life.

The bird act gets real close and personal!

During an interview, Valery said that the birds in the show were hardest to train. Be that as may, it was well worth the effort because of the color and change of pace they add to the show. It’s an amazing experience to witness these magnificent birds flyout out over the audience. It gets even more so as Valery and his daughter, Olga, come down from the stage and have the bird fly down the rows close enough to where you can feel the beat of their wings. When I asked my great grandson what his favorite part of the show was he said, “The birds flying by!”

The theatre is located in the same building as, and just a few steps away from, the Grand Country Buffet making it the perfect place to eat breakfast before the show or enjoy lunch afterwards. Amazing Pets is a morning show and is a great way for a family to start an amazing day of fun and excitement in Branson.

The Branson Tourism Center is pleased to provide a special buy one, get one half off offer for Amazing Pets. Just buy one Adult ticket and get one Adult ticket for half price! For tickets or more information on Amazing Pets, or any of Branson’s other shows, attractions or lodging please contact the Branson Tourism Center by calling its toll free number, 1-800-785-1550, or through its website https://www.bransontourismcenter.com.

 

 

Branson Up Close and Personal with the Million Dollar Quartet’s “fun girl,” Lindsey Perenchio

Lindsey Perenchio, “Dyanne in the Branson production of “Million Dollar Quartet.”

The smash hit show Million Dollar Quartet, at the Welk Resort Theatre in Branson, tells the story of a unique, impromptu, one time jam session consisting of 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 the awesome musical production of this Tony Award winning show.

Accompanying Elvis Presley that night was a young Las Vegas dancer. Although, she all but disappeared from any public mention with him after that night, her presence, that night, is the basis for the character “Dyanne” in the show. In this edition of ” Branson Up Close and Personal,” the fun loving Lindsey Perenchio (LP), an accomplished vocalist, dancer, and choreographer, who plays the part of “Dyanne” in this unique “ground shaking,” Branson entertainment experience, is going to share with us.

“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 32 year resident of the Branson area, local columnist, and freelance writer.

BTC: If you could perform or meet with any entertainer (living or deceased) who would it be and why?
LP: Janice Joplin because I think she was an amazing entertainer who died too early. She was the epitome of a rock star and had awesome musicality.

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?
LP: When I was 19, I was hired to be a singer for the touring company of the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Show, which I performed in Branson. It has special meaning because I learned so much about the business while performing with them.

BTC: What’s the story on Lindsey Perenchcio’s 2015 Choreography Reel on U Tube?
LP: I love doing choreography. When I was in college I majored in musical theatre and minored in dance and graduated from Milliken University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in musical theatre and a minor in dance. I have always been a dancer and was a choreographer for many years and that’s what inspired that video.

BTC: Are you a singer, dancer choreographer or all of the above?
LP: All the above.

BTC: What do you like most about playing “Dyanne” in the Million Dollar Quartet?
LP: Getting to perform with this great cast! They are so talented and so much fun to be around.

 BTC: Whether you’re in it or not what’s your favorite part of the show?
LP: I’m not in it, but I love the performance of the gospel song, “Down By the Riverside”, by the guys. They seem to be having a really good time and the audience enjoys it so much.

BTC: What’s your favorite part of the show that you perform in, no matter how major or minor the role?
LP: My first song in the show, “Fever.”

BTC: Why should someone coming to Branson plan to see the Million Dollar Quartet?
LP: It’s different than most shows in Branson. It’s a Tony Award nominated Broadway musical with characters and dramatic roles and music that everyone knows and loves. It provides a wonderful total entertainment experience.

BTC: What is your favorite Elvis Presley song?
LP: His performance of the Don Gibson hit, I Can’t Stop Loving You.

BTC: Where were you born?
LP: I was born in a hospital in Janesville, WI, just over the Wisconsin border from Harvard, Illinois, which was where I grew up.

BTC: Was there something special about your childhood that you think our readers would be interested in?
LP: How awesome my Mom was! She passed away when I was 20, but my childhood was very much inspired by her. She was a pretty phenomenal lady, a teacher and an inspiration to our whole community, but especially to me.

BTC: When did you realize that you wanted to sing professionally?
LP: I started dancing when I was six. My first public performance was a tap dance in Delevan, Wisconsin where I took dance when I was little and I have been dancing and singing ever since. When I was in dance ensemble in college they asked me to choreograph a piece. It was then I realized that I really liked doing it and it has been a passion of mine eversince.

 BTC: What is choreography?
LP: It’s the conceptualization of the whole creative look on stage. You have to think of levels, what you can work with, how many people you have, and the energy and style of the song. Essentially, it’s the entire energy of the piece.

BTC: Do you have any formal vocal, dancing or acting training
LP: Yes, all of the above. I have been taking dance since I was six, voice lessons since I was in high school, and got my college degree in musical theatre and dance.

BTC: Where was your last gig before the Million Dollar Quartet
LP: I had been working out at Silver Dollar City in various shows the last 13 years during which time I also performed and choreographed, the Red, Hot and Blue Show, and worked as the understudy in Million Dollar Quartet.

BTC: When was the first time you visited Branson?
LP: In 1999 when I performed at the Grand Palace in the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Show.

BTC: What was your first impression of Branson?
LP: I thought it was really interesting, unique, and unlike any other place I had ever been before.

BTC: What do you like most about Branson?
LP: I love the outdoor aspect of it. I love hiking, boating and the beauty of the area.

BTC: What do you like most about performing in Branson?
LP: The audiences. I like that you get to meet and greet them. Many come back repeatedly and it means so much to us to see them siting in the audience.

BTC: What’s your favorite thing to do in Branson when you are not performing?
LP: I like to be out in our boat on Table Rock Lake.

BTC: What made you decide to audition for the part of “Dyanne” in Million Dollar Quartet?
LP: When it first opened in Branson, one of the people I worked with at Silver Dollar told me they were looking for an understudy for the roll of Dyanne. I applied and got it, and was able to do both until deciding to leave Silver Dollar City for the Million Dollar Quarter

BTC: Do you have a “little known” fact about yourself that you think our readers would like to know?
LP: Even though I am a performer, I have a fear of public speaking

BTC: Married…Children?
LP: Yes, to a Branson Fireman. We have two boys ages 12 and 4.

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

A “Bakers Dozen” of things in Branson your kids would absolutely love doing!

Silver Dollar City’s record setting spinning coaster, “Time Traveler,” Sight and Sound’s spectacular “Samson,” “Reza Edge of Illusion, and “Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen” are just a few of the exciting things kids, will enjoy in Branson.

There’s so much to see and do in Branson that it’s sometimes hard to focus in on the particular things that you might want to see and do. That’s true whether you’re an adult or child. From among many, here’s a “Baker’s Dozen” of items that we believe most kids will enjoy doing.

It is in a “check list” form so that items of interest can be checked off for further consideration. The links will take you to additional information on the item such as scheduling, pricing and, in many cases, pictures and videos. The information is provided by the Branson Tourism Center, one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services:

1.  Experience the “walls coming down at Sight and Sound’s amazing biblical production of Samson. This spectacular production is  presented on a 300 foot surround stage and features live animals on stage and coming down the aisles. You can enhance the fun and excitement of seeing Samson by taking a Samson Behind the Scenes Tour to see the animals, and what goes on behind the scenes, up close and personal.

2.  Ride one of Silver Dollar City’s over 40 rides. From the new world record setting spinning coaster “Time Traveler” to rides for the smallest member of the family there’s fun and excitement around every turn.

3.  Watch a dog peddle a bicycle, cats jump through hoops, and see pets, many rescued from animal shelters,Watch a dog peddle a perform amazing feats at the Amazing Pets show.

4.  From big dazzling illusions to charming sleight-of-hand trickery, thrill to the magic of one of the hottest artists in the world of magic today, Reza, in the Reza Edge of Illusion show.

5.   Take a train ride on Branson Scenic Railway‘s historic vintage railroad cars through the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

6.  See the horses in their stalls at Dolly Parton’s Stampede then experience the fun and excitement of the “funnest place in Branson to eat.”

7.   Walk amid 1000s of live butterflies and through mirror mazes in the Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure.

8.  Play mini golf on one of Branson’s many themed mini golf courses such as Fun Spot Farms Mini Golf.

9.  Sit in a lifeboat, touch an iceberg, or enjoy one of the other exciting interactive activities as part of your “voyage” at the Titanic Museum Attraction.

10. Splash, play, slide and “plummet” in 2 million gallons of watery fun at southwest Missouri’s largest outdoor water park, White Water.

11. Experience the “big splashdown” while riding “Ride The Ducks.”

12. Be amazed by the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai where you’ll see acrobatic feats so phenomenal you won’t believe your eyes!

13. Experience the unique thrill, relaxation, and family togetherness of a cruise on Lake Taneycomo aboard Main Street Lake Cruises Lake Queen. Narrated by your U.S. Coast Guard licensed Captain, you’ll experience scenic vistas and see things that most of the millions of Branson visitors never get to see including the largest Great Blue Heron rookeries in Missouri and areas inhabited by Bald Eagles where you’ll frequently get to see these incredible creatures perched in the trees or soaring above the water.

In terms of all exciting and fun things for kids to see and do in Branson, this list is just the “tip of an iceberg.” For additional information on anything in this article or for information on “anything Branson,” please feel free to call 1-800-785-1550 and talk with one of Branson Tourism Center’s Branson based Travel Planners who will be delighted assist you in any way they can.

12th Annual Elvis Festival rocks in Branson April 13-15


Dean Z, “winner of the “2013 Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ Final” in Memphis ,will be hosting the “Branson Ultimate Elvis Contest” as well as performing his “Dean Z” show during the festival.

Branson has many unique and exciting things to do but, especially if you’re an Elvis fan, none of them rivals the excitement of the annual Branson Elvis® Festival. The festival will be held on the world famous “Branson Strip,” at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater, the home of Branson’s Legends in Concert show, April 13-15.

The highlight of the Festival is the Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ which will be held on the Legends in Concert stage, Saturday, April 14 starting at 7:00 PM. The contestants will be judged on vocals, appearance and stage presence. The winner of the Branson contest receives a prize package and the opportunity to compete in the 2018 Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ Finals presented by Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. to be held August 9 -12 in Memphis, Tennessee as part of the 40th anniversary of Elvis Week and the opportunity to perform in the April 15 performance of the Branson Legends in Concert show.

Legends in Concert’s General Manager, Jeannie Horton said that the Branson Contest will be hosted by “Dean Z,” who won the “2013 Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ Final.” in Memphis. She said that the quality of the 18 contestants is outstanding and that it’s going to be a great evening of entertainment. She also pointed out that the show is completely sold out so the only tickets available will be if someone cancels their reservation or doesn’t show up. The 2018 Branson Elvis Festival contestants are:

David Allen – Frisco, TX                         Russ Brittain – Ogden, IA
Ralph Carey – Lyndhurst, NJ                 Tyler Christopher – Ft Thomas, KY
Josh Davis – White Oak, TX                    Johnny Deans – Hillsboro, OH
“Cody ” – Cote Deonath – Oscala, FL   Dusty“Delvis” Duling – Eureka Springs, AR
Daisuke Kirya -JAPAN                            Rory Moore – Bonne Terre, MO
Carl Poe – Lyons, IN                               Taylor Rodriguez – Lynchburg, VA
EJ Sharp – Claremore, OK                      Eddie Simpson – Boxholm, IA
Steve Sogura – Ravensdale, WA           Mansour Spears – Austin, TX
Monty Tucker – Parma, MO                  GaryTussing – Clare, IA

In addition, to the Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ the Branson Elvis Festival includes several other exciting events including:

Friday, April 13 at 5 PM: Elvis Meet & Greet Dinner at Grand Country Buffett. [Note: This event     is sold out, but will open again if there are cancellations. If interested in case of cancellations       please call the box office at 417-339-3003.]
Friday, April 13 at 8 PM: Legends in Concert show
Friday, April 13 at 10:45 PM: Dean Z Show presents the winner of the national “2013 Ultimate       Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest™ Final,” for this one night only performance, as he presents a           musical celebration, from the by gone era of rock ‘n’ roll, pop, and rhythm and blues of the         hit  music that inspires and drives his love for performance.
Saturday, 14 – 9 AM – 4 PM: The Elvis Vendor Village will be open in Dick Clark’s American                Bandstand Theater lobby. Vendors from across the country will be selling unique Elvis                   merchandise.
Saturday, April 14 – 11 AM: A new event, the Branson Elvis Festival Youth Tribute Artist                Showcase (Ages 5-17) on the Legends in Concert stage. A $25 entry fee and registration is            required. Call 417-339-3003 x 3015 to request more information on this event, or email                tbailey@legendsinconcert.com.
Saturday, April 14 – 7 PM: The Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest [Note: This event is sold      out, but will open again if there are cancellations. If interested in case of cancellations please      call the Branson Tourism Center at 1-800-785-1550.]
Saturday, April 14: “After Party” at Branson’s Center Stage Grille.
Sunday, April 14, 11 AM Jerry Presley’s Gospel Revival, God and Country Theatre
Sunday, April 14 – 8 PM: Guest appearance of the 2018 Branson Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist        Contest™ winner during the 8 PM performance of Legends in Concert.

For additional information or tickets for the Legends in Concert show, The Ultimate Elvis® Tribute Artist Contest,™ or any of Branson’s other shows and attractions or for lodging arrangements please feel free to contact the Branson Tourism Center (BTC), one of Branson’s largest and most respected vacation planning services by calling their toll free number 1-800-785-1550 or through their web site www.BransonTourismCenter.com.

 

Best Branson Insider Highlights for April 2018

Most recently seen on the hit NBC show, “The Voice,” country music super star Trace Adkins .

In April, the Ozark Hills surrounding Branson blossom into the full freshness and wonder of spring, but that’s not all that happens! It’s also when Branson’s shows, attractions, outdoor and other activities blossom into the full freshness and wonder of their 2018 seasons.

Here’s our Featured Show, Limited Engagement, and Event of the Month, along with a list highlighting many other Limited Engagement appearances, and Special Events you can enjoy in Branson during April:

Featured Show of the Month: Million Dollar Quartet, the Tony Award-winning musical, is again captivating Branson audiences with this brilliant musical adaptation depicting a phenomenal moment in the history of rock and roll; the impromptu jam session that brought together music budding icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins for the first and only time they would ever perform together! In 1956, rocker Carl Perkins scheduled a recording session at Sun Studios in Memphis, with his band and another rock ‘n roller, Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash happened by separately and they all just started jamming together.

The Million Dollar Quartet is filled with songs that most know and love such as “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 and more, but it’s much more than just great music. It’s the story of a special moment, relationships, and a hint of romance, all in a production that is one of the most entertaining in Branson.

Featured Limited Engagement of the Month: Trace Adkins with special guest Billy Dean. Trace Adkins’ trademark baritone has powered numerous hits to the top on the charts. Among other things, the three-time Grammy nominated member of the Grand Ole Opry is also a TV personality, most recently appearing in the NBC hit prime time show, “The  Voice,” an actor, author, and spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project. Adkin’s numerous hits include “This Ain’t No Thinkin’ Thing,” “I Left Something Turned On At Home,” “Hot Mama,” “Songs About Me,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” “Ladies Love Country Boys,” “You’re Gonna Miss This,” “Arlington,” “I’m Tryin’,” “Chrome,” and “This Ain’t No Love Song.” Appearing along with Adkins, as a special guest will be Billy Dean who has a string of hits including “Only Here For A Little While,” “Somewhere In My Broken Heart,” “You Don’t Count The Cost,” “Only The Wind,” “Billy The Kid,” “If There Hadn’t Been You,” “We Just Disagree,” “That Girl’s Been Spyin’ On Me,” and “Let Them Be Little.

Featured Event of the Month: Branson.com Honors Purple Heart Recipients, is a unique event remembering, honoring, serving, and entertaining those getting the ‘Purple Heart’ as the result of combat wounds suffered serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is arranged to permit time for those attending to share time with one another, experience Branson, and take part in activities that honor, entertain and support them. All of the activities are no cost to Purple Heart Recipients. For more information or to Register, please call 1-800-268-4014 or go to the Branson.Com Honors Purple Heart Recipients web page.

Limited Engagements (Sorted by starting date.)

Apr 13: The Dean Z Show
Apr 14: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest
Apr 17-17: Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee – The Urban Cowboy Reunion
Apr 20-21: Oak Ridge Boys
Apr 20-21: Branson Music Fest
Apr 22-24: Mickey Gilley & Johnny Lee – The Urban Cowboy Reunion
Apr 27: Trace Adkins with special guest Billy Dean

Special Event Highlights (Sorted by starting date.)

Apr 1-8: Spring Ride Days at Silver Dollar City
Apr 1-30: Ozark Mountain Shindig Festival
Apr 6-8: Silver Dollar City Young Christian’s Weekend
Apr 7: Party with the Stars
Apr 11-29: Festival of Wonder at Silver Dollar City
Apr 12-14: 10th Annual Branson.Com Honors Purple Heart Recipients 
Apr 13-15: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest & Festival
Apr 14: Ultimate Elvis Tribute Contest – American Bandstand Theatre
Apr 16-22: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf – Big Cedar
Apr 18-22: Legends of Golf Presented by Bass Pro Shops
Apr 20-21: Branson Car Auction – Branson Convention Center
Apr 20-21: Branson Music Fest – Welk Resort Branson
Apr 20-21: Branson Auto Auction
Apr 28: Kayak Branson’s Biggest Flotilla Adventure on Lake Taneycomo

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 one of their  Branson-based vacation planning specialists. 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.