In addition to gearing up for the annual New Year’s Eve show next week, producers of “Legends in Concert,” a show featuring look- and sound-alike artists paying tribute to the most iconic artists in music history, have announced their 2017 lineup.
Mainstay favorites such as the Blues Brothers, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Michael Jackson will return, and the show will also feature tributes to more “contemporary” artists including Bruno Mars in the summer, and Prince in the spring.
“Bringing the younger acts to Branson has shown to be what the people want, and it has been very popular,” General Manager Jeannie Horton said. “Next year, we wanted to shake things up and offer more options.”
The 2017 spring season kicks off Feb. 3 and runs through May 16, with Larry Turner as George Strait, Clint Nievar and Danny Z as the Blues Brothers, and a variety of performers tackling the role of Elvis Presley for the entire run. Special limited runs during the spring feature tributes to the Temptations from Feb. 3 through May 11, Katy Setterfield as Dusty Springfield Feb. 3 through March 31, J.C. Brando as Adele April 1 through May 16, Michael Knight as Michael Jackson May 12-16, and a tribute to Prince, featuring Frank Moore, Feb. 16 through March 2.
The tributes to Springfield and Prince mark the first time either act will be featured on the Branson stage.
“Prince is going to be our special guest, and with his passing earlier this year, people have a greater appreciation of his music, and they’re very curious to see this character,” Horton said. “Frank Moore is very talented, and anyone who has ever worked with him or seen him live can see his passion for what he does. He’s a performer first, and he really brings Prince to life.
“If you never got the opportunity to see Prince live, he truly recreates that experience.”
With the spring run featuring so many “big name” tributes, Horton admits the name Dusty Springfield might not stand out as much as others.
“The name Dusty Springfield doesn’t always ring a bell,” Horton said. “She might not be one of the acts we use to draw on the marquee, but when you walk out of there you know exactly who Dusty Springfield was.”
Setterfield, Springfield’s doppleganger, took home the top prize on the BBC1/Endemol show “The One & Only.” After beating tributes to several well-know acts, Setterfield took home the grand prize of a three-month performance contract for “Legends” in Las Vegas.
“Since she’s been performing on the ‘Legends’ stages, people have just been blown away,” Horton said. “We know Branson will love her as much as the rest of the world has.”
Also returning for the first time in several years next spring will be a tribute to the Temptations.
“We couldn’t be happier to have the Temptations back,” Horton said. “We knew after having a strong spring run this year with Michael Jackson and Johnny Cash, we had to come up with an act people have been begging us to bring back, and that’s the Temptations.”
During the spring run, Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theatre will also host the 11th Annual Branson Elvis Festival April 7-9, 2017. The festival kicks off with “The Dean Z Show” April 7, followed by the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest April 8. Other Branson Elvis Festival activities include an Elvis Vendor Village, the annual Junior and Senior Youth Contest, an Elvis Meet and Greet Dinner and Elvis Karaoke Nights.
Following the May 16 show, “Legends” will go on hiatus, and “Menopause: The Musical” will headline the venue from May 18-21.
The summer run kicks off May 22 with tributes to Elvis Presley, Z and Nievar returning as the Blues Brothers, Elisa Furr as Celine Dion, Knight returning as Michael Jackson and the return of Doug Brewin and Larry Turner as Brooks and Dunn.
As they have done in years past, producers are bringing in a “younger” act for the summer months. This year, the show will feature Bruno Mars tribute artist Isaiah in June and July.
“He was in Myrtle Beach last summer and drew rave reviews,” Horton said. “So we’re very excited to bring him to the Branson stage. Most people don’t know this, but as a child, Bruno Mars was an Elvis impersonator and performed behind the ‘Legends in Concert’ venue in Waikiki.
“He’d come over and watch the ‘Legends’ show all the time, and now there’s a tribute to him in the show, which is a pretty cool thing.”
The fall run, Sept. 7 through Oct. 31, will see Robbie Howard as Frank Sinatra, Nedgra Culp as Aretha Franklin, Paul Eve returning as Johnny Cash, Travis Powell as Elvis Presley, and Z and Nievar as the Blues Brothers.
The “Legends in Concert” Christmas and winter run from Nov. 2 through Dec. 31 will feature Knight as Michael Jackson, Brewin as Alan Jackson, Z and Nievar as the Blues Brothers, and the returning Dean Z as Elvis Presley. From Nov. 2 through Dec. 30, “Legends in Concert” will also feature Sharon Owens as Barbara Streisand.
Due to the popularity of the Elvis Tribute Artists who perform on the “Legends in Concert” stage, the role of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll will be filled by several different E.T.A.s throughout the year.
The list includes Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Champions Cody Slaughter, Dean Z, Bill Cherry, as well as Ted Torres and Travis Powell.
Slaughter is set to headline the show in February, with Dean Z returning for most of March, April and into May. During the summer months, the show will feature a rotating lineup with Cherry, Torres and Powell in the fall, followed by Dean Z returning for winter.
Even though they are looking forward to next season, the cast and crew of “Legends in Concert” are currently gearing up for New Year’s Eve.
“This is a very exciting time of year here at ‘Legends in Concert,’” Horton said. “Not only are we excited about next year’s lineup, but we still have our fantastic New Year’s Eve show to look forward to. The name Dick Clark is synonymous with New Year’s Eve, and we like to honor his legacy by ringing in the New Year the right way.
“Where better to spend New Year’s Eve than the iconic Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater?”
The New Year’s Eve lineup features Brian Duprey as Frank Sinatra, Turner as George Strait, Brando as Adele, Nievar and Danny Z as the Blues Brothers and Dean Z as Elvis Presley. As a special attraction for that night, Cher tribute artist Kelly Smith will be joining the lineup for New Year’s Eve.
Several different ticket packages, some including cocktail service, gourmet boxed dinners, party favors and more are available.
For tickets or additional information, call the box office at 417-339-3003, or visit legendsinconcert.com.